JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Dealing with disrupted preparations a tough balancing act

Returning to battle ... the Super 15 season resumes this weekend.

Returning to battle ... the Super 15 season resumes this weekend. Photo: Getty Images

The Super Rugby competition returns after its first mid-season hibernation and its impact remains to be seen.

It’s interesting to note the different approaches teams have taken: some do nothing in terms of games, others compete in internal trials and the rest feature in full games in an effort to replicate the intensity of the competition proper.

Who is right? We will probably never know, but it’s a period we have put a lot of time and thought into.

For the Reds, we played an exhibition match against the Hurricanes, a match that will be remembered more for the season-ending injury to their halfback TJ Perenara. While this is an unfortunate consequence, I think Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett and I were looking for the same outcome from the match – the replication of Super Rugby-level intensity.

The scoreline was not flattering for the Reds but every knock, tackle and bump was important to keep the minds of players tuned into that level of rugby because it will be instantly required this weekend.

So what exactly are the challenges for the teams playing this week? 

For me, it’s primarily about assimilation and making sure everyone is on the same page when they run out in Melbourne tomorrow night.  The reality is we only have a limited amount of time to prepare and the short preparation, along with travel, leaves us with only two proper sessions together and also a short captain’s run.

We can’t do much about this as our Wallabies only returned on Sunday and the Australian under-20s from South Africa that night.   

With this in mind, assimilation is the most important thing we have control over.

What does this involve?  Primarily, finding a balance between the fatigue, frustration, elation and stress levels of the playing group. Every player returning has a different story.

We have Will Genia coming from a successful man-of-the-series effort against Wales to a James Slipper who has been in Wallabies camp for a month without a game. We also have Liam Gill, who played the most minutes in the Australian under-20s playing halfway around the world. Further to this, Quade Cooper was at Ballymore in rehabilitation for the past five weeks. It’s a mixed bag, so as a coach, the worst thing you can do is add to their stress levels.

Under these circumstances, tailor-made training preparations are important for individuals.

That will ensure players are prepared physically, but you can also minimise their mental stress by ensuring the cerebral part of our team preparation is done in advance. We have worked hard on the game plan with the players who were here in previous weeks and it now requires the players coming back to accept and trust its credibility.

For this to occur, you must pitch the game plan in pragmatic terms and understand what the players will be able to digest and replicate under pressure in such a short space of time.

If you transfer this across the park, there is a lot of room for error and stress.  As we prepare this week, it is important we get the level of knowledge right, without overdoing it.

Generally, good players are good for a reason so a simple framework is all that is needed to get them going again.

Once you have everyone up to speed on the knowledge component, we hit the training paddock. 

The greatest thing a coach can do is work out what needs to be left out of a training session. 

This is particularly difficult as you automatically feel that if you don’t run through certain elements, then it won’t happen in a game.

This is generally true and therefore you need to be brutally pragmatic and seize upon the areas you feel will have the biggest influence on the game. 

But importantly, there has to be fun. Nothing brings the camaraderie back faster than fun. 

If you have a good group of guys then the natural competitive juices begin to flow quickly and the banter among the squad returns.  With this, familiarity also returns and so does a high level of positivity.

When you are deciding what needs to be left out, you don’t leave out the fun – the players love it.

Trust is also a key ingredient and when you are working out the dynamics of training and team selection, you need to have faith that the players haven’t forgotten how to play. 

If you have a strong ‘base’ game then this is your crutch. It gets you through the tough times in matches and during weeks where there is a lot of uncertainty. 

If you get this bit sorted and the players are ready to play, it comes down to one final element.  This is attitude.

Attitude in sport and the value of a seven-day preparation was on show in the recent All Blacks v Ireland Test series. 

For Ireland to lose by 40 points, be a minute away from victory seven days later, and then get toppled by 60 a week after that shows that if the top two inches aren’t right then the rest doesn’t matter.

Making sure your players have a positive head space is about the best thing you can coach at this point of the season – hopefully we have got ours right as we can’t afford a bad day at the office.

3 comments so far

  • It's good to read the thoughts of a coach who appears both caring of his charges and more importantly, articulate. I'm sure this helps with getting the required information to the players. Robbie, take note!

    Commenter
    Cattledog
    Location
    Gold Coast
    Date and time
    June 28, 2012, 11:56AM
    • Time to unleash the Red beast Link. Get to the finals and the other teams will be freaking. Go Reds you good things !

      Commenter
      johnny-boy
      Date and time
      June 28, 2012, 1:40PM
      • It was a great north v south test series but no excuses for tiredness even after 3 Tests in a row.

        Lets face it, the Allblacks played well last week.

        Commenter
        mikes world
        Date and time
        June 29, 2012, 12:25AM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Super Rugby 2015

        Round 1
        Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
        BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
        Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
        LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
        BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
        BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
        WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
        REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
        HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
        RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
        STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
        SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
        HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
        FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
        Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
        CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
        REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
        Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
        LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
        BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
        Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
        RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
        STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
        FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
        HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
        RED vs BRU 29 Stats
        Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
        CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
        REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
        SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
        WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
        RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
        HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
        WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
        BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
        REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
        BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
        LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
        WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
        FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
        BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
        HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
        BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
        FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Report Stats
        CHT 17 vs RED 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        CHF 35 vs FOR 27 Report Stats
        BRU 31 vs HIG 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 29 vs BLU 15 Report Stats
        WAR 18 vs REB 16 Report Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        LIO 34 vs CHT 29 Report Stats
        STO 15 vs BUL 13 Report Stats
        RED 19 vs HUR 35 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        HIG 48 vs SHA 15 Report Stats
        BRU 10 vs WAR 13 Report Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 41 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
        HUR 29 vs CRU 23 Report Stats
        REB 16 vs CHF 15 Report Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHT 25 vs STO 17 Report Stats
        BUL 35 vs LIO 33 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRU 58 vs RED 17 Report Stats
        REB 42 vs BLU 22 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        HUR 32 vs SHA 24 Report Stats
        FOR 18 vs WAR 11 Report Stats
        LIO 28 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        STO 25 vs BRU 24 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 23 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        RED 46 vs REB 29 Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        HUR 22 vs CHF 18 Report Stats
        WAR 33 vs SHA 18 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        LIO 20 vs BRU 30 Stats
        CHT 24 vs HIG 45 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHF 34 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
        RED 14 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 5 vs HUR 29 Report Stats
        WAR 32 vs CRU 22 Report Stats
        FOR 3 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHT 17 vs LIO 40 Report Stats
        STO 31 vs REB 15 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRU 35 vs HUR 18 Report Stats
        BRU 22 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        SHA 25 vs REB 21 Report Stats
        HIG 36 vs CHF 9 Report Stats
        FOR 10 vs RED 32 Report Stats
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        STO 42 vs CHT 12 Report Stats
        LIO 27 vs WAR 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        HUR vs HIG 17:35McLean Park
        FOR vs BRU 21:00nib Stadium
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        REB vs BUL 15:30AAMI
        BLU vs CRU 17:35EP
        RED vs CHF 19:40SS
        CHT vs WAR 23:00FSS
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        STO vs LIO 01:05DHL Newlands
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        BLU vs HIG 17:35EP
        REB vs FOR 19:40AAMI
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        BRU vs CRU 15:30GIO Stadium
        CHF vs HUR 17:35Yarrow Stadium
        WAR vs RED 19:40AS
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        BUL vs CHT 01:05Loftus Versfeld
        SHA vs STO 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        7 vs 7 09:00
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        7 vs 7 09:00
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        7 vs 7 09:00
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        7 vs 7 09:00
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        7 vs 7 09:00
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D +/- Pts
        Hurricanes 14 12 2 0 126 57
        Stormers 14 10 4 0 72 43
        Waratahs 14 9 5 0 45 42
        Highlanders 14 10 4 0 116 48
        Brumbies 14 8 6 0 108 42
        Lions 15 9 6 0 -22 40
        Chiefs 14 9 5 0 60 44
        Bulls 14 7 7 0 23 36
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers