Looking at the match stats from the Stormers vs Waratahs it’s pretty clear the stormers dominated the Tahs everywhere except the scoreboard.
They had a better tackle completion rate, 99/17 compared to the Tah’s 132/31. They had 59% possession. They conceded fewer penalties, beat more defenders, made more turnovers. They pretty much came out on top in all the key areas, except that elusive score board.
Yeah sure, the Stormers had a red card, and it obviously had an impact on the ending of the game, but what it really comes down to is being efficient and accurate with the possession you have, and simply put the Tahs were the Stormers weren’t.
I know, that seems a bit backwards but in this weeks Green and Gold Rugby Podcast Matt raised a point about converting missed tackles into line breaks, and it’s extremely pertinent, because if we consider from the 31 missed tackles by the Tahs the Stormers only generated 11 clean breaks, and in contrast the Tah’s generated 15 from 17 we start to get an idea of how much more successful with ball in hand the Tahs were.
Of the 17 missed tackles the Stormers conceded, 10 were by their backs, of the Tahs 31 missed tackles only 7 were from the backs.
That kind of means little until we drill down to the individual player level where we can see the Stormers midfield (10,12,13) missed 7 tackles to the Tah’s 3, and if we dig deeper we can see that 6 of those missed tackles were by the Stormers 12 & 13. Damian de Allende specifically made and missed 4 tackles.
Missing tackles in itself isn’t the biggest issue, of course ideally you want to make them all but errors happen and quite often impact is more important than amount.
To illustrate, the impact of De Allendes four missed tackles is that two tries are scored. Those two lead directly to the Tahs scoring with the Stormers making no tackles after those missed by de Allende
Now we’ve looked at de Allende’s defence before (HERE).
Back in July his indecision around defending these screened passing movements with runners coming around the corner led to Ashley-Cooper’s try. Again in both this and the Beale try we see the Waratahs exploit his channel with screened passing.
It’s clearly not all on de Allende, he’s a reasonably solid one on one tackler but defence is a unit skill, and these kind of issues arise when a player becomes disconnected from his team mates and perhaps under Treu the Stormers haven’t really worked on these kind of defensive scenarios.
Perhaps. But I guess that raises the question, is it poor defence or great attack?
I think it’s a bit of both really, But when a defensive mistake happens you have to exploit the opportunity so I’m going to come down on the side of great attack; everything about this try is a joy to watch and we see the influence of key individuals throughout the try.
Skelton’s dummy run is a perfect example. Ok, it’s just a dummy line, but that line is the same one he runs time and time again over the course of the game, and that is exactly why the back row couldn’t drift out because he’s a viable option.
Likewise the screened runners just before Beales brilliant delayed pass to Folau on the unders line. Hooper and Kellerway are genuine options, and while it’s easy to say de Allende is a poor defender the fact is the Tahs attacking shape was likely to lead to a line break if not there then on the outside channel.
It’s a great try, and certainly one for Folau’s highlights reel, but more likely one for the Tahs analysis team to flag up as everything working well.