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.

Target the No.10: Cipriani may be chink in Rebels' defence

Date

Matt Burke

Potent in attack ... Danny Cipriani.

Potent in attack ... Danny Cipriani. Photo: Getty Images

Before most games, a team is usually able to do some kind of analysis of the opposition and assess its strengths and weaknesses so coaches and players can form a strategy.

This week the Waratahs go in blind, or at least a little hazy, against the Rebels as they had the bye last week and their trial form was nothing to write home about. That is no excuse for the Tahs to get it wrong.

The Waratahs learnt an invaluable lesson last weekend about closing down a game. Coach Michael Foley was philosophical about the loss but, really, the game review should take no more than 30 seconds - its focus, the last 30 seconds. They should be viewed as a learning experience, and not draw harsh criticism.

What the Waratahs do know about the Rebels so far is that they have retained most of the forward pack of last year. They have a strong front row to choose from with Rodney Blake, Nic Henderson, Adam Freier and Laurie Weeks all big threats. They have height in the second row and an aggressive back row of Gareth Delve and Jarrod Saffy. They have recruited well in the off-season in James O'Connor and one of the Waratahs' own, Kurtley Beale. And perhaps most significantly, they have a defensive coach, John Muggleton, who gets results.

Last season the Rebels won three games. Many of the losses were high-scoring affairs, but the common denominator was the high points conceded. Muggleton will hope to ease the pain in that area.

In spending big on O'Connor and Beale, the Rebels would hope to up the ante in the try-scoring stakes. As it turns out, the Rebels, like the Waratahs, go into this game with some non-starters. Stirling Mortlock and Beale will watch from the sideline as O'Connor tries to work some magic as inside-centre. The problem is there will be a sense of deja vu for the recruit - different jumper but same responsibility of having to do something special every time he gets the ball. He might get a little help from No.10 Danny Cipriani by means of ball delivery, allowing him to play a little wider, but the responsibility will rest on O'Connor's shoulders.

What the Waratahs need to reflect on perhaps is their second game against the Rebels last year. It was tight until half-time and then they ran away with the game. This week will be no different. The intensity at the tackle is going to be huge.

Yet you still have to question the defensive capabilities of the Rebels even though they have had five months of getting their systems sorted. The Chiefs, in an earlier trial, put six tries on them. While it might be foolish to read too much into a trial, I would prefer to have scored the six than let them in. So perhaps there are still some mixed signals when it comes to this team's defence.

If I was the Waratahs coach I would be asking my runners to make a beeline at the No.10, just to make the experience as uncomfortable as possible. Try to isolate Cipriani as much as possible, creating extra work to nullify the other parts of his game.

I would employ an almost no-kick policy (has your jaw dropped?) as Mark Gerrard is a competent No.15 who is rarely caught out of position. If you do kick, kick shorter so a great amount of courage is needed to come in and gather possession.

This game will not be one for the razzle-dazzle but about the basics. I spoke with Bob Dwyer last week about not having to play flashy. Basics will prevail every time. Hands up for an early receipt of the ball. Draw and pass, commit the opposition, get a second touch and make your tackles. Any coach will pat you on the back if that's all you have done in a game.

2 comments so far

  • Rebels to win by 50

    Commenter
    JimmyOC
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    March 02, 2012, 12:26PM
    • LOL @ JimmyOC...

      Commenter
      Captain Hindsight
      Date and time
      March 03, 2012, 12:21AM

      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.

      Related Coverage

      Rugby Internationals 2014

      Round 1
      Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
      FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
      NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
      AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
      RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
      ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
      USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
      CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
      FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
      NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
      AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
      Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
      RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
      CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
      ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
      USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
      FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
      JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
      AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
      NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
      RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
      USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
      RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
      BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
      USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
      ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
      ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
      WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
      FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
      IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
      SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
      ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
      ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
      WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
      FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
      Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
      IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
      ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
      SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
      IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
      WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
      ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
      FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
      ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
      WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
       
      Featured advertisers