Friday, July 29, 2011
To me it is simple what went wrong. I said it after our first game and I'll say it again. The technical team is either lazy or totally inept. Their re-appointment may have brought some laxity in them and I don't know how long their contract extension is. Or are they just tired and going through the paces. Or are they being let down by other supposedly existing arms, like the selectors, hence their current obsession with selecting players as opposed to coaching them. I actually thought that was so two years ago but I was mistaken. When under pressure, we all retreat to our comfort zones, and that is what happened. A player who missed the entire Super Series was suddenly in the starting lineup! A player dropped for unfitness was suddenly fit in 6 days! And the list is endless. Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet for the sake of the future!
We have one more chance, during the CAR tournament. And I wait to see if our mindset will have changed. Do have a good weekend.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The pain of missing Leinster's successful end of season will be extra motivation for the full-back as he looks to prove his worth to Kidney over the next few weeks. The British and Irish Lion has been a key member of the Irish side over the past years, earning 27 caps so far as well as picking up the 2009 Grand Slam, Six Nations and Triple Crown. Kearney's return will be a boost to whole of the Ireland back line as well as freeing up other options available to Kidney. Those looking at the 2011 rugby world cup betting should bear this in mind.
The 25-year old expressed his delight at being back on the pitch again, insisting his knee is fully fit.
"The knee feels brilliant. I've been back full training for two months now and it has gone well. I'm just looking forward to my first match back," he said.
"Ideally you'd like to never get injured but you can't avoid it. It is important that you move on and I'm lucky to be back and in a position to be pushing for a World Cup spot."
Ireland are expected to mount a serious challenge in New Zealand later this autumn, with many in the game backing them as dark horses. Jonah Lomu has revealed Ireland are his pick to cause a surprise in New Zealand. People placing rugby bets may want to bear this in mind.
Ireland have been drawn in a group that shouldn't cause them too much trouble. Australia will be heavy favourites to top Pool C and Ireland will need to see off the threat of Italy for that all important second spot.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Senior has played for the Leeds Rhinos for the last 12 years but after suffering a serious knee injury, revealed he had not been offered a new deal by the Rhinos and would me moving on. This saw the Welsh franchise snap him up and it appeared the centre would continue his career for two extra years in Wrexham. People looking at the Betfair mobile betting will have been surprised by what happened next.
However, it was announced on Tuesday that the Crusaders had withdrawn their application to play in the Super League, and with Senior's contract depending on the side retaining their Super League status. This has left the former international centre in limbo and now looking for a new club.
Wakefield were widely expected to lose their place after a number of difficult months on and off the field. However, following the withdrawal of the Crusaders bid, the Wildcats were awarded a Super League licence for the next three years and its now been suggested that Senior will switch his allegiance to the Wildcats for the next two seasons. Fans of in play betting will be hoping this works out.
Senior has known Wakefield coach John Kear since their time playing with the Sheffield Eagles and both parties appear as if they would be happy to come to some sort of agreement.
"I know John Kear very well. John Kear has openly said that he'd be happy to have me," he told Talk Sport.
"It would depend on John too because I think he's out of contract at t
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
After returning to the game following his two-year drug ban, Stevens has impressed everyone with not only his impressive form for new side Saracens, but also his mental attitude towards returning from the cold. The prop was an integral part of the successful England Saxons side that claimed the Churchill Cup earlier this summer, where Stevens proved to Johnson that he was ready to once again return to the full squad ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Stevens will now be hoping to impress his manager during England's back-to-back warm-up matches against Wales, the first game on August 6th at Twickenham with the return fixture the following weekend in Cardiff. Stevens has admitted there is plenty of healthy competition among the front-row and he is just determined to focus on his job of securing that seat on the plane.
The prop's return to the game coincided with Saracens impressive end of season form that saw the club lift the Premiership title. Stevens has made it clear he is keen on continuing using the momentum gained from Saracens end of season run, to help England achieve big things this autumn. Those placing Betfair rugby bets will be wondering how he'll get no.
"I've been lucky to be in teams with real pedigree since I've been back. If picked for the World Cup, then of course I want my unbeaten run to continue and [to] help England go as far as possible," he said.
"There's a lot of competition for places in the front row, but that only makes the strength in depth better. Competition is everything - we all want to be better players."
An appearance in the final of a World Cup, just months after returning to the game following a two year ban, would be quite a turnaround for the determined Stevens.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
The purge at the Kenya Rugby Union is not complete. Two more top KRU top brass are facing imminent suspension and the sack.
It can be exclusively reported that it is only a matter of time before vice chairman Fred Odhiambo and Henry Emuye are suspended.
The two maybe ‘offloaded’ at a planned KRU Special general Meeting. Their departure will complete the removal of former KRU top brass which served under Richard Omwela. Last week, KRU suspended the secretary Fred Sabwa. Already, Auka Gecheo has been relieved of his duties as General Manager. The purge has also seen a new technical bench appointed for the Kenya Sevens team.
In the meantime, Sabwa has responded to his alleged suspension. In a two-line letter to the KRU chairman Mwangi Muthee, Sabwa writes:
I have seen a letter dated July, 14, 2011 purporting to suspend me as Hon. Secretary. I find it amusing to say the least. I take the liberty to refer you to the Constitution, specifically clauses 10.12, 10.14.3 and 10.16.4.
A letter signed by Muthee quoted Section 10.15.3 of the Constitution. The letter dated July 14, 2010 read in part: The manner in which you have recently discharged your duties as secretary was discussed extensively by the Board. The Board concluded that you acted other than in the best interest of the game. You are suspended as Secretary of the KRU until such a time as the Board will inform you.
Odhiambo who did not attend the meeting in which Sabwa was suspended also added his voice alleging that the original agenda was ‘changed’.
His letter to KRU read: Apologies for not attending yesterday's meeting and I have not seen the minutes? However I am aware that the Agenda as distributed by the Chairman earlier were:
1.Updates from the various committees
Was Frank's conduct part of that or the Agenda was amended or had there been a separate Board Meeting to discuss his conduct? Chairman,please clarify?
The expanded agenda seen - which has 12 items - had the discussion of the conduct of Board members. From the exchanges, it is clear that the daggers are drawn and there is more to come.
The broom has also been ‘sweeping’ Safari Sevens where Muthee has replaced Omwela as chairman. Owiro Asiko who has been the tournament’s director and treasurer Roger Berbington have also been replaced.
The announcement underlines Scottish Rugby’s desire to best prepare for the series and a successful medal challenge for the Scotland 7s squad at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Today’s news was also welcomed by the Scottish Government. Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said: “I welcome today’s announcement by Scottish Rugby of Scotland’s first ever full time professional Sevens squad.
“This is a significant development in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. Having a strong, settled squad, gaining valuable experience and performing well in the IRB Sevens World Series should stand us in good stead when we take to the field in Glasgow in three years time.”
Speaking as the first squad was revealed at Murrayfield today, Head of Performance Rugby Graham Lowe declared: “Sevens is a phenomenon. It’s growing rapidly and if we want to be competitive on the global stage then we had to find a set-up that would suit Scottish rugby.
“We believe the squad we are announcing today will enable us to meet that goal in the HSBC Sevens World Series and with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games firmly on the horizon we want to give ourselves every opportunity of improving on our sixth place finish at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi and to be there challenging for medals on our home soil in three years time.”
The full-time squad consists of some seasoned international sevens campaigners, emerging, young professional players and Elite Development players.
The squad: Struan Dewar, James Eddie, James Fleming, Colin Gregor, Peter Horne and Andrew Turnbull, plus from Scottish Rugby’s Elite Development players: Adam Ashe, Sam Hidalgo Clyne, Kerr Gossman, Rory Hughes, Sean Kennedy and Hamish Watson.
Scotland 7s coach Graham Shiel explained: “Sevens is the priority for these 12 players. They can play with the pro-teams or in club rugby outwith the sevens window but, when it comes to preparation and playing in the HSBC Sevens World Series, then Scotland 7s has first call on their services and that’s different to the way we have operated in the past.
“When we have had consistency in our squad we have been able to be competitive on the world stage. In the past we have had players with some sevens expertise but, particularly when we have been choosing players from the pro-teams, we have been asking players whose focus was understandably on XVs to prepare in a very limited time frame, and play sevens.
“Now the emphasis for this group will be sevens and that matters a huge amount in terms of their preparation, their strength and conditioning and their nutrition.”
The six recruits from the EDP include three players from the most recent Scotland under-20 squad – scrum-half Kennedy, openside flanker Watson and winger Gossman and three players from the Scotland under-18 side – No 8 Ashe, stand-off/full-back Hidalgo Clyne and wing Hughes.
Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Player Development said: “One of our aims for our Elite Development Players is to accelerate their development and we believe that the six players will benefit hugely from being part of the Scotland sevens squad.
“They will play international sevens and the skills they need to thrive in that environment are probably more transferable than they have ever been for their overall development as players.
“Sevens has always been associated with running and flair but, just as in the XV-a-side game, the contact element is also paramount now and if you can hone your technique in sevens to ensure you win the collisions as well developing other core skills, then those very elements will stand you in good stead in XVs.”
Shiel added that discussions are ongoing with clubs and players to augment the full-time Scotland sevens squad with a club specialist sevens squad of around 10-12 players who will receive support from the sportscotland Institute of Sport around strength and conditioning, psychology and nutrition as well as specialist sevens coaching from Shiel and his Scottish Rugby colleagues.
Exiled players outwith Scotland, such as Michael Fedo, may also be brought in to further augment the full-time squad.
Colin Gregor, who first played for Scotland 7s eight years ago and is our top points scorer in the world series, said: “It’s a really exciting time to be selected for the full-time Scotland 7s squad.
“The sevens game is taking off in such a big way with the decision that sevens will be part of the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and you’re seeing many countries now investing really seriously in rugby.
“It’s just three years to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and we have shown that when we have a consistent squad we can compete on the HSBC Sevens World Series and we have to look to build on that and improve in the years ahead.”
On that note I wish the Under 19's well in their trip to Zimbabwe. And I hope we are using them as is required. Do have a good weekend and enjoy your rugby. This time we will be in the real Russia!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
1. Joel Ng’ang’a
2. Vincent Ong’era
3. Daniel Kiptoo
4. Martin Likami
5. Ronnie Mwenesi
6. Anthony Mutai
7. Andrew Amonde
8. Lawrence Buyachi
9. Peter Mutai
10. Issac Adimo
11. Peter Abuoga
12. Patrice Agunda
13. Kelvin Omiyo
14, Victor Sudi (C)
16. Dennis Abenga
17. Dennis Karani
18. Victor Oduor
19. David Mogere
20. Edwin Achayo
21. Nato Simiyu
22. Allan Omuka
The former sevens star will be joined in the engine room by veteran Ali Williams who starts his first game for the side since November 2008 and both will be looking to establish themselves in the side ahead of the team's Tri-Nations opener against South Africa in Wellington on July 30th. Fans of online betting sites will be keeping a close eye on their progress.
Boss Graham Henry is using the match to gauge the form of a number of fringe players, as well as assess the fitness of the likes of Williams ahead of the aforementioned Tri-Nations and afterward the World Cup which the country will host in the autumn.
Fly-half Colin Slade has been given the nod in the number ten jersey after recovering from a broken jaw while first choice Dan Carter is expected to appear from the bench while Carter's Crusaders' teammate Wyatt Crockett has been recalled after almost 20 months away from the side.
Despite the seemingly weakened line-up, Henry has rejected claims of complacency amongst his players, especially following fierce rivals Australia's shock defeat to another Pacific Island nation Samoa last Sunday. It was a huge upset in the online sports betting.
"This is an important Test for us as we kick off this year's Test season," Henry said. "We have got some real competition for places and it's exciting for those players picked and they will keen to put their best foot forward.
Henry's side will be looking to build momentum going into the Tri-Nations as they look to win their second World Cup crown after a number of painful near misses.
In the 3 months that these two gentlemen came into elected office office they have succussfully managed to undo what has painfully taken many many years to build in the game.
The mantra that seems to be running the game of rugby known and sucessfully adopted by the current office is CONFLICT OF INTEREST. This is the new Kenya Rugby Union slogan.
Either you are Mwamba or you are Homeboyz and it works for them. The two Maiko and Myke have a vision and mission to destroy Kenya Rugby by turning it into their cash cow.
Sponsors are in shock and reconsidering their positions with regarding their association with the game. Gone EABL gone Heinneken gone Supersport who next? KQ?
Somebody needs to stop Idi Amin (Mwangi) and the Red(io) Indian. The buffoon and his DJ are wrecking the game. They are most def playing the wrong tunes.
Spare a thought to suspended Secretary-General 'Langata born Franco' Sabwa who is contemplating going to court to restrain Maiko from removing him from office. This is laughable as its like the kettle calling the pot black. And who is giving him legal counsel? Your guess is as good as anyone's.
As for acting GM Barbara Kokonya take a leaf from the previous holder watch your bottom. The chair you sit on has wheels and they could come off.
Are Homeboyz TV showing the Kenya - Zimbabwe game?
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The fly-half was part of the Wallbies team that suffered a shock 32-23 defeat to Samoa and he has paid the price ahead of the clash with the Springboks. Those looking at the rugby betting will be wondering if the side can bounce back.
Even though Quade Cooper was expected to replace Giteau in the starting XV, the 28-year-old was still expected to be named amongst the replacements.
But the Brummies ace will not even be on the bench for the Sydney encounter and the decision has led to questions over whether Giteau will have a role at the World Cup.
With Australia already without a number of regulars through injury, the omission of the experienced half-back is a surprise too many.
Deans though remains coy about the future of Giteau, who has 92 Test appearances to his name, even though he feels he could still play a "big part" in the Tri-Nations.
The coach added: "You can look at anyone and make assumptions but like I've said many times, we're presuming nothing going forward.
"Matt will obviously want a role going forward, he has a role going forward, we just don't know what that will entail just yet in terms of playing."
Elsewhere, Scrum-half Will Genia returns for Saturday's big match in place of Nick Phipps, who drops to the bench. Forwards David Pocock, James Horwill and Rob Simmons are also welcomed back.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
When you also consider that the Wallabies scored thirteen of their twenty-three points in the ten minute time period that Daniel Leo spent in the sin-bin following a series of repeat infringements at the ruck, suddenly it becomes an even more remarkable result – but Samoa won't be letting themselves get too carried away by this one-off result. Fans of the Betfair 2011 Rugby World Cup shouldn't either.
Speaking after the match, try-scorer Alesana Tuliagi cut a proud figure, but played down the significance of the result in terms of the Australians' chances at the upcoming World Cup.
“The main focus this week was to believe in ourselves. We came out here just to win this game. We knew it was going to be a tough game but we believed in ourselves and, thank God, we did it today," he said.
Samoa line up in Group D of this autumn's World Cup – due to get underway on September 9th in Auckland, New Zealand – against current champions South Africa, as well as Wales, Fiji and Namibia, and following this result against the 1991 and 1999 World Cup winners will certainly harbour fewer of the doubts about qualifying for the quarter finals than might have been hanging around their shoulders following their disappointing recent IRB's Pacific Nations Cup showing.
After losing to Tonga 29-19 in their final outing of that tournament, national coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua insisted that he would be using the remainder of his side's fixtures between now and the World Cup as a selection process to decide who will make the final squad of thirty. Those who bet on rugby will be keeping a close eye on things.
Samoa will take on Wales on September 18th and if the Welsh are hoping to take anything from that encounter, they will need to prove that they can cope with the Samoans' high-intensity ball carrying skills and clinical finishing.
With the IRB greatly encouraging the community rugby (we call it mtaa rugby here) initiative world wide, and with rugby mounting a challenge to be or remain the number two spectator sport world wide, and with the great push to get rugby played at all levels and in great numbers countrywide, and with greater interest in the game growing day by day, we as an affiliate were not doing out bit to grow the spectator base. Content to keep it an elite sport, whilst the reverse is happening worldwide, it was only a matter of time. And methinks the time is nigh. And as I always say, carpe diem. Well done new board, that's just the first step. And now let's see what appearance fees the players command out of that Ksh. 2M sponsorship (just a parting shot).
For the first time ever, a Kenya Rugby International match will be played at Nyayo National Stadium.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Coaching Score Uganda 100 Kenya 0
Another game with sufficient evidence of the technical inability of our coaches to analyze past matches, identify weaknesses, device apt training strategies to cure the defects and maximize identified strengths. Transform strategies into playing patterns on match day.
I do not gauge successful coaching by wins alone, but more so on evidence of the application of a sound strategy through playing patterns implemented by the coaches via training.
Rucks- We got brutalized again. There was an improvement where the ball carrier was not isolated. However the efficiency and body positioning of the cleaners was wanting, where we had to commit more players than necessary to clean the ball, which was not presented optimally, resulting in slow ball, leaving UG with more players available to defend the base. Ug committed fewer players to the ruck whose body positioning and ball presentation was perfect allowing continuity with numbers and more options. Going into the Zim game, more polishing is needed to now work in having fewer players going into rucks and doing so with the right technique to secure the ball and suck in the opponent.
Mauls- How we got this wrong AGAIN is amazing. We seem to have done nothing on this, and if we did it did not show. That the Ug side worked on mauls was apparent, they made light light work of a weak Kenyan side. Our maul defense was awful. Had the Ug maul been used more often we would have suffered a bigger defeat. If only their place kicking was more accurate. Who the heck is our forwards coach!!! How do you call yourself a forwards coach if your side is for three successive games unable to maul and or defend them?
Scrum- Major Improvement. Unlike last week we were not wheeled or beaten at the take. What’s needed is, working on the shove and drive, to put Zim on the backfoot and take out their loose forwards out of the game and to bring ours more into play. Driving them back to disrupt their play and put their backs on the back foot and where perfected driving over the ball for a straight turnover.
(Although the improvement was evident, it was only after “selection’’ of an unfit player whose unfitness cost the team more than it gained from a steady scrum)
Lineouts- We are beyond help. Again I ask myself, do we have a forwards coach? Does he need help or prayers? He best tell us early so that we can rope in as many pastors, imams and soothsayers to seek the divine prayers he so badly needs. Will our lineout be bogus against Zim? YES. Will he use his ‘’great’’coaching mind to eventually finally sort this out, evidence shows he is clueless and needs help from spiritual realm. Get the Ug forwards coach, how long should we wait to realize that we have a serious coaching problem in key and key aspects of the game.
Defense- It’s not the players you pick, but the patterns that are more important. The gaps have to be closed systematically and with either a rush, drift or combined pattern, depending on how the opponent’s backs play. The Ugandan fly half is painfully one dimensional and only bluntly passes the ball out to the first centre. Another team would have made minced meat out of the ug backs. We would have leaked in more tries had their flyhalf been more creative. Our line was broken at will and if only the Ug backs held on to the ball, we would have leaked in more tries, trust the Zim backs not to knock on. This game will prove to all doubters who have by not realized by now that we have a clown of a backs coach. The tries will leak from his backs, he knows it, we know it, Zim know it, but the problem is he has no clue how to close those gaps. He must be thinking of which good tackler to select. God help him.
Attack. You have to thoroughly study your opponents beforehand or in the first few moments of the match, identify weak areas in the defensive line, then repeatedly attack the areas. Continuous work on patterns that either unleashes a strong runner into a created gap, or creation a simple overlap is imperative. You need to have a creative rugby mind to work on these patterns, which are joy to players, and a spectacle to the fans when pulled off successfully. We never had a single overlap or line break. Our wingers were never brought into the game at the wings or released at the centre via crush balls. The potency of such plays was evident when executed by the Ug worked crush ball that led to a try. A simple analysis of our player strengths in relation to the Ug defense required more raised balls behind their backs. The only two or three raised balls were magnificently retrieved by our backs. Why we did not see or use this strength continuously is puzzling. Our wingers are too slow to take on their opponents on the outside, or chase after high balls, The Ugandan flyer showed them how it should be done.
Player Assessment. A player is fit in one week, unfit in the next week, and then fit again in the following week!!!! After this indecision the player, though evidently unfit is selected and ends up being a net weak link in the teams play. Ug play an abrasive forwards game that is not suited for any unfit player. The importance of match fitness and not just physical fitness was clearly evident. How is tank managing to continuously get this wrong? You need a doctorate in blunders to pull this off. This has been the most changed side ever in three games in the recent past. Inability to coach lineouts, mauls and defense cannot be sorted by changing player combinations every week. NO. Proclaiming and pontificating that after rigorous trials, selection and training, you are covered in all positions, then engaging in the most robust player tinkering exercise ever recorded in a competitive tournament proper. This only exposes a shallow technical mind.
Zimbabwe. We will lose by 4+ tries. Expect an extremely well prepared, highly motivated and properly conditioned side that is focused on moving up the IRB rankings. They have by now already won the game by virtue of the superior technical abilities in coaching, match and game reading/analysis, as compared to our blundering and technically deficient coaches. It is no secret, they will attack our lineout, Maul the ball, punch through our centre at will, and our tortoise wingers will be rounded. Their running lines will be direct, with angling predetermined, their passing fluid, with offloads to players in the gap. Their line breaks timed like clockwise with the breaking players well supported with support running off both shoulders. I pray to my gods for the biggest loss ever that will prompt the sacking of our technical team, to be replaced by coaches who can take us somewhere. And this time only, I am taking my patriotic arse and locking it up while praying for a coach from SANZAR.
What is the cure to our problems?
Short-term. Mitch Ocholla for head coach, (Like it or hate it, this is the only rugby brain that is working) assisted by a Ugandan pack/defense coach, and a Zimbabwean backs coach.
Long-term. If we really want to go somewhere, let’s invest in a serious SANZAR coaching team, no matter what it costs, because if we want to go to the world cup we have to bloody pay for it.
Our “coaches” who only select players are now even getting their selection wrong.
Hoping, that coaches with Kenya Cup trophies have sufficient technical experience to lead our team up the ladder is tantamount to hoping that the 11 time Alfred Sambu cup winning coaches experience is sufficient enable him to take Kenya to the FIFA world cup.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
The langata born and bred 'Franco' as so aptly described by Fred Ollows was found guilty of fraud, insurbodination and sabotage.
He joins another ex Mean Machine comrade on the sidelines of Kenya Rugby administration. It happened in Machine, Barclays and Kenya XV as well.
What a sad day for beloved Machine comrades.
It a is only a matter of time before Fred Ollows follows suit.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The 24-year old has made his name at fly-half, but Stephen Jones' presence in the national side has often resulted in Priestland dropping to full-back. Indeed, he made his international debut for Wales wearing the number 15 shirt, coming off the bench to replace Lee Byrne during the Six Nations victory against Scotland in February.
With Jones and James Hook battling it out for the number 10 jersey, Priestland may have to slot in at full-back again during the World Cup warm-up games. With some quality players contesting the fly-half position, Priestland is pleased just to have the chance of learning from Jones and Hook. Despite admitting he views himself as a playmaker, he has made it clear he is as comfortable at 15 as he is at stand-off.
"I'm comfortable with either position and hope that I can be thought of in both areas. But we have some great players in the squad in both positions," Priestland said.
"With players like James Hook and Stephen Jones, who has had an amazing career and shows no signs of stopping, it's going to be a tough squad to get into. All I can do is keep learning, show my desire and work hard."
Priestland and the rest of the World Cup preliminary squad are currently in Spala, Poland, where they are undergoing conditioning work. Those placing Betfair rugby bets will know how vital this sort of training is.
The training camp, which will continue for much of the summer, will give Priestland the chance to work with two of the country's best ever backs in Neil Jenkins and Rob Howley. Both coaches are fans of the versatile Priestland and are believed to be keen on the youngster gaining some World Cup experience when the tournament kicks off in New Zealand in September.
Someone said the only constant in life is change. However, perhaps they did not realise how much we hate and resist it. Another said doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. Well then just how sane are we? I don't feel like digging up my old posts today, but I have said this several times before. I castigate the technical team for being selectors, other than trainers, but maybe that is all they can do. The only measure of their success or failure as a team is by their win/loss record. There is qualitative measure of whether they are succeeding of failure. I used to hit at the immediate past chair of the union. That the buck should stop with him, and no one else. Well, this time we all know clearly where it stops. With hired hands helping to implement, he is quickly making short work. And a mockery of everything we hold dear, but I am digressing.
Not only are the technical team selectors, but we also selectors. When the team does not do well, we are busy selecting who should be the next coach, or who is our preferred coach. And our only options, other than plain bias, is that coach's win/loss record at maybe club level! Are we then serious about this thing, or only wanting our person in? New National Sevens coaches were appointed - not selected! On what grounds again? Did anyone sit them down to ask them their philosophy of the game, their strengths, their weaknesses? Did anyone tell them the direction the union wants to take, save for wanting to win? Are the qualitative as well as qualitative objectives? Were the positions competitively filled? And I always thought the head coach is appointed and he selects his team to help him achieve his goals? I keep digressing.
Unless we as a nation or as a union have a philosophy of rugby and can identify what we want to achieve qualitatively and quantitatively, both objectively and subjectively, will we move forward. We only know we want to win, how we have no clue. And until we can all agree on that, we will continue being selectors and not achieve our goals!
Let the technical team work as they know best, as we are not willing to help. We are offering them nothing but expecting the moon from them.
Monday, July 11, 2011
SCRUM. Except for the pushover try and the cheap penalties conceded on early engagement and binding infringements, the Ug scrimmaging was much more solid on the take, drive and wheel. Their ball was clean and ours shaky.
LINEOUTS. Although both sides managed to retain the lion share of their own throws with us plucking a few steals here and there. The Ug lineout took it for the simple reason of having more variations as compared to our static patterns. Lineout training should be the most simple but time consuming drills. All you need is a thrower and jumpers and calls. The animal comes in perfection of the all the simple motions into liquid flawless timing of the action, through repetitive throws, jumps and lifts.
MAUL. This was hardly used by both sides. Showing a general lack of confidence and or training in this aspect of the game. This is the perfect platform for a well drilled pack to score easy tries or to draw in defenders in the opponents 22 to create spaces for backs to exploit. It however can only be effective through accurate touch finding play, which in both cases was not the case.
RUCKS. We lost the battle and we lost it clean. More often than acceptable we were isolated on the contact point, went down to quickly or stayed up too long. The Ug side has always been more skilled in their application of rucks. They hit the gap and always dictate the terms on how they go down, leading to a well presented ball. What do we need to do, to drill it into our players that it pays more to take the gap than to try and knock over the opponent at the expense of control denying the luxury of the options of clean rucks and offloads? Maybe it is ingrained on them in the formative years of their playing careers and its imperative then that it is at these levels where work needs to be done.
TERRITORY/POSITIONAL PLAY. Our kicks for touch were not tactical. They never seemed aimed for touch, if you are not aiming for touch it is imperative that you have a well planned advance chasing line to close in on the back three, and equally mobile cover on the gaps left by these chasers. This chasing and cover cannot be left to player’s instinct. It has to be practiced over and over, and not only by the chaser but also by the covering players. The whole team has know where the high ball will be placed so to appreciate the gaps chasers leave and cover them as they advance without leaving gaps. Our high balls to the Ug number 8 were frightening; he always made 50m returns with ball, what was frightening was that this 50m were not lateral runs but straight ones towards the try box. If only his support was with him, the outcome would have been to their favour. Another frightening fact was that our kickers always seemed to kick it to him knowing well that his running return was devastating.
RUNNING LINES/DEFENSE. We were too shallow, we did not take the ball at pace. Our centers lines were too lateral. Our wingers did not attempt to beat their men on the outside. They lack genuine blistering pace. With all this going against us it was interesting that the Ug backs were only interested in defence, which to their credit was rock solid, their organized drifting was a joy to watch, their coaches are doing an excellent job on defensive patterns, that is showing. Maybe we need a Ugandan defence coach to help our clueless team organize their defense, it’s an open secret they have no ideas further than just selecting a good tackler into the team. The Ug line attacking strategy was left at home, or not cleared at the border. Did they have a prop playing at flyhalf? That guy’s only appearance was when he was missing penalty conversions. Our fly half was brilliant; his line breaks excellent, our first centre and wingers were however, either not intelligent or fast enough to even just but once be on his shoulders for the offload on the thousands of times he broke the line. Without proper attacking patterns, we will always rely on individual talent to score tries. That’s why our coaches had to bring in sevens players who have never trained with the team. “Short Cuts!”
PLAYER SELECTION AND ASSESSMENT. Our technical team is the saddest bunches of know it all, incompetent, blundering, boring clowns. How could the issue of Kiptoo being unfit only get realized in Zimbabwe? They had the whole season, Bamburi super series, National team selection training break and pre tournament test matches to check, monitor and maintain player fitness and conditioning. You cannot drop a player that you have been working on and monitoring for 3 months, mid tournament because he is unfit. You do not need a degree in rocket science to identify that someone is unfit and that they cannot be effective. And to think we have a fitness and conditioning expert!! Do we have basic minimum fitness and conditioning levels for all player positions and are this continuously monitored? You cannot intensively work with a healthy uninjured player for three months and only discover after game day that his levels of unfitness could not warrant his selection. That’s a big stale joke and if it were up to me, it would be a valid reason for summary dismissal and public flogging of the entire technical team. They are lucky it’s not up to me. But they sure need to be sent to loliondo to drink some of that stuff to cure their deficiencies.
Will we win in Uganda? Only by a miracle, because Ug must have probably realized by know that in the game, backs are allowed to run forward with the ball, and they are not there just to defend. If this has still not sunk into the minds of their coaches, then only God can help them.
Man of match. How we got this wrong again, I don’t know? The Ug number 8 was the best player on the park, and thats by good 2 miles.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Kenya beat Uganda 27 - 10 in the first round clash of the Elgon Cup in Nairobi. The match also doubled up as part of the Tri Nations Victoria Cup.
Scorers for Kenya
Tries : Tony Mutai, Nato Simiyu, Brian Okwomi, Ronnie Mwenesi
Conversion : Peter Abuoga (2)
Penalty : Vincent Mose
Go Kenya Go. Now Kayumbet.
Friday, July 8, 2011
The senior men's side? Are we progressing, or regressing? Were we shocked, surprised by what we found in Harare? Had we gone with our best, or what was available? Have we now selected our best, or what is available? Or have the chickens simply come home to roost? The approach I have always advocated for is selected your best options, and train them. After one good season, we have changed from being trainers, and gone back to being selectors! And that to me is a huge backward step, and I thought we were progressing.
Anyway onto more serious matters. My reading of the game was more like Tank's, however I am more concerned that we are talking very defensively, yet we are at home. Perhaps that was our biggest weakness and maybe we feel we will be neutralised at our greatest strength. But we seem scared. All said and done, we will overcome because our backs are against the wall
Do have a good day and do enjoy your rugby.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Whether the change is positive or not nobody knows but Mwangi's gung ho methods are rubbing many people the wrong way and raising eyebrows.
Gone Auka, Benja, Tottie and Newton. Who next? Certainly Kenya 15's management are in the radar and their performance will closely be watched.
One thing for sure is that with Muthee Mwangi and his band of cowboys, there is never a dull nor defining moment.
After spending five years as the dominant force in both domestic and European rugby, including four Premiership titles, two Heineken Cups and the Anglo Welsh Cup, the club has suffered a dramatic drop in fortunes recently. The club stumbled through last season, finishing a lowly ninth in the last campaign, with a squad that looked way short of being able to compete with Leicester and Saracens and those looking at the Rugby odds should bear this in mind.
Despite a disappointing few years for the club, Young is confident of success returning to Adams Park over the next few seasons. The Welshman has admitted the squad will need to go through something of a rebuilding process before being able to challenge though, making it clear it won't be an overnight job to get the team back to the top.
"Wasps had a quite extraordinary period of years at the top. There was always going to be a rebuilding phase at some stage," he said.
"They have the ambition to get back there and I'm happy to be part of that. A lot of work needs to be done to win trophies but it won't happen overnight."
Monday, July 4, 2011
The Leicester scrum half has had keyhole surgery to get cartilage trimmed from his left knee, but he is hoping this planned trip under the knife will not put his World Cup participation in doubt. Those following the Rugby World Cup betting will be keeping a close eye on his recovery.
Youngs has become a first choice player for Martin Johnson over the last year and he is expected to miss at least one of England's pre-World Cup games, most likely the first of a double header against Wales.
The operation will put him out of action for six weeks, meaning England will have had a training camp without him there and could also have played both their games against Wales with Youngs absent.
If he does miss all the training sessions and warm-up matches it would be seen as a gamble if Johnson throws him straight into the starting side when England get their World Cup campaign underway. Those placing rugby bets wouldn't expect Johnson to make such a move.
The RFU are confident he will be back as scheduled, meaning he could only have the final World Cup warm-up game against Ireland on August 27th to prove his fitness.
"Ben will continue his rehabilitation with the England medics in consultation with their Leicester counterparts. A full recovery is expected as quickly and as safely as possible under the guidance of the surgeon," an RFU statement read.
Johnson picked Youngs, Danny Care, Richard Wigglesworth and Joe Simpson as four scrum-halves in his 45-man World Cup training squad, meaning the other trio have a chance to impress before the England boss names his final 30-man World Cup squad on August 22nd.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Do have a good weekend and do enjoy your rugby.
This means there are 14 players from the preliminary squad fighting it out for the final five places and they will get the chance to impress in August with two warm-up tests.
Speaking about Scotland’s preparations, Robinson said: “Everyone has an opportunity and that's the great thing about the training camp.”
"Each day you're able to see players, how they work, their consistency, but also their desire to get in the squad.”
The warm-up games for Scotland are against Ireland and Italy, so they will be two competitive matches as teams look to prepare themselves for the biggest tournament in Rugby.
The second of these matches is on the 20th August, with the final squads set to be announced two days later. So, if someone who isn’t certain of a place in the squad now, they could be wearing a Scottish World Cup Shirt come September if they perform well against the Irish and the Italians.
As for the training camp Robinson mentioned, this takes place on the 4th July and the Scotland coach is hoping to have his entire preliminary squad present despite the busy schedule of those playing in England and France.
Looking further ahead to the tournament itself, Robinson is confident that his team is good enough to progress from their group. They take on Romaina, Georgia, Argentina and England in World Cup Pool B.
Robinson said: “All the games are going to be challenging. We've got to focus on that first challenge, plus playing Georgia after that.”
“The way the fixture schedule has worked out we've got two close games, then we've got a 10-day window to do some training in Wellington before we play against Argentina.”
First things first though for Robinson and Scotland, a training camp followed by two warm-up matches as the final few places of the squad are decided.