Ask Kamo

Former All Black Ian Jones answers your Super 15 questions

Ask Kamo: Lineouts need early call

Blues lineout training. File photo / Brett Phibbs
Blues lineout training. File photo / Brett Phibbs

Former All Black Ian Jones answers your Super 15 questions

Q. What do the Blues and Chiefs have to do to improve their lineouts after stats out this week show they lag behind the rest? Adam
We could also add the Highlanders to that list. The lineouts are hurting all of these teams as they try to build pressure within the game. The lineout is all about the set-up and the speed you can get the ball in. If you are not controlling that, then the opposition can dominate you even before the ball is thrown in.

Our hookers and lifters aren't getting to the mark fast enough to control that set-up, and we are taking too long in our organisation to dictate the rhythm, giving the opposition more time to compose themselves and set their defence. This brings in a contest which we don't want on our own ball.

The solution is to call the lineout early so all players are aware and can react to the situation. Get the ball in on our terms and have our jumpers driving their hands towards the ball, catching it in front of their faces, not above their heads when it can be contested.

Winning consistent lineout ball at this level isn't easy but if you can control the pace and rhythm it will bring you a lot more consistency.

Q. Do you think the Blues' loss and then a bye straight after will affect their mental approach considering many players are new to Super rugby? George

The bye will work in their favour as it will give the coaching staff more time to work with the players to regain the momentum from the first two rounds. It is the coaching staff and skipper Ali Williams who are the key here as they have all experienced this type of setback themselves and will be able to relay those lessons to the younger players.

The key messages from the management will be to keep believing and trusting where they have come from and who they are. Confidence and self-belief cannot be doubted. A reminder of the importance of individual preparation will be vital.

That is, doing all your work during the week so you have arrived at kickoff fully switched on and confident in your role. And the last message will be about respect. This team need to earn it every day, winning fans with their actions, and you don't get that without a consistency of performance.

Q. Next up the Blues play the Waratahs in Sydney and I'm betting the hungry dog will be there to fight.Will Jamie Joseph be stressing after starting the season with two losses? And what does he have to do to turn it around? Liam

Jamie isn't the type of guy to be stressing about anything but it would be fair to say he must be mildly concerned and no doubt a bit frustrated - but such is the life of a coach. Team unity is the key to turning things around in these situations. They must all trust one another and the game plan they have set and work harder than they did the week before. The Highlanders also need to sort out their lineout and have someone put up his hand up to become the fetcher replacing Adam Thomson, and a ball runner replacing Nasi Manu. These things are achievable, it's just about the players taking that responsibility. Tonight they take on the Hurricanes at home in Dunedin and I don't see any better place to start the turnaround.

- NZ Herald

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