TAKE THE POINTS
The Springboks have won two world cups without scoring a single try in either of the finals. Yet we find ourselves in 2018 in a situation where some of our Super Rugby teams think it is unnecessary to kick for goal when they are awarded a penalty. Two games from this weekend illustrate the importance of “taking the points”.
Blues vs Sharks
Playing a highly physical and expansive Blues team in Auckland, the Sharks took every kickable opportunity at goal, outscoring the Blues by 63 points to 40. The teams scored the same amount of tries, but with the Sharks having scored an equivalent to 3 converted tries with the boot, the scoreboard pressure mounted, the game opened up and the Sharks ran to the finish line comfortably. This was something the Lions could not do at Ellis Park against the Blues a couple of weeks earlier, having tried to “run everything”.
Lions vs Crusaders
The Lions, having lead 5-0 at halftime, found themselves trailing 14-5 early in the second half. At around the 55th minute the Lions opted to scrum deep in the Crusaders 22 when they were awarded a penalty almost directly in front of the posts. The Crusaders defended well and the Lions came away with no points. At around the 75th minute the Lions were again awarded a penalty deep in the Crusaders half, however, because they were still 14-5 down, they were forced to take the kick at posts in order to set up a situation where they could win the game in the dying moments with a try. Had they taken the points earlier they would have camped in the Crusaders’ 22 for the last 10 to 15 minutes and would probably have scored the match winning try, without the pressure of having 3 minutes to do it in.
For some reason our Super Rugby captains seem to have forgotten that points are all that matters when it comes to winning. Perhaps the media, having lambasted the supposed boring playing style of our teams and national side, have created the impression that tries are the only way to play rugby. Winning is exciting, losing is boring. Let’s take the points and start winning again, and the expansive tries, as in the Sharks game, will follow.
See our video on the weekends results here.