Video Analysis: How Did That All Blacks First Phase Move Work? - Green and Gold Rugby
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Video Analysis: How Did That All Blacks First Phase Move Work?

Video Analysis: How Did That All Blacks First Phase Move Work?

The first phase move the All Blacks used in game one of The Rugby Championship was really well thought out and brilliantly executed.

It played on the Wallabies’ concerns about the threat of Sonny Bill Williams receiving the ball back inside and making metres through the middle of the defence, and left Adam Ashley-Cooper with two men to try and defend.

In this video I’ve taken a look at the different roles of each player, their running lines and the options the All Blacks had no matter which way the Wallabies defended the play.

I just wish we’d see more plays like this from the Wallabies, because this used to be our speciality.

[youtube id=”xvdu7JsHt3o” width=”600″ height=”350″]

  • qwerty51

    Barnes should’ve been on his man, Carter. No idea why they aren’t marking up man for man.

    • Scott Allen

      If Barnes had gone in behind the scrum to mirror Carter I’m pretty sure the All Blacks would have run the same play to the right side of the field.

      In that case Barnes and the backrow would have been coming from the inside and would have been attracted to Nonu running the inside line (like Genia and the backrow were on the other side of the field with SBW). Then Horne would have had to go in for Jane and Dagg would have been free down the right touch line.

      That’s the beauty – the play would have worked the same way either side.

      • They set up with the possibility of attacking either side of the scrum but they exploit the side which only has 2 defenders. Barnes held his side thinking Genia is on that side of the scrum to keep the 1-on-1 defence in check. But when Read makes the pass off the base, NZs 9 runs a shadow line to hold up the flanker and Genia to a slight degree before SBW and Gear run their decoys to add further confusion. Dagg is in no-one’s sights while it all plays out. Had they run it to the other side, Barnes could have left Carter to his flanker and pushed out 1 to mark the decoy (Nonu) leaving Faingaa to mark the next decoy (Jane) and Ioane is spare to cover Dagg’s run. Either side can be attacked but it’s all dependant on the way the defence sets up and how quick the 9 and flanker can cut Carter’s time and space.

  • bullrush

    Mean move…mean!!

    • The Rant

      Yep. As a rugby lover this was beautiful to watch. Even more so when you see how they were set for the scrum. Bet carter couldn’t wait to get get a midfield scrum.

  • Scott Allen

    The alternative way to defend the move is for Genia to leave the scrum and go back 5 metres on the right side of the field.

    That would give the Wallabies three primary defenders (plus cover coming) on each side of the field.

    Then the backrow covers the half back running and the inside ball (SBW), Genia takes Carter, Fainga takes Gear and AAC takes Dagg.

  • Skippy

    Correct Scott… I learnt way back in high school the best way to defend a mid field scrum is for the scrum half to move from the usual scrum base position and take up a position in the defensive line. Poor defensive structure and communication from the Wallabies…the All Blacks would have been laughing their heads off watching this on the reply. What’s even funnier is that it use to be the Wallabies who unleashed these sort of intelligent and creative moves on the All Blacks.

  • RedsfanDan

    Dear Scott,

    I don’t know how busy you are in your day to day life or what other projects you have running but I would like to request a full analysis/explanation of how you would go about picking apart the ABs using the current Wallaby squad. Tactics, set moves, even drills you would run to improve breakdown technique, scrummaging etc. Let your imagination run wild, pretend someone has handed you the reins and said “Whip these boys into shape and bring me the Bledisloe”. Please show the long suffering fans here what they are missing out on by having Deans in control instead of you.



    • Scott Allen

      Thanks Dan but I do have one or two other things I’ve got to do so can’t give you the full blown anlaysis/explanation but I’ll give you the short version of my views working only within the current squad of 30 (well almost):

      1. Fix the Wallabies scrum – you’d need two weeks with Kepu (once back from injury) to fix him – you’d need longer to re-train Robinson and to get him fit – in the meantime play Slipper at LH and move Robinson to to the bench;
      2. Moore starting over TPN who’d move to the bench;
      3. Douglas in for Timani and Simmons to remain on the bench;
      4. Now that Pocock is out, backrow of Dennis, Hooper and Higginbotham;
      5. Lots of conditioning work for forwards – they’d need to be fit to play the game plan;
      6. New base attacking structure for the forwards as their default – won’t go into too much detail here but they need to get into the required alignment quickly so Genia can deliver more quick ball (hence fitness work);
      7. Get the defensive lineout pressuring opposition;
      8. Approximately 10 lineouts and scrums in opposition half per game (excluding those close to try line which are opportunities for the forwards on 1st phase) – that’s 10 1st phase plays the backs will run (may be repeats of some moves with different options, not necessarily 10 different plays);
      9. Cooper to #10, Barnes to #12 – need two playmakers for all the 1st phase plays that would be run;
      10. Backline plays to be used not just on 1st phase – what have you got boys – let’s have some fun/adventure without being ridiculous;
      11. AAC to #13 – he converts the backline plays better than any other player in the squad in that channel;
      12. Cooper and Barnes provide dual kickers so from within own 40 play field position;
      13. Beale needs to take a break and get really fit like he was in 2010;
      14. With Beale dropping out of squad bring Shipperly in;
      15. Back three of Ioane, Mitchell and Shipperly with Mitchell at #15 where he’s always played well;
      16. No chip kicks allowed;
      17. Limited box kicking;
      18. 4/3 split on the bench;
      19. Use the bench earlier than is currently done.

      Probably more to add but how’d I do?

      • The Rant

        Quit your dayjob

      • The Other Dave


      • johnny-boy

        You’ve nearly got it Scott but not quite. I like James Slipper, he’s a Red after all, but his scrummaging is absolute crap. He needs a few weeks/years with Topo. I like Douglas and think he is the next up and comer but just a bit green to throw in against the Blacks or Boks right now. AWH took over from James Horwill at the Reds this year and the Reds pack barely noticed Horwills absence. He’s bloody good and just the
        sort of experienced smart dude we need right now. Gill brings much more to the Wallabys than Hooper and will surpass Pocock before long for his multi talents. As I have said before Deans putting Pocock under as much mental pressure as he can (eg taking him as only 7 to wc and making him captain) is asking a fairly tightly wound dude to stress up even more and end up injured and lo and behold, it has happened again.
        I’m sick to death of the Wallabies under Deans being picked on promise or development. It’s just a crap excuse to mask crap coaching.
        Tapaui is a much better 12 than Barnes (who is a great backup to have in the reserves) and if AAC is centre, our wingers will never get the ball, which given we have the world’s premier strike winger in Ioane, is monumentally stupid. Deans’ speciality. Mitchell is a great player when fully fit and confident. It’s a pity he’s not there yet.
        One day this Wallaby team will literally tear the All Blacks apart, again, and again, lead by Quade Cooper mesmerising them (que whiney kiwis) but it won’t be happening under kiwi dunce/stooge Deans’ watch in a hurry. Unfortunately the ex Wallabys on the ARU board like John Eales and George Greagn are too worried the current talented bunch will surpass their deeds and so prefer to see them suffer under the biggest coaching fraud in world rugby. Including PD clown.

        • spectator

          Deans is a top coach, and would not be easy to replace without losing something that wasn’t there before, however he is not quite as good a selector as he is a coach at times, which works abit against his strength & talents as a rugby coach in the nature of his sides at the top level i have spectated over the years :)

          I agree that this Wallaby team is capable of comfortable wins against A.B.s with greater strengths than that of the A.B.’s consistent overwhelming of other sides, & they are about the only team in the world you could say that about.

        • As a THP Slipper isn’t up to it at this time, but he is more than capable of playing LHP at Test level now.

      • RedsHappy


        ..and I think if you were head coach you’d appoint a top flight, specialist attack/backs coach with a track record of ingenuity, cunning and rigorous practice routines to perfect the type of innovative backs play the Wallabies were once known for. Say Jim McKay?

        The fact that the Wallabies backs have had no dedicated backs/attack coach (other than Deans himself) since 2007 is both laughable and wholly evident in their current clueless, lifeless ‘attack’.

      • Sledgey

        Great analysis, well done!

      • RedsfanDan

        Thanks Scott,

        You may not have to the time to write it all down but I be you’ve mulled it over once or twice ;).

        Is there any way we could convince the admins here to let you drop whatever else you’re doing for them and focus on the kind of analysis that could help mugs like me understand how to go about beating the ABs?

        I’ve never played the game in my life so I wouldn’t be much help with the analysis side of things but I can proof read. There must be some other folks hanging around here who could help out. Someone cover breakdown work, someone cover scrums, lineouts, backline moves, defensive patterns, how to drill players so they have the skills and know-how to react to changing situations etc. etc.

        The more I think about it, the more the idea sticks in my head and I want to see it happen, just not sure what I can do to help see it happen…

      • Excellent report and action plans Scott and totally support your thoughts.
        What hits me is the plain and simple words you use and the absence of coach speak waffle we hear too often.

  • spectator

    Great Vid.

    Beale had two un-marked A.B. outsides coming at him, with the line barely behind, that obviously created his hesitation on the tackle.

    Man for Man seems most straight forward defence & least complicated, but when it involves the opposition fullback up, the defence fullback obviously can’t come completely up.

    Barnes probably should of shadowed Carter though, although at same time, it was really the Genia play being sucked in by Williams that created the opportunity. The flank on that side should of been trusted or there for the inside channel, with the rest of the forwards & backline from other side fanning in to keep man on man numbers.

    To be super-critical, AAC could have shadowed the AB fullback if on to the situation, again backing the inside covering to mop up, or done a Fainga’a and basically taken a punt on a rush up smother tackle, at least taking one man out of the equation. Being in two minds, basically two AB outsides leaked through instead of one which wouldn’t have been so bad, particularly if on inside where covering players are, including a fullback, where as outside, it’s pretty much last guy is it.

    • spectator

      If had been one AB outside in the clear on the inside, then would of had to contend with being targeted by Beale (who’s very quick) from the outside in a straight line while not being in the AB’s direct line of sight and the inside covering defence fanning in, so would have been caught in a pincer against defenders with little room to off-foot them with -i.e. either side it’s a straight chase down.

  • D.

    “I just wish we’d see more plays like this from the Wallabies because this used to be our speciality.”

    One step further….

    I just wish we’d see decent rugby from the Wallabies because this used to be our speciality. 

  • BigNose

    For my money, one of the major defects with the WB defence of this play is AAC starting too wide. Because he’s too wide (reference the shot at 0:22), he has to turn *in* to track Gear which leaves him unable to react to the pass going to Dagg on the outside and unlikely to “bump” Gear as he runs through a tight channel with bodies infield.

    Beale should have smashed Dagg ( if for no other reason than for having the cheek to take him on down the outside instead of giving the simple inside pass) and AAC should have bumped Gear before that to take him out of the support line.

    But that’s easy to say from here. It was a joy to watch inventive back play well executed if I’m being honest.

    • Sledgey

      “and AAC should have bumped Gear before that to take him out of the support line”.

      You mean take a player out without the ball?
      I think there are better tactics than that don’t you?

      • Sledgey, it’s not a tackle, it’s just a bump.
        Anytime you can bump and turn your opponents hips, they lose speed and momentum and the impact made is barely, if at all noticeable.

  • dc

    i was at the game and watching Dagg when the scrum was set.

    It was astonishing to see how fast Dagg was and i think apart from the dummy switch it was his sheer pace that left him unsighted.

    So the Wallabies were too slow to react.

    But of course the master move came from Dan Carter.

    Brilliant coaching and execution.

  • Brumby Jack

    What are you doing on Saturday night Scott and do you have a passport?

    • Scott Allen

      Can’t go anywhere on Saturday night.

      There’s a test match on TV that I’ve got to watch!!!

  • Mick

    Bloody awesome analysis – breaks it all down so simply.

    I guess it begs the question – is the move defendable? (and if yes, how?)

    • Scott Allen

      As I posted earlier Genia leaves the scrum and goes back 5 metres in the defensive line on the right side of the field.

      That would give the Wallabies three primary defenders (plus cover coming) on each side of the field.

      Then the backrow covers the half back running and the inside ball (SBW), Genia takes Carter, Fainga takes Gear and AAC takes Dagg.

      • Mick

        Yep, I agree with Genia moving back in that situation. I also reckon Beale shouldn’t have been in the middle – he should’ve been slightly favouring the right side, so that he could get to the ‘wing’ channel a bit earlier, and make the tackle on Dagg that bit easier.

      • Nutta

        Gins leaving the scrum and retiring the 5m into the Fairy line is not an invitation to the AB No8 to run that same side ad still maintain the extra man? Catch 22. Gins either stays at the scrum and they go wide or he retires and play defaults to defending a No8 charge.

        I’m no Back. But one lesson I vividly recall is Brother Alexander backhanding Tim O’Brien in the U12’s after he took an inside ball-carrier and left the winger open because “You’re a winger Boy and a winger always stays on the widest man. NEVER LEAVE THE WIDEST MAN BOY. Let those inside clean up those inside.” Let me be clear, Bro Alexander was a prick. But he was right. If our wing stayed on the wide, would it have made a difference? Thoughts?

  • The Other Dave

    Tl;dr: Beale didn’t tackle.

    Nah, seriously, good video again, can’t fault that one; goes to show what happens when you actually run backline drills during training!

  • Mart

    The Wallabies were baffled by … rugby. Something we used to excel in!

  • Mart

    Another great analysis Scott.

    “11. AAC to #13 – he converts the backline plays better than any other player in the squad in that channel;”

    Baffles me why he hasn’t become the incumbent here. We’ve got plenty of outside backs to develop. Leave AAC at 13.

  • Deez

    Love the analysis – this is truly one of the best rugby sites for it.

    After watching the video a few times, I am still of the view that Barnes should have started behind the scrum to mirror his man – that way he can drift to follow Carter irrespective of which side he goes to (and therefore produce the 3 v 3 defence on right or left side).

    Bringing back Genia into the defensive line is an option, but in the current game I feel like the 9’s job in a defensive scrum is to put as much pressure on the opposite 9’s pass out of the scrum as possible rather than get back into the line and give the attacking team free reign to launch an attack. Both options, but felt like Barnes was wasted in the play.

  • Wes Force

    All, we need to get a petition (or something alike) together to get Scott Allen consulting to the Wallabies.

    We all get on here and have a whinge, but why not actually do something to make a change. Ideas people, how do we make this a reality?

  • Jjjj

    really good analysis and the Wallabies did fairly well defending it. Beale should’ve made his tackle and AAC probably had Gear covered again if Dagg had thrown it back inside. Beale more than anyone should’ve been ready for this move because we had been playing an up and in defence most of the night so they wide man is always his. I think Barnes lined up on the correct side of the scrum because Genia who is following the ball was going to have Carter covered. Genia was no chance of getting to Carter if they had run this play on the tight headside of the scrum.

  • In the centres

    Rule Number 1 – Hit the man with the Ball.

    Watching this over and over – Genia could have and should have made the tackle first up on Carter…….but he took the SBW dummy run hook line and sinker.

    100% its a beautiful move. We use to practice this type of alignment and options at training. Any others in the forum who played for a runninmg rugby club would also have practiced this. If you look up some old rugby coaching books you will find variations of this move with 3 or 4 backs lined up directly behind the scrum. You can almost guarantee that Steve Hansen has been looking at old coaching books and resurrecting moves that have long been forgotten.

    The moves themselves dont have to involve high risk passing under pressure, its all about comitment and dumy running.

    I agree – this is something that Australia use to be good at. WTF are our attacking coach staff doing????

    Hit the tapes and hit the books and give the Wallabies a Play Book.

  • Gibbo

    Hi Scott – Great analysis. The line that Higginbottom ran is pretty concerning.

    Dennis does the right thing – trailing for the inside carrier. HIggers basically follows him.

    As an eight I was always taught if its going to the blindside defenders side (this started mid field so Dennis was in the spot light) – Run a line at the corner post. Pick up the ball carrier at the corner or the inside pass.

    It was a poor read from Higgers, he should have been the safety net for Kurtley

  • Mickeyb

    GREAT analysis Scott!

    Given that we could wait an age for the Wallabies to develop set moves, why doesn’t GAGR run a competition for the Wallabies top 10 set moves for the Lions Tour?

    Bit late for TRC in more ways than one.

    Let’s open up the brains trust to all ardent bloggers to submit their top set moves and you could present them to Deans in person?

    You could show the all time top five Wallaby set moves to inspire us all!?

    Less bitchin and more fixin I say!

    Most Kiwis can’t read so there’s no risk of our IP being copied!

    What say ye all ardent rugby nutters? Our Kiwi coach needs our help……

    Umm, unless he wants to hand over to Link now?

  • Richard Rat

    Great work Scotty, let me tell you all a tale.
    For Aussie teams of yore that would have been a staple move, but we have seen a cancer creep into upper level coaching inAustralia and it has killed our game.
    That move now, if attempted by any Aussieplayers would be geeted with scorn and derision from the coaches, O’Connor in the 7’s, Nucifora and Eddy in the u20’s – they would all say NO, if you get isolated yo run the chance of turnover.
    In the recent U20 tour of Seth Efrika those type of runs were ‘banned’ by the coaching staff for that very reason, Michael O’Connor regularly berates players who while maybe making a reasonable gain in territory run the risk of isolation and I am sure the same sentiment is shown at Wallaby level.
    We (Australian rugby) is being run by a bunch of mamby pamby defeatists whose only objective is to do whatever it take to prevent a loss, don’t risk anything, don’t have a go justin case you turn the ball over.
    It’s a cancer and I’m not too sure there is a ready made cure as it is so deeply ingrained in our coaching ethos right now.

  • Linus

    I think your work is great and the key to the play’s successful is it simplicity to have 3 clear options with the ball in Carter’s hands and Dagg’s speed to get to the outside. But there are at least 2 ways I would suggest to defend other than your option of Genia back to the line.

    Option 1 Straight up

    I think Genia can defend this from the scrum, if he trusts his flanker (and no.8) to take SBW. It’s still a risk that Faingaa comes in on Carter but the 2nd angle show him tracking Carter and stopping the make a tackle on SBW with the two loosies in tow, both are a step slow for him to be convinced to stay on Carter,and it is clear he has not recognised Dagg looping behind to make the extra man, thinking he has only Carter and Gear for Ant and AAC to defend. So the crucial decision here is Genia to recognise at the start that it is a two man play to the short side, not the one man that he defends.

    Option 2 Middle defender matching the attack

    I’d also suggest that Barnes defending in the centre is an alternative, if he is able to track the inside ball there is a much greater chance Genia is able to stay on Carter. On the other side Pocock has to defend Carter knowing he has Barnes and a trailing Higgers to defend Nonu running the inside ball. But unless they have seen this before 9 times out of ten Pocock would drop off the ball and leave the same 3 on 2 with Horne and Digby having to gamble on who to leave. But none the less the key to defnding this is knowing your defensive responsibilities. If I know that I must defend the No. 10 then I can’t cheat off on another defender sliding to the inside. Key to this working is tight set up inside (both 13 and 11 close) and a hard slide to the outside, the only way to defend a 3 on 2 is be inside the ball and pushing towards the sideline so you can slide when the pass is made, giving ground but not allwoing the attack to get behind.

    Other options I’d like to add in a gambling (and fast) winger may disrupt this by playing an up and in defence. His job is too get in between the 10 and winger, as you see in league all the time this causes the 10 to have to drop off to the 2nd man (Dagg) earlier allowing Ant F (in this case) a chance to switch off the 1st man and try to cover to the 2nd man with the fullback.

    Beale is really too deep and this play is again able to be defended if it’s in the 22 as the fullback can act as the last man cover and tracks Dagg all the way across the field to attempt a tackle just behind the A line rather than 15 m back from this.

    Beautiful play and very well executed get you the points on most days.

  • Red Heavy

    Hate to over simplify this but the move works because Genia doesn’t mark his man (Carter). Which breaks his shape with the 2 outside defenders forcing them to jam instead of the slide or jockey D.
    SBW was marked by 6 and 8 with no doubt pocock and barnes not too far behind.
    Genia knew it was his man thats why he wasn’t up pressuring the 8/9 at the base of the scrum instead staying back for the correct running line

  • Nickwaiheke

    Even as a darkness supporter this sums up for me why you must put down the dingo, he has taken the life out of your attack You guys used to be famous for this sort of attack
    How many times have I punched a wall or head butted the floor in the old days when you cut us up ?
    You certainly by far have the best rugby site if that’s any consolation !

All Blacks

Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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