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Early results no easy feat

Getting results at the front end of the season is always a complicated process. That we’re enjoying our best start to a Super Rugby campaign since 1999 by winning our opening two games proves just how difficult winning is from the get-go.

Much was written and said around the mindset of the Reds coming into the season and while you can always argue about the method, the reality is we’ve recorded two derby wins – one of which was a nine year drought-breaking win on the road against the Waratahs in Sydney. 

We have every right to be happy right now, especially with our success coming with seven players injured on the sideline.

Securing little pieces of history along the way is important as when you break new barriers or reach new performance milestones. It means there’s improvement within the squad.

Critical in getting the start of the season right is correctly predicting game trends.  I’ve focused on this before but you don’t want to be chasing the competition and doing unnecessary remedial training on areas you can avoid should you pick the trend correctly.

Coaches and spectators have the ability to listen to referees during a match with Sports Ear and this is an important piece to see how a game is progressing, so you can accurately coach player behaviour.

It’s interesting to note the changes from 2011 to 2012 when taking a quick look at the stats.

Last year’s penalty total of 146 penalties through round one games has increased to 162 this year, while the number of penalties against the attacking team has increased from 19 to 27 per cent.

This figure is critical as it illustrates whether teams are going to have a positive mindset around running the ball or if they are going to play field position.

By increasing field position, teams end up in front of the posts where they can place pressure on the opposition with the risk of a penalty goal always looming.

Sure enough the round one number of shots at goal across the competition increased from 38 to 49 per cent of total points scoring.  The number of successful shots also went from 18 to 59 – thanks Mike Harris – and therefore the next action is a kick-off at halfway.

Less actual rugby is played as a result and until the trends show that attacking teams can confidently apply their structures, the best strategy might be to make sure the opposition pays for their sins by accumulating points.

When thinking through the impact of a field position approach there are also many subtle flow-on effects. To be successful with this strategy you need to have your defence working well. 

By kicking you are either increasing the number of set-piece opportunities (lineouts) or are inviting your opponent to play. The option you choose must play away from your opponent’s strength.

In any event you need to have your defensive patterns sorted with three key elements - set piece, kick chase and turnovers - as all three are critical to success. Luckily for the Reds, the good work done by defence coach Matt Taylor has seen us start very well in this regard.

While everyone is worried about the number of tries being scored, it’s the tries you concede that are most crucial. We have let in more than we have scored but we have played the game in front of the posts and subsequently been rewarded with more penalty opportunities than try opportunities which is a result of attack being stifled by uncertainty.

The good news is that by round four the attacking part of the game begins to become more prominent with combinations in teams improving while there is also more clarity in the refereeing approach.

Already we saw 20 less penalties blown last week in comparison to round one. From a Reds perspective,e we want to play an attacking game and it’s how we practice each week.

I’ll continue to watch the trends like a hawk and we are always probing to make sure we can shift to trends while being realistic and understanding that we don’t want to become the victims of how the game is being played at any given point.

Right at this point in time Mike Harris has proved to be very important. Every successful team has a high-quality goal kicker but the good thing about rugby is that teams have a reliance on a number of individuals to score points and win the game.

Managing these players and accurately predicting trends of the game is the difference between winning and losing and at the moment, we’ll continue to ride the wave of what is a record-setting start to our year.

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs HUR 0 17:35Trafalgar Park
BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs REB 0 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35Rugby Park
FOR 0vs RED 0 19:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs CHT 0 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO 0vs WAR 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35McLean Park
FOR 0vs BRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 0vs BUL 0 15:30AAMI
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
CHT 0vs WAR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs LIO 0 01:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
REB 0vs FOR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 0vs CRU 0 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF 0vs HUR 0 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs CHT 0 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA 0vs STO 0 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 13 12 1 0 143 57
Waratahs 13 9 4 0 50 41
Stormers 13 9 4 0 42 38
Chiefs 13 9 4 0 87 44
Brumbies 13 7 6 0 102 38
Lions 14 8 6 0 -27 36
Highlanders 13 9 4 0 89 43
Bulls 13 7 6 0 29 35
View all
 
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