The Bledisloe cup

Friday, 16 August 2013 06:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Rugby Championships will commence this week with the Bledisloe cup. Whilst all rugby games involving the All Blacks have something special, a Bledisloe cup clash is taken very seriously by both teams. The amount of planning and scheming that goes into the game is amazing as are the mind games and the hype. We even saw this aspect when the Lions toured Aussie, Gatland knowing very well that former coach Robbie Deans was not about to pick Cooper, let it be known that in his opinion Quade Cooper was the best in Aussie and that it was a shame that he was being sidelined. This definitely has an impact on the rest of the players, more so on James O’Connor the player who actually took the place of Cooper. Thus the role of the sports psychologists is never an easy one. This then brings us to the point of the makeup of the coaching staff. Long gone are the days of a single coach. We then, had a time when it was a forwards coach and a three quarters coach and each of the units were used to practicing in isolation and then getting together at the fag end of the training session. This had limited success, as is in the corporate world; the rift between the front line staff and the support function staff was evident. The three quarters were looked upon as a hallowed bunch that would only run with the ball and refuse or shy away from being involved in a ruck or even in a maul situation. The game has obviously changed and now the coaching staff members are attack and defence, so that the entire team practiced moves and strategies as a single unit. With that we saw a definite shift in the style of play. The three quarters have got more physical and are now seen and expected to be a part of a ruck whilst the forwards are now a lot more mobile across the park and can on most occasions deliver short sharp bursts of speed across the park. In the domestic front, we see this form of coaching at a national level and maybe at times at a club level. I believe that if we are to improve as a quality fifteen a side team we need to start at the schoolboy level, so that such trading methods become engrained in the system and as some would say be a part of the DNA. The new scrum laws will be in force for these games and there is divided opinion already on its effectiveness. The referees too would need to get themselves familiar as there are a lot of aspects involved in a scrum; as simple as it may seem to the untrained eye. Even under the current laws there is divided opinion on the interpretation of what constitutes an illegal scrum, what is permitted as a legal wheeling of the scrum, as well the role of both prop forwards. It is believed that the Wallabies will benefit the most from the new laws although I believe that the fate of the scrum and the resets lies in the hands of the referee. Thus we will now hear the call, crouch, bind and set. With Dan Carter ruled out due to injury Cruden gets a nod and it will be interesting given his strong performance in the Super Rugby Finals. Quade Cooper vs. Cruden is a battle to relish for the rugby purist. With the kick-off slated for late afternoon, I am sure a load of rugby enthusiasts will be glued to their TV sets. (The writer can be reached via