• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

If Cullen...

Cruz_del_Sur

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
3,094
Country Flag

Argentina

Club or Nation

CASI


Thoughts?
Disagree with a lot but i do think he makes a few good, and most importantly, relevant points. How should i phrase this... i think his diagnosis on what the game is today is spot on. Not sure about his view on how we got here nor how to get out of this mess.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

International
TRF Legend
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
5,158
Country Flag

Scotland

Club or Nation

Georgia

I can't say I agree. Trends from a couple of years back in the URC showed tries per game were rising and I find the game far more entertaining and less penalty kick orientated than 20 years ago. Look at Teddy and Finn at the weekend.

The only two thing I'd change are:
i) reducing subs, so they are used more for injuries, not for 'finishing'

ii) scrapping automatic reviews at scores and give sides 3 challenges each where they can use the TMO, otherwise everything is on field decision stands only or (for violent hits that aren't spotted) reviewed after the match and sanctions issued retrospectively. Sports with far less flow than rugby (like Basketball and American Football) do plenty good but there is scope for dialling back on the amount of referrals to TMO.
 

big ginger 8

Hall of Fame
TRF Legend
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
11,081
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

Yeah this might have applied more about 4 years ago, I'm not sure why we still keep getting people making the argument that there's no space and players are all robots. With the rules the way they are now, most of the successful teams have a more open flowing gamelan and we can see teams like Munster trying to adopt such a style since its effective.
 

BiggusLaddus

Academy Player
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
317
Enforce the offside line.

There is a bloke with a flag looking straight down the defensive line at every ruck and maul.

Defences have got so much better with all the extra time available to drill the players. We don't need to allow them all to get a 2m headstart at every play.
 

BPM

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
3,334
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Harlequins

Yeah this might have applied more about 4 years ago, I'm not sure why we still keep getting people making the argument that there's no space and players are all robots. With the rules the way they are now, most of the successful teams have a more open flowing gamelan and we can see teams like Munster trying to adopt such a style since its effective.
Agreed. Plenty of teams play with ambition and attacking intent.

If lesser talents than Cullen are capable of finding space and beating defenders, I’m sure he’d still be doing so if he were playing today.
 

Kiwiwomble

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
4,453
Country Flag

New Zealand

Club or Nation

Otago

i dont think there is that much less space and so player have got bigger to go through the middle, i think players went pro...so spent more time training...so got bigger...and a step slower...and so were easier to catch

I see it at club level where players arent in the gym all day...because they have jobs, we have a real bean poll 15...but he's lighting with great balance and he makes easy meters, he just manages to get on the outside shoulder easier than the bigger guys...which is what cullen was so good at
 

Cruz_del_Sur

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
3,094
Country Flag

Argentina

Club or Nation

CASI

I can't say I agree. Trends from a couple of years back in the URC showed tries per game were rising and I find the game far more entertaining and less penalty kick orientated than 20 years ago. Look at Teddy and Finn at the weekend.

The only two thing I'd change are:
i) reducing subs, so they are used more for injuries, not for 'finishing'

ii) scrapping automatic reviews at scores and give sides 3 challenges each where they can use the TMO, otherwise everything is on field decision stands only or (for violent hits that aren't spotted) reviewed after the match and sanctions issued retrospectively. Sports with far less flow than rugby (like Basketball and American Football) do plenty good but there is scope for dialling back on the amount of referrals to TMO.
I agree with these 2 proposals. Wasn't Nigel Owens who proposed the first? I might be wrong.
I do see the 'other side' arguing player safety or something along those lines, which would be questionable at least.
Not sure about the comparison vs 20 years ago thou, but i don't have the stats at hand. I'd like to see # of tries/game AND how many of those come from open play vs pick n go, mauls, scrums, etc. It's not that easy to construct a clear pic here and i guess we all fall back on memories, whether we do so consciously or not.

If lesser talents than Cullen are capable of finding space and beating defenders, I’m sure he’d still be doing so if he were playing today.
Not sure. I guess the skillset required to gain space/meters has changed, a lot. You could argue BB has a bit of that and you'd be right.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

G.O.A.T
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 13, 2013
Messages
23,284
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leicester

Pretty funny timing given that Arundell scored a very Cullen like try on the weekend as 19 year old.
 

Not Mike Brown's Sock

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
3,490
Country Flag

UK

Club or Nation

Harlequins

I struggle to see any player from before the last 15/20 years max dominating the game today, purely because players can all now generally lift more, tackle harder and run faster. All their physical specs and skill sets are better.

Cullen may match some of them, but he wouldn't be looked at as one of the best to do it imo.

I hate to even type it, but that goes for Lomu too. Lomu in my mind was essentially a freak player that was a bit of foreshadowing for what was to come in the real pro era. Playing today, Lomu is good, but not the GOAT. He would be piled in with other big fast guys, of which there is no short supply, and maybe be better than most, but not head and shoulders above like he was.

Right I need to go and wash the sacrelige off me
 

Cruz_del_Sur

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
3,094
Country Flag

Argentina

Club or Nation

CASI

Pretty funny timing given that Arundell scored a very Cullen like try on the weekend as 19 year old.
Funny as making a summer after spotting one swallow? More? Less?

Bonus points for comparing Arundell to Cullen. Balsy, intrepid, almost fearless call right there.

Arundell?
1652363718054


I struggle to see any player from before the last 15/20 years max dominating the game today, purely because players can all now generally lift more, tackle harder and run faster. All their physical specs and skill sets are better.
Prolly. You would have to factor in somehow or at least attempt to consider that people like Lomu or Cullen would have been even better with today's training, coaching, etc.
Very tricky thou. That's why when i compare people from different eras i tend to do so by judging how dominant they were in theirs. This is another exercise thou.

I mean, would O'Driscoll at his best* be a top pick for a 2022 Lions squad? Leinster?

* do recall a few here calling him the best centre ever.

What i find interesting about the article is the analysis around the concept of space, which is very, very relevant and incredibly hard to quantify, measure and compare.
We can more or less accurately gauge a players size, weight and speed with today's technology and even use it to do so for past players. Space, space is trickier.

Not saying that when you factor that in you'd necessarily obtain a different result, i dont know. I am just saying that considering space is less intuitive and consequently an overlooked factor.

Just thought it was a provocative piece and thought it'd be worthy of interrupting your highnesses busy agendas.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

G.O.A.T
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 13, 2013
Messages
23,284
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leicester

Plenty of open field tries get scored.
Kolbe was scoring them every other game when he was at a top team.

People blame defence being stronger reality is attack has gotten weaker.
 

Cruz_del_Sur

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
3,094
Country Flag

Argentina

Club or Nation

CASI

Funny you say that. I wrote a bit which i then deleted about two things you mentioned. Oh well, my bad.

"Many"... come one... anecdotal impressions are not good enough. How many? How many compared to 20 years ago? I dont have the data and i suppose, neither do you. If you do, apologies and do share.

And regarding Kolbe, that is a fair point. My argument was along the lines of that the game today benefits people like Kolbe or Nadolo (two extremes) and not so much people like Cullen. Kolbe can either create the space or move in limited space and Nadolo by, well, brute force. Both are 'reactions' to, precisely, the restrictions in terms of space teams face.
Cullen didn't have the footwork nor the acceleration Kolbe has nor the sheer momentum Nadolo can impose.
Not saying he didn't have tools, he did, in spades, just not sure his specific tools would work today. How would you stop a guy like Cullen back in the day? Rushing him, preventing him from gaining speed and momentum. If you try that vs Kolbe he'd use that against you to sidestep you and with Nadolo it could work but it could also backfire spectacularly.
I'm generalizing a bit here and there, but the principles hold.
















Cullen's brilliance was precisely marveously exploiting space.
 

Le Frére Alpha

Fat Boi
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Messages
16,816
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

My perception was that more tries are scored now than twenty years ago. It used to be fairly common for teams to rack up 21+ points in kicks alone. Comparing the premiership now with 20 years ago would back it up, after 22 games the highest try scoring team had 72 tries, now after 22 games seven sides have more than that with 6 of them on 80+.

Cullen looks like Penaud does on the ball too. A lot of nostalgia in that article in my opinion.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

G.O.A.T
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 13, 2013
Messages
23,284
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leicester

I mean 2 seasons ago (Too factor out covid results) in the premiership a total of 748 tries was scored
compared to 2000/01 616 tries scored

2019/20 scored 6,130 points
2000/01 years ago 6,303 points

So despite scoring 132 less tries the 00/01 scored nearly 200 points more.

I feel that that whole article is aimed at Super rugby where teams have just discovered for the first time that tackling is allowed.

Prem try of the week last round none are "freaks"
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

G.O.A.T
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 13, 2013
Messages
23,284
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leicester

Also the fact that Chris Ashton is top try scorer and still scoring tries for fun despite not being the fastest or biggest is testament to space being created still.
 

big ginger 8

Hall of Fame
TRF Legend
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
11,081
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

I mean, would O'Driscoll at his best* be a top pick for a 2022 Lions squad? Leinster?

* do recall a few here calling him the best centre ever.

Depends, is Gatland picking the squad?

How different do you think the game O'Driscoll played is from the current game in terms of size and fitness of the players? Sure when he broke through it was nowhere near comparable to now but he only retired in 2014. He played a number of years after professionalism had really been established and still had success.

Would he make the current Leinster team? As highly as I rate Ringrose there is absolutely no doubt he would.

The Lions? Again, I would say yes and if he did miss out it wouldn't be because he couldn't function in the game now or due to lack of space. BOD found and created space where others couldn't, that's even more valuable now if your argument about lack of space is correct.
 

Groundhog

Grond van der Hogg
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
9,070
Country Flag

Aaland

Club or Nation

Munster

Lol BO'D walks into any of those teams! He played up until 8 years ago and finished up his Irish career in an extremely physical smash and grab team.

Cullen managed to bag tries at Munster when we played 10 man rugby despite injuries, I think he'd be fine.

That article is completely annecdotal. Some people might not like the direction rugby has gone in for whatever reason, but the statistics don't really back up the game being lower scoring etc.
 
Last edited:

Old Hooker

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
4,980
Country Flag

England

Yeah this might have applied more about 4 years ago, I'm not sure why we still keep getting people making the argument that there's no space and players are all robots. With the rules the way they are now, most of the successful teams have a more open flowing gamelan and we can see teams like Munster trying to adopt such a style since its effective.
We’ve got an odd mix of a lot more regimented and predictable plays and ambition that, in the past, players just wouldn’t have attempted anywhere other than in a Baa Baas game. Just a theory, but maybe the increased fitness levels and organised defences now make it harder to make a break but a higher % are actually finished.

The one other change I’d make is that the line out from a penalty to touch wouldn’t go to the attacking team. The maul from a 5m line out is predictable and tedious in equal measure and you only have to look how high hookers now feature in try scoring charts (2 of the top 4 in the GP). Possession or territory but not both, maybe with an exception for serious foul play.
 

Don't Skip Leg Day

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
3,738
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Northampton

Bigger should mean faster as well, people assume bigger is slower but more muscle made and power would make you faster up until a point.

Players in general these days are much faster and quicker to accelerate than in years gone by.
 

Similar threads

A
Replies
10
Views
2K
Flamingo
F
P
Replies
17
Views
2K
cavan
C
J
Replies
18
Views
7K
Randwick Kingfisher
R
S
Replies
1
Views
948
cavan
C
W
Replies
45
Views
3K
Dmx#1
D

Latest posts

Top