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Dealing With Score Blowouts

Dear New Zealand Rugby, World Rugby, and Anyone Who Will Listen!

Competition and organizing committees have one simple goal - create an even and fair competition. Sounds good on paper, but let's be honest, it's practically impossible to achieve. We've all witnessed those score blowouts where one team completely dominates the other. And let's face it, nobody really enjoys blowouts. But fear not, for I believe I have stumbled upon a solution to reduce these lopsided matches.

Now, let me set the scene. I'm currently coaching an Under 10 team, and we've had our fair share of floggings. Last Saturday, we found ourselves trailing 70-0 at halftime, staring at the prospect of enduring our third consecutive 100-point defeat.

During the first half the same pattern emerged. They would kick off deep into our half, we'd attempt to run it back. 3 or 4 phases later they turn the ball over and score. Then rinse and repeat. Now, mind you, managing three or four phases was a significant improvement from two weeks ago, but we were still struggling to escape our own half.

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My co-coach and I were drumming up some inspiration at half-time, but nothing - we were both like ‘possums in a headlight’ as we had used all our positive affirmation the previous 3 weeks and certainly didn’t want to call then ‘jersey pulling #$&*#@’ (because they couldn’t get close enough to pull a jersey). Then, a moment of enlightenment struck after a chat with the opposing coach. We came up with a brilliantly simple yet game-changing tweak to "even the leger." Instead of the opposition kicking off after scoring a try, we were given the opportunity to tap restart. This meant we got the ball from halfway, giving us the chance to choose where we wanted to launch our attack.

And oh boy, what a transformation it was! In the second half, our team and the opposition each scored 10 tries. Yes, you heard it right. Ten tries each! Now, in the end, we did lose the match (120-52), but the kids left the field buzzing with excitement. They had been given a fighting chance, and it made the game more enjoyable and competitive for everyone involved.

What's truly remarkable is that this simple change proved far easier than shuffling players around, altering the way the game is refereed, introducing new rules, asking the talented players to hold back (or not play at all), or even prematurely ending the game. And the best bit, both teams were still playing rugby to the best of their ability!

So, to sum it all up, When a team is leading by 50 points, the trailing team has the option to restart with a tap-restart after scoring a try, instead of a kick-off. However, once the trailing team scores a try, they will still kick-off to restart the game.

Sometimes simple solutions are right there, we just can’t see them.

Kind regards

The Coaching Gig


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