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Hawkeye view: The inside on Sevens

This week we turn the spotlight back on the teams and their identities and just what forms that Identity.

Fiji we discussed as the team that could be best identified as FLUID, through their use of ball movement and continual non stop play, also the ability to keep the ball moving through and after the contact point, as well as their innate ability to switch from attack to defence effortlessly.

We also shone a light on a group and identity we call STRETCH, these teams use their ability to move the ball side to side trying to take the opposition on in the 15 metre channels and force them to create extensive width in defence. This is only accomplished by real depth by the attack and the ability to pass the ball well and consistently.

As we move forward and on to the next Identity, which we are going to call ACCURATE, these teams can be defined by using such words as,

* Precise

* Exact

* Standard

There are three teams that best fit this description and they have really shown this year over year, but each and every one of them fell incredibly short of their own expectations and the expectations of their competitors on the Gold Coast.

* England

* New Zealand

* South Africa

Hawkeye view: The inside on SevensWhen we talk about these three teams, they are sides esteemed in rugby history and really hold true lineage in the world of rugby, so you would expect accuracy to be part and parcel. But as we will come to find out in the game of Sevens in particular, that is just not the case.

A stat that is rarely paid much attention to by many teams, but one that  gives you great insight in to a team and helps establish this identity, is the accuracy with which these teams are able to score or convert points out of possession when reaching an opposition's Red Zone or 22m.

The Gold Coast was not good to these three teams, but the accuracy that was displayed in this department by England and New Zealand was indicative of their identity, with both attaining a 94 percent accuracy rate in that zone which is phenomenal.

Other stats we would use to underline this Identity and these teams would be there ability to control and score off set piece, free kicks and penalties. These are all phases in the game where you gain positive momentum and the opposition is often left being reactive versus proactive and it lays a platform to put points on the board.

As a player and a coach, you have to be very aware of these situations as they are few and far between and the ability to capitalize is extremely important.

On a free-kick or penalty, a lot of the infringements take place at the ruck area, an area where there is congestion and most times confusion. If on defence you manage to win a penalty, the attack is generally spread out and in great depth, there is no sweeper back in place and there are three attackers around the ball:

* Ball Carrier

* Sealer/First support

* Scrumhalf

So if tapping quick and probing the space directly in front of the infringement point all, three players are taken out of the play by not being back the allotted 10 metres. Once you have broken that first line, there is no one covering from the back, so you're on your horse and off to the races. Your support is also lined up on defence which has them shallow and coordinated to flood the lanes around the ball at the infringement point and create multiple off load opportunities.

Off a scrum and line-out, the team putting the ball in, has the advantage of clarity. They know where they plan to throw the ball, but they are also able to manipulate the defence before the ball is even in play, purely by the width and depth with which they line up and with where and how they get the ball in.

This is really best showcased when a team has a master class in the creator role at scrumhalf. These teams have had these roles filled for years. Just to name a few:Hawkeye view: The inside on Sevens

* Ben Gollings (England)

* Tom Mitchell (England)

* Branco Du Preez (South Africa)

* Cecil Afrika (South Africa)

* Tomasi Cama (New Zealand)

* Gillies Kaka (New Zealand)

You pair that with a dynamic, powerful and rangy group of forwards and you're on to a winning formula and the ability to wreak havoc.

I expect to see these teams settle back in to their identity and really come out strong in Dubai.

Historically Dubai has been a favorite hunting ground for the English, but I expect the New Zealanders to coming out with a real focus and determination after their poor showings on the Gold Coast.

Dubai is a spectacle and it's a real jewel in the crown for the winners.

Fiji were the takers last year and it would be an incredible feet to do back to back years and win the first and second leg of the HSBC Sevens Series, but that's what this glorious game thrives on.

By Matt Hawkins

@polarbearkzn

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