Opinion | Sunvoice

EDITORIAL: 40 Days To Go, Touch Base On Cup Specifics Now

The rolling mauls are becoming a blight on the game as they deny fair contest. But it’s bound to be part of the game for some time which means we need to live by the rules.
11 Aug 2019 15:15
EDITORIAL: 40 Days To Go, Touch Base On Cup Specifics Now
Head to head, Fiji Airways Flying Fijians against Samoa.

It’s time to touch base on the specifics now.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians build-up games for the Rugby World Cup are almost over with the test against Samoa in the final Pacific Nations Cup game at the ANZ Stadium last night.

Coach John McKee would have preferred hit-outs against tier one nations to gauge strength and depth but in the end, we have to make do with two tests against the Maori All Blacks and three Pacific Na­tions Cup matches.

The 42-member squad will take a week’s break be­fore McKee names his 31-squad for the World Cup on August 18.

The match against Tonga in the Pasifika Challenge II – Road to Japan on August 31 at Eden Park is the fi­nal dress rehearsal before the showdown against the Wallabies at Sapporo Dome on September 21.

By now McKee has a fair inkling on the composition of his team and it’s now down to the business end of preparation where proper planning and execution need to be instituted to allow the team to peak in time for the World Cup.

Our scrums have been getting better in the last four years and we should be thankful to McKee and his coaching staff for building strength and depth in an area we had been vulnerable in for so long.

But this is just one area of the game and we need to be spot on in all areas to make a mark.

While fitness, defence, attack and set piece play can be fixed, a lot of teams are using boring tactics like the rolling mauls to win games.

At the 2015 World Cup, David Pocock scored for Aus­tralia in the 27th and 31st minutes in Cardiff with both tries coming from rolling mauls which dashed our hopes of progressing.

The rolling mauls are becoming a blight on the game as they deny fair contest.

But it’s bound to be part of the game for some time which means we need to live by the rules.

Against Canada two weeks ago, the Flying Fijians stopped four rolling mauls without being penalised. This is a good sign.

Undoubtedly the rolling mauls will continue to be a topic of debate at the 2019 World Cup because this is one aspect of the game that would continue to disad­vantage the opposing team.

It’s tough defending a rolling maul and the easiest way to stop it is by doing it illegally. This is by col­lapsing it, which carries a penalty or may result in a player being sin-binned.

But the laws are what they are and we have to be better at defending them.

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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