Crafty Blues tactic will surely revolutionise try line defence at the World Cup
June the 2nd 2023 will always go down in history as the day the Blues changed the game when it comes to try line defence.
Up against the Highlanders at Eden Park in Super Rugby Pacific, the hosts found themselves with a ten point lead, but defending a Highlanders tap and go only five metres from their try line. In the middle of the field that is a hard one to defend. With a place in the top four of the table on the line, the Blues decided to pull off a play that is as controversial as it is successful. They decided to rip the padding off the base of the posts.
All it took was for halfback Sam Nock to gently knock the padding and it was off, causing havoc in the defensive line of the Blues. The referee had no choice but to stop play and give a scrum to the Highlanders.
Now the padding does not just fall off the post after being tapped gently, so what we at Rugby Onslaught are assuming is that one of the Blues players started to subtly undo the padding just before the Highlanders took the tap. Footage shows that the referee was clearly looking at the Highlanders players, and that gave the Blues the perfect opportunity to lay their trap.
Alternatively, they could have done it earlier in the game, providing a safety net should they find themselves under duress. With the Highlanders hammering away at the Blues’ line late in the game, that was the time to deploy the move.
Of course, this only results in a scrum to the attacking team so it is not a great advantage to the defence. But it nevertheless gives them a chance to regroup again, and there is always the possibility of winning a scrum penalty. After all, it did pay off for the Blues on this occasion, as they did not concede a try and came away 16-9 winners.
It is surely a matter of time before every team is copying the Blues, in which case, the pads might well need to be bolted to the posts for the World Cup.
Take a look: