Keith Richardson column: Old-school brutality makes light work of extended coaching teams
EXPERT coaches flood rugby at every turn these days.
But the game almost mocks the abundance of specialists.
Fitness, recovery, physiotherapy, sprinting, scrum, lineout, attack, defence, kicking – you name it, there is probably one lurking somewhere.
The age-old truths hold sway even in the age of professionalism: lose the forward battle and you will probably lose the game!
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Gloucester's front-five were totally eclipsed by Sale at Kingsholm on Saturday in the 22-26 Premiership defeat.
This must be an area of major concern.
The supporters were crying out for the backs to get the ball, but there is not a lot they could have done from a starting position that was firmly on the back foot.
The backs were not blameless and did not earn many plus points, but the forwards in front of them were dreadful on the day.
If Sale can do this we can only hope and pray it was a one-off, because the near future holds Saracens, Northampton and Leicester – and they all know how to sniff blood.
Exeter do not take prisoners and, give us all strength, Bath looked the real deal in the Newcastle mud and gale.
Sale came, saw and conquered with a spirit, pace and tenacity that took Gloucester by surprise.
The home side were never really in it yet managed to make a rally deep into the second half and might have snatched the most unlikely of victories.We may have a highly talented set of young backs, but there must be some serious doubt regarding the piano movers after this display.
Perhaps the shock of the poor performance will trigger a strong and positive reaction, but taking on Saracens at Allianz Park on Sunday will hardly inspire any confidence.
Henry Trinder's solo try against Sale indicates what Gloucester will need to do to make any headway against the robust and gritty Saracens.
The smart centre came onto the ball at pace and from deep, hitting the line and ghosting straight through it thanks to his clever angle.
Trinder showed what was possible with a bit of nous, and the bit between the teeth.
Poor kicking did not help, but Sale's driving maul dominance had Gloucester in trouble.
Gloucester's lack of spark made for a chastening start.
Perhaps Gloucester are not as good as has been suggested – a great challenge for Gloucester to dispel that feeling without delay awaits this weekend.