12 Dec Coach’s Analysis of France victory
For PRIDE Academy Head Coach, Ben Herod, the triumph against the Under-19 French national team was the highlight from the first half of the season.
“Personally, the highlight was definitely beating France in France. It felt really good and I don’t think they (France) expected that”.
“France set themselves out with a fairly basic offence. They have a wing-back that goes in motion and they make a rocket sweep off that. Within that system, they have a little bit of trickery but it is essentially a pretty much straight-at-you type offence”.
“Because of their bodies being a little bit stronger and their backs being faster than some of our guys on defence, they pretty much said: ‘This is what we are going to do. You try and stop it.’ The challenge for us on defence was could we disengage in the box and could we tackle up front”.
“As a result, it was easier for us to scout them than probably a lot of the British teams we face and I think with the amount of time we had leading into the game and the footage we had on them it really helped. Our guys knew what France were going to do when their guy went in motion. They knew what France were likely to do when we were on third down and looking to pass the football and it certainly made the difference.”
Herod also noted that the strong defensive line gave the PRIDE offence the toughest challenge they have faced throughout the season so far.
“Offensively they gave us probably our toughest challenge we’ve ever had,” Herod said.
“Offensively we started really well but didn’t score any points. Just their sheer size of their defensive line and how disruptive they were and again they laid their stall out to say ‘this is what we are, try and beat us.’
“Most teams can’t sustain drives and if you win the initial field position battle and are able to pin them back in their half to start the drives, with how good we are at tackling, we don’t normally concede points from that far out”.
“Then the fact that France were able to go on a 9-yard drive to score to open the game, kind of shook us a little bit. Then our offence turned the ball over quickly and our defence was back on the field and they started driving again”.
“When Eddie (Onamade) popped up with that pick-six for a touchdown, I think that gave everybody a bit of belief that we were back in the game and that we could play with these guys. I think that was definitely the turning point in the game.”
“Looking back at the tape I think we could have won by a lot more. I think our kids were a little bit overwhelmed at the start with the crowd and having gone so far and seeing how big the French guys were. When they started to settle down, they played well”.
“Especially that goal-line stand at the end and the fake punt to win it. I think I will remember that for a long time.”