The Ruckers Forum

Forum » Rugby » General Stuff » What is required from Centers
Login to reply
 
 
 
3429 Topic: What is required from Centers
clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
What is required from Centers
January 17, 2013, 23:06:54

I have a serious prolem insofar as the role of centers in the game of rugby is concerned.   I have consistently watched rugby of all international teams - as well as teams playing on lower levels and gained the impression that inter alia -

*   Centers should endeavour to make line breaks and be reasonably successful in doing that in games - realising that it would be rare - but possible;

*   Centers should endeavour to draw in defenders and create space for outside players;

*   Centers shoiuld effectively off-load balls in tackle situations;

*   Centers should from time to time be involved inscoring tries or being involved in attackig backline play that leads to scoring of tries.

Th above can onviously not happen in any specific game - but should over a period of times and games show some elements on the part of successful players.

Whenever those issues are evaluated to determine whether centers have been successful performers - Saffex comes up and says because of tight present days defence - plays like mentioned above does not happen in the modern era of rugby and is not even possible at present.   

However, the question remains - why are elements of the above noticeable in centers of other countries - but absent in the case of SA centers?  When I queried that aspect of our center performances and point out the absence of it in players like De Villiers, Francois Steyn, Taute and De Jongh - I get a response that that type of play is not expected from a center anymore and it should not be taken into account at all and that I am completely ignorant about modern center play.

The main question is - what is the role of centers in attackig backline play at present and how do they contribute to that aspect of the game?     I really would like an answer to this question as it would enable me to do my personal assessment of what is really expected from a modern-day center and whether our centers meet the requirements and how successful are they in those.      


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 2949
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 01:51:08

I think center play is the area where South Africa have fallen behind other teams, and is why the All Blacks beat us more often than not.

The boks are 2nd in the world but we have been 2nd and 3rd for many years and the All Blacks continue to hoard the top spot. Our wings tries are mostly oppertunist tries and are just not brought into the game enough.

-

I would also like to see an objective criteria that defines succesful center play.

Perhaps looking at the center greats in the world over the last few years we can see a methodology and skill set which can be used to judge and assess performance.

--For outside center over the last few years we have had Brian oDriscoll, Jacque Fourie, Conrad Smith and which others? (Surely not Dejong and Taute)

.

-For inside centers their is Sunny Bill Williams, Tim Horan, Matt Giteau, Jean Devilliers(when he was at his best).

.

For me, Jean Devilliers and Jacque Fourie were more excellant rugby players, than perhaps specialist centers. Jean was probably a better runner than all above when at his best, but the passing and play making to create space was well below the likes of SBW, Horan etc.

I would say the same of Jacque Fourie. Both Jean and Jacque have played on the wing and fullback respectively. I rate them both when at their best as excellant allround rugby players than specialist centres.

 


Boklogic

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1650
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 02:10:32

Awesome. A topic SAFFEX knows absolutely nothing about but will no doubt have the biggest mouth and tell you all you are wrong and he knows the most about the game out of every person in the world.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 02:18:59

Boklog I get the impression I pull your chain a little, you seem to get off on yapping at my heels.

I'll provide some insightful takes on the requirements of a modern centre at some point soon, but bed is calling right now - you should take some notes, might help with eventually playing for a real rugby side instead of the village idiots you feel well at home with right now.You did say you were a stringbean centre did you not?


Boklogic

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1650
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 02:54:28

You see Saff, unlike you, I dont really get bothered by what you think of my appearance, especially seeing as you have not seen me. Yeah I may be a string bean centre (played more at 15 though) in your eyes but that beats a short, fat nobody anyday of the week.

 

Fitting that you comment of the team. SUppose you are in touch with NZL rugby too? In your prime, you would not have got a shoe in for a premier club team here. I cant tell that from the meer sight of you. You are an insignificant little man that feels 10ft tall and bullet proof on the internet because you were the last picked little critter in the play ground when teams were selected for a social run around.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 04:23:23

Nobody has as yet commented on the issue of what is required from a center nowadays and especially the four points that I in the past used to assess the successful  center play and which is allegedly not to be applicable in respect of centers in the modern era.

I agree skills of centers is a problem and need further and more comprehensive development - as is the case with other backline players as well - but what skills have to be developed further,   But even in such development must the above four issues be dealt with in such an aspect - added to ball sense (reading of games - which basiclly are instinctive play)  and passing of balls to bring the wings into play?

Much is being made by the carrying of balls in traffic - is that in fact the carrying of the balls before crashballing and how do you judge th successfulness of such play?   Is it meters gained and defenders beaten or what should be the norm?   Is crashballing also judged on the issue of quick recovery of the ball in maul situations - whether penalties are conceded or not and whether such play open the way for further advances in backline play or team play?  

Still search for answers as to the above questions and would like comments on same.   However, where I do agree on comments made thus fr is that we have fallen behind in respect of center play in modern rugby and consequently in attacking backline play.   The question is how do we overcome that problem and advance in better utilization of the full team as an attacking unit. 


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 2949
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 04:44:27

 

Mike, I have ranked what I see as importance of a skill set for centres. It does vary slightly with an inside and outside centre. Naturally the outside center needs a bit more pace, but the more skills of either center the better.

 

1. Running different lines to draw defenders and create space. (Not just the run straight like a forward crashball, horse blinkers) 

2. Passing ability. (long and short passes, skip passes, hanging passes, timed passes to draw a defender to create gaps etc)

3. Offloading ability-(in the tackle)

4. Abilty to break the 1st line of defence(when it is the best option)

5. (try assists)-the 4 above, and also sometimes scoring tries as from broken play, or multi-phase. (Supporting runner).

6. Crash Ball, amout of metres gained. Possesion retained and quick recycles by not being isolated by taking the best option

7. Kicks lick chips, grubbers to vary play

-

A whole change of mentality is needed. A shift away from individualism to more of the old Brumbies style of rugby, looking over the shoulder more often to see where the supporting players are. (instead of the predictable blinkers crash ball). Sometimes it seems over looseforwards have more skills than our centres, as they can at least offload in the tackle to a supporting player instead of just going to ground after running straight into traffic,

 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 05:05:14

Sharkbok

I think that I am in full agreement with what you wrote down as requirements for good center plays.   Judged on those issues I have serious reservations as to whether any of our present centers meetthe set of requirements - De Vlliers coming nearest - but still not a top class performer.   However, I am waiting to see how Saffex sees the roll of centers and after compaing his requirements as well - would then come to a real assessment of center performances of the present Springboks.


Boklogic

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1650
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 05:34:56

Centres must be broken down further into 12 and 13. Two very different jobs.

Gone are the days where your biggest back played 12 to rumble it up. Jamie Roberts is in that mould and he has been worked out in 1 season and Wales are ineffective once again.

 

A 12 needs to be less of an organiser than 13 but needs to have a good turn of pace and step. He needs to have a strong offloading game with enough strength to move forward in the tackle and be a second link between forwards and backs. A solid distribution game is vital in this position in the modern game.

13 is more of an organiser. He can usually see the holes in the defence and when the ball needs to go wide or when it needs to stay tight. He will call the wing up or tell him to drop back. Great running lines is a must and a huge bonus is strength. Tackling from 13 is usually very different to 12 as guys are looking to go around you instead of penetrate as a 12 will be more used to unless you playing Aus. They run flash moves from all over the paddock. Your 13 will usually call the drift defence as most the strike runners will attack around him as there is usually more space further out.

 

Both centres ultimately compliment each other as JDV and Fourie have done for years. Taute can not be blamed for his under par performances as he should never have been given that responsibilty. He is a part time centre at best currently. He needs to specialise there and get the trust of the Boks before being shifted in there. Jaques Fourie spent a lot of time at 15 for the boks before he earned credibility and built a solid game. Jordaan is more of a natural centre and has all the hallmarks of a top quality test 13.

That is proof as to just how good JDV was this year. He ran the show with two inexperienced bok flyhalves and 13's this year. He was a rock in our midfield and credit should be given.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 05:49:58

boklogic

Thanks for a very good input.   Taking your comments and those of Sharkbok into account - we are getting very near to a reliable model to evaluate center play.   Am waiting for the comments of Saffex as well.

I am sure that some players have the ability to play at either 12 or 13 - but those are indeed rare cases.   I rate Jordaan highly as a 13 - but in the final against the Chiefs he performed very well at 12 opposite SBW and was to my mind one of the best Sharks  players that day.   He has massive ball sense and can read games very well.   Another player that shows signs of interchangeability is De Allende - but I view him in the main as a future 12.

Jordaan is a speed merchant - De Allende just slightly less so in that Department.   We will hear a lot more of De Allende this year I am sure. 


Boklogic

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1650
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 07:01:51

 Thats exactly what I wanted to read from you now Mike because this is proof that Test rugby is far different from any other. O' Driscoll..Fantastic test centre, wouldn't be much more than ordinary in super rugby I feel. Test rugby is about specialists. No room for error stuff as the stakes are much higher and pressure immense. Jordaan, as you say, did play extremely well at 12 but can he do that consistently on the international stage. I wouldn't think so. He is best suited to 13 and might be exposed terribly at 12.

Taute and JJ(the latter not as much as Taute) can perform well at super rugby in the centres where its helter skelter million miles an hour stuff but at test level, they just have not got it AT THE MOMENT.

Super rugby is a brilliant brand of rugby but its no secret that the best attacking teams seem to do the best and this is where the Stormers fell short. Cant rely on defence against the best teams on attack!


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 13:05:43

Saffex

Can you please provide your input as to the functions and performance by centers urgently - I would like to build a model around those to see how our centers measures up.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 18:37:45

Mike I have been busy but here goes

 

The role of the modern centre. Well for a start lets dispel the suggestion on here that SA'n centres are lagging behind their NZ counterparts. Centres the world over are struggling to make the visual impact they used to. The days of space and witnessing the silky running skills of an O'Driscoll or Gerber are few and far between. This has nothing to do with the skill set of the modern day centre and everything to do with the progression of the game defensively. Defensive patterns and structures are so well organised these days, that the reality of modern day test rugby is that space is at a premium, in particular from 1st phase play, whether the ball is sent out wide or taken in close. The premise that setting up various phases to create space is still a theoretical objective, but in reality defences are atune to this with less forwards committing to the rucks and mauls, thereby dispelling the notion of drawing defenders in, with the aim of creating space out wide.

 

Of the international centres playing, none stand out in the fashion that say a young O'Driscoll did. The Kiwi's have Nonu, Smith and SBW, Oz have Ashely-Cooper, Barnes, Faingaa, Harris, McCabe and Tapuai, France have Rougerie, Mermoz, David, Fritz and Fofana, the English have Barritt, Tuilagi and Joseph, the Welsh have Roberts, Davies and Williams and the Irish have O'Driscoll, D'Arcy and Earls. SBW stood out with his physicality and offload - for the rest, its much of a muchness. The Kiwi centres shine a little more thanks to the winning brand of rugby the team plays as a whole, but lets face it, Nonu at times struggled in 2012 with many calls for his head. Conrad Smith is an intelligent, instinctive player who like Fourie finds himself in the right place at the right time, but one would hardly describe him as a world beating centre.

 

Todays centres are not lacking in skills or talent, they are just faced with the uphill struggle of making eye catching impressions. Defences are tight and much of the ball they recieve from structured play is in traffic. There is no space to dance and beat your man through skill alone. Attacks are closed down in a flash. The perfect modern centre is a combination of size, power, skill and speed. A good centres initial instinct should always be to beat his man through skill, be it a step, swerve or eye for and pace through a gap, but reality dictates more often than not that he will have to commit to contact and offload with a view to continuing the attack or placing the ball to set up another phase. More often than not, the modern centre has to impose himself physically both in attack and defence.

 

With regards to the roles of the centres, let me start by saying that while attending a training session with former England coach, Brian Ashton, a season or two ago, many coaches were surprised to learn that he maintained that the most important back was not the flyhalf but in fact the inside centre. He is the most important decision maker in the backline because it is at this point in the line that options begin to appear and it his responsibilty to marshall the defensive line. The inside centre should be physical, instinctive, creative and have good distribution skills. Quick acceleration over a short distance is a must as is the eye for a gap. A good step or swerve is a must in all centres. A good boot to relieve the flyhalf of his out of hand kicking responsibilities is always a bonus in a 12 as is his ability to use the chip or grubber as an attacking weapon. One of the primary roles of the modern 12 is imposing himself physically given the infrequent opportunities to use the attacking skill sets just mentioned. He needs to take contact with a view to maintaining forward momentum by effecting the offload, ala SBW. If the offload is not possible then he should seek to set up 2nd phase ball with his supporters.

 

Instinctively, the inside centre needs to be able to sum up the situation in a flash and make the best decision possible in order to breach the defensive line. There are various means of trying to effect this breach:

 

1. Contact - lack of space, coupled with tight defences requires the centre to often take contact and set up second phase, or take contact and effect the offload. Despite the traffic, the player should always seek to deceive the opposition and not just run straight at the man. A shimmy, step or swerve can always win you vital seconds and a slight advantage. When taking contact, the player should seek to impose himself physically by driving forward and carrying the momentum forward while always retaining possession or offloading.

 

2. Decoy - the inside centre as part of a set move to set up an attack to deceive the defensive line, should be proficient at running as a dummy runner on a switch or miss move or effecting the pass himself to release the strike runner.

 

3. Distribution - the inside centre requires good hands and great distributions skills to effect pop passes, reverse passes, back passes and most importantly flat long passes to put outside backs into space. In effect the inside centre requires the same hand skills that you would expect of a flyhalf. Once the pass has been effected the player should always seek to support the ball carrier or loop to receive the ball again ie stay in the action.

 

4. Attack - a great inside centre is the creative sort whose first instinct is to attack, despite the reality of modern day test rugby and its lack of space. He should always be sniffing out that gap, using acceleration to breach the gap or create the gap through a step or swerve. A step and swerve off both feet is essential. Once breached the player should always sum up the situation immediately and offload to those in space or carry the attack himself. Great centres are always aware of the situation around them and act accordingly. Use of the boot to effect a chip or grubber as a method of attack and variation is a must.

 

5. Defence - the inside centre is responsible for organising the backlines defensive line, communication with his 10 and 13 being paramount. Much of the inside centres defensive duties with be head on. He again needs to impose himself physically driving the attacker backwards, pressurising him and thereby affording his support players to challenge for the ball.

 

The outside centre requires all the core skills of the inside centre - physicality, power, skill and good speed. The outside centre should be quicker than the inside centre. The outside centre should always seek to run off the creativity and flair of the 12. The outside centre should be a finisher in the mould of a wing, but with better ball skills.

 

A good outside centre is one who is astute at running into space to receive the ball off the 12. Instinct and timing play an important role here. The 13 should always look to attack the outside shoulder but be as comfortable attacking the inside. He should always be looking to create space for his wings. In defence he will have to effect more open field tackles, which require skill, timing and courage.

 

I could go on for ever

 

 

 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 18:55:32

Saffex

Thanks for a very comprehensive report.   There is a lot to it as to what you included as the function of centers and in essence thrre are 7 issues that stands out -

*   The ability to use grubber and strategic kicks to gain an advantage

*   The ability to off-load balls in tackle situations

*   Trying to achieve line breaks as a means to create space for other players

*   Drawing in defenders to create space for other players

*   Ball-handling skills - inclusive of affective passing of the ball

*   Speed and trying to run at angles especially in respect of outside centres so as to create space

*   Effective Ball-carrying in traffic leading to tackles and maul-situations with quick ball recovry and recycling.

In view of the tight defensive situation encountered at present tje last point is of particular importance and is applicable to virtually 75% of ll cases where centers carry balls.

Based on the above situation I have tried to devise a model to test whether our centers actually perform satisfactorily in acordance with the very tight situation they are faced with and I have basically dealt with the iddue based on performance of our centers as it actually happened in primarily the test arena and also at Super 15.

Im amy event thanks for your clarification - it really is very comprehensive and I hope I have deduced the most salient points correctly,


DbDraad

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 667
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 19:59:29

 Saf, you are describing the JdV of 2 seasons ago to a T. Fransie might also get there with the correct guidence.


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 2949
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 20:16:32

 Saffex you have listed about every skill in the book for a center, with the description of inside center far more comprehensive than outside center.

It is a very detailed list that perhaps could be summarized a little more and prioritized by ranking the skills by order, then allocating a percentage to each skill. 

For example - (distribution) passing= 30% of the requirement of an inside center. 

This would make it a more tangibale objective methodology to measure the centers performance. 

Points can be allocated based on a the skills display, relative to the percentage of the particular skill for the center role.

-"

The context you bring to the discussion is that the modern game has no space(or allmost none). 

In this regard it appears as though your methodology favours the top skill as 

1. Contact - "either a crash ball to ground or offload". 

Offload  could just as easily as another skill than contact- instead distribution(passing). You have listed distribution as your skill set 3. 

This is a bit of a grey area because offloading is a distribution skill, but it is also a contact skill because it requires a player who is strong on their feet to take contact and pass at the same time(like Sonny Bill).

-

For outside center, you have stated -The outside centre requires all the core skills of the inside centre -

  1. physicality,
  2. power,
  3. skill and
  4. good speed"

-

It seems that your view of center play is like many in South Africa.

Their is an emphasis to use physicality and power to dominate the advantage line.

I would argue this results mostly in a crash ball tactic. 
Disagree? What I would ask is how many offloads do you see from our centers?  (I have seen some from Frans, very little from JDV his whole career.) Most of our inside centres run straight and then go to ground which is a crash ball. The offload is allmost a non-existent skill set for our centres. Sunny Bill Williams is a great exponent of the offload, as is Brian oDriscoll who had experience at inside center, as well as outside centre offloads.

-

Why are most of our tries from forwards? 

Why do our wings tries mostly individualistic oppertunist tries?

-* An important point about the offload is that most backline tries are scored from offloads being the pass that is responsibale for creating the initial space, that makes the breach of the opponents defence possibale.

New Zealand teams typically have both their inside and outside center bery proficient in offloads. 

--

As recently as 2009, Jean Devilliers said after the 2nd British and Irish Lions that the bok line was cut at will by the Lions.

They had Jamie Robert dominating the advantage line, with oDriscoll running off him at angles and also offloading or passing before contact, after creating space for the outside backs.

Essentially their was many clean breaks through the bok line of defence, and Jean Devilliers was the first to admit this.

If both Jamie Roberts and Odriscoll never got injured in the game, chances are the bok line would have breached too many times and the Lions would have won. (This first test the boks were very dominant, and in the 3rd test it was the bok B-team).

Both Jamie Roberts and Odriscoll were in amazing form. 

oDriscoll is long since past his best, but he could still probably cut backlines with clean breaks, and offloads(distribution) in the tackle.

-

If our center play is up to the standard of the All Blacks, why are we losing?

It is not our wings, and it is not our forwards- so it has to be the inside backs.

-

The context you bring to the discussion is that the modern game has no space(or allmost none).

I agree that space is minimal, especially of first and even 2nd phase. However I think the lack of space is often down to our centres skills -

 

1. Running different lines to draw defenders and create space. (Not just the run straight like a forward crashball, horse blinkers) 

2. Passing/Distribution ability. (long and short passes, skip passes, hanging passes, timed passes to draw a defender to create gaps etc)

3. Offloading ability-(in the tackle) (A seperate point although it part of distribution- due to its importance. Most of backline tries are scored by offloads as the pass creating space. 

4. Abilty to break the 1st line of defence(when it is the best option)

5. (try assists)-the 4 above, and also sometimes scoring tries as from broken play, or multi-phase. (Supporting runner).

6. Crash Ball, amout of metres gained. Possesion retained and quick recycles by not being isolated by taking the best option

7. Kicks lick chips, grubbers to vary play

-

 

-

The bottom line, is that taking contact is just not good enough. Yes taking contact is important, but given the high level of these players it should be assumed that a player can take contact.

-

I rank crash ball as number 6 because it is just assumed that a center is strong and can take contact and go to ground placing the ball for support cleanouts.

-

It is a basic fundamental skill, that if a player cant do this then they should go player another sport. 

-

It taking contact was the number one skill, then it would be better to have a loose forward play inside center. The bok loose forwards are also good at offloading in the tackle- like Marcell Cotzee. 

-

 -If just taking accepting that their is no space at all, then it would be better to take the direct route and have a flank like Spies or even Alberts take the crash ball.

If you count the amout of offloads by the bok loose forwards and compare the offloads by our centres, it will show that offloads are allmost non-existant by South African Centers.

-

your summarized role of the center-

 

core skills of the inside centre -

  1. physicality,
  2. power,
  3. skill and
  4. good speed"

With this criteria to meet the demands of a center in the modern game(litte to no space), would it not be better to have Pierre Spies play at inside center.

He is physical, he has

  1. physicality,
  2. power,
  3. (Average Skill)
  4. Speed. Spies used to be a wing and his skills not great. 

-

Sometimes watching South African inside centers is like watching a loose foward. 

 Summary, 

A key skill of our centres that we agree upon is the ability to offload in the tackle. I believe this should be applicable to both inside and outside centre. Given that most backline tries are scored as the result of an offlload pass(or contact play)- it is of critical importance to a center. (perhaps 30% of a centres evaluation should be the ability to offload well in the tackle?)

-I see little evidence from South African centers in this regard.

 

 

 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 18, 2013, 23:32:55

Sharkbok

I think you are spot on as to the function determination and I looked at a number of tests in which Steyn and Taute played.   What I did notice from those two were -

*   the basic play of both Steyn and Taute is to run straight at the opponents and they ertr basically cashballing 90% of the time - they are similar in style of play and in attacking showed certionly dhowed very little speed.

*   basically their passing skills are not really effective especially insofar as timing of passes is concerned, as well as forward passes;

*  none of the centers off-load balls in tackle situations

*  there is really set displays without variations

Despite what Saffex say there are still opportunities for attacking backline play and several countries have used these opportunities.   However, the same cannot be said of SA centers.   They have been grossly ineffective and attacking back line play is from out perspective dead and buried.

When I looked at Super 15 the centers concerned performed slightly better - but not on the basis they should.   The one player I added to the mix is Jordaan and he showed that on Super 15 level - he is miles ahead of all the Springbok centers. There is a difference though - Jordaan is a slippery customer and speedier than any of the Springbok centers,   As a result he does make line breaks and he does off-load blls effectively in tackle situations;   His passing game is very good.   He does make contact with players but managed to gain more meters in such situations than any of the Springbok centers,   Why can a Super Series  player perform effective and comly largely with requirements and the Springbok centers fail to play a more varied games - if you look at Jordaan and the differsnce is that he has major ball sense and reads games better than the others do

I agree with you about our centers - they are bloody hopeless.   

 


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 00:11:24

Shark, I dont advocate the taking contact approach at all, that approach is dictated to by the reality of modern test match rugby.

 

The reality of modern day test rugby is that centres receive the ball in traffic at least 80% of the time. I have listed all the countries centres and none of them are making any sort of standout impressions, which is not a reflection on the players but more the circumstances they find themselves in.

 

Our problem is that we still judge modern day centres in line with what the likes of Gerber and co achieved in their day, where space was a reality. What we should be doing is re adjusting the expectations of the modern centre in accordance with reality of the day.

 

The only centre to really make an impression is SBW for the simple reason that he thrives in the contact situation. Much has been made of union taking on a league shape and hence the fact that physicality is playing a dominant role.

 

As for the reason our centres are making less of an impression than the AB's - the answer is simple, our gameplan calls for more kicking from our 9 & 10. I could also say Morne Steyn but wont for now!!

 

Mike's call that our centres are bloody hopeless smacks of naivety


moolaa

Status: Squad member
Posts: 542
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 00:15:04

 Very good summations here of the duties and responsibilities of centres.

Saffex is correct in that the modern day centres get very little room to move even from 2nd and 3rd phase play owing to the excellent defence patterns employed by the major nations.

Most of the successful raids by the ABs come from broken play or after they've been from side to side on the field multiple times whereupon a gap must inevitably open.

As you guys have been banging on for some time now, Meyer has so far refused to entertain this style of rugby and the multiple phase play of the Boks tends to centre around the forwards with little or no involvement from the backs outside of No.10.

It's little wonder then that the Bok backs show scant enterprise on the rare occasions they get to touch the ball.

It's time to grow some balls Meyer and have a crack this season!


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 00:29:32

Exactly moolaa, spot on - especially regarding the Boks tendency to have 9 & 10 kicking most of our possession away.


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 2949
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 00:58:17

The game plan by South African teams is different to All Black teams. It has been like this for some time. 

-This applies to SuperXV level and (Curry Cup vs ITM)

We do tend to play it more amongst the forwards and go straight up the pitch, where the AllBlacks like to move the ball from side to side until space opens. It has been like this since I started watching the boks in 1992. Additionally the All Black backs, not just centres are better at offloads in the tackle.

Sometimes our teams kick the ball because they are too scared to put the ball down the backline as it just results in a crash ball turnover or penalty. 

In 2012 Meyer has been very conservative, and having Morne Steyn at 10 was terribale. 

-

 

 

I agree that tries from 1st phase, 2nd phase are allmost impossibale. 

-Also that nearly all tries are scored from either counter attacks or offloads in the tackle. 

The counter attacks are often just moving the ball from side to side quickly until a gap opens, whilst an offload in the tackle allows a supporting player to run off the tackled player into space. 

Given modern day defences these are the 2 ways to score tries. 

-

Some stats remain.

1. The All Blacks score more backline tries. (The result of either offload or swift long passing from side to side of the field until a space opens. (Not just relying on the indivualism of someone like Habana)

-

In the Soweto test in 2012, the try scored from the counter attack was a perfect example even though it was finished by a lock forward. A clearance kick by South Africa did not not make touch.

The All Black backs threw some exceptional long passes from left to right. This allowed players to run on the ball at speed and angles.

The gap opened up, and we had poor Goosen who just stood up form an injury trying to go a cover tackle on a lock (Whitelock) near the try line. 

So even if we dominate the All Blacks upfront in possesion and territory, their backs can make more of it

I still feel that the boks have fallen behind in center play. 

Our offloads in the tackle are not great and the passing skills are not of the level of the All Blacks or the top individuals in other teams.

-- Overall though, our centres are not playing the same offload and quick pass game of the All Black and some Australian teams.

 

Sometimes our teams kick the ball because they are too scared to put the ball down the backline as it just results in a crash ball turnover or penalty. 

 

-I would like to see the boks beat the All Blacks or Australia in a game when our forwards give us less than 50% possesion/territory

With Goosen and Frans Steyn combining with perhaps Paul Jordaan, and the backs being given the freedom to run the ball we can do better.

- I am keen to watch the Sharks play this year, I think it is going to be very expansive. The Sharks in the 2nd half of the season win 2012 were playing modern rugby well with offloads and well timed passes.

-

 

 

 

The Sharks play the most allround 15man game of all the South African teams. The Cheetas also play some expansive rugby but it becomes so unstructured that their defence can sometimes fall apart. 

I thought Frans had 2 good games against the English and if he had been outside Lambie/Goosen instead of Morne Steyn we would have seen some more backline play. Frans Steyn is I believe easily South Africa top inside center, especially when in top form. Frans in one of the only centers that offload well in the tackle. (

 

 

 


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 01:09:01

Agreed, Frans is by some distance our best 12 and he was good against the Poms. Goosen at 10 with Frans at 12 is a must. We also need Hougaard restored to 9 with his confidence restored after the S15. I hope Jan Serfontein plays plenty of S15 rugby this year so that we can see how he measures up at a higher level for he was great for the Baby Boks at 12 last year.

 

13 is open with Jordaan, Taute and JJ Engelbrecht my choices to challenge.

 

With Hougaard at 9, Goosen at 10 and Frans at 12, we can't help but play a more attacking game


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 03:24:32

Saffex

You may think I would disagree with what you wrote above - but I agree with you about Hougaard and Steyn - with one proviso - they both failed in 2012 but they have the capacity to up their game and if we want to be successful and retain them, the better do that.

I nearly had a fit about the story elsewhere dealling with Erasmus and the fact that SA Rugby has now appointed expert consultants to assist in player development - but they failed in that they never appointed anybody to assist in backline coaching.   However, Steyn will have one advantage - the Sharks have appointed Spencer to deal with backline play development and that would be of great help to Steyn.

It must be borne in mind that Steyn will be in competition with De Villiers - who in 2012 as a 12 played better rugby than Steyn did - so unless there is vast improvement in Steyn in Super 15 - he may get beaten to the post in 2013.   I do not think De Villiers is a longer term prospect and would defiinitely prefer Steyn at 12.   However, in the longer term - that is by 2014-15 I believe that the main challengers to Steyn for no 12 will be De Allende and Serfonetein and unless Steyn improves on his 2012 performances he will have a hard time to remain in contention.  

In any event I believe that Hougaard's problems at scrummie had more to doo with the technical and psychological side - he lost it in a team environment and made a mess - so much so that he was replaced as a scrummie.   A positive is that Hougaard has now realized that he has deficiencies and he is going to try and eliminate them this year in Super 15.  Hope he is successful in that - and we will have to wait and see what happens. 


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 16:04:53

Of course there is still an opportunity for centres to show pure running skills. De Jongh showed that in the CC final. Jordaan did the same in the S15 final. Jean did it in the RWC11 QF. These were not inconsequential games and the defences were hyped. Admittedly centres have less space than in the old days, but a Danie gerber would still be hugely effective today.

 

The most productive way of releasing your centres is to take advantage of the mismatches that occur after effective phase play....a centre on a loosie, or even better on a tight forward. Once the first line is breached, defences are no better today, there are still only 15 men on each side. Pace and elusiveness are then relevant.

 

In tight backline to backline coverage you are compelled to take contact. But it's how you do it that matters. Run straight into your marker as Fransie does, and you will be smothered.  But get your body into the 10 gap or the 12 gap, and the chances are you'll make a step or two. That gets the 13 centre behind his marker, who has to turn and a well timed offload can do some damage.

 

Nobody mentions the cut at pace either....see Joe Cool(from the wing) and Mortlock. The Aussies were brilliant at this.....now almost a lost art.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 19, 2013, 17:30:56

Mozart

I agree with you here.  If we follow the line of thinking of Saffex no center nowadays can do anything with the ball in hand - but carry the ball in traffic and crashball.   What surprise me is that our present centers do not off-load or pass balls in tackle situations and the inevitable results are maul after maul - often enough behind the gain line.  

However, one would imagine that it is a worldwide problem if you follow the line of thinking of Saffex - but it is really not the case.   In recent tests England, France, Ireland, Argentina and above all All Black centers make line breaks and affect off-loads.    

When I tried to point out that there is a deficiency and devise a model to determine how our centers performed in tests this year - Saffex nearly had a ceasure because I said that De Villiers was better in performance than either Francois Steyn and Taute.  Both failed to make the grade as acceptable centers and in the main I believe the problem is speed - coupled to ball sense deficiencies.   Both Steyn and Taute are slow off the mark when they get balls and that makes defence much easier.

I then went on and looked at the Super 15 matches in the three games that Taute played at center and the two games in which which Steyn played for the Sharks.    There performances in those five games were not much better than they did in the tests - with Taute being slightly better than Steyn  insofar as improvement in performance  is concerned.   I brought in Jordaan since he played at Super level and tested him accordig to the same model.   

SAFFEX WENT BALLISTIC AND SAID I WAS COMPARING TEST AND SUPER 15 LEVEL AND THAT I AM CONSEQUENTLY AN IDIOT.   That never was the case - I was comparing apples with apples.  The reason for his histerics was that I rated Jordaan at Super 15 level much higher than I rated either Steyn or Taute.   

i think that Saffex is using the so-called tight defence issue to justify the inadequate performances of his favourite two centers - Steyn and Taute.   What is amazing is that Taute is really a top full back and a mediocre center.   Once he build up speed Taute is really a strong and very effective ball carrier - at full back he has that opportuunity gather speed as he  has space available to counter his normal slowness off the mark.   At center he does not have the luxury.

If the situation is really as bad as Saffex describse it - the two best methods to be employed are strategic kicking or recycling of loosies to play at center as was mentioned by Sharkbok.

Despite everything that is being written here - and I only dealt with tests and Super Series performances - the SA centers this year was very poor - with the exception of De Villiers and Jordaan on Super level. .   Steyn and Taute did not deliver anything of consequence on either level and De Jongh in the two tests he played in was totally out of depth and a really poor performer.    He was bad also in all the Super 15 games - bar one - that he played in.

Irrespective of what is said by Saffex - I basically believe that our centers are lagging behind other international centers and that Saffex's ideas of dropping De Villiers and playing the self-same centers that effectively failed this year (with the possible addition of Engelbrecht to the mix) would just worsen an already unacceptable situation.

            


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 13:36:13

Moffie try catch a wake up we are talking test rugby here not bloody provincial rugby. Take a look at the list of international centres playing test rugby TODAY and you wont be able to provide me with a name of a player that really stands out - why, because the game has changed so much since Gerber's day. Add Gerber to that list in the modern game and he would have made no difference as no modern day centre is able to create havoc as they used to.

 

The centre that has made the most impression is SBW only because he thrives in contact. Union has taken on a league shape and SBW is best suited to this model for his combination of skill and physicality works.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 14:31:49

Mozrt

I don't reslly buy the ideas of Saffex  that centers are only there to make contact and cause maul situations abd that passing and off-loading of the balls are not important.   He mentioned SBW and I agree that he use his body strength to make sure that in tackle situations he an off-load balls effectively.

I saw on international level really good tries being scored by backline moves whee attacking centers played a major role.   Even the Argentinians scored in Mendoza a classic try early in the Mendoza test against the All Blacks.   The French did the same in the test against the Wallabies and he irish in the test against Argentina.   The English did the same to the Springboks on at least one occassion and only a massive tackle by De Villiers stopped a try being scored.

The answer is that the centers especially must not try and buldoze their opposition - and they must bear in mind off-loading or passing balls whilst they make contact.   De Villiers tried it once or twice - but Steyn abd Taute never ever even remotely tried anything but to crashball and create maul situations.   It was as if passing and off-loading was not even a remote option insofar as they were concerned.

I mention in particular the tests played by the Irish and the Argentinians.   The Irish backline ran riot in the said test with magnificint backline attacking moves involving the centers.   That was against the same backline that our backline did squat in Mendoza.  

Where is the problem?   It lies entirely with two deficiencies in the Springbok team and those are -

*   inadequate backline coaching; and

*   poor midfield players - who have lost the plot.

I can still live with Francois Steyn at center - but he will have to up his game by 40% to make him effective as a center.  Last year he was anything but.   I tried to devise a model to test our centers against to determine effectiveness and when I got my own answers - I was amazed how near it came to be to the official stats on the games involved.  


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 14:44:04

Mike put your money where your mouth is and please point out the instances where test centres have played a role in creative backline play in 2012 - for its complete bullshit. Happy searching, take your time


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 15:02:09

Saffex

My money is safe - after all I mentioned for games where centers played a major roll in scoring of tries - in two of those it happened more than ones.   you can also refer to Nonu in the test at  Mendoza as an excample.  

I don't need to search - what is obviously clear is that we deal with international centers here - not the SA under-performing centers we are stuck with.   I am unhappy with all our centers - inclusive of De Villiers - and say they have all being found to be inadequate with De Villiers slightly better than the others.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 15:02:10

Saffex

My money is safe - after all I mentioned for games where centers played a major roll in scoring of tries - in two of those it happened more than ones.   you can also refer to Nonu in the test at  Mendoza as an excample.  

I don't need to search - what is obviously clear is that we deal with international centers here - not the SA under-performing centers we are stuck with.   I am unhappy with all our centers - inclusive of De Villiers - and say they have all being found to be inadequate with De Villiers slightly better than the others.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 15:58:40

Crap provide specific answers not wild generalisations. Using Nonu is pretty poor example given his season was so poor that he only stayed in the AB side because SBW left. Many were calling for Nonu's head.

 

Provide examples of what I asked for or shut up - I need specific direction as to the period of play you refer to and examples of centres other than AB's for my contention is that you are speaking shit - its easy enough to disprove just provide the evidence, its that simple


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 16:25:45

Saffex

I gave you four games in which the centers played major rolls in scoring of tries - so I believe that it i adequate examples.   If you want to disprove what I wrote you can watch those four games again and prove that I am wrong in what I said.

The only one on this Board who are speaking shit about center play are you and all that because you ty and justify the poor performances of the Springbok centers.   Incidentally Nonu in the mendoza test scored two tries - and he did better in the Soweto test than either of the opposition centers did.   

Why don't you do the right thing from a rugby perspective and try and suggest a workble silution to ourr center problems and not make it out as if there are in fact no problems?


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 16:32:33

Just as I thought, you are not man enough to provide specific examples, quoting 4 whole matches is not an answer.

 

Here is a list of Test centres, provide examples at test level where they have made more of an impression than the SA centres in 2012:

 

The Kiwi's have Nonu, Smith and SBW, Oz have Ashely-Cooper, Barnes, Faingaa, Harris, McCabe and Tapuai, France have Rougerie, Mermoz, David, Fritz and Fofana, the English have Barritt, Tuilagi and Joseph, the Welsh have Roberts, Davies and Williams and the Irish have O'Driscoll, D'Arcy and Earls

 

Mike I little hint, you wont find examples for it never happened, you are just so out of tune with modern test rugby that reality escapes you completely - but I insist that you provide the answers, failing which you are just lying about the facts


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 16:51:52

Saffex

I am not going to watch and write a description of tries for the four games I mentioned - do not have to do reasearch when the attacking moves were there for all with open eyes.

Thanks for the list of centers as provided.   Most of them are better players than the dummies we utilize as centers - so lets leave it at that.

Let me ask you one real question - are you really satisfied with the performance of the Springbok centers?  Do they really contribute to our efforts to play winning rugby?.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 17:02:30

Mike your argument is pathetic, I asked for examples you have not provided any, telling me that the list of centres I provided are better than ours is insulting.

 

No I am not happy with our centres because Meyer keeps selecting Jean as one of them and then insults us further with de Jongh - it does not end at centre, many of his selections were poor and his game plan worse. There is nothing wrong with our centres, in fact we have more depth in centres than any other country, we just need a coach to recognise them and one who uses centres instead of calling on our 9 & 10's to kick it all day.

 

You are clueless when it comes to the performances of international centres - Barritt, Tuilagi, D'Arcy, O'Driscoll, Roberts, Williams, Barnes, McCabe, Ashley-Cooper, Tapuai, Mermoz, Fritz, Nonu etc have not made eye opening impressions at test level in 2012, because they are afforded no space to dance - FACT

 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 20:21:41

Saffex

So we are in agreement that Meyer made foolish selections all roud and that his center selections were pathetic.  

I believe we should only select players that perform best in the Super 15 series and use that series to finally reach the situation that the best available players are selected to play for the Springboks.   If the present centers are to be replaced because of inadequate performances in Super 15  - so be it.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 20:40:00

No Mike we are not in agreement - the only poor selection calls at centre were Jean and de Jongh, but I did not need to tell you that


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 23:42:55

Far Dave admit it you copied that piece on centres from somewhere, probably inserting a few bits here and there.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 20, 2013, 23:57:37

Yeah old fart I inserted the old bits, I forgot to include you - sorry


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10308
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 00:06:54

Saffex

There is no way that De Villers was a poor selection.  He consistently did better than Steyn when we compared inside center performance and Taute delivered absolutely nothing to rate him as acceptable.   I think Meyer realized that - hence the usage of De Jongh in the last two tests.   What Meyer did not realize was that De Jongh was even worse than Taute in performance.  

If Taute himself felt that his performance was adequate at center - he would have continued to concentrate to play in that position.   He made repeated statements to the contrary and nobody is going to force him to play at center again - since his last six games - when he played at center represent his worst rugby performances since 2009.   

Taute's performances when he played at center for the Lions was average at best and some aspects of his performances for the Springboks were questionable.    The center  experiment with Taute backfired badly - so he will be our top full back in years to come.   What you are doing in this case are what people are saying in the ancient idiom - you are farting against thunder. 

 


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 00:15:13

I tested the piece in a language analyser. Here's what emerges:

1) Average sentence length is slightly shorter (less rambling).

2) Words over 5 letters are 5% more frequent than the control piece.

3) Hard words(as defined) increase from 4% to 10%.

4) Lexical density decreases notably, making the piece easier to read.

5) The Fog index also shows improvement.

 

In short it's a better written, more sophisticated piece than your usual rubbish. And it contains no significant grammatical errors which normally abound in even your short pieces. I notice you have fixed your atrocious spelling though....spell check?

 

Admit it Dave....it's not original.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 01:09:59

Moffie you really are one pathetic individual, do you really have nothing better to do. And exposed liar and clearly one who has no life - get a life you pathetic old man.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 01:13:26

Mike can you do me a favour and stop addressing posts to me as your ignorance when it comes to rugby and in particular centres is starting to irritate me. I like you Mike and I dont want to say something I regret. You are not Moffie or Denise who I think are complete pricks and I am more than happy to tell them that. So please just let it be, I am not interested - get it?


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 06:55:42

Oh the anger....trying to hide the shame of being a crude plagiarist. It doesn't fool me Fat Dave.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 11:30:39

Man up and prove your accusation of me plagiarising you low life - make sure you prove it for fuck me I am not going to let this one die.

 

Exposed you for lying, defamation is next


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 18:41:28

Hahahahaahahahaha.....you copied vitually the whole thing. Admit it. The language analyser shows it was written by a totally different person.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 19:13:17

Moffie you really have confirmed what a complete prick you are. Its as bad as you telling me that night in that pub that you left SA because you wanted to get away from the black people - do you remember that?


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 19:54:24

Another lie, said to someone who knows you are lying. I haven't said one racist thing on any Board in 15 years. And if I harboured those kind of thoughts, the last person I'd say it to was a second rate provincial lawyer.


Jalapeno!

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 602
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 20:04:32

So Moffie, did you get away from the black people in your snobbish little Chicago suburb? How many of your neighbours are black? Wait . . . let me guess . . . some of your best friends are black?

 

Waaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahaa! 


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 21:02:44

Well that's funny RooiAAS. Aren't you always saying I have no friends and aren't you always saying I live in a slum?  But you know I live in a "snobby little Chicago suburb". So you were lying before.....for shame.


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 21:33:31

This centre thing is getting funnier and funnier. Challenged to produce his ideas on centre play it took RooiAAS three weeks to respond. His one  idea was bring back the unavailable Fury. Nevermind our centre play has sucked for years.

 

And then the intellectual heavyweight Fat Dave copies his centre play ideas out of some Boys Own manual.

 

What a laugh!


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 21, 2013, 22:44:19

Ah ok Moffie so here we have you exposed as a liar for calling me short and fat and now you are professing innocence when I divulge the content of our discussion over a beer that night in a pub.

 

You made it clear you were a racist and of course you would not say as much on a messageboard. Moffie you spend your life lying.

 

We will let the board decide, lying low life


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 22, 2013, 00:15:42

And the evidence is your word? what's that worth? Even your support of Jal's anti relgious stance is concrete evidence of your bigotry. Nope, you are lying through your teeth.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 22, 2013, 00:21:05

Yes Moffie its your word against mine. Unlike the short and fat.......where that is your word against mine, Jal, Becs and Mike's.........I see the odds are stacked in your favour.

 

As for my support on anti religion, kindly provide the evidence, you lying racist - there is just no stopping you.

 

Do you have any black friends Moffie, as I recall you saying you refused to have any black servants in your house?


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 22, 2013, 00:28:19

Sure I'll tell that to Les from Jamaica tomorrow morning, we'll have a good laugh about that. Two other people at our home from Mexico and one from the Dominican Republic. Over to you Fat Man, what's next?


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 22, 2013, 00:32:12

Dont forget Melumsi from Kenya and Keith from Brixton


mozart

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 6510
RE: What is required from Centers
January 22, 2013, 00:48:54

Actually my doubles partner throughout college was a very nice chap from Kenya. Not Melumsi though. Keep giving me soft balls Fat Man, this is fun.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7591
RE: What is required from Centers
January 22, 2013, 00:56:25

Would that be the nice chap who's name has deserted you. That comes with age and not really giving a toss about the nice chap?


Leave a reply:

You need to be logged in to leave a reply.
 
 

From The Sideline