To win a rugby game you have to score more points than the other team. To be the best team in the world you have to play the best rugby in the world.
Outscoring a team is about the now and doesn’t consider the rest of the season. Playing the best rugby is about now but the emphasis is more about the future.
William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran over the goaline to score. Inventing rugby but inventing rugby’s main objective, scoring tries.
Why did Webb Ellis pick the ball up in his hands? He wanted to grasp the ball and keep a hold of it, that way controlling possession of the ball.
Scoring tries and controlling possession are two fundamentals of the game.
These are two fundamentals the best team in the world, the All Blacks, hold close to their hearts.
Tries are a Psychological message that says ‘you can’t hold us back’ and the most powerful statement in this regard is a hard worked ball in hand try that eventually get’s the better of a strong defence.
It is not a case of choosing a kicking game or a running game, its knowing that the fundamental objective is to score more tries than the other team. It is making the correct decisions at the correct time and correct place that enable this objective to happen.
No side in the World is going to drop kick or penalty kick their way to the top of the rugby tree. It’s about scoring tries.
If you analyse a league points table whether it be Super 15 or Aviva Premiership, or even Essex under 16’s, the two most important columns are TA (tries against) and TF (tries for). This is the key to being the best team in your league.
In the 2014 Super 15 season the Waratahs finished the league part of the competition on top. The Waratahs had 24 tries scored against them , the Sharks were the only team with less scored against them with 22. The Waratahs scored 55 tries compared to the Sharks who only scored 29.
They take the points for (PF) and subtract the points against (PA) to get the points difference (PD). Although I don’t remember seeing a table that does this we could get try difference (TD) by taking (TF) and subtracting (TA).
The Waratahs TD for 2014 was +31 the next best TD was the Brumbies with + 14 the Waratahs went on to win the 2014 final.
In 2013 the Chiefs finished on top of the league stage with a TD of +12 although that year the Crusaders were the only ones with a better TD than the Chiefs with +13. The Chiefs narrowly beat the Crusaders in the semi-final on their way to claiming the title.
Chiefs second best TD in 2012 won the Final
In the Aviva Premiership 2013/2014 Saracens finished the league part of the competition at the top of the table with a TD of 29 the only team who had a better TD was Northampton, 41, who went on to win the final.
South Africa’s TD for 2014 was 22. New Zealand’s was 34.
In the Rugby Championship 2014, New Zealand got 3 four try bonuses, South Africa got 1 four try bonus while Australia and Argentina never got any. New Zealand won the competition , South Africa came second while Australia and Argentina fought not to get the wooden spoon.
It is about the now but thinking about where we’ll be in a year from now too. Kicking drop-goals in the opening exchanges of the match to keep the scoreboard ticking over is about the now only. Trying to overcome the defence is better in the long term.