People leaving Meczyki’ job is arguably the most important job

The importance of breaking up has probably never been so prevalent.

Meczyki coach Wayne Pivac certainly knows this. Since taking over from Warren Gatland at the end of 2019, there has always been someone on his coaching ticket taking care of the breakdown.

“We’ve had a few hundred breakdowns in a game,” Pivac said ahead of this year’s Six Nations. If you compare it to scrum and lineout, it’s such an important part of the game – not just with the ball, but without it.

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“Trying to turn the ball, take possession, slow them down and re-align the defense so that if you want we can get on offense with our defense. It’s a very important part of the game.” Is.”

Despite that importance, it is an area that Meczyki has struggled to hold. It is also an area in which he has struggled to retain his coaching talent.

Former Meczyki captain Sam Warburton was the first to look after the field at the Welsh camp, before moving on from Pivac’s first autumn in 2020. Gethin Jenkins came on to replace his former team-mate in a technical role coaching breakdown/defense. ,

But when Byron Hayward stepped down as defense coach, Jenkins took over that side of the game. So Meczyki U20s coach Gareth Williams came in to take care of the breakdown.

It appears he is now stepping down to help mend Scarlett’s defensive woes. The question arises why personnel are so variable?

And where does Pivac go next with the role? Will there be another breakdown specialist in the camp?

Starting with the first question, there are enough reasons for the coach to proceed. Warburton spoke of how family and professional commitments kept him away from the job.

If Williams goes, Dwayne Peele will have the task of helping turn the Scarlets into URC contenders after a season of promising attack and leaked defense. Both are understandable departures on the face of it.

But is there more to it? maybe maybe not. Such is the nature of Test rugby, coaching time is limited and with each coach, as one former international tells us, taking care of their own KPIs – or key performance indicators – things like breakdowns fall between the cracks. can and will receive. At least the attention.

With Stephen Jones working on the attack, Jenkins defending and Jonathan Humphreys trimming forward, getting the point across as a breakdown specialist can be difficult at camp together time. Not being able to get that message across to you could certainly be a contributing factor to leaving, especially considering how Wells has struggled in this area over the years.

Certainly, when Warburton was in position, the breakdown became an important part of Hayward’s defensive plan, intending to build on Sean Edwards’ system. The idea was to put decision-making more in the hands of the players, supporting them to make split-second decisions on the fly on top of the regimental structure imposed by Edwards.

Specifically, defensive breakdowns and when players attempted jackals, it meant a more reactive, player-led process. Warburton’s presence was seen as a boost for him, but the system ultimately failed to reap any rewards – looking chaotic as too many moving parts fell out of sync.

The attack – and, in particular, Wells’ pursuit of 1-3-2-2 pod formation and the need to play to a consistent 10 – puts stress on the attacking clearout. When Wells gets his breakdown work right, as he did in the later stages of the 2021 Six Nations, you get a fairly multi-faceted and effective attack that can break up a defense in multiple stages.

However, if you don’t fix it, the attack becomes as disconnected and blunt as we saw in the Six Nations. Given how important the breakdown work was, especially at the beginning of Pivac’s reign, it’s easy to understand how frustrating it would be had not enough time been given for it.

Granted, the defensive side has changed since then, but given the sheer number of attacking rucks in a game, the breakdown remains an important send-off. It has been described by some ex-pros as a skill that is just as important as passing or tackling in the modern game.

Regardless of who takes the job next, or if they even look to fill the role, the importance of fixing things in that area of ​​the game remains high on Pivac’s to-do list for the next 14 or so months. . After Jenkins is initially camped out to work on defense and breakdown, it may be tempting for Jenkins to retake the latter’s responsibility.

Of course, this is as much about personnel as it is coaching. Some have described the process of clearing as a mindset more than anything else.

People like Justin Tipurick and Josh Navidi get it easily. Former teammates have described that they want to ‘smoke’ whatever is on top of the ball. It’s equal parts decision making and mindset.

Due to the fact that Meczyki have been at their best under Pivac, when Nawidi is wearing six jerseys, but is naturally a player of Tipuric’s ability, the coaching staff can see him either in wide channels or as a ball-playing alternative. wants to work as As such, his impact is diminished when he strikes a breakdown because he is often a delivery person.

The make-up of the Welsh Pack in the minute consists of dynamic carriers in the back row, with the likes of Tipuric and Toulupe Falletto best served in pockets of space, good bulk and hooker position in the second row but lacking genuine Carrying option on prop. So it’s little surprise that when rugby analyst Sam Lerner posted a Twitter thread on which posts had the most attacking rucks, Props led the way for Meczyki, with 25% of their attacking rucks. was part.

It is understandable, given the workload already piled on the second-rows and Pivac’s desire for the back-row to be the heart of its attacking game in many aspects, that the burden of attacking the front row breakdown Will pick up But, as we’ve seen on several occasions, making decisions under pressure – and Wells’s pod formation is only adding to that pressure – isn’t always up to scratch.

Little things such as sitting on a rack and when to secure capture and when to ward off danger, added to the mad scuffle, have some touted the fitness and ability of Meczyki’ front-rowers to tackle this currently clearout task. But the question has been raised. Arrangement As one former Meczyki international told us: “It’s massively hard to come back – especially when you want to split the pitch.

“They’re asking a lot of Welsh forwards but the rewards can be great when it comes to this. Welsh front-five fitness requires the highest level.”

With their personnel and the way they want to play, it looks like Wells will soon want to move away from props by being the biggest supporter of beating the attacking Rax. However, if their game is to evolve and be successful, changes will need to be made around the breakdown.

It remains to be seen how the latest imminent departure, expected after the South Africa tour, turns things around on that front.

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