Pumas' kicking game begs for planned Irish counter-attacks
Well the Fiji fixture was a success after all and congrats to Craig Gilroy, not for his three tries but for his unbridled relentless optimism.
During the England-Australia game at Twickenham, on 36 minutes and 25 seconds, English scrumhalf Danny Care from a ruck on his 22, seven metres from the touchline, box-kicked. As Wallaby Berrick Barnes fielded inside his half there existed two distinct, intact Australian lines. The first, a perfect line of 11 Wallabies; the second contained Barnes and three others spread across the field with England in pursuit.
The Wallaby four were numbers 15, 10, 9 and 14, all prepared for a counter-attack left to right off a poor box kick from Care.
With the exception of Nick Cummins, the runners were small and slight but they all understand space, with Kurtley Beale putting his scrumhalf Nick Phipps on an outside line to skin secondrow Tom Palmer for Cummins to score.
Having the best players exploiting opposition weaknesses is how tries are scored. How often did Tommy Bowe touch the ball against the Springboks?
Argentina have massive variety in their lineout: over the back, old school, or short and off the top. From it there is a big emphasis on crossing the gain line quick and narrow. They power rumble their mauls and always hit narrow targets, open. From the recycle they do a simple one out switch.
Their success is that their game plan is clear and simple and they all buy into it. This is impressive considering the ridiculous degrees of styles their players play throughout the world. Their 10-12 axis is crucial, targeting the easy pass and attacking the opposition 10 channel through lots of circle passes to 12 or 13, targeting narrow.
Always narrow, around the fringe, up the guts with the threat of a drop goal; when space opens, they are alive. The advantage of these one-pass plays are three-fold: fewer errors, never far from support, and it’s exhausting to defend against. It’ll be a very tough, sore day for Gordon D’Arcy in defence.
Clever use of the Irish bench is required because Argentina get fresh Pumas on very early.
Argentina test every tackle, backing themselves, brilliantly funnelling, moving hips, shifting feet, twisting upper bodies, like the French, down narrow channels. Their brilliance occurs on multiphase as their support runners always take going forward, attacking tiny space.
Nicolas Sanchez at outhalf adjusts his depth as first receiver; off fast ruck, he’s flat and off slow, he’s deep. Clearly Felipe Contepomi is a major influence on him.