Penney’s Pitch

Munster’s second rows of old must have been watching in disbelief as Donnacha O’Callaghan waited patiently on the touchline for play to return his way over the past few games. Far from a reflection of work rate this is a component on Rob Penney’s structure of maintain width on the attack.

While the system was visible if not effective against Ulster it clicked devastatingly in the five try rout of Dragons.

Penney Graphic350The players are empowered to attack based on where the defence is weak but the structure positions players where they can be most effective and utilise their strengths.

This is best explained using a Diagram.

Here is how the Munster attack would look at second or third phase with play coming from a ruck on the right wing.

Here we see a group of forwards quite flat in the midfield (Gain line attack). These guys are usually made up front front five players and will always operate up and down the middle of the park. This maximises their strength and power on the gainline without expending energy by working them across the pitch.

The 12 or 13 (Distributors) will sit deep behind this group of players and will act as link between the Out Half and the outside channels. Again their skill set is such that they can change the point of attack by 20 metres with one pass.

Fly Half (Decision Maker) standing relatively flat keep the avenue open for a pass to the flat forwards or deep centre. If the defence fans out he will attack through the middle, if the condense he used the centre to unleash the outside attack.

In the wide channels we have a mix of pace and strength by keeping players such as full back, wing and also a second row in these tramlines. The logic of having a lock forward is to have a player who can keep from being barged into touch, charge over an outside back or provide inside offloads to the speedsters.

Donnacha OCallaghan680

Combined this provides more than most defences can contend with as Dragons can testify.


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