Autumn Internationals: How England Can Beat the Tri-Nations
Martin Johnson has yet to still start his reign as manager. His time to manage his first game comes this Autumn with possibly three of the hardest matches any team could play.
This autumn the elite of England will go head to head with the cream of the Southern Hemisphere that are New Zealand, South Africa and Austraila.
If it isn't enough for Johnson to conduct his players out on to twickenham to face this monumentous task, you have to face the Tri-nations.
So, here are my ideas on how to beat the three main southern hemisphere teams.
There first opponents after the Pacific Isles game, are the Wallabies.
After an encouraging start with new coach Robbie Deans pushing New Zealand all the way this Tri-nations the Aussies will be full of confidence.
The first thing I would target are the Half-backs.
They have a very inexperienced Scrum Half in Luke Burgess who loves to snipe around the edge of rucks and tends to over play sometimes. Show him small gaps, so you can attack him and disrupt their attack.
Matt Giteau is fast becoming one of the best attacking talents in the world. So you cannot give him any room to attack at all. His main flaw is his tendency to drift so your Fly Half needs to come from the outside in to defend him and to stop drawing your defence wide.
He is also prone to what is more like a cross field pass, so your winger needs to keep his eye on the wings and try and intercept his attempt to put the ball wide.
When playing against Austraila you need to attack the lineout.
Nathan Sharpe is vital to the Wallabies in the lineout as a main jumper, if you can stop him from getting ball, they will find it very hard to play without possession from set piece.
When it comes to South Africa the first thing is you need to blitz in the centres. Outside they have serious pace when it comes to Habana, and he can't make an effect if he doesn't have the ball.
The same goes for when kicking the ball away. You can't afford to give him easy ball.
When it comes to set piece, Victor Matfield is a giant for the Boks in the lineout, he is probably one of the best lineout technicians in the world. So you need to make sure you have at least two jumpers that can cope with him, and so that you can keep the ball away from him in the air.
If the Springboks use Percy Montgomery as a full back you need to pressure him. Percy cannot handle high balls and is very prone to mistakes if he is pressured. Give him high balls, use good chasers. Drill the ball into the corners again with good chasers, keep him moving and he will be a mess.
Now England's last game the All Blacks.
I will start with the lineout. The AB's lineout is a well known flaw in their set piece. Ali Williams is their main jumper and still not an established one. Put your best jumper on him and don't allow him ball.
Their back row isn't capable of getting consistent ball either. So frustrate them at the lineout and that is a good start.
When you play New Zealand you need a kicker with a good kicking game to be able to play the possession game. When kicking for territory you need to make sure the ball is kicked into the crowd to stop any chance of a counter attack.
Play field possession, then disrupt the lineout. First job.
Now how do you stop the best openside flanker in the world in Richie McCaw?
Well first phase ball you need top attack him. Run at him make him make the first tackle. Clear him out off the ball and attack from the second and third phase. Running at him making him hit the first tackle will increase your chance of quick ball.
Now how do you stop the best fly half in the world that is Dan Carter?
To be frank there isn't many ways you can looking at his play its very hard to find a flaw in the way he plays. So in that case you need to get at his half back partner. Ellis or Cowan.
Both young and fairly inexperienced you need to get to them as quick as possible. They are both capable at international level but both delivieries are quite slow so it would ideal to make the Blindside target the nine with the eight or seven going for Carter to disrupt the flow of the ball.
There it is, that is how to beat the Tri-nations.
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