In the last article we looked at the gruelling fitness and weights routine Warren Gatland and his coaching staff are putting the Welsh squad through (we really mean Welsh ‘employees’). If you noticed though, we didn’t mention rugby at any point.
Although the Welsh players, or employees as I like to call them, are probably as fit as they have ever been, it won’t mean much if they struggle with the basic skills of passing and catching. Yet alone the more complex skills such as the work at the breakdown, the lineout and the scrum…none of which are ever described in the employee handbook.
So when they ran out at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday against Ireland, bulging from their recent work they felt confident that they would have the beating of the 2nd string Ireland side.
From the get go, Wales struggled to establish any sort of foothold in the game, making error after error, some forced, some unforced. If this was s normal business you’d be looking at your Employee Handbook to see how it details performance management!
Ireland capitalised and had a huge lead by the 30th minute. There is nothing in the Wales handbook to cover how to come back from this deficit and certainly playing the way they were playing.
This was a pattern that carried on for the rest of the game. Ireland were sharper, had a better rush defence, better set piece and were able to convert opportunities when they presented themselves.
Had the lack of real rugby practice meant that Wales struggled to get up to speed quickly? Admittedly, they were better in the last 20 minutes. Justin Tipuric, the only player on the Wales side with true class had a few good moments but he’s only one man…there were another 14 that went missing.
I’d be looking into the Handbook now to see what it says about that!