WH AT Y O U S H O U L D B E T A L K I N G A B O U T T H I S MON T H

“Are sides right to gam­ble by kick­ing to the cor­ner?”

Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

AT THE time, Ja­pan were play­ing such free-flow­ing rugby that re­peated re­fusals to kick for goal against ill-dis­ci­plined Eng­land seemed in­signif­i­cant.

But de­spite two fine tries and go­ing to the cor­ner, Ja­pan only led by five points at the half­way point of their Twick­en­ham Test.

Eng­land went on to win 35-15, and scored from a driv­ing maul af­ter kick­ing to the cor­ner too.

The pre­vi­ous week Eng­land had rolled the dice against the All Blacks. The catch-and-drive failed in a one-point de­feat.

It’s hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where you look. With Scot­land three points be­hind South Africa in the 59th minute, skip­per Greig Laid­law opted for the cor­ner rather than a shot at goal. They didn’t score and lost by six. And af­ter los­ing 9-6 to Wales, Aus­tralia cap­tain Michael Hooper said of skip­ping kicks: “If I had my time again I’d have gone for the shot, yes.”

In April, NZ Rugby’s chief sci­en­tist

Ken Quar­rie told The Short Ball pod­cast that if “kick­ers, on av­er­age, are get­ting 75% of their penalty kicks” then this of­fers “a pay-off of 2.16 points per kick”. He added that to of­fer the same value, packs would need to con­vert ev­ery third li­ne­out into a try. By that point of the sea­son in Su­per Rugby, teams opt­ing for a li­ne­out within 15m of the op­po­si­tion try-line had only scored 27% of the time.

No mat­ter how con­fi­dent in your maul or moves, the num­bers don’t en­cour­age you. Yet ac­cord­ing to rugby statis­ti­cian Russ Petty, by the end of the sea­son the Hur­ri­canes had still only scored an av­er­age of one penalty kick a game.

The Cru­saders only kicked one three-pointer in their first nine games!

It is ac­cepted that the rate of tries scored per game, glob­ally, is on the rise. The World Cup is around the cor­ner too.

Maybe it’s heart-over-head time. For­get prag­ma­tism – chase those tries! Hey, why not try the li­ne­out move an­a­lysed by Sean Hol­ley on page 90?

No guar­an­teesJa­pan couldn’t score from a li­ne­out at Twick­en­ham

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