Friday, 25 March 2011
The Total Flanker Guide to: Scoring Tries
Try-scoring, you see, is a topic of which I have certain experience although, admittedly, much of that experience does date back to the Mesozoic era.
Between the ages of 15 and 19 my ability to cross the whitewash with some regularity was based largely on 2 factors: (1) being big, fast and fit; and (2) not really having a clue what I was doing.
So, whether I was playing 2nd row or back row, or occasionally when I was made to play in the backs, my game was mostly based on charging around the field following the play and invariably turning up in the right place at the right time to take a scoring pass (and, naturally, take all the credit). The truth was that I didn’t really know what I supposed to be doing and so just did what came naturally (more or less). Very Ashton-esque (minus the idiotic dives), even if I do say so myself.
Graduating to adult rugby largely put paid to all that. Exposure to coaching meant that I had to learn my role and, as I ended up playing mostly at openside flanker, as far as I could make out my role mostly involved scrabbling around on the floor trying to secure possession. Consequently I troubled A&E far more regularly than I troubled the scoreboard. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Vets rugby has seen the pendulum swing the other way. I’d like to say that the (admittedly limited) try-scoring success that I’ve enjoyed since my much heralded return to the game has owed everything to the appliance of years of hard-earned experience. I’d like to say that but I can’t. The truth, I fear, is that the gravitational pull exerted by my ever-expanding girth has had the effect of pulling play towards me, no matter where I stand. Strange but true. It’s the appliance of science, no less.
So, what conclusions can budding try-scorers draw from the above potted history of my playing career?
1. Avoid coaching like the plague - ignorance of what it is you’re supposed to doing is vital if you’re to turn up unexpectedly in a try-scoring position (the alternative is that you just end up doing what you’re supposed to and that’s no fun at all); and
2. In the absence of pace and fitness, get fat, stand still and watch the play gravitate towards you. The closer you can stand to the tryline, the better (for obvious reasons).
Err, that’s it. Hope it helps.