VIDEO: The Sharks' attack versus the Reds - Green and Gold Rugby

VIDEO: The Sharks’ attack versus the Reds

VIDEO: The Sharks’ attack versus the Reds

Last week I picked the Reds to win by 10 but I didn’t factor in the Sharks coming out with a brilliant game plan that threw the Reds off balance (or the Reds’ Number 10 curse returning).

As I showed you in my preview video, the Sharks’ attack is usually built on pods of forwards punching the ball at the line without a lot of width. They concentrate on getting numbers in support so that once the ball carrier is brought to ground they can dominate the ruck and ensure quick ball for the next phase.

Once the forwards get the opposition going backwards they have the option to move the ball wide. It might seem simple but as with most things in rugby, the simple things done really well are the most effective.

Given the way the Reds set up to defend in last weekend’s game, they obviously planned to stop the Sharks’ forward pods getting on a roll by using multiple defenders in pods of their own to try to bring the ball carrier down early, and then throw numbers into the ruck to slow the ball.

Committing numbers against the Sharks’ forward pods leaves space in other areas, and the Sharks exploited that space by having their forwards offloading the ball to extend each phase. And whenever they saw the Reds committing numbers to defend the next forward pod, they moved the ball wider outside the defensive pods.

The execution of both of those elements was exceptional and it left the Reds scrambling to get their defensive line re-organised, and then keep it organised for more than a phase at a time. In a very clinical display, every time space opened up in the Reds’ defensive line the Sharks identified the opportunity and took advantage of it.

To demonstrate this, I’ve picked out two clips from within the first 10 minutes that show the pressure the Sharks were applying to the Reds’ defensive line.

[youtube id=”vYVm34uYyag” width=”600″ height=”350″]

  • Great post Scott.

    Watching that period, I couldn’t help thinking the Reds looked like they were only playing with 12 men. Turned out it was just they had them in the wrong parts of the field.

    Very foxy from Plumtree you gotta say

    • mxyzptlk

      Funny, I was going to say it looked like the Sharks were playing with 18 men.

  • johnny-boy

    No doubt the Sharks were good. Very good. You take out Genia’s intercept pass and Gill’s no try which Lynden Bray now says should have been a try (despite plenty of armchair experts who aren’t head of the referees committee and don’t have 20 years experience in referring saying it shouldn’t be – good grief) then the Reds did remarkably well really even tho they were a having a real bad hair day and were sorely missing their inspirational captain and magic playmaker. (eg Crusaders without Carter and McCaw). Unfortunately the Reds were always going to be a risk of having have one of those post orgasmic championship years but the portents for next year I woud suggest are very very good. We’re going to miss Higginbotham big time but hopefully someone will step up. Hopefully McKenzie will be Australian coach as well by then and the natural order will be restored :).

  • Grease gun

    Wasn’t Link comprehensively out coached by Plumtree? I’m not sure how this arrangement between the, so far, untested and largely mediocre, R Graham and E McKenzie will work for the Reds next year. It may give Link some space from results so that the Walla appointment is not contingent on the Reds success though. I like Link but maybe this exposes the, shallow, depth of Oz coaching.

  • billybobv

    I love these analyses, please continue doing them!

  • Kiap

    Plumtree must haver read your preview and adjusted his gameplan accordingly.

    • vidiot

      Yeah, thanks for nuffin, Scott!

      Weird effort from Link and the boys. With this, Genia to 10 and the odd mix of jubilation and self-satisfaction coming out of the reds camp all week before the game – like scraping into the final was the job done – it was a half-arsed effort.

    • Robson

      Not entirely outside the realm of possibilities I suppose.


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.

More in Rugby

  • Wednesday’s Rugby News

    Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at a possible change for the Wallabies, O’Connor’s role heading forward, the Reds...

  • Tuesday’s Rugby News

    Tuesday’s Rugby News Looks at the All Blacks squad, what colour is gold, more recruits for the...

  • Monday’s Rugby News

    Monday’s Rugby News recaps an exciting round of club rugby, Irae Simone ready to jump at a...

  • Friday’s Rugby News

    Friday’s Rugby News sees a Game of To Knee or Not to Knee,  Someone Doing Exactly What They...