Filed under: Dan Cottrell, rugby defence, Rugby Refereeing | Tags: attacking the gain line, Dan Carter, dangerous play, high tackle
Few will have escaped the news that Dan Carter has been cited for a high tackle on Welsh replacement scrum half, Martin Roberts.
Roberts was pretty circumspect about the incident afterwards, unlike his coaches, who railed against the referees decision. Anyone who knows Roberts will not be surprised by his comments. He is a bright player, who thinks deeply about the game.
As for Carter, he continues to be masterful on the pitch. From a coaching point of view, he attacks the gain line. He does this in two ways. First, he sometimes runs at it. Starting flat he accelerates at angles so defenders have to go with him or the defenders either side of him.
Second, he pushes the ball around the field from boot or hand, but always into dangerous places. It is rare that either Carter or the next All Black player who touches the ball is not causing peril for the defence.
Though not as destructive as Jonny Wilkinson, Carter is a fine tackler. Which makes the tackle on Roberts all the more interesting. He went high. There is no doubt that he was aiming at the ball. In the speed of the game, as Roberts dipped slightly, the arm slid over the ball and hit the head.
Dan Carter is not a dirty player. But he did tackle too high. It should have been a yellow card because it was a significant intervention. In the speed of the game, the referee missed it. It was in the middle of the pitch, so the touch judges missed it.
He should not be banned. It was a mistake at the time which should have been punished.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Team Management | Tags: Dan Carter, injuries, rugby talent, selection
When Dan Carter returned to All Black colours a couple of weeks ago, he made a difference. A big difference.
If you are wholly concerned with results, you know you want your best players on the field to win your games. Imagine South Africa without Montgomery, Smit and Matfield in 2007, or England without Wilkinson, Johnson and Hill in 2003.
Carter was injured in the French domestic season and was not fit until after the All Blacks returned empty handed from South Africa. Whatever the talent in New Zealand, he adds something extra. For the sake of the All Blacks, he needs to be fit.
But he can’t play all the time and he certainly cannot be played when he is half fit. Hence, a dilemma.
Last night I watched my local team limber up for their first match of the league season. I know they have a couple of key players back and training. If they stay fit, then who knows. Last season, close games slipped away in their absence. What can the coach do? Give them some weeks off to keep them fresh and injury free – madness perhaps.
I would contend that the bravest coach rotates for a long term campaign. He keeps more players interested and makes it easier to fill in the gaps when there are genuine injuries. Only at the end of the season does he go for broke. However it might be too late by then…it makes for an interesting strategy.