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Gordon D'Arcy Picks Out The Springboks Player To Blame For Japan Defeat

Gordon D'Arcy Picks Out The Springboks Player To Blame For Japan Defeat
By Gary Reilly Updated

The philistines among us may have watched on as Japan ran in those two late tries and celebrated wildly as a result of a group of players few of us had ever even heard of. But students of the game such as Gordon D'Arcy were instead asking why.

Why did a team that were supposed to be routinely swept aside turn up on the biggest occasion and shock the sporting world? While there may be plenty to say about the building of a structure within Japanese rugby and the possibility to play with quality players in an increasingly impressive league system, D'Arcy was instead looking at something much more simple to understand.

A young centre failing to do his job like he should have.

Jesse Kriel may not have been at fault for the fact that Japan were still in the game with fifteen minutes to go but, according to D'Arcy, he was largely at fault for the fact that the Brave Blossoms came away with a 34-32 win.

In an illuminating column in today's Irish Times, the Leinster man uses Kriel to explain just how important a centre's defensive responsibilities can be. A centre may only make 'three or four primary hits in a game' but it's about staying relevant and it's about ensuring you're in the right position according to D'Arcy, something which Kriel was guilty of forgetting.

If you dive into that hole and don’t make a clean tackle you disappear from view and it looks like someone else has missed a tackle. Your team-mates know who is to blame. So does your coach.

For Goromaru's try, the 21 year old Springbok 'emptied their outhalf late to leave a gaping hole for their blindside winger to run into'. And for the final nail in the coffin, it was once again Kriel 'was handed off by Al Mafi as punishment for invading the space too early'.


Perhaps it's harsh to pin so much blame on the shoulders of one player, particularly one so young, but if we're going to trust someone to tell us what a centre needs to do at the highest level, then Gordon D'Arcy is a fairly good man to have on hand.


[Irish Times]

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