Video Anatomy of a Try: Ashley-Cooper vs Argentina 2015 - Green and Gold Rugby

Video Anatomy of a Try: Ashley-Cooper vs Argentina 2015

Video Anatomy of a Try: Ashley-Cooper vs Argentina 2015

Another week, another Adam Ashley-Cooper try orchestrated by Bernard Foley. I make no apologies for saying I’m a big fan of both players, and I feel both have delivered time and time again throughout this world cup campaign none more so than during the semi-final against Argentina.

So we’re going to have a look at Ashley-Coopers first try, the Pumas decision making leading up to it, the defensive lapse the Wallabies exploited and the fantastically worked strike move they used to set Ashley-Cooper free on the right.

One of my bug bears in this World Cup has been teams inability to exit their own red zones efficiently, and on Saturday we saw a Pumas side committing suicide as they repeatedly turned down chances to clear their lines and build pressure on the Australians.

Leading into this try, Argentina waste three opportunities to clear their lines – this is one minute after they’ve scored and reduced the Australian lead to 4 points. So to get stuck in your own 22, and pass up 3 golden opportunities to ease pressure is criminal. Yeah ok, they played exciting rugby but this was a semi-final. Somewhere the pragmatist in me was crying and it felt as if Argentina being devoid of a way to beat this Wallabies defence they just decided to chance their arm and enjoy their final flourish.

In contrast Australia were patient, composed and took the chances when they came. Yeah, we got a wonder try by way of Drew Mitchell and Ashley-Cooper but I’m struggling to think of many occasions where Australia left points on the paddock.

So, onto the try. There are a few things worth noting:

  • Once again we see Australia exploit the midfield option.
  • The pumas decision making leading into this try is frankly shocking
  • Bernard Foley’s decision making is exceptional
  • Bernard Foley’s pass is even better
  • The panic Folau causes in defenders.
  • The poor defensive organisation the Pumas deploy ahead of this try.

We’ve done quite a bit of analysis over the last year, looking at various pieces of play, and tries and the underlying factor in all of them is that Rugby union when played well is a very simple game. None more so than this try from Adam Ashley-Cooper in the semi final against Argentina

I’m not going to say anything about Saturdays game other than good luck to the Wallabies, and fingers crossed they can take New Zealand down. It’s not that I don’t like New Zealand, it’s that considering how far this Wallabies team has come in just over 12 months I think it would be great to see them lift the trophy.

Either way it’s shaping up to be a belter, enjoy!


  • Bobas

    Love these articles, is a bug bear a pet peeve?

    • Bobas

      My bug bear is mobile webpages that have limited functionality and don’t allow you to change back to the full site.

      • Tip

        or let you read the front page article unless there’s a comment or ten on it.

    • yeah, it’s exactly that – it’s something you see constantly that annoys you. :)

  • Gordo

    This try has Weekend at Bernie’s written all over it…

    • Who?

      It’s almost the reverse of the brilliant 2012 All Blacks set piece try scored by Dagg in Sydney, where again Carter and Dagg stood directly behind the scrum. But that time, it was on the opposite side (i.e. they went left, not right), and the outside players (the equivalents of Kuridrani and AAC) stood wide, running in to congest the defensive line, forcing defenders into decisions and again allowing the 10 to pick the unmarked runner. Whereas this time both TK and AAC are running and outside line.
      It’s interesting that, on both occasions (given DC was 10 that day), the attacking team went to the weaker side for their 10. What makes Foley’s pass that bit better – and the same for Giteau’s pass to AAC for AAC’s second try – is that it’s off his ‘weak’ side. It’s a left to right pass, the weaker side for right handers, just as Giteau’s was a right to left pass, from a leftie.

      • Bobas

        I’m not sure Gits is a left hander. He is a left footer. Either way at an elite level with playmakers the difference should be negligible.

        • Who?

          Should, but… When you’re talking about passes at the edge of your range (anything over 20m is impressive – it’s something no one really did regularly before Larkham), it’s still a good achievement. It’s hours of practice. It’s something that, back in the mid 00’s, Kiwi commentators still found important to mention as one of Larkham’s threats – that he could pass off both hands off both feet. You only raise those issues if they’re not common.

  • Tip

    It was more a poor read from the Argentinian 13. He had time and space to drift. I doubt C.Smith and co. are going to be disorganised as this.

    Great pass though.

    • The Argentinian 13 is on the other side of the pitch, I think you mean the 12, Hernandez, and I agree, hence me saying they would have been better jockeying and drifting.

      It’s a combination of a lot of errors, these things very seldom come down to one man and I think by illustrating how they set up we can see the knock on effects of each decision and the ultimate impact it has – the AAC try.

      Will the AB’s be better? Perhaps, but they play a drift defence anyway and this strike move was explicitly devised to exploit the Pumas defence so it’s all a bit of a moot point – Larkham is on record saying they practiced it all week.

  • Nutta

    I am happy to be corrected as I know little of the Fairies, but who is that coming over along the tryline in cover for the Argy’s? Is that the 12 who had his ribs reorganised by Poey earlier on? It seems to me he was never really committed to the chase and if it is the 12 then maybe it was the ribs. At about the goal posts he should of been motoring for the corner flag but appears to just 75% it al the way over and thus arrived way too late. He was their only option to stop Two-Dads (other than not being put in that position in the first place through poor options)

    • Moz

      I think it was actually the fullback jogging across, unless it was the 12 defending at fullback. Either way, he didn’t have his heart in it.

      • Nutta

        That’s what I thought. I’m not familiar enough to know them by look so I thought it must of been someone carrying an injury (logically the 12 thanks to Poey) or else it was simply an unacceptable effort

    • Guy

      wow, what happened there? he just stopped and watched

    • Simon

      It’s Tuculet the fullback, and yes, I noticed that too. He’s just jogging across. If he’d put on full pace (and he’s fast, faster than AAC I’ll wager) he should have had a chance to make a cover tackle and bundle AAC into touch, as the Japanese 15 Goromaru did against Scotland.

    • It’s Tuculet the pumas 15 mate.

  • Tyrone Biggums

    Id Love to see an article titled, “A Sincere Letter to Scotland.” The ending should say, no fucking way u would have beat Argentina & New Zealand like we did. #ConfidentNeverCocky!

  • TouchFinderGeneral

    I’ll take a guess at why Hernandez hesitated when he took that kick off – he takes a look fwd & right – and sees Hooper bearing down, a few minutes after he’s been clattered by Pocock. So he decides to get out of Hooper’s way.

    Who could blame him?

    Could it be Argentina weren’t quite sure how to split the defense on the scrum due to Folau standing behind Foley? Genia, Foley, Folau, Mitchell, & Giteau operating down that large blindside would have been a headache as well.

    Thanks for the positive vibes, Graeme! We need forces both physical & metaphysical to be aligned as one against this wonderful AB team.

  • harro

    Thanks for all these analyses Graeme, and for your good wishes. Hopefully next week we are watching multiple videos of you analysing the Wallabies cutting up the Kiwis.


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.

More in Analysis