Coaching a rugby team is a truly great challenge. The bigger the team, the bigger the microscope – and this week, there was a lot of attention on Steve Hansen and his coaching staff.
A team’s performance is judged on a weekly basis, but the performance of a coach on the other hand is judged by a team’s progress ie. did the team get better as the season wore on?
The All Blacks beat Ireland 21-9, three tries to none, yet all the comment is about how well the All Blacks defended. But why did the All Blacks defend so well? Steve Hansen and his staff identified what went wrong in the game two weeks ago at Soldier Field, and fixed the problem.
This is what you’d expect from the greatest coaching combination in the world.
The gaps inside the defender were too big in Chicago, and Ireland exploited that channel all day long. From my seat, high above the pitch – it was easy to see the inside defenders were not pushing up fast enough.
Roll on two weeks, and despite having a considerable heap of possession, Ireland failed to find a way through the All Black defence. The All Black coaching staff had identified the weakness, and addressed the issue effectively.
The message for all aspiring coaches is simple. Review what worked, and grow that area. Review what didn’t work, and fix it. This is a fundamental quality in all successful coaches.
Superior skills and try scoring ability won the test in Dublin, despite limited ball in the second half and a referee who favoured the home team (which many do).