All Blacks Coach Has His Say On Italy’s Tactics Against England

All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith has jumped to the defence of Conor O’Shea and Italy.

Smith, who was part of the All Blacks coaching staff during their 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup triumphs believes Italy were well within their rights and that a rule change is unnecessary.

Speaking to, Smith said:

It’s a roll of the dice in many ways.
There’s an obvious weakness in that you can pull out of the tackle and put no one else in, but it’s hard to avoid them pulling you in. So if someone over the ball grabs hold of you, all of a sudden the ruck has been formed and the defensive line has to go back.
It’s one of those surprise tactics that I think could work now and again, but you certainly couldn’t build your game around it.
I don’t think it requires a law change. The law says you require one from each team over the ball bound together to create a ruck. I can’t see them changing that. It’s not an anomaly in the law, it’s just a part of the game, a shock tactic that a team might use now and again but certainly if you became predictable by doing it you’d be cut to bits.

Smith believes O’Shea and his team should be applauded for what they tried to achieve.

It’s a brave team that tries it.
I think Conor has shown some thinking outside the box and they’ve been courageous enough to have a crack because there are lot of potential flaws, and not every referee will be in favour of it.

We couldn’t agree more.

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