It’s not been the most inspirational Six Nations so far but it has had its moments, and the two games that have jumped out at me the most have been Wales vs Ireland, mainly because of the sheer impact it’s had on the tournament, and Scotland vs England because it was a superb advert for running Rugby in which both teams decided to cut loose and give it a go.
It produced Four superb tries the pick of which I think was Mark Bennett’s for Scotland, which we’ll look at in a little more detail below.
The try comes from a clever lineout that looks to exploit England’s defensive set up. Robshaw has dropped into the 10 position and England are playing without a scrum half, with Hartley covering the tail of the line out. Scotland having seen this are looking primarily to get Seymour through the line out and into that space behind either making Robshaw come in or getting Young’s to cover across – either way it’s about committing players you don’t want committed to the tackle area.
They follow this up with an attack pattern that is focused on generating fast ruck ball and attacking the 9/10 channel causing the England defence to fold in, and to keep England’s heavy pack moving quickly across the pitch. The thing I find most impressive about the sequence of play is the speed and precision of execution, a bad pass, or one wrong option at this pace and the whole moves breaks down, yet Scotland manage to play at a breakneck tempo I’ve not seen in the NH for a long time.
Key to the whole attack sequence is how Laidlaw runs the move, constantly probing and moving the England defenders off their defensive positions without ever committing them to the tackle – for a scrum half not known for his running game he’s demonstrates a pretty capable grasp of sniping that reminds me a lot of the legendary Roy Laidlaw, one of my favourite scrum halfs of all time.
In fact Scotland have been my favourite team this year, of course as an Englishman I want England to do well, but I also want to see some good rugby and as previously mentioned I think Cotter has got Scotland playing some nice quick tempo rucking based Rugby and I think it suits them. But if we previously saw their preferred attack pattern I think this time around we got to see a development to their game which sees them executing multiphase strike moves that have clearly been planned on good video analysis.
Author: The Dead Ball Area
Graeme Forbes has run The Dead Ball Area since 2014.
You can find his material on Green and Gold Rugby, Rugbydump Coaching and Youtube. You can also find him randomly arguing with people on Twitter.