Speedy li­ne­out was a big plus of Eng­land win

Gloucestershire Echo - - DEACS' WEEK -

IF France played any of the English Premier­ship sides and ar­rived with such a woe­fully in­ad­e­quate de­fence strat­egy, they would in all prob­a­bil­ity lose.

They faced an out­stand­ing Eng­land team and per­for­mance, but they asked no ques­tions of Eng­land at all.

It is a sad in­dict­ment of what the French were of­fer­ing when Eng­land re­alised that a sim­ple kick be­hind the first line of de­fence was go­ing to be met by – well, no­body…

Coaches of age-group teams will have some sem­blance of or­gan­i­sa­tion on who does what when the op­po­si­tion kick, but France seem not to have thought of that one.

Yet this is pretty much the run-up to Rugby World Cup and a once-proud force were clue­less. But this is not to take any­thing away from Eng­land.

They had team se­lec­tion spot on and very quickly worked out that the sim­plest of kick­ing strate­gies was go­ing to de­liver in spades.

Why waste en­ergy and po­ten­tial er­rors in han­dling when a whack into space would al­most cer­tainly lead to points?

Amaz­ingly, France seemed un­able to think on the hoof to ef­fect any change or al­ter­ation in what was a dis­as­ter loom­ing.

If you are sail­ing to­wards a big col­li­sion at sea and you spot the po­ten­tial dis­as­ter, it might be a good idea to change course.

Yet no­body ap­peared to be in charge for France.

Surely the writ­ing was on the wall and ob­vi­ous – that has al­ways been the time for an ‘in­jury’ and a quick re­think to get you to half time.

But not a lot hap­pened and Eng­land were never re­ally trou­bled. One pos­i­tive as­pect of the match, apart from plus points for Eng­land, was the li­ne­out.

It has be­come a sad area for the game and we have seen too many time-wast­ing dis­cus­sions be­fore just about ev­ery put-in. But Eng­land and France got on with the job in hand and it speeded the game up no end.

Let’s hope that this can be the blue­print for the game in the fu­ture.

It seems that play­ers on the putting-in team need re­as­sur­ance with a com­mit­tee meet­ing at each and ev­ery line.

But all they are do­ing is mak­ing it eas­ier for the de­fence to have more time to get or­gan­ised then dis­rupt pro­ceed­ings.

The main man has to be the 10. He has to take con­trol with a sig­nal, prob­a­bly to the nine, to say what he wants.

There are then a lim­ited va­ri­ety of op­tions avail­able and the sig­nal for the choice can be given on the way in to the li­ne­out.

The throw can co­in­cide with ar­rival and the de­fend­ers will have lit­tle time to re­act and dis­rupt. Or is that too sim­ple?

The ref­eree has to be part of such a strat­egy and the game should be over­joyed to see teams get­ting on with the li­ne­out.

So the ref must be an in­te­gral part of let­ting it hap­pen as long as it is le­git­i­mate.

Too of­ten we hear the poor old ref­eree al­most plead­ing with the play­ers to cur­tail dis­cus­sions and get to the next part of the game.

Yet all that is needed is for there to be pos­i­tive en­cour­age­ment for the team putting the ball in to get there and act im­me­di­ately.

It will need prac­tice, of course, and the hooker will need to be con­fi­dent in the se­quences be­ing per­formed on cue.

But it could add an ex­tra in­gre­di­ent to the dy­nam­ics of rugby as the cur­rent trend is to take for­ever and a day for each li­ne­out.

As the game be­comes more ath­letic and faster with more ball-in-play time, we al­low a set-piece to bite into the clock and the sup­port­ers are be­ing short-changed.

Ex­eter are next up and it will be good to taste Premier­ship rugby again.

The visi­tors are easy to beat on pa­per, but you have to have the grunt to take their for­wards on and keep them away from driv­ing-maul range.

So sim­ple, re­ally, but ev­ery team in the league knows that much al­ready yet few man­age to pro­duce and turn the­ory into the ac­tu­al­ity.

Glouces­ter’s pack can man­age this when at their best so it should be an ab­sorb­ing con­test where home ad­van­tage may just be the dif­fer­ence.

But if form is any­thing to go by, it will be no place for the faint-hearted.

Jonny May touches down for his hat-trick try against France

»For­mer Glouces­ter and Eng­land A coach Keith Richard­son

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