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The Richardson Report: Keith Richardson's Kingsholm view

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

Comments (1)

It has been argued that defence wins games.

It does not and never will, because you have to score to get the victory.

The perfect defence will probably get a team into a position from which they can win, but it does not always follow that script.

Unfortunately for Gloucester against Wasps, dreadful tackling and defence will usually condemn you to second place, and so it panned out.

All the spectacular running in the backs was like icing on the cake – it is not much good without the body of cake beneath.

That would not have worried many in the 38,000 Twickenham crowd because they were there for a spectacle and they will have come away thrilled and happy.

However, the true supporters are less easily transfixed and the Cherry and White contingent will have been muttering under their collective breath that failure to tackle suggests a malaise, even if it is just on the day.

The battle now is to grind out the success of seventh place in the Premiership so that a top European spot might be achieved with a play-off against the seventh French side.

With another display of non-tackling even seventh will be a distant dream and even Worcester at the end will be a massive ask as

they will be playing with their

eyeballs out against Gloucester – whether they have been demoted or not.

There was an interesting ploy from Wasps that looked accidental to start, but increasingly looked like a planned tactic.

Whenever a tussle for the ball on the ground occurred and Wasps were unbalanced or short of men, they put in Joe Simpson, the scrum-half.

He would balance the ruck or plug a gap, presumably working on the thesis that it is better to win the ball without the scrum-half to receive it than to have him in position behind the ball then lose that possession. Rugby is a game for original thinking and this little play suggested some real thought.

Obviously it is better to have

your nine waiting for the ball, but Wasps showed that most forwards are capable of getting the next move right, be it with a pass or a trundle into more contact to restart the process.

One question asked by many players is, ‘When should I pick up and go at the tackle ball?’ That is similar to ‘how long is a piece of string?’ but there can be guidelines.

If there is the possibility of making a couple of paces with the ball, the pick and go is probably the right decision, unless the backs are screaming for the ball.

This was highlighted with a stunning try from Huia Edmonds, who spotted that there was no defensive depth to what should have been a ruck, so he took the ball and headed straight for the space in front of him.

It looked simple and straightforward but many players do not scan the situation effectively and may be afraid to take on the big decision.

Playing safe leads to rugby by numbers, so there can be nothing but praise for this quick action.

The seventh spot may just be what the doctor ordered. Without it the season could meander and drift into oblivion. The seventh place is not what was expected or hoped for, but it would be a massive bonus if it could be won when so much has gone wrong.

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  • CamCampbell89  |  April 30 2014, 8:36AM

    This is all well and good but, when it comes to Gloucester Rugby, what the club should really be doing is to ensure that Rupҽrt Hardҽn, our first choice and most talented tight head prop, starts as many games for Gloucester as is possible.

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