1 - Agree and disagree too. I get the backs are usually the ones backing up those hit ups. But pinning the opposition down in their half causes that suffocation. Both mentally and physically it tires you as a player. When you kick early you are also turning the team around and then they gotta run back on side constantly. I can't elaborate as well via post.
2 - I wasn't talking so much of back end of the game. Was more explaining that the suffocating defence tires the opposition, which means when they are defending, our smaller forwards will have more of an impact in their runs.
Apologies if I haven't explained as well, just difficult on here. I hate long posts lol
I think you are conflating a few different things.
I agree 100% that kicking to corners, pinning teams in their end etc. definitely has a mental effect, and it can be a useful strategy. What I am disagreeing with is that when you kick early and pin a team in their end, that it makes middle forwards expend extra energy. They are coached to walk
back onside these days (they are specifically told not to run). This includes hookers. The back 5 are told that it is their responsibility to "get the ball back to your forwards".
Try this out: pick a random point in time in a random game to start, ignore the ball and watch one middle forward only for 10 minutes. You'll see him regularly walking back whenever their is a kick down field, and not being involved at all until the ball gets back to where he has casually walked to. The exception is a set start (kick-offs, penalties, 20m, etc.) where everyone is already in position behind the ball.
Here's a moment from the weekend 1 minute in to the second half.
- Roosters kick from just inside half way.
- Ronaldo fields it on the 10 and is tackled on the 20. The Sharks then shift wide and Hynes is tackled.
- Sharks Tackle 2 - about to be tackle 3 - here is Brailey - who walks over and gets to dummy half 30 seconds after the ball was kicked
If you watch any of the forwards from either team, this is how they play all the time. No "running back" required.