Five things we learnt about rugby in November 2020

first_imgPaul Williams delivers his monthly musings on the major happenings in the game However, there is one key stat that is rarely presented on TV coverage or in post-match write-ups and that is ‘tries disallowed’ – or, more precisely, the number of times that a team crosses the tryline without scoring.Close call: Referee Jono Bredin signals a try held up during the Mitre 10 Cup (Getty Images)Getting to the tryline is the hardest thing to do in the game and with modern defence as effective as it is, touching the ball down seems immeasurably harder than it did just a decade ago.We often dwell on how much possession and territory a team wins when many of the world’s dominant teams manage victory with well under 50% of the ball – often nearer 40%. As we saw when England beat Ireland, the tackle statistics were grossly in favour of England, yet Ireland weren’t in the game at all – a high tackle count usually works against the team making it.We also obsess over lineout completions and scrums when, in reality, all of the key performance indicators count for nothing unless you cross the tryline in one form or another. One more stat won’t hurt, let’s chuck it into the mix.Pumas prove that exposure worksDon’t let the recent 38-0 loss to the All Blacks dilute the importance of the Pumas’ initial victory over New Zealand. It was epic in every way. Teams such as Wales, Ireland and Scotland have played Tier One rugby for decades but don’t come close to regularly beating New Zealand.For the Pumas to have beaten them was remarkable. To have done it having prepared for the match in an almost Covid-enforced, amateur-era style merely added to the mystique. Their approach really does make you question the benefits of meticulous over-preparation when compared to rocking up with a team of players who are injury-free and relaxed.Perhaps the most important aspect of the victory is that it proves that exposure to better teams does work in the long term. Many will point to Italy as evidence to disprove that theory, but as a glass half-full approach, ‘playing up’ in standard certainly seems to have its positives.Faletau, the sideways masterTaulupe Faletau has had a quiet couple of seasons by his standards. Injury has seen the once first-choice Wales No 8 not exactly slide down the pecking order, but for once his selection has at least been a debate and not an assumption. But when he’s in form, as we saw against England, he is by far the best ball-carrier in the Welsh squad.Side move: Taulupe Faletau on the ball against England (Getty Images)Jake Ball carries well, make no mistake, and his recent performances have seen him arguably become Wales’ most important lock. But Faletau’s carries are different. There is, of course, grunt, but before that there is a smooth move to the side. It’s a slide that allows him to move one foot to the right, or left, of the defenders’ rigid core and into the gooey spaces on the edge.It’s like watching rugby Frogger, where simply running blindly forward means that you will eventually get messed up by something heavy. Whereas Faletau shuffles left, right and sometimes backwards before moving forwards.We have all become obsessed with how carriers move forwards, and the attritional metres gained, but often the best go in a different direction first. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Cross the line: Ardie Savea scores in New Zealand’s 38-0 win over Argentina (Getty Images) center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Ardie Savea is the genuine hybridHybrid has become a dirty word in rugby. It’s synonymous with Eddie Jones’s theoretical musings that in the future wings may eventually play ten minutes at lock, three at tighthead and then go to full-back for the final 20 minutes before finally reverting back to being an amphibian and re-entering the water.Being a hybrid is seen as a bonus in club rugby, where positional fluidity is key for a squad to thrive over the season, but it still has a whiff of career stagnation if you’re looking to excel at Test level.One player who this does not apply to is Ardie Savea. Whether he is playing at six, seven or eight, you are getting Ardie Savea. Full fat, max caffeine, deep fried, covered in cream and sprinkled with angel dust Ardie Savea.His performance for New Zealand against the Pumas at the end of November was magnificent. If there is a player who makes more metres after contact in the global game, then it must be in games that aren’t televised to the wider public.The All Blacks have good depth when it comes to young ball-carrying eights, with Hoskins Sotutu at the head of the queue, but they will have a massive job trying to out-perform Savea. He’s relentless.The ‘dark arts’ have movedThe ‘dark arts’ were once reserved for those who were 18 stone and with necks that have their own time zone. These acts were performed in dimly-lit, damp areas where players underwent things that should never really be seen outside of a puppeteer’s convention. But times have changed, and the dark arts are now to be found in the kick-chase and particularly underneath the box-kick.As we saw in Llanelli, England’s work under the high ball was exemplary and allowed them to dominate the aerial battle. In reality, it isn’t what happens in the air that’s key, it’s what happens on the ground.England’s ability to set a ‘shield’ of players around the target area is vital in winning what takes place in the air. Such is the precision of the ‘catch’ in modern rugby, that any player who can fill the space in front of the catcher has already won the battle.The key is to not make it look like you’ve altered your line. If you can accurately predict where the ball will land and run in a slow, but deliberate, line, you’ll make it much easier for the player who is actually going to take flight and win the ball.England did it so effectively against Wales that it even stifled Dan Biggar’s attempts in the air and he is, despite being an outside-half, one of the best takers of a high ball in the game.England did plenty of things well against Wales, but their tactics around the catch were superb.We need a new statSome rugby supporters hate stats, some love them. But like it or not, they’re a vital part of the game and have become core to understanding and enjoying the sport.last_img read more

EnergyBet shares frustration over Polish market withdrawal

first_img EnergyBet has confirmed that it will be withdrawing from the Polish market as of 1 April, 2017. In line with many other online international gambling services, the operator will cease to direct any advertising or promotions towards the market.EnergyBet had been watching developments regarding regulations in Poland closely for some time, and had hoped that the Polish government would listen to the advice of the European Union and other authorities. However, company management has since decided that the “highly restrictive and hostile regulatory environment” makes continued operations unviable.Marcin Sapinski, EnergyBet CEO, commented: “The Polish market has always been very important to us, and we share the frustration of Polish customers. We will continue to monitor developments, with the aim of returning to the Polish market if things change. In the meantime, we would like to thank our Polish customers for their understanding.”Sapinski stressed that “the decision to cease offering EnergyBet services to customers in Poland was not taken lightly”, and that the resulting inconvenience and disappointment is regrettable.Accounts for all Polish residents will be closed and any balances returned, with bets placed before the cut-off date being honoured. Meanwhile, EnergyBet affiliate partners have also been instructed to remove advertising and promotions aimed at the Polish market by the end of the month. Polish wagering report highlights STS market dominance  August 17, 2020 Share Share Related Articles StumbleUpon Mateusz Juroszek – Non-stop STS will expand amid industry disruptions August 12, 2020 Betsson rolls out new Group Affiliates site August 7, 2020 Submitlast_img read more

Frustrations, technicals adding up for Lakers’ Nick Young

first_imgORLANDO — So much for that infectious smile.Lately, Lakers forward Nick Young has provided several other facial expressions on the court, and it’s cost him.Young picked up his fourth technical foul in the past five games during the Lakers’ 114-105 loss Friday to the Orlando Magic at Amway Center, bouncing the ball with 30.8 seconds left in the third quarter after receiving a no-call on a drive to the basket. Two of those technicals stem from Young’s ejection last week in Phoenix, where he was swarmed by numerous defenders. “It’s tough. I’ve been frustrated,” said Young after posting 16 points on only 6-of-16 shooting. “It’s everything going around. I’m also fighting for that respect factor, too, and playing with passion.” Young is nowhere near the NBA-maximum 16 technical fouls that yield an automatic suspension. But he has already forfeited $14,634 in player salary for a one-game suspension, $8,000 in technicals, and $2,000 for an ejection. Young makes about $1.1 million this season and has a player option next season worth $1.2 million. “It’s tough losing to teams. We’re better than that,” Young said. “It hurts. I came here saying I’m about to retire today.”Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni blamed Young’s latest technical foul on frustration and fatigue, while Pau Gasol suggested Young will have to remain positive. “The more positive and active we get on the floor, the better off we’ll be,” Gasol said. “People are frustrated and down on themselves. It carries and drags people around them.” Adjusted timetable After expressing optimism Lakers forward Xavier Henry could return from a bone bruise in his right knee within the next week, D’Antoni suddenly sounded pessimistic.“It’s another 10-14 days probably,” D’Antoni said.Henry sounded surprised when reporters informed him of the timetable. After checking with the Lakers’ training staff, Henry predicted his knee will “be all right within the next week or so.”Henry is at least penciled out for the Lakers’ slew of games against New York (Sunday), Indiana (Tuesday) and Charlotte (Friday). Henry will receive an MRI on Monday on his right knee, which has also suffered an abnormality in his meniscus. Henry has missed the past 13 games, but had made some progress this week by participating in weight-bearing exercises that involved running, cutting and shooting. The Lakers refused to call Henry’s latest timetable a setback and characterized it as a precautionary measure. Henry had also played in a full set of on-court basketball drills including games of three-on-three on Jan. 12, but he felt soreness in his right knee and scaled back his workload.“I don’t like it’s been this long, but I can’t help how my body reacts and recovers,” said Henry, who had averaged 10.4 points at small forward and point guard. “It’s an injury that sucks to have. “Sometimes you start feeling better in the next day and then you come in and you’re as stiff as ever. But it’s been feeling great for the past week.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more