Lads a few weeks ago I was asked to play in an invitational charity match. Not the kind of thing you can say no to right? I mean charity is charity hey.

Anyway the plan was this that we’d have players from everywhere (I mean everywhere, props with premiership experience done to a guy who’d never even touched a rugby ball before and everyone in between) and we wouldn’t take it too seriously. Just try and throw the ball around a bit and play sexy rugby. The team we were playing against was a team in one of the English leagues who hadn’t actually been beaten this season so it was always going to be tough but you do what you can hey.

That kind of leads onto the first thing I learnt

  1. If you’re a rugby player then you’re probably playing to win

    I mentioned before that we had a prop who was kind of handy. Well in his first carry he busted some guys eye open and made about 30 metres. Now obviously he had skills and was used to a higher standard of rugby but what I want to bring up is that when it came to game time he didn’t hold back. He wasn’t going out to hurt people or play dirty he just knew he had a job to do and he did it.

  2. Size doesn’t beat skills

    The team we played against , with a few exceptions, bigger than us. Especially the guys who didn’t play rugby. But, we still won. To me I think that is because we made a plan before the game to pass the ball around and play at space rather than players. So I never mattered that we maybe weren’t the biggest side because our guys who were smaller were never getting to contact anyway. (Yes there was a few of us who took a lot of hit ups).

    But lets put this in context of a team which actually plays rugby. How much easier is the game going to be if you aren’t getting tackled? If guys who have very little rugby experience can make yards how much better are you going to be if you can learn that the game is about avoiding contact not taking contact.

    Unless you can be Rupeni. Always be Rupeni
    Unless you can be Rupeni. Always be Rupeni

  3. Making a statement works

    I mentioned that prop before. How many guys do you think ran at him after he made a physical statement? Wasn’t many.

    I started the game on the wing (my preference) and I knew that if I made a statement in the first 10 minutes of the game I wouldn’t have much work to do on defence from then on. Guess how many tackles I made after the first 20 minutes? Four, in 60 minutes of rugby I only made four tackles all because I made a statement with my carrying and tackling in the first 10 minutes. What’s even better is I moved to 12 in the second half and people still wouldn’t run down my channel.

    I’m not saying this to show off. I’m sure no matter how physical a side was it wouldn’t bother a lot of you lads. The point is this: You can affect how your opposition plays for the entire game by how you play in the first 10 minutes.

  4. Having a plan wins games

    One of the first things I said was that we had a plan (to pass the ball around and play at space). Your coach will have a game plan and you should have an individual plan for how you’re going to play. In fact after the game I was chatting to a couple of people, one a former Queensland Reds player and the other an up and coming coach and they were saying how it was obvious in the way that we kept shape and did the same thing that we had a plan and it’d win us the game.

    So, when was the last time you stuck to your game plan all game? When is the last time you or your coach set personal goals to hit? Maybe you should think about it hey?

  5. Charity matches punish you for scoring tries

    This was the first time I’d played in this kind of match and maybe it’s not a global thing? Maybe it’s just this team? But, some stood on the side line and poured horrible drinks for the try scores. Now, usually that’s okay and whilst I don’t think it’s part of pro-rugby I think it’s a part of grass-roots rugby that should continue strong and hard. That being said, a drink per try is a terrible idea and I still feel rough.

    Catch you laters.