BBC BLOGS - John Beattie

Archives for March 2012

Scottish rugby's health needs an audit

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John Beattie | 18:10 UK time, Sunday, 18 March 2012

It's an interesting time in Scottish rugby, especially if you find pain interesting.

I dislike witch doctors, fakirs, gully gully men, and any other human form that tries to pretend that sport is rocket science.

Rugby is actually simple. Whichever team has the best trained raw material with the best game plan wins.

The rest is smoke and mirrors.

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Scotland need a long-term plan

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John Beattie | 17:10 UK time, Sunday, 11 March 2012

We are beginning to share a problem with our football colleagues which is that a lack of team sports for youngsters is having an impact on the number of wins in both codes of football.

Frank Hadden copped it, Matt Williams copped it, Andy Robinson is copping it.

If they'd coached the All Blacks their records would have been different.

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How will Scotland cope with the streetwise Irish?

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John Beattie | 17:16 UK time, Sunday, 4 March 2012

This weekend it's the trip to Dublin. And I reckon the Irish are the most streetwise team in the Six Nations.

Things to look forward to? Well, having just watched the Irish play France, among the treats in store is a back division that'll be in Scotland's back division before the lineout is over, a bunch of players who will target the ball in the tackle, an Irish captain who likes engaging the referee in wit and repartee, and two pints of beer for just under £100.

Let's start with the tackle or, as it's known, the Irish choke tackle.

Now, there are lots of different defensive systems in the world, but the Irish have slowly stolen a technique from the world of sevens rugby, where most countries now use it: hold a man up long enough, keep the ball off the ground, and the defending Irish get the ball as the attacker can't offload and can't present the ball on the ground.

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