Specmagic is a team effort

Oom Rugby

Hi guys. The first round of Super Rugby action is finished and there is a lot to talk about. But today I want to take a specific look at the second try of Rosko Specman against the Stormers because, as with anything in rugby, the closer we look the more we see!

It all start with a poor exit kick by Stormers 15 Marais from near his own 5m line. Normally we want to kick properly out in a situation like this, but Marais hook the ball and it stay in play.

Credit to the Bulls who is well set and we see Brits carry it straight back to his support, as we see in the picture below. The man to keep our eye on is Specman on the top right. He put pressure on the Stormers kickers and now he is returning to play.

But what is interesting is that he is not returning to his position on the left wing… he is heading for the middle of the field. It can be because Kriel took up Specman’s position on the left when he chased, but it is also possible that it is a broken play situation, and now Specman have a role to play to possibly exploit a disorganised defence.

The Bulls recycle from Brits, carry to the left with Vermeulen, and again to the left with Jenkins as we see below. We can see the value of big carries when we notice how many defenders getting sucked into these battles. Every big carrier is like flypaper that attract tacklers, and every positive ruck is like a obstacle that the poor folding defenders must negotiate as they chase the ball. The Bulls is doing the hard work now that will pay off later.

But again the man to look at below is Specman. He is sitting outside first receiver Pollard, scanning and waiting for opportunities appearing.

The Bulls recycle from Jenkins and below we can see Pollard take it up, which will take three defenders out of the game. The Stormers is slowly but surely losing the numbers game…

Do you also notice Specman hanging around inside? He is watching and waiting.

But now I want to draw your attention to the “unsung” hero of the Specman try – Warrick Gelant. You can see him running a pass support line off Pollard’s carry.

But in the next picture below we see that he immediately adjust when Pollard take contact. He is sealing and fighting successfully against De Allende and the prop Vermaak. It is quite hard to change from a committed run support line to a cleaning action like this. It firstly help that the dominant carry by Pollard against Willemse meant Gelant did not have to go backwards to then come in and clean.

But you must also be switched on to read the carry and quickly change your action, and you must have the technical ability to enter the ruck correctly and then to clean successfully. This kind of thing will make Alan Zondagh very happy as he is a firm believer that good technical ability mean you do not have to overcommit support. So you start to win the numbers game.

Now the Bulls changes direction and carry to the right as we see Liebenberg take it up again below. Why this tight carry? Firstly, the Bulls is forcing more rucks, and more folding. When a team is not defensively switched on, THIS is where they start to make mistakes on getting correct numbers up and connected on each side of the ruck. Secondly, Liebenberg was hunting loose forwards, as we can see both Du Toit and Kolisi involved in the tackle area. This mean it is mostly backs and tight forwards involved in defence on the next phase.

But again the guy to watch is Gelant. He is running back after his clean at the ruck, and at the same time he is scanning the Stormers defence. He have seen a opportunity, and now he call for the ball back to the left hand side.

Papier oblige and the Bulls change direction. Below we see Gelant take the ball nice and flat, carry to the line, and then delay his pass beautifully for Specman who have been hanging around like a hungry Jack Russell at a braai.

The Stormers just became too disorganised as the Bulls went through phases, and eventually we see a mess up in the transition zone with Vermaak and Schickerling losing connection when the Bulls came back left. For a Sevens guy like Specman to run at a prop and a lock is like Christmas.

Another angle below. Bulls doing everything right in the lead up to the try, and then keeping width with Kriel and Odendaal to stretch and stress the Stormers further. Hard work and intelligence from Gelant, and awareness, patience and the clinical strike from Specman closing the deal.

As we can see, a lot of work by a lot of people go into a try like this. It is not just “Sevens magic”. First we must create the conditions for people like Rosko to have a chance to get a linebreak. It is about working hard off the ball, carrying at the right places at the right times with the right players, good technique, awareness, and communication.

I think it is also about utilising the Seven’s players in the right way. No use to just stick them on the wing where there is no space… rather try to get them involved as the Bulls did, so that the Blitzbok killer instinct can strike when the time is right.

DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans

- Oom Rugby

Let's chat

  • Kirsten Schreuder

    It’s nice to read somebody’s English that’s worse than mine! Good summary of events though. Dankie oom!

    • SweetAz

      Another Schrodinger? Surely God can’t be that cruel, I’m not a cat person at all.

      • John Comyn

        It’s Herman incognito! Sorry take that back. It can’t be.

        • Barry

          No John, far too brief, all’s ok. Lol

  • Dawie

    Excellent presentation.. so easy….

  • Barry

    Rosko is older school 7’s so no doubt skills he picked up from Paul Treu! Adds a bit to the irony!

    • SweetAz

      Is Treu your son in law or a secret crush?- You seem to have a hardon for the guy.

      • Barry

        No less than Fleck being yours. More to the point, what bit is inaccurate in my post? – I’m pretty sure that Rosko would have a very healthy respect for Paul Treu and for good reason!

        Reality, I believe Treu was shafted Fleck felt threatened and instead of embracing the wealth of knowledge, he left Treu in the corner counting the marbles!

        They had an “independent” investigation to have a look at that – a bunch of Lawyers who were paid by WPR….Your a worldly bloke, I’m sure you can follow that.

        You mentioned in an earlier post that the players would not follow Treu, but you know that is primarily based on Blogs by Rob Houwing who made these suggestions “allegedly”. In the same article there were also claims that DHL the sponsors had threatened to withdraw should Treu not resign. The next morning DHL issued a press statement categorically denying that. So how much more of Houwings blog was bull dust?

        I’m not really suggesting that Treu would be the savior of WP, but he has served SA with great distinction both as a player and a coach and is deserving of better treatment! He has huge rugby IP on offer, something that we are very good at discarding in SA. It seems we have another victim!

        There is certainly disquiet amongst the players and for good reason, but are you sure that your Son-in-law, Robbie, still has command of the change room? Perhaps that has more to do with current state of affairs than anything Treu has done!

        • Dean Bright

          Well said Barry and I totally agree with you, he should be treated better. He’s been a loyal servant to rugby in SA for many years now. Again, I agree, no wonder so many leave SA. Who would stay and be treated so poorly when they can make way more money overseas in a PROFESSIONAL environment.

        • SweetAz

          LOL,- let’s just agree to disagree. I’m not questioning Treu’s credentials, he is, unfortunately (for him) just the visible part of an agenda run by the coloured mafia in the WP to dominate and take over all the rugby structures in the Province. You only have to look at the drive to get him to replace Smal after this fiasco to realize the whole thing is agenda driven. As such its become factionalized and I don’t think ANY of the factions has the change room. I’ve stated MANY times I’m not a Fleck fan, in fact, I think he is a worse coach than Treu but unfortunately, the things that have been said and alleged precludes EITHER of them from having any positive outcomes at the union.

          Hence my suggestion the Stormers Franchise splits totally from the WPRU and establishes its own totally independent professional structures

          As to his victimhood, he will just have to stand in line behind the hundreds of Pro players plying their trade overseas because of a perceived bias in the quota system.

  • Chris Mouton

    Oom, your analyses really make my day every time! That was brilliantly spotted and analysed. Let’s hope the Bulls can keep up the good work!

  • Chris

    Would be nice to see Fleck utilise Senatla in this way instead of just sticking him on the wing every weekend to interact with the Newlands crowd instead of centres that doesn’t pass anyway and hope for overlaps.

  • Sharky

    Oom, SuperSport could do with someone like you. Or maybe an All Out Rugby video podcast is required? I’d definitely watch half an hour of you dissecting teams’ performances.

    • Sharky

      Come on Mr Lanning, the people have spoken. Make it happen!! You can even stick a ribbon of advertisements across the bottom :)

    • Albert

      A vote for Oom’s Rugby vlog! And get Fleck and co. to watch it too for some pointers. Lol

    • Chris Mouton

      Hear hear! I’d be very keen for that!

    • Eben

      I would love to watch a program like that too. Its like watching the science of rugby

      • Koos

        Agree Eben. Would be awesome to some proper analysis on SA teams.

      • Jay

        Yep. Count me in too

  • Dean Bright

    Specman is like a sweeper. He’s roaming around in the backline looking for opportunities. Essentially he’s a scrummie in Sevens, maybe that has had a big effect on his awareness of space in tight spaces.

  • dbaggins

    Thanks Oom
    Really highlights the value of team cohesion and understanding space. Beautifully explains how important technique and tactical abilities work to create opportunities. A great summary for any coach to use.

Comments are closed.