The Boshers Will Inherit The Earth

When Cornwallis surrended to George Washington at Yorktown, the band played “The World Turned Upside Down” – that’s a little how we feel here after the first two weeks of rugger on “these islands”, as John Hume might say.

In the Premiership, it’s a veritable try fest of exciting and invisive rugby – Quins have scored 11 tries in two games, one of them an absolute cracker against Wasps. Leicester have 10 tries, and there have been 8 try bonus points and 64 tries scored in 12 games – an average of over 5 per game. Even Ooooooooooooooooohh Manu Tuilagi is getting in on of end to end moves with multiple offloads and incisive lines of running.

Meanwhile in the Pro12, two of the most effective players for the Irish provinces have been Nick Williams and James Downey – two men not exactly known for their cultured approach to the game. At the RDS on Saturday, when Palla saw the team-sheets, he turned to Mrs Palla and said the Dragons 12 hadn’t been picked for his soft hands. Yet Andy Tuilagi, who might only be the 4th best player in his family, was highly effective and one of the Dragons main attacking options.  He even threw in a sidestep at one stage (and before you ask, not one of the Samoan variety).

On the stats front, the Pro12 has seen just 45 tries, an average of just under 4 – respectable, but skewed by the 3 teams with try bonus points under their belt: Scarlets, Dragons and Leinster. The other 9 teams have just 21 tries between them. Only one word we can think of for that – Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhh!

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5 Comments

  1. Len

     /  September 12, 2012

    Guys I think you maybe worrying a bit too soon. Nearly all the premiership games bar four have been quite tight (5-10 points of a difference). Of the four matches two involved London Welsh getting a proper welcome from the big guns (Quinns and Tigers). This has skewed the figures slightly for the top two and seems to prove that LW are not up to playing with the big boys and could be making a swift return whence they came. The number of tries could point to a move by the premiership to a score more tries style of play a la top 14/super 15. In contrast in the Pro 12 there does seem to still be proper focus on stopping the opposition from scoring and while this may not provide a very flashy brand of rugby in the long run I think its a better brand for player development.

    In relation to Andy Tuilagi’s performance while impressive was aided by a poor defensive performance by his opposition. Noel Reid, who started the match very well, began to adopt an almost completely upright body position going into tackles. I assume that he was trying to choke tackle. Considering the variance in size between himself and AT this seems to have been the wrong decision and I can only hope that he is taken to one side and told to just drop the player and let his support worry about the off load in future.

    • mxyzptlk

       /  September 12, 2012

      Defense — I was wondering the same thing. One of the points coming out of the British press was that the defensive coaches would be putting in some extra homework. I haven’t seen enough of this season’s Pro 12 matches yet to be sure, but could it be the case that better defense is being played in the Celtic League than in the Premiership? Will we just have to wait for the Heineken Cup to find out?

    • contraflow

       /  September 13, 2012

      “The number of tries could point to a move by the premiership to a score more tries style of play a la top 14”.

      The Top 14 is more about arm wrestling than scoring tries. Watch some of the games on Setanta or ESPN if you don’t believe me. There seems to be a fantasy in Ireland that French rugby is running rugby with tries aplenty. Most of the matches I see on TV are forward dominated kick pong tackle fests. Backs are used to chase kicks, tackle and bosh similar to what a Garryowen Shannon Munster Cup Final circa 1980 would have been like.

  2. Ross

     /  September 12, 2012

    Looking at last years league tables in the Premiership there was a total of 489 tries scored of which Leicester scored a massive 70. In the Pro 12 a few less tries were scored with 469 the most coming from Ulster with 53 touchdowns over the 22 match season. So this would maybe suggest that the Aviva is not a massive bosh and kick fest as once was thought.

    Though looking at the number of Try Bonus points awarded the Pro 12 teams managed more with 36 compared to 33 in the Aviva which could suggest that there may have been a few more one sided matches were teams were scoring maybe 5+ tries in a game and the Pro 12 was much tighter with teams only just making to four tries in the last few moments of the game (I know this was in Ulster’s case near the tail end of the season.)

    Looking at this years slow start to the Pro 12 in comparison to the Aviva could be another slight negative problem of the Irish player management program as missing the cream of Irish talent will have a negative effect on the attacking capacity of the top three provinces, not just missing top Irish try scorer in Simon Zebo 8 tries last season but also creative players such as Paddy Wallace and BOD along with top forwards who are capable of securing quick ruck ball and earning dynamic forward yardage Cian Healy and the Fez spring to mind. I’m not so sure the Aviva could cope with the loss of top class players from 3 of it’s top clubs I have a feeling once back to a full compliment the increase of overall talent across the park will see the Pro 12 back in try ways. On a side note I highly doubt Andy Tuilagi will enjoy such a miss match in size or experience for the rest of the season.

    • Amiga500

       /  September 12, 2012

      OOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Simon Zebo

      Strikes fear into the hearts of flankers and props alike with his forward scattering direct to the line style.

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