VIDEO ANALYSIS: Anatomy of a try Nick Phipps Bledisloe 3
All Blacks

VIDEO ANALYSIS: Anatomy of a try – Nick Phipps Bledisloe 3

VIDEO ANALYSIS: Anatomy of a try – Nick Phipps Bledisloe 3

It’s easy to forget that until this Saturday Australia were ranked 3rd in the world. Yeah, their form has been very up and down and they’ve taken a lot of stick over the last few months, some of it rightly so but they’ve still been top 3, beaten both Argentina and South Africa and destroyed France at home.

I can’t deny that at times they’ve looked all at sea on the pitch but lets be honest, as with their try against Argentina, when they’ve found their rhythm they’ve actually played some pretty awesome Rugby and there isn’t a team in the Northern Hemisphere that is taking them lightly ahead of the End of Year Tours.

That’s not to say there haven’t been big issues and of course it’s frustrating that the good play has been in small bursts but when it’s been on, it’s been brilliant, and I thought it’d be good to focus in on something really positive from their heartbreaking loss on Saturday to illustrate this. So I thought I’d do an Anatomy of a Try for the Phipps score.

It all looks so simple, a great break, bit of recycling and a try, but this sequence literally has everything you could hope for in it. Great back play, a phase game that absolutely dismantles the All Black transition defence and poise and calm that leads to a great team score.

It might seem pretty ballsy to run a set play on your own 22, but you know the defence is a bit more relaxed, you know the back three will be sitting deep and, as we’ve seen all year from the All Blacks, you know they will drift.

So it’s a great call to run a slice. A slice is 12/13 switches once the ball is in play and the 10 either hits 13 short, 12 wide or 14 on the slide behind 13. It’s a move that isolates the 10, by flooding his channel. If the defence is man on you normally have the defending 12 step into help 10, leaving 13 isolated by the attacking 12 and 15, but the Wallabies know Fekitoa is inexperienced and read him perfectly as he drifts out. Lealiifano is drifting wide as he wants to pull him there. If he doesn’t come Lealiifano has the outside break, if he does then he has the cut back.

I’m a big fan of Lealiifano and i’m glad to see him back in the 12 shirt. He’s a very complete player, he tackles his weight, is an outstanding distributor and is aggressive on the carry when he has to be. He’s also deceptively quick, just watch how he eats up the yards once he’s made that break. He’s almost the complete opposite of Toomua, who I felt has looked a bit lost and unfit during the tail end of the Championship.

When we get to the other end of the pitch we see players make a couple of marginal decisions that might have gone the other way but on the whole everyone up’s the ante and makes sure they leave the All Black red zone with their prize.

Notable in all of this is the aggression in the Australian ball carrying and clearing, be it forwards or backs – Cooper clearing out McCaw and Kuridrani sorting out Read. Also noticeable is Fainga’a smashing both Whitelock and McCaw on separate occasions clearing them a good meter or two behind the ruck.

As an Englishman I can honestly say I’m not convinced any of the NH teams have the ability to play at that pace and intensity for a full 80 minutes, it was on a level I feel we’ve not seen this year in international Rugby and i think Australia can expect a reasonable return from the upcoming games.

It’s the type of rugby everyone has been wanting from the Wallabies, and it’s a great starting point for them moving towards the End of Year tests. Yeah there are issues, both on and off the field but this is a team with some genuinely world class backs, and others coming back from injury. There is a whole year to get the correct structures in place.

  • Tony Dun

    Thanks for this, enjoyable to watch. What struck me was how often an AB was lying in the way when the ball was at the back of our ruck.

    • Homer j

      Agree Tony, MCaw is mentioned several times but there are props and 2nd row at every tackle always lying on the wrong side and not moving.
      They are very good at slowing the ball down though, Read knows how far to push it without giving away a penalty.
      I like how Hooper straightens the attack after the loose pass. I believe he had 3-4 hit-ups in that sequence.

  • Duvstar

    Great analysis. There really is nothing like this on tele in the UK or Australia that offers such a tactical insight. Especially like the usage of the camera angles.

    Thought our aggression when we had the ball was great for 70 minutes. We were smashing them off rucks, was so good to see. What we needed was the last ten minutes to be contributed from the bench, which it definitely wasn’t. The comparison of this clip and when we were picking and driving in the last five minutes is not good viewing. The blame for this has to lie mostly with the forward who came on (Horwill, Alexander, Robinson, Mann-Rea, even Hodgson, although Matty was very good in defence.), who should have taken over most of the workload from the others who would have been spent. Surely men like Jones, Skelton, Alo-Emile would have offered more

    • cheers!

      If you’re keen for more stuff like this you should check out Murray Kinsella for the and Charlie Morgan for Rugby World – It tends to be NH based but both are doing some excellent analysis articles on a weekly basis.

    • jamie

      Horwill had about 5 carries in the first minute he was on the field. Nothing wrong with his contributions. Alexander, Robinson and Mann-Rea I agree with. Our reserve front row is at an U13 level.

    • Mike

      “Thought our aggression when we had the ball was great for 70 minutes. We were smashing them off rucks, was so good to see. ”

      Not always. There were also several times when we were smashed off the ball in the first 70 minutes. Its a main reason why ABs were able to claw their way back.

  • brumby runner

    I am also a long time fan of Christian Lealiifano, ever since the ARC in fact when he showed those of us willing to see a lot of potential. Took a while for the potential to convert to performance at Super level, but has been one of the Brumbies consistently best (when not injured) since the dark days of 2011. In fact in that year he was the only bright light in the backline on many occasions and outplayed the bigger names consistently.

    But I am now a bit conflicted about him and Matt Toomua, and just where they should play. I have wanted to see Larkham play Christian at 10 and Matty at 12 especially since the EOYT last year, but after Christian’s stand out game against the ABs last weekend, I’m no longer sure. I guess, on that performance, Christian will get more opportunities to show what he can do at 12 and if he continues at that level, or improves, he will be hard to shift.

    There certainly were periods of very good play from the Wallabies on the weekend, as shown in the leadup to the Phipps try. If they can repeat that but for a full game then they will have another successful EOYT. Desperately need bench players with more impact at the end, especially in the forwards. Looking forward to seeing both Quade and Genia return to the team, playing at their best.

    • Mike

      Sure, IF they play at their best. That hasn’t happened a lot over the last few years.

  • Thanks for this video, it’s great insight into what looked like a simple try. That slice move was beautiful to watch

  • AndrewWA

    Not just “excellent rugby” – excellent analysis!

    • RedAnt

      Yep, good work all round!

    • The Slow Eater

      Agreed. It’s hard to pick up just how much the whole team contributes when you watch it on the TV. Just so many 1 percenters make up that try – loved seeing two dads clear our Richie and TK do the same to Keiran Reid.

      Thanks for putting it together

  • FatProp

    Fantastic analysis Graeme. Any chance you could do something similar for the AAC try? Would be great to see a similar phase by phase review.

    For me there was a feeling of inevitability in the lead up to try. The aggression in the carry and in the clean out was such that the ABs were constantly back-pedalling and didn’t have an opportunity to organise themselves.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Thanks for the good work Graeme and for lifting my spirits.

    It’s just the tonic that I’ve needed following what has been been a lousy time for Australian Rugby.

  • TouchFinderGeneral

    Thanks mate! I learn more in these few minutes of yours than in years listening to the Foxy Sky crew.

    Any truth in the rumour Cheeks has approached you to be the Wallies analyst?

    • Sorry mate, the ARU non-disclosure agreement explicitly
      forbids me from confirming if that rumour is or isn’t true. :)

      Glad you enjoy the videos.

  • harro

    Thanks for the post, that’s some top notch work. I could watch us cleaning out the Kiwis like that all day

  • Pedro

    Good work. I thought Higginbotham’s one handed pick and flick wasn’t perfectly executed but was the right option. It’s good seeing what having so many skillful forwards playing together can do. Kuridrani’s and Slipper’s runs make the try, Lealiifano’s first phase set it up.

All Blacks

an Englishman living in France, Graeme runs the Rugby Analysis website He coaches in his spare time, is an IRB qualified coach and you can catch him on twitter lazily re-tweeting other peoples comments.

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