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Physical imposition rugby – the Sydney University system

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Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
Actually the Bulls' ... primary combo at 12 and 13 is Olivier and Jaco Pretorius. Both ar big, straight running, hard tackling players and play like a loose forward at the ruck (I know for instance that they run breakdown drills with the forwards and a lot of work goes into their body position at ruck time). ...

When Olivier got injured the Bulls played JL Potgieter, a first five, at 12 and at times they really battled, especially on defense. He got tackled back often and just did not suit their natural style. Later when Jaco (13) got injured they played JL at 13 (an even bigger disaster) ...

So to get to my point. The Bulls plan needs munters at 12 and 13 with a 12 that can vary it a bit. Now in my opinion THE most important thing about centres in the game plan we are discussing is awareness of lines and space. They need to be able to know how to run off other people, and position themselves all the time. Olivier is very good at this.

This is also why Conrad is so good for the blacks. He is big and strong, and not necessarily a mega skilled player but jeez, nobody in the world has awareness of lines like this bloke. He creates space where there appears to be nothing on.

Blue, this reinforces the point you were making earlier about the Sydney Uni style being quite similar to that used by the Bulls and the All Blacks.

By the way, what is a "munter"? According to Wiktionary in England it is slang for "an ugly woman" while in New Zealand it is slang for "a drinker of alcohol, especially a heavy drinker". Presumably in the Republic it means something else again.
 

Gnostic

Mark Ella (57)
Very dominant tactics for Uni winning the last 12 games? on the trot. However those same tactics were not as effective with the next tier down before a lot of players started to return from Super duty.

I would also say that the tactics (and many of the players) are not dissimilar to how the Tahs seek to play and we know that they do indeed grind out some close wins but they lose as many closely as well.
 

DPK

Peter Sullivan (51)
By the way, what is a "munter"? According to Wiktionary in England it is slang for "an ugly woman" while in New Zealand it is slang for "a drinker of alcohol, especially a heavy drinker". Presumably in the Republic it means something else again.

Try "Urban Dictionary", it's quite good for keeping up with this stuff.
 

Blue

Andrew Slack (58)
Blue, this reinforces the point you were making earlier about the Sydney Uni style being quite similar to that used by the Bulls and the All Blacks.

By the way, what is a "munter"? According to Wiktionary in England it is slang for "an ugly woman" while in New Zealand it is slang for "a drinker of alcohol, especially a heavy drinker". Presumably in the Republic it means something else again.

Lol I seem to think in SA it is used as slang for a "big ugly nasty bugger". I could be wrong, or half right, depending who you ask. :) If I am wrong I will play "English is my third language" card as is usually convenient ;)
 

topo

Cyril Towers (30)
If we go back to September 11, topo, less than a month ago, only four of the team that played against Penrith had any connection to the Waratahs.

Your original (excellent) post referred to the style of rugby demonstrated in the grand final. On that day there were 7 players from the Waratahs playing. I am not sure, but I suspect that the players from the other Super Rugby teams would have strength and conditioning programs determined by their respective Super Rugby teams as well. Uni sets up a program for its elite player squad and it must be OK because a lot of players graduate from there to Super Rugby teams, but once they have graduated I think this stuff is out of Uni's hands.
 

naza

Alan Cameron (40)
Torn, I don't think that the physical imposition style necessarily means the demise of smaller players. Berrick Barnes seems to thrive in this type of game but the Waratahs list his weight at 87kg. Last December he also won their strongman competition which included chin ups, farmer's walk, iron cross, body weight bench press, lifting a 40kg log overhead, and rowing machine, although it is interesting that these events were very much focussed on the upper body. This presumably reflects the Waratahs thinking on what is most important in physical conditioning.

Any comment on what SKILLS work Sydney Uni are doing ? Cause grooming crashball meatheads who can't step up at Super rugby level is not doing us many favours.

It looks to me like these Uni guys struggle with basic ball skills. Catch and pass is beyond them. I've seen 5 year olds play Pass the Parcel with better execution.
 

cyclopath

Stirling Mortlock (74)
Staff member
Any comment on what SKILLS work Sydney Uni are doing ? Cause grooming crashball meatheads who can't step up at Super rugby level is not doing us many favours.

It looks to me like these Uni guys struggle with basic ball skills. Catch and pass is beyond them. I've seen 5 year olds play Pass the Parcel with better execution.

Were all those tries penalty tries?
Some good stuff coming from naza again - he's back in form after a mid-season slump. :)
 

Cutter

Nicholas Shehadie (39)
Naza also has a point. Uni, for as long as I can remember, have played a game plan where they have 7 athletes (two locks, often halflings, three backrowers and two centres) as crashballers. Its easy to read in defence, but you have to keep making your tackles. Uni always have a good set piece and take advantage of that as well. They also play field position and are hard at the contact areas.

I don't buy into Bruce's theory that they have developed a revolutionary, unbeatable style of rugby based on a revolutionary strength training program. What they do best is attract talent. As much as Bruce denies this, they started offering incentives to colts players in around 1996 or 97 and they've continued to do so ever since. They also attract some grade level players, again starting with Mark Catchpole in 96 or 97 and continuing to date.

Their gameplan is simple and effective. They have good systems and, I'm sure, good strength and conditioning programs. But most of this is based on being better resourced than all other Shute Shield clubs. They've been playing the same style for the best part of 12 years and, in the past 8-10 years in particular, have a stronger playing roster than anyone else. When I first started playing, come grand final time, you would be playing against Waratahs squad players in the Randwick reserve grade team. The same is now the case for Uni.
 

Newb

Trevor Allan (34)
this is nagging me. am i wrong in assuming that a lot of the players in uni's gf team do the majority of their training out of the year away from the club team? bruce's theory brings up some good points, but it would seem to apply more to colts and lower grade teams that do most of their training with the club, no?

with a few players straight back from the wallabies and several others in super15 set ups, how much opportunity would they have to train in this "uni style" during the year? a few weeks? perhaps a couple months?

i'm not well informed when it comes to shute shield and club level operations. so feel free to inform me better if i'm off.

as a side point, wouldn't high level athletes want/require consistency in their training habits? it was pointed out that the wallabies and uni squads train nearly the opposite of each other. how does that help anyone? obviously there will be differences to any strength and conditioning program, but going from one regiment to another every 2-3 months with the change from club to super to international teams just sounds idiotic.
 

Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
I don't buy into Bruce's theory that they have developed a revolutionary, unbeatable style of rugby based on a revolutionary strength training program.

They've been playing the same style for the best part of 12 years .

Cutter, there are just two points you have raised that I choose to comment on.

Could you please point out exactly where I have said or intimated that Sydney Uni have developed an "unbeatable style of rugby"?

With regard to your assertion that Uni have been "playing the same style for the best part of 12 years", it is clear that one of us lacks any real capacity to analyse playing styles.
 

Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
this is nagging me. am i wrong in assuming that a lot of the players in uni's gf team do the majority of their training out of the year away from the club team? bruce's theory brings up some good points, but it would seem to apply more to colts and lower grade teams that do most of their training with the club, no?

with a few players straight back from the wallabies and several others in super15 set ups, how much opportunity would they have to train in this "uni style" during the year? a few weeks? perhaps a couple months?

i'm not well informed when it comes to shute shield and club level operations. so feel free to inform me better if i'm off.

as a side point, wouldn't high level athletes want/require consistency in their training habits? it was pointed out that the wallabies and uni squads train nearly the opposite of each other. how does that help anyone? obviously there will be differences to any strength and conditioning program, but going from one regiment to another every 2-3 months with the change from club to super to international teams just sounds idiotic.

Thanks, newb. There is a major problem arising from the fact that players train under different training regimes throughout the course of a year. Wallabies - Super - club or Sevens - Super - club for instance.

This year the Super 14 players came back to train with Uni from the end of that competition, that is, four months of training with the Club with a couple of significant exceptions. Last year the Waratah-contracted players were permitted to do all their training post Super 14 with the Club, something that all the players took full advantage of. This year they were denied that opportunity for reasons best known to the Waratahs hierarchy. In the event all but three of the players in that category came and did serious strength training with Uni.

The other exceptions were the Wallabies players. Their masters decreed that they would be better served getting ready for the Shute Shield finals series by running multiple circuits of the Moore Park Hills twice a week than doing serious strength training.

I could not agree more with your final paragraph. It would be interesting to know which regimen the players would opt for. I know the views of some of them.
 

Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
as a side point, wouldn't high level athletes want/require consistency in their training habits? it was pointed out that the wallabies and uni squads train nearly the opposite of each other. how does that help anyone? obviously there will be differences to any strength and conditioning program, but going from one regiment to another every 2-3 months with the change from club to super to international teams just sounds idiotic.

One important point that I haven't mentioned is that the system developed by Martin Harland and Tim Leahy at Sydney University, which has no real counterpart elsewhere as far as I know, enables players to do heavy strength training year round.

Any training system that appears to produce both superior strength gains and an enhanced capacity to maintain intensity for a full 80 minutes warrants serious investigation.
 

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
@Bruce Ross, The above statements were made at the end of Season 2010. From my observations of the Sydney Uni televised games this year, they seem to have been less physically imposing, but appear to have been more reliant on their aerobic fitness to run other teams down.

Has there been a change in training and S&C philosophy at Uni, or do you think that the other clubs developed their own equivalent of physical imposition rugby in the intervening 4 seasons?

S&C coaches at all levels seem to have become a lot more "professionial" in their craft over the last few years, along with improvements in sports science (and not just the Stephen Dank version of sport science).
 

I like to watch

David Codey (61)
IMO Uni's playing style has changed dramatically since then.
They played 10 man Rugby in all grades,even the girls.
Lately they have been playing a much more running game.
 

Pfitzy

Jason Little (69)
Yeah but I also think other clubs have started putting a bit more effort (particularly financially) into their top two grades in order to bring themselves up to a level Uni had been running with for years.

Its whether they can sustain it (again: financially) that is the question.

A small anomaly on the equation of Uni versus everyone else is that Cheika is openly challenging players to come from anywhere - so its not like people are just going to Uni to get a Waratahs cap any more.

Slight effect, but present.
 

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
I'm interested in whether they still have the same S&C philosophy and practices that "enables players to do heavy strength training year round." That seemed to be a foundation stone underpinning the strategy described in this thread by @Bruce Ross.
 
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