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Thread: The game they play in Canterbury

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor
    Burgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Country WA

    The game they play in Canterbury

    Well don't just TALK about it!!!

    The game they play in Canterbury

    Saturday, April 14, 2007


    Those at the bottom of the Super 14 table are looking admiringly at those at the top - and believe nothing will change. They are as adamant that the Crusaders system is the way to success as they are it will win the New Zealand province another Super 14 title next month.

    According to NSW coach Ewen McKenzie and his Queensland counterpart Eddie Jones, a Crusaders-Blues Super 14 final on May 19 is looming - with the Crusaders outright favourites to win their seventh Super 12/14 trophy.

    McKenzie admits being a long-time Crusaders admirer, believing their approach the game is the ultimate in rugby professionalism and an example to every other major province.

    "You can't help but think it will be a final involving Auckland and the Crusaders - with the Crusaders to win," McKenzie said yesterday. "I just like the way the Crusaders play the game. They are a good team to watch, because even when their main players are out they maintain a try-scoring consistency.

    "Auckland have an X-factor, but I just believe the Crusaders will be backing themselves, because with all their experienced players, they know the right buttons to push, and the right guys to target. When you play those local derbies, you always seem to know a bit more about the detail. And Canterbury are so good at exposing weaknesses. If they played each other, you'd have to back Canterbury."

    Jones agreed.

    "What stands out about Canterbury is their catch-and-pass game. It is so much better than everyone else," Jones said. "Canterbury have had a system in place since about 1998 when Wayne Smith started there. And it has just been consistent. All their sides do the same sort of skill work. They have an understanding of how they want to play the game. They educate their coaches.

    "It is an example every other organisation wants to follow. They have stability, and they also recruit well. A number of their players have been recruited at a young age into the Canterbury system, and they just develop them."

    Jones added that the New Zealand system offered many clues to what Australia had to do to improve its standards, in particular player skill levels.

    "Why they are so good is basically because they play so much rugby," Jones said. "It is the only sport they play. I was amazed to find out the other week that the top schools in Queensland play something like 15 games a year. That's just not enough. When we were kids we played 30 games a year. We played Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. That was your normal week - three games a week. We have to get our kids playing more games of rugby. That's how we'll improve their skills."

    McKenzie advised any coach to watch the Crusaders pre-match game drill.

    "Before our last game with the Crusaders, I watched them in the warm-ups, which was very interesting," McKenzie said. "While every other team is practising elements of the game, Canterbury practise fundamental skills. They did a simple unopposed drill where there were five guys passing across the line, across the line, and it sped up. They probably did about 40 lengths just before they went into the dressing room. There wasn't one bad pass or one dropped ball. And that involved every player. There was just waves of it - backwards and forwards.

    "They have such confidence in that skill base, and that's what allows them to take the risk during the game, because they know the skill base will match it. Canterbury are also so disciplined in not signing anyone who doesn't fit the bill. They're strong enough in their program and confident enough in their method that they don't bring in anyone who is going to compromise it.

    "Look at Kieran Read. People are saying who is Kieran Read? But he has filled in for them and been a dynamic player. He's played second row, been on the side of the scrum, scored a couple of tries, and fills Chris Jack's role to a tee. He's popping up in different places, such as the wing. He just has the skill set. He's been in the system and they bring him through. It is just a seamless transition, and they haven't suffered on the scoreboard."

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  2. #2
    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    the beach
    i agree we should play more games thats one of the reason nz are better then australia at rugby. im sure nz club rugby is a big step ahead of nsw and qld. like eddie said when they were yound they played 3 games a week but now its down to 1 game a week and only for a few months. although they probly played union saturday, league sunday, and touch wednesday.

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