KSA Shark ©

Skill level a load of old Bulls …


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Bulls, In the news, Super 14 on 11 Feb 2008 at 06:45

After being instrumental in the Bulls’ Super 14 victory last year, NSW back-line coach Todd Louden has discovered the Waratahs have the same problem the South Africans had when he joined them – woeful basic skills.

Greg Growden writes on Rugby Heaven that Louden yesterday revealed that since returning to Australia after his successful stint as attack coach in Pretoria that his job at NSW at times felt “like a glorified skills coach”.

And the prime concern was “the standard of left-to-right passes … it’s just shocking. It’s pretty alarming”.

“At this level, that surprises me,” Louden said. ” But I think it’s probably a product of how world rugby has gone in trying to over-structure things. This has involved playing lots of sequence upon sequence, to the extent of forgetting about reading the game and playing the game as it unfolds.

“Skill levels have been modelled more towards sequence-structured play. And so the skill of reading the game has been depleted. It’s not just the Waratahs, it’s world rugby.”

The importance of improving the basic catch-pass-kick skills has been magnified by the introduction of several experimental laws during this year’s Super 14, which, according to Louden, will bring about “a lot of unstructured play”.

“So you cannot be as clinical, and your skills have to be right up there.”

It’s a challenge, but something Louden is accustomed to. After successful coaching stints at Sydney University and Randwick, Louden was beckoned by Bulls head coach Heyneke Meyer to stimulate the South African province’s attack last year.

“I was working against the traditions of 80 to 100 years of 10-man rugby, and that you don’t give the ball to the winger – which is quite interesting when the Bulls have a winger like Bryan Habana,” Louden said. “There was also the issue of being an Aussie, and ‘what the —- would I know?’.

“It was difficult, but eventually they came around, and worked really hard on it.”

The transformation was obvious, with the Bulls becoming a resourceful attacking side, scoring 435 points at an average of 29 a game.

The potential was also there with the Waratahs, with Louden believing improvement was inevitable.

“It is not unlike the Bulls. They were the same in being very structured and very 10-man rugby, which didn’t sit well with me at all. As much as I hate comparing the two organisations, there’s the same thing. I think we are starting to make inroads [at the Waratahs], and the players are responding to it, because they know they have to do it. By the end of the year, we’ll be right.”

While believing Lote Tuqiri will be a crucial leader of a young, inexperienced back line, Louden also holds “high hopes” for the Waratahs’ league recruit, Timana Tahu.

Louden believes Waratahs fans should be patient with the former Eel. “Tahu has played all of his rugby league career in a 15-metre channel, and I’ve picked up through the trials that by the end of the year, there will be a significant transformation,” Louden said. “I’m already seeing massive steps in Timana, but there’s a lot of defensive and attacking blemishes that at Super 14 level will cost us dearly.

“So we have to train him up step by step, and being on the wing at the moment is a transition. I have big hopes for him. We just have to get him through this frustration period, with the finer points of his positional play.”

The South African experience has rounded Louden as a coach, as well as providing him with valuable background information for when the Waratahs head to the republic in May.

“Australian rugby has been stuck in one way of thinking, and I suppose Robbie Deans’s appointment [as Wallabies coach] is a realisation of that,” he said. “South Africans have a very strong will and thoughts on some things, but they actually have very good bits in their play, which you can pick up on.”

While believing Lote Tuqiri will be a crucial leader of a young, inexperienced back line, Louden also holds “high hopes” for the Waratahs’ league recruit, Timana Tahu.

Louden believes Waratahs fans should be patient with the former Eel. “Tahu has played all of his rugby league career in a 15-metre channel, and I’ve picked up through the trials that by the end of the year, there will be a significant transformation,” Louden said. “I’m already seeing massive steps in Timana, but there’s a lot of defensive and attacking blemishes that at Super 14 level will cost us dearly.

“So we have to train him up step by step, and being on the wing at the moment is a transition. I have big hopes for him. We just have to get him through this frustration period, with the finer points of his positional play.”

The South African experience has rounded Louden as a coach, as well as providing him with valuable background information for when the Waratahs head to the republic in May.

“Australian rugby has been stuck in one way of thinking, and I suppose Robbie Deans’s appointment [as Wallabies coach] is a realisation of that,” he said. “South Africans have a very strong will and thoughts on some things, but they actually have very good bits in their play, which you can pick up on.”



4 Comments

  • OK, here’s an interesting take. The Bulls scored the 2nd highest number of tries in the pool stages, 45. Now, against the Reds, they scored 13. Take that away from 45 and you get 32. Add four (the reds conceded on ave 4 tries per match, and if you take out the 13 against the Bulls, it’s 3) and you get 36, which is only the 6th highest.

    Take off 20 points and they would have travled to Christchurch to play the Crusaders in the semis, and most likely have lost.

    The Reds just keeled over and died and should have been investigated for that shit performance, because they weren’t even interested in being there.

    (I like to find blame wherever I can for the Sharks loss in the final)

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.02.08 09:39:10 by hellbent Reply
    Under 21 player
     
  • And the point I forgot to point out, was that Louden shouldn’t be getting all kinds of kudos for what was essentially a stat that was skewed all out of proportion from one game.

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.02.08 09:39:54 by hellbent Reply
    Under 21 player
     
  • Ok am i the only person who sees something wrong with that post?

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.02.08 09:59:05 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Administrator
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
     
  • I think Louden likes to make a big noise about how bad things are, just so that he can take lots of credit for creating a turnaround…

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.02.08 10:09:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     

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