Rolling maul dilemma

tolu latu

Wallaby hooker Tolu Latu receives the Player of the Match award after the Fiji, Wallabies match at the Sapporo Dome. Latu scored two tries through rolling mauls. Photo: World Rugby

Within five minutes the Australians used it in the 2015 Rugby World Cup then on Saturday ditto; scoring two tries by the rolling mauls.

In the 2015 version, champion open-side flanker David Pocock was at the back of the moving mauls scoring in the 26th and 31st minutes, on Saturday it was hooker Tolu Latu scored two in the 56th and 61st minutes.

At the Millennium Stadium the teams had been locked at 3-3 all with Fiji having their own in winning the set pieces and playing good rugby when within that five minute span, the Wallabies had raced ahead to lead 15-3 at the 31st minute.

At the Sapporo Dome Fiji looked charming and spectacular with the forwards and backs combining for a well-executed try from hard working flanker Peceli Yato and another with outside centre Waisea Vuidravuwalu pouncing on a loose ball from an Australian miss-pass to run over 40 metres to score between the posts.

Flyhalf Ben Volavola who was suspect with the boot during the Pacific Nations Cup proved his critics wrong scored three penalties with the Fijians leading the Australians 21-15 in the 56th minute.

The mauls changed the tempo of the match with Latu scoring the first one to bring the Wallabies within one point 21-20 then scored another one five minutes later for Fiji to hand over the lead for the first time 21-25.

lineout dominiko

Flying Fijian skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu wins a lineout at Sapporo Dome. Photo: World Rugby

What is it with rolling mauls and how come the Fijians haven’t been able to counter them?

The Tongans used it in the last warm up match at Eden Park, the November tours for the past four years have witnessed the tier one nations using them effectively against the Fijians.

According to coaching manuals, the best way to counter the mall is to tackle the lineout receiver as soon as he hits the deck to disrupt the conceiving of the maul; better still with the athletic Leone Nakarawa, Tevita Ratuva and Tevita Cavubati Fiji can contest the lineouts to disrupt the setting up of the maul.

The other is to stop the maneuvering of the forwards to gain the momentum in picking up speed to create the roll.

The forwards need to actively take part in killing the creation with the halfback being used as a supervisor to announce to the forwards the enactment and whereabouts of opposition forwards, and negating the inception.

If the maul is halted and becomes stationary for five seconds, then the referee will direct the mauling team to clear the ball to the backs.

When the maul is beginning momentum, the halfback and the forwards need to attack the nucleus of the roll to negate its building up in speed.

Collapsing the maul is not an option because the perpetrators will be penalized.
This four year problem need to be addressed or we will see both Uruguay who are quick learners from Argentina score easy tries; and then Wales and Georgia will give us the same medicine.

Fiji’s got speed and flamboyant running rugby, alas it could easily be nullified with the rolling mauls and effectively put the Flying Fijians on an early flight home after the Wales match if not addressed.

maama vaipulu, tonga

Flying Fijian inside centre Lepani Botia challenges Tongan Maama Vaipulu at Eden Park. Photo: World Rugby

1 Comment

Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Rolling mauls

One response to “Rolling maul dilemma

  1. jone dakuvula

    Good article. Hope this is addressed!

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