Interesting little point

Robshaw is criticised for spurning penalty kick for draw and going for lineout and possible try to win.

Japan is praised for spurning penalty kick for draw and going for try and win.


Guess whether you get the try or not makes a difference, eh?

20 thoughts on “Interesting little point”

  1. Well, no, in my opinion.

    The penalty was a high percentage attempt, the try much less so in both cases. But what’s at stake? Japan had no realistic chance of progressing to the final. The South Africa game WAS their final. Why not gamble for glory? But for England, a draw could make the difference between qualifying and not for the 1/4 finals.

    Where I was watching, the Japan decision was applauded BEFORE the outcome and the England decision greeted with disbelief and criticism BEFORE the outcome.

  2. I agree with Andrew: Japan had nothing to lose and everything to gain, England had Australia’s lack of a bonus point in hand so could have gone for the draw and backed themselves for the remaining games.

    That said the real tactical error was going short on the line out – throw to the back and use that as your platform, going short increases the risk of being bundled into touch.

  3. Andrew is right. I was at the game, and everyone around me was criticising Robshaw as soon as the decision became clear (except for me – I was applauding it, because I like risk takers, though I accept it’s not necessarily the best way to win, or draw, Test matches).

    I still think the decisionw as OK, the execution was poor. Going to 2 was weak, and predictable, and allowed Wales to set up to push England out, which they did.

    Go to the back – if you’re taking a chance, take a fucking chance – and you have the possibility of driving infield, and Wales either being unable to stop you, for fear of infringing, or infringing and you’ve got a far better shot at goal.

    Same reason I was massively unhappy with Lancaster’s selection of Farrell, Burgess, Barritt as the midfield (even though in one sense the centres were a big risk, they were a risk to play safe).

    Farrell played well, and Burgess surprisingly OK, but the whole thing was predicated on stopping from playing a Welsh side that doesn’t much play.

  4. Forget the tactics. Go all out for a try every time.

    Sport is part entertainment. Not all of it, but part of it. That Japanese try is what the paying customers live and dream of seeing. (And I bloody well missed it didn’t I?)

  5. I’ve been saying for years that Robshaw is a poor captain. It wasn’t just that decision to kick for touch – I didn’t think it was that bad, it was the throwing to the front that was – but there was no leadership from England in the last quarter of the game. Wales were suffering badly with injuries, England brought on some replacements, and then appeared to kind of sit back and give away lots of penalties thinking the match was won already. It was Robshaw’s job to read the game situation and close it out, but he doesn’t seem bright enough to do it. Sure, he’s a workhorse, a tackler, and leads from the front in the breakdown but you need somebody with a brain who can read the game and direct it accordingly. Unfortunately, while England have players who are fit, skillful, and tough they all seem a bit thick: Ben Youngs is the exception, possibly Brown as well (although he was getting drawn into too many altercations on Saturday), but there are few others who could captain. Usually your fly half is supposed to be a bit smarter than the rest, but England have Farrell who is a good tackler and goal kicker but too temperamental to be a captain. I don’t necessarily rate Warburton as a captain either, but his style of captaincy – bloody-mindedness – was what Wales required and they delivered. England needed somebody with a brain, and instead you had Robshaw. Maybe this is the moment when the BBC – headed by that twat Brian Moore – will stop thinking Robshaw is the next Ritchie McCaw.

  6. Warburton is far to diffident with the ref to be captain. Why Alun-Wyn Jones is not captain is a total mystery. Being a barrister he’d have the brains and the ability to argue politely with the ref, which is what’s needed. The great captains are in the ear of the ref from the first minute – Martin Johnson, Paul O’Connell.

  7. The difference was that the momentum was with Japan at the time: England had lost their points advantage and the momentum that should have put them farther ahead at half-time.

  8. I applauded the decision when it was made but cried when they threw it short.

    Fortune favours the brave but not necessarily the stupid.

  9. In the Mail, Clive Woodward blamed the coach for the cock-up at the end. All these scenarios should’ve been worked out in advance, so they don’t have to think on the hoof during the heat of the contest, they would already have a plan in place. It’s a horrible phrase but ‘fail to prepare; prepare to fail’ sounds about right here.

  10. The mistake was to try to set up a rolling maul from the lineout. Wales backs were decimated, most of them playing out of position, so attack that weak spot a s a p.
    England still tactically naive, seem happier defending their mistakes than taking the right decision in the first place.

  11. Let’s not forget that a draw would also have put the pressure on a banged up Wales to gain a bonus point against Fiji

  12. TIm Newman

    Loved Brian Moore as a player but you are spot on in your assessment of him as a commentator – and on the current captain. Robshaw was responsible for two of the penalties himself for Christ’s sake – clueless, utterly clueless

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    The reason that there in had to go to the front is that Webber can’t throw straight. To expect him to hit someone at the back of the line would really have been an act of stupidity.

    Woodward used to hav a saying t-cup – think clearly under pressure. Much as I like Robshaw that’s where he struggles.

  14. @Hugh

    ‘In the Mail, Clive Woodward blamed the coach for the cock-up at the end. All these scenarios should’ve been worked out in advance, so they don’t have to think on the hoof during the heat of the contest,’

    That is a counsel of despair. You can’t possibly anticipate and coach for every scenario, and you’d just end up overloading the players.

    @Bloke in North Dorset

    ‘The reason that there in had to go to the front is that Webber can’t throw straight. To expect him to hit someone at the back of the line would really have been an act of stupidity.

    Woodward used to hav a saying t-cup – think clearly under pressure.’

    Webber’s throwing in is fine – he misses a few, but show me the hooker who doesn’t. The point is the stage of the game – two minutes to go, defending a lead, Wales were expecting the safe throw and front-loaded the lineout, so as to push England out. As I said above, if you’re going to gamble, at least bloody gamble.

    By the way, small point but it was thinking *correctly* under pressure.

  15. Interested, surely not. There must be a real paucity of imagination in English rugby if you can’t anticipate a situation where you’re 3 points down with a penalty in your opponents half and a minute left on the clock and be able to think through the best options beforehand. It was expected to be a tight game as well.

    As others have said, Robshaw had previous for making bad decisions under pressure so it seems remiss of the coaching staff that they didn’t discuss scenarios with him, instead of having him wing it on the pitch.

  16. @Hugh

    My point is that there are endless critical decisions that need to be made in a game, not just what to do with a pen when you’re 3pts behind with 2min to go – that’s actually one of the simpler ones (though as I say I wasn’t against Robshaw’s decision particularly)!

    If you’re going to fill a dullard’s head with instructions as to what do do if this, that, the other or the other other x 1000 happens, he’s just going to suffer from analysis paralysis.

    The important thing is to select a man who will make the right decisions under pressure, and give him the confidence and experience to do it.

    It comes to most people after enough caps, but it shows no sign of coming to Robshaw. It’s the selection of Robshaw in itself which is the problem (IMO).

    I don’t even rate him as a player – he’s certainly not a 7, he’s a very average 6.

    As someone else says, who is the skipper if not him? Easter might have been the man for the last few years – he has a very cool head, albeit that he seems full of himself – but he was deemed surplus to requirements despite the fact that Vunipola blows hot and cold and Morgan isn’t quite there yet. Ben Youngs had a lengthy period when he wasn’t the starting 9. It’s hard to see anyone.

    Come 2019 we may be contenders but at the moment they’re collectively too callow.

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