Jim Lyon – You are allowed to use the pack, you know

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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“They were dominant up front, that was their one weapon.”

So said Dai Young after his London Wasps side were blitzed by Northampton Saints’ pack power.

One weapon that was incredibly effective.

To his credit, Young also added: “They did not try and play, or need to play, any other way. You will always struggle to win any game if you cannot stop a driving line-out.”

And that is why the weapon was used so often.

It is strange. I can never understand why sides get criticised - as Saints have - for playing to their strengths.

Various pundits after the Wasps have called Northampton one-dimensional. Well, yes. They were. It worked.

It is bit like complaining that Barcelona keep giving the ball to Lionel Messi. If it works, keep doing it.

Just because all rugby teams don’t throw ball around willy nilly and not everyone plays football the same way as Barcelona, it does not mean they are doing anything wrong.

The suggestion at times is that something underhand is going on.

That a dominant pack or a well-organised defence goes against some principle of fair play.

When Greece won Euro 2004 the reaction was almost as though they had stolen the trophy.

But what they did was make the most of what they had.

They were organised, knew their individual responsibilities and stuck to a gameplan.

With Saints last weekend, they found a method that was working and continued to use it.

I pretty sure that is still allowed.

Anyway, there are few greater sights in sport than a rolling maul.

A powerful juggernaut rumbling down the pitch with bodies flying out here and there and an opposition desperate to stop it. Wonderful!

If you want to see the ball thrown around go and watch basketball (and that is not, by any means, meant as a criticism of basketball).

The joy of rugby union is it has so many different facets. That is what makes it the game it is.

Saints’ back division is not as strong as their forwards.

They will be, and have been, found out at times when it comes to getting it wide.

And simply rumbling around might not be enough to earn them the prize they seek.

But games are won by the team who scores the most points, goals, baskets etc and not because of artistic merit.

While it’s working, why change?