All Blacks

Brian Smith’s Analysis – Plays of the Day

Brian Smith’s Analysis – Plays of the Day

In this part of the world all eyes were on the Wallabies v Ireland series decider but before that game kicked off the All Blacks v France match was played in Dunedin and it was a terrific spectacle. In this analysis were going to have a look at some of the plays of the day from both tests played in Australasia on Saturday night. We’re also going to offer up a couple of suggestions for World Rugby’s Laws Committee because our game probably needs to tighten up a few issues.

Plays of the Day

Starting with the good stuff first, the “Plays of the Day”. This first clip is from the France v New Zealand match and it’s an appetiser for what’s to come. This first clip shows some very good French attack as they look to keep the ball alive and play at high tempo attacking New Zealand’s try line. It’s a good lesson for young scrum halves…tempo in the Red Zone is very difficult to defend.

The next clip is from the Wallabies v Ireland match and shows the vision of Bernard Foley who sees the space behind the Irish defence and puts in a beautiful kick to score for Marika Koroibete. The kick was made after the Wallabies had maintained the ball for 12 phases and Ireland was defending without a sweeper at this point. It was an excellent “heads up” play from Foley and it paid off.

However, for mine the best “Play of the Day” was this beauty from the All Blacks. New Zealand had set up a drive and their backs run a beautiful block play with an inside ball off Sonny Bill Williams. It’s the soft hands of Damian McKenzie that creates the channel for Reiko Ioane to slice through the French midfield and it raw speed that turns a linebreak into a starter play try.

Laws Committee Suggestions

There has been plenty of refereeing controversy in New Zealand and Australia over these past 3 weeks and it might be time for World Rugby Laws Committee to meet and discuss a couple of key areas of our game. The first is the aerial contest and yellow cards. It might be time for rugby union to look at putting incidents on report rather then wave yellow or red cards about. The report system means the game can keep flowing and we’re not wasting time reviewing clips on the big screen. Surely we want the game to flow to keep supporters engaged.


And finally, the issue of the referee and obstruction. New Zealand knew exactly what they were doing when Damian McKenzie attacked the line behind the referee on Saturday and I don’t have an issue with that. It’s gamesmanship and they are a street smart team that understands the laws of the game. Under the current laws they’re entitled to do this. However, it might be time to review the law. Surely in the spirit of the game we want the defender to have an opportunity to tackle runners. The obstruction law should be reviewed.


We have seen some terrific rugby bot across the ditch and in Australia over the past 3 weeks. The Wallabies will feel they have let a terrific opportunity slip through their fingers. That’s just how it is when you win the first game of a series then get rolled in the next two games. In New Zealand, the All Blacks have confirmed their superiority even though the French were competitive for large parts of the series. Australia will need to be better when they meet the Kiwis but there are some good signs with some new blood stepping up.

For mine, Taniela Toupo has announced himself on the world stage as being an almost complete international tight head. Not bad for a 22 year old, if he can stay fit he looks every bit a 100 cap international. Sekope Kepu has been a gem for the Wallabies for a long time. We’re very lucky to have back to back champions in this position. It might nearly be time for Taniela to start the tests and Sekope to finish them off.

All Blacks

Brian Smith is a rare breed who has both played and coached international rugby and doesn't mind telling it as he sees it. He's currently putting his Oxford degree to good use teaching Commerce and coaching rugby at the Scots College, Sydney.

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