How do you turn around a losing team? (Edinburgh example)

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Post by RDW on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:28 am

How do you turn around a team that has hit rock bottom? How does the coach of Edinburgh or Sale for example convert a team of losers who have no confidence to one that somehow grinds out wins? This is obviously more of a pressing concern for Sale who are odds on for relegation, whereas Edinburgh only have to contend with being known as the team that finished the season below the Zebras (although I don’t think even that will happen to be fair).

I’m going to talk from an Edinburgh point of view – because that is what I know – but am happy for the thread to be a range of specific discussion about teams like Edinburgh and Sale, but also more general points on how to turn around losing teams.

Let’s not sugar coat anything here – Edinburgh have so far had probably the worst ever season of a Scottish pro team since the game turned professional. Now someone might come on and say that there has been a worst season from a team 10 years ago or something like that, but it is not just the results, it’s the fact that an extra £1million has been pumped into this team this year.

So let’s look at the facts.

Rabbo form:

Won 4, lost 9 (30% win rate)

Points for - 272 (3rd best in league)

Points against - 318 (2nd worst behind the Zebras)

Tries for - 27 (joint 4th best)

Tries against - 34 (3rd worst)

Try bonus - 1

Losing bonus - 5 (joint highest with Zebras)



Heineken form:

Won - 0

Points - 0

Points for – 36 (lowest EVER in the history of the HK)

Points against – 178 (average of 30 per game)

Tries for – 3 (lowest EVER in the history of the HK)

Tries against – 18 (average of 3 per game)

Season

Season average win rate - 21% (1 in 5 games)

Average points for per game – 16

Average points against per game – 26

Average tries for per game – 1.6

Average tries against per game – 2.7


Now that makes soul destroying reading.

The less that is said about the Heineken the better. Now in Scottish rugby we’re used to teams doing badly in the HK, indeed not winning any games isn’t a rarity; it is that fact that we have barely been competitive in any games. To go from Semi-finalists to not even close to being competitive in one season – with essentially the same team – has got to be one of the biggest falls from graces ever.

Rabbo form is a win rate of 30%, including losses at home to Munster 2’s at the start of the season, Treviso and the Scarlets (in which we lost 3 tries in the opening 30 minutes). Our victories are against the Blues away, the mighty Zebras at home, the Ospreys at home and Connacht away. I didn’t realise we had 5 LBP – suggesting that we weren’t too far away in those game. Even still – they are fairly depressing stats.

What to do?

Now from an Edinburgh perspective the problem is fairly clear – our defence is abysmal. How our defence coach – Billy McGinty (who??) – hasn’t walked away in shame is beyond me. To have a season average of 26 points per game against and 2.7 tries is just unthinkable. That suggests that, on average, we’re having to score 3 tries and 27 points just to win games. I know these are fairly convoluted ways of thinking of the stats, but the point is valid – our defence is shocking.

So does that suggest all we need to do is shore up our defence? Simple?

I think it goes deeper than that. Our defence is shocking not just because the players can’t tackle (which they can’t), or because the defencive system is bad (which it is), or because the other team have played very well (which is quite often the case) – but psychological. The players have no confidence in themselves, they have no confidence in their game plan, and ultimately I think they have no confidence in their coach.

So to me the solution is fairly clear – sack the head coach and sack the defence coach, rip it up and start again. I would keep Back for another season – I genuinely think he is a decent coach and is worth more time – but the rest have to go.

Now obviously sacking the coaches won’t have an immediate affect on our defencive abilities – might even make it worse – but this season is a write off anyway. The coaches aren’t working, the players aren’t responding to them, the coaches have to go.

The players have to shoulder a large proportion of the blame too – it’s not the coaches fault they throw a squint lineout, knock the ball on or miss an easy tackle – and they really need to have a good long look at themselves in the mirror and decide what they want from their rugby careers, and whether they have been good enough this season.



Apologies for the massive amount of text, but there is nothing worse than your team being so appallingly bad and it is pretty frustrating for the fans.

So how do you turn teams around? Are Sale’s stats any better?

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Post by Biltong on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:39 am


How do you turn around a losing team?

One way is to read the time sheet backwards, then every match ends in a draw. Whistle

On a serious note.

I would think the first step is to look at the coaching staff and see if there are any shortcomings.

For longterm goals (a sustainable turn around isn't going to be short term) on making a team have the required turn around, it would be good to look at the feeder system and grass roots of the catchment area. That will be in my view the most important aspect.

There is a problem however and in professional rugby any club/franchise or regional team that aren't a finaincial giant, is the fact that even if you do have one of the better feeder systems in place you will struggle to retain those players. You can just look at the Freestate Cheetahs, one of the best breeding grounds in the world, but look at how many players they lose every year.

Unfotunately professional rugby has brought about extra challenges for clubs with less money.

Lastly you have to look at the current crop of players, if they aren't up to standard the coach might as well give youngsers more opportunities.

If the coach is worth his salt he will also look at gameplan, team spirit and culture. It is a evolution for clubs these days, I don't think much remains the same apart from perhaps culture, but the dynamics of the squad changes with the game plan year in and year out.
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Post by beshocked on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:42 am

You and Sale both need a fresh start. Wipe the slate clean and instill some confidence.

Lay the foundations.

Personally I think Sale need to get relegated, rebuild their squad in the Championship, get back to winning ways, come straight back up - Saints did it, Quins did it and Newcastle look to be doing it too.

Edinburgh can't do that but they can rise from the ashes.

Maybe Wasps would be a good blueprint. They use their wingers very well. Dai Young has instilled some confidence there.


First thing I would do - build confidence and a feel good factor. Get the players to do bonding sessions and really have a good time. If the players are in the right frame of mind they'll perform better.

Bring in coaches that will instill a gameplan that suit your side.

Employ a defence guru like Dave Ellis. Try and get Brian Ashton too.

A lot of it is psychological.

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Post by TJ1 on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:46 am

For me its two issues - but both are only guesses
1) psychological - the team are too used to losing and are lacking in confidence
2) the coaches are wanting to play a gameplan and fit the players into that rather than fitting the plan to the players

I also wonder if Robinson was partly to blame as the players came back from international duty a shadow of the ones who went - consider how both teams were before the 6N last year and then what happened in the year following.

The way out - sack the coaches, rebuild with people from outside the sytem and people used to winning and also employ a sports psychologist.

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Post by George Carlin on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:50 am

RDW - will reply in more detail later but the critical path things for Edinburgh now would be to (1) get rid of Bradley and McGinty (2) get our previous Scotland defence coach back in there (3) write Visser a blank cheque when discussing his contract renewal in three months time and (4) get our Olympic team sports psychiatrist in there and (5) spent whatever sweetie money the SRU has left on a tight five that can actually win ball.

And I'm not kidding about any of these.
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Post by Kingshu on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:53 am

for Edinburgh, its not thier worst
http://www.eurorugby.com/modules.php?mop=modload&name=Rugger&file=last30&team_name=Edinburgh&team_no=123&onp=n

Currently ranked 31st, lowest this season 33rd and lowest ever 39th.

but they are very near thier lowest ever, given that the SRU has better funded the Scottish teams over the last few years, the players available to Edinburgh, I think thats its a terrible return.

For me I think a lot of the problems with Edinburgh is Bradley, he wasn't liked much at Connacht, and apart from one game has well underachieved with Edinburgh. I think Edinburgh fans would love to Robinson come back.

Glasgow have about equal funds and support from SRU, and Edinburgh have no excuse for not being at around the same level as Glasgow. A small difference is accepable as one may be overachieving, but the Gulf that exists is not acceptable, and has to be put down as Edinburgh under achieving.

If Connacht can attract Pat Lam, and EoS being intrested, I think Edinburgh can aim for the same level of coach, if Robinson, isn't intrested in any roles for Scotland, they EoS may be the man for the job. He knows that if he performs well with Edinburgh he may have a shout with the natioal team.

EoS was critised in Ireland in his last years, but he still is a very good coach I recon if Edinburgh ditch bradley and get in EoS, they would improve greatly next year, (what EoS does to change things would be down to him, but i'd have faith that he could.)

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Post by TJ1 on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:59 am

IMO it needs to be a young ambitious coach - not a name that has been around for ages. Chalmers might fit the bill tho as he is untainted by failure

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 12:02 pm

I'll colour code this years results and how I think we did. Red Being bad, amber being ok but could have been better, green being a good win / result.

Edinburgh 18–23 Munster (close, and Edinburgh had their chances in the game)
Cardiff Blues 19–21 Edinburgh (hard fought and deserved win)
Edinburgh 41–10 Zebre (as expected)
Leinster 22–16 Edinburgh (taking a losing BP from RDS... good days work IMO)
Newport Gwent Dragons 32–12 Edinburgh (dire capitulation)
Edinburgh 22–27 Benetton Treviso (should have one this game)
Edinburgh 28–29 Scarlets (should have won this game)
Ulster 45–20 Edinburgh (not good enough)
Edinburgh 23–13 Ospreys (Edinburgh's best performance in the league this season)
Connacht 23–24 Edinburgh (hard fought win and well earned)
Glasgow Warriors 23–14 Edinburgh (we looked like we couldnae give a monkeys in this game)
Edinburgh 17–21 Glasgow Warriors (see above)
Edinburgh 16–31 Leinster (see above)


And here we are.

First things First you have to look at the few games Edinburgh have played well in this season. Granted there aren't many of those but thats the place to start.

From the off I would say look at the Ospreys Game at Murrayfield, and our trips to Cardiff and Galway and look at what we did well in those games and contrast it to the games were we have been staggeringly guff ( the 2 legs of the 1872 cup and getting walloped by the Dragons and Ulster away). I think for the purposes of the post and the easy way to get my point across I'll just pretend the HC didn't happen picard.

Look at what we did well in the 1st games I mentioned and look at what we didn't do well in the bad games I mentioned.

I think Bradley's biggest problem has been consistency and his unwillingness to drop poor performers.

Hunter is a great Example, he had a couple of Stormers against The O's at home and steered us to victory against Connacht. Only to be dropped for that waste of space Francis who has been given every chance to play well and hasn't done it!

Hunter was playing very well and he got binned. I have no idea why, and a youngster playing with a bit of confidence and momentum gets inexplicably dropped for a player who has been a wate of money. Add Atiga to that and things aren't looking good.

Both of the Scottish clubs have had a cash injection but Glasgow seemed to use it better, Strauss, Maitland et al seem to have made a huge impact and Ryan Grant (discarded foolishly by Edinburgh) has came from nothing to be a Lions contender. Glasgow have also been helped by establishing a very powerful pack with some fantastic centre combinations and DTH (the glue that holds Glasgow together and IMO, their best player by a distance).

What do Edinburgh need to do? Funnily enough I think the 6N will improve Edinburgh. I expect Rees to be starting with Hunter, Houston and Cairns in the Centre with Fife and Tonks providing the attacking threat. I would also like to see Izak van der Westhuizen get some game time with Cox in the boiler room. Gilchrist is still a youngster but what the Edinburgh pack needs is nastiness. VDW, Cox, Basilia and Talei playing throughout the 6N period will get a bit of nastiness in the Burgh pack, hopefully the youngsters, Lawrie, Hislop and Niven (who have all looked hungry) can seize the oppertunity during the 6N to make it much harder for the Scotland players to come back into the squad.

The worst thing Bradley could do is let the Scotland players waltz back into the squad like he did at the end of the AI's that was a mistake since the bulk of the Scotland players had been rubbish!

I haven't really offered much in the way of suggestions because I honestly don't have any to give!

Roll on next season with a new coach and a new direction!
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Post by RDW on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 12:05 pm

Interestingly I read in the Hootsman that Francis was signed on the suggestion from a certain Wayne Smith when he was over here giving his coaching advice.

He must be related to the guy or something because that was a shocker.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 1:38 pm

In the long term, I think the coaching staff need to be replaced en masse personally, and I think the transfer policy needs to be far shrewder. The signings last summer have been a mixed bag, and that's being kind. Any football supporter knows this, but when you have a limited budget it needs to be carefully managed. Bradley and Edinburgh have not made the most of the money available.

In the short term Edinburgh sorely need to focus on basics. Every game we do stupid things, like taking the ball back into the 22 and hoofing it out on the full, not competing at restarts or challenging the opposition lineout ball (I understand if you're preparing to defend the drive in your 22, but on the half way line please send someone up in the air to compete), runners being ahead of the kicker (when the chip and chase tactic has been quite clearly prescribed), noone chasing the up and under etc. etc.

These things can be fixed in the short term, and could make a huge difference in the remaining Rabo fixtures (most of which on paper are winnable games).

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Post by 21st Century Schizoid Man on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 5:28 pm

Guys - is Neil Back the forwards coach ? If so that is where your basic problems lie. Gary Mercer has a non job with the SRU so get him in pronto as defence coach - would take him back at the Warriors in a minute (and St Sean too tbh!). There is also a massive motivational problem at Edinburgh. Too many highly paid players who believe in their own publicity - hence all the childish tweets after one of your resounding defeats.
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Post by MacKnocked-on on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 5:53 pm

I'm interested in what Edinburgh fans think of WP Nel and whether he can be a success as one of our 'project' players?

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Post by UlstermaninGlasgow on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 5:58 pm

I thought Nel was poor on Sunday, young Hislop was getting a torrid time versus Stevens, but he bucked up in the 2nd half while Nel kept going backwards...
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Post by Biltong on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 5:59 pm

MacKnocked-on wrote:I'm interested in what Edinburgh fans think of WP Nel and whether he can be a success as one of our 'project' players?
Love the name mate.

I think it is time to change WP Nel's name to McNelly.
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Post by MacKnocked-on on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 6:08 pm

Wullie McNelly?

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Post by RDW on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 6:28 pm

In general I'm pretty happy with Nel, but he has been pretty inconsistent.

He ranges from dominating (against the Blues, not that that is difficult granted), to holding his own against top class opposition (Cian Healy), to going backwards quickly (Sarries, Munster).

Let's not forget though - he's only 26 which is teenage years for a tighthead, and he does put in a massive shift around the park. He also has a fairly lighweight pack behind him. And let's not forget his incredible try!

So by the time he becomes Scot's qualified he we will be in his propping prime, so hopefully he will be a good option for Scotland at tighthead if we need him.

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Post by George Carlin on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 6:42 pm

Perhaps I'm being unfair, but Nel has actually been disappointing for me.

Pre-season, I drank in the Super 15 footage of him rampaging around and scoring tries, but actually the heavy NH grounds and attritional, slower forward play (Strauss has talked about the differences between S15 and Rabo gameplay in interviews on the Warriors website) showed him to be (it seemed) lacking in fitness initially and then not making quite the impact Edinburgh would have wanted later in the season.

I am currently much more excited by Mike Cusack becoming Scots qualified. And he's only 28.... Run
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Post by George Carlin on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 6:42 pm

...which is still three years older than Dan Cole.
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 8:18 pm

Has to be a brand new coaching team, and take it from there - everything else will follow, including tactics, squad changes/recruitment, team selection, etc.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 10:26 pm

Nel has been fine, one to keep. He'll improve.

As asbo says, sack the coaches en masse. Tactics and selections have been awful now for two seasons.

Next coach should be someone without a track record of nothing but mediocrity.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 10:54 pm

Coaching is one thing, but against Saracens only 2/3 of the team seemed to care about the game. Worse than that it was the bigger players like Visser who fell into the 1/3, and that attitude is simply unacceptable. Maybe they were holding themselves back for the 6N and hoping to impress Lions' selectors, but Edinburgh has to be more than a vehicle for higher selection.

Bradley isn't a great coach and should go but Scottish rugby somehow needs to get a bigger pool of players and less security for those with Test shirts.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:00 pm

Lions!! There currently isn't a single edinburgh player even close to lions consideration at the moment. Not even close.

Agree about visser being disappointing recently. Yes, he hasn't had great ball, bit his work rate has been awful.

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Post by TJ1 on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:09 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Coaching is one thing, but against Saracens only 2/3 of the team seemed to care about the game. Worse than that it was the bigger players like Visser who fell into the 1/3, and that attitude is simply unacceptable. Maybe they were holding themselves back for the 6N and hoping to impress Lions' selectors, but Edinburgh has to be more than a vehicle for higher selection.

Bradley isn't a great coach and should go but Scottish rugby somehow needs to get a bigger pool of players and less security for those with Test shirts.

I think this is indicative of the poor mental preparation / lack of confidence they have - not lack of desire.


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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:48 pm

TJ - Saracens 14 - 7 up with less then ten minutes to go to the break, Edinburgh get a kickable penalty and they go for the corner. That indicates to me they had no desire to win but had plenty of confidence and were only interested in trying a few moves.

Just after half time Farrell takes an age with Borthwick to decide what they're going to do. Edinburgh aren't interested and ignore Farrell, so Ashton scores a soft try unopposed. Would that try have been scored against any of the other 22 teams?

Maybe the players aren't motivated by the coaches to be professional, but on-field decisions or lack of them indicate that too many players aren't worried about the scoreline.

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Post by Cryptoyourisan on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:50 pm

I think a major problem for Edinburgh is that the coaches don't seem to have a first-choice squad in mind. For a good few years now players have drifted in and out of the squad or been shuffled around without really giving them long enough to gel as a team. This has affected both Edinburgh and Scotland as as soon as the likes of Roddy Grant, James King, John Houston or Mark Robertson seem to be putting a decent run of games together, they just disappear for a while.

I would say another problem is that players are being brought in to paper over cracks rather than really developing a core group of players to build a squad around. This isn't exactly new - remember David Bishop? This season has really been bizarre, though. Having Rees, Black and Leck at scrum-half but moving Laidlaw back there and bringing in Francis, despite having Leonard and Hunter and not playing them. Then you have Atiga who was an All Black for literally five minutes and Andy Titterall who was a British and Irish Lion in 2005. Both players were more or less retired when they were recruited and I thought Neil Back had some long-term commitment to Rugby Lions?

I really don't think it's a question of money as much as it is vision - the SRU need to find someone who can coherently outline long-term, credible goals for Edinburgh and to be fairly uncompromising in refusing to inherit a squad they don't want, although here money probably will be a big problem. It's a bit of a different problem to Glasgow where I would argue the first-choice XV is a lot more settled and form, or lack thereof, comes into selection quite a bit quicker than in Edinburgh. The problem for Glasgow is hanging on to the players they come to rely on - the Killer Bs as a unit; Richie Gray; Max Evans and I'd be surprised if DTH can be kept for too much longer.


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Post by TJ1 on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:52 pm

the great aukster - to me the first is about winning and scoring and is an attacking positive move - where abouts on the field was the kick? - the second is a sucker punch I have never seen tried or happen before. Painful lesson. I think it would have been scored against any team.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 22 Jan 2013, 12:28 am

TJ - You're seven points behind in the first half. You don't need to score a TBP to qualify, in fact your team has hardly scored any tries at all in the competition. The only positive outcome from the game is to win it and restore some pride and faith in the team, (while putting one over on the auld enemy). It simply doesn't make any sense to turn down a very makeable kick to stay in the game.

As for the second, yes it has happened several times - David Humphreys v LI and ROG v the Boks are two that spring to mind. Teams at every level are told to wait for the signal form the ref, and it is amazing that there are pro rugby players who are still switched off.

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Post by Janecory on Tue 22 Jan 2013, 7:18 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:

Agree about visser being disappointing recently. Yes, he hasn't had great ball, bit his work rate has been awful.
Why doesnt he come off the wing looking for the ball as did Shane Williams, George North etc.

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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 9:57 am

I think we need to remember Visser is still top try scorer in the league by 3 tries or so, so his season overly is pretty good considering how few games we’ve won.

What is worrying though is his massive drop of form of late. I haven’t seen him do overly much for Edinburgh since before the Glasgow games in December. His defence has been poor (although significantly better the last couple of games granted) and he’s barely touched the ball for 5 or 6 games in a row now. Yes he’s not been helped by the team playing badly and no clean ball from the pack, but that’s not exactly a new occurrence for Edinburgh.

Here’s hoping the 6N will allow him to flourish again. The Scotland pack will at least have parity with the other packs, so we’ll hopefully get some ball and get him doing what he does best – running in space.

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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:15 am

Oh on a side note - Ross Ford's contract expires in May. It is not secret that he is by far the top earner at Edinburgh - around £250k - and, let's face it, when you take away all the times he is away on Scotland duty or rested he doesn't often play that much for Edinburgh.

So I think it would be good for Edinburgh, himself, and ultimately Scotland if he moved somewhere.

He has been in his comfort zone all his career and a spell at a top AP or French club will really help raises his game to the next level .

It will also free up some money to get 2 really good players, or 1 superstar (not that I see any superstars wanting to come!)

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:25 am

Aye I would let Ford fo too. Lawrie has been playing Well and IMO could develop into a really good player.
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:44 am

Lawrie as the experience with you g Fergus Scott coming thru plus one other

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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:46 am

There is young Alun Walker too, but he has not had much game time to tell if he's any good.

I actually think Titterell has been one of our best signings this year - he has an incredible work rate and has not had many bad games. His lineout can be a bit dodgy though.

Not sure if he'd want to sign a contract extension though - he's getting on a bit and he travels back down south to visit his kids after each weekend when he can, which must be fairly draining.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:48 am

The thing we have to do is nurture the front row talent. Not just throw them on the Scrap heap like we did with Grant or to a lesser extent Traynor, who looked not too bad against Tonga.

Lawrie looked like a cool head on some young fit shoulders and to be honest did a better job than Titteral against Sarries.

Let Ford go ply his trade in the Aviva or in France and rejuvinate himself ala Beattie.
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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:51 am

One of my mates has an irrational hatred of Lawrie - I think it started when he played with him at age grade level, and he thinks he is massively over rated.

I'd like us to still have an international level hooker in the squad - Lawrie might turn into that but at 28 he's not exactly young.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:58 am

Well as you said we haven't seen enough of Walker...
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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 11:19 am

I wonder who else is out of contract this year. The obvious ones are Atiga and Penn (who??) who only signed 1 year deals, but there must be a few others too. Not sure how you would find that out - I only found out about Visser and Ford because they are big names and get press coverage.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 11:37 am

Wouldn't mind seeing Atiga go, and Penn "who are ye" can go too.

As for who to bring in?

Front row - Yapp, Hislop, Walker, Niven, Lawrie, Nel, Titteral and Ford (if he stays)
(noone really needed, even if Ford bails)

Boiler house - Cox, Gilchrist, VDW, McAlpine after that they start to get a bit anonnymous. (so a new lock would be good)

Backrow - Rennie, Grant, McInally, Denton, Basilia, Talei (hopefully) so maybe a new backrower if Talei bails out.

Scrum Half - Rees, Laidlaw and I would bring in that metrosexual monstrosity Sam Hidalgo Clyne.

Fly Half - Hunter, Leonard (punt Francis please) so we could maybe do with another stand off.

Centres - Scott, NDL, Cairns, King, Houston (punt atiga please)

Back 3 - big Visser, wee Visser, Tonks, Brown, Jones (punt to 7s), Fife, Farndale

Maybe another lock and an alternative stand off to Francis? Perhaps a new no.8 if Talei leaves?
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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 11:59 am

You’ve missed out Turnbull, who has another season left (even though he is always injured and never plays) so I don’t think we need another lock.

You’ve also missed out Leck – wonder when his contract expires cause he’s been here a few years. He’s been OK for us – nothing great, but nothing bad – but I’d much rather get Kennedy back for the Weedge and lose Leck! There’s Alex Black too but he needs to be punted pronto – he’s just not good enough.

I really do think we need another winger, and am still smarting that Maitland went to Glasgow. Granted with hindsight he’ll be delighted he did go to them instead of us, but we are desperately short of decent wingers! And not another bog standard squad winger – a good winger who will be pushing to be a regular starter.

So on the basis we lose Ford, Titterell, Talei (would like him to stay though), Atiga, Leck and Penn (who?), and maybe a few others, I’d like to think we could get a top class winger and another hooker. I suspect our budget might be a bit smaller next season since we don’t have the extra founds from a HK run, but I’d like to think we could get 2 or 3 top class players, as opposed to 5 or 6 squad players.

I’d like Ladilaw to stay at 10, so don’t want another average 10 brought in (Francis). However if he does move back to 9 I’d like Hunter and Leonard to take over. They aren’t any kids anymore and really should be ready for regular rugby.

If Atiga goes I’d also like us to get another centre that was meant to be everything he hasn’t ended up being – a big strong runner and tough in defence. Our first choice of Scott/De Luca/Cairns is good but on the basis that at least 2 out of those 3 will be away with Scotland a lot, we need another one. Houston and King have their strengths, but are very much squad players.

Final point – I suspect Chunk will retire at the end of the year. He’s not the player he used to be, and spends more and more time walking about the pitch. He probably won’t want to finish his career after such a bad season, but I think his body and heart just isn’t in it anymore.

So if that happens we need another loosehead!

Quite a shopping list isn’t it??

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 12:03 pm

Defo need a replacement for Chunk - his lips do more work than his legs these days - fantastic servant of Edinburgh rugby, but his days have come and gone. New loosehead required

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Post by UlstermaninGlasgow on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 12:05 pm

I really think Edinburgh could use someone like Nathan. He's no journeyman with a few AB caps like Atiga, he's been in the NH for nearly 7 years now I think and he plays everywhere from 10-15 so good cover. And he isn't going to get called up by anyone so he's guaranteed to be there all season. He was just too much of a Lineen man and so got promptly chucked by Toonie when he could!
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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 12:11 pm

Hmm I’d say Nathan definitely falls into the ‘squad player category’, and for me wouldn’t offer much more than what King and Houston currently do.

I suppose we have to be realistic though – it’s all fair and good saying we need to get 2 or 3 top class players instead of lots of squad players, but that reality probably is that top class players don’t want to come to Edinburgh, so we’re stuck with average players.

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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 12:12 pm

Radge – you’ve also forgotten Perry Parker. I’ve been fairly impressed with him now that he’s got up to speed with top flight rugby. He’s a big lad and will have benefitted massively from this season. Give him another full pre-season and I think he’ll be a great asset for us to have.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 1:02 pm

I'd be happy for Ford to go and free up some cash, and agree that we need to find a new loosehead to replace Chunk (although I see no harm in allowing Chunk to hang about for one more season as 3rd choice cover).

I thought Lawrie played really well against Sarries, good carries and decent lineout throwing. Lawrie, Walker and Titterall will be fine next season.

For loosehead I wonder if Grant Shiells could be persuaded to join. I'd quite like Yapp to be competing with a Scots qualified loosehead, and I don't think we should allow a position to be monopolised by players not qualified to play for Scotland.

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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 1:14 pm

As great as Shiells would be, he's got another year left at Newcastle and with them likely to be promoted I can't see him wanting to come - unless he thinks it will enhance is Scotland aspirations.

Been impressed with Hislop - his scrummaginng needs work but is good in the loose, and is still a baby

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 1:18 pm

You're probably right, Yapp, Hislop and Chunk (in that order) will probably do. If Sheills could be persuaded I'd take him though.

I actually don't think there will be many changes to the squad this summer. I just think that the entire coaching team needs changing and then given the chance to get this current squad to click. We have plenty talent in the squad, and the 1st XV is pretty decent, I just think selection and tactics have been poor for a number of seasons now. Too many players have been allowed to underperform. Good coaches don't have underperforming players.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 2:52 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:I wonder who else is out of contract this year. The obvious ones are Atiga and Penn (who??) who only signed 1 year deals, but there must be a few others too. Not sure how you would find that out - I only found out about Visser and Ford because they are big names and get press coverage.

Courtesy of the Edinburgh forum, not sure how accurate it is but certainly a decent starting point. Based on when they signed their last contract and for how long.

Greig Tonks - 2012 for 2yrs
Tim Visser - 2012 for 3yrs
Tom Brown - 2012 for 2yrs
Lee Jones - 2012 for 2 yrs
Sep Visser - 2011 for 1yr (was a training contract so not sure what's going on with him)
Michael Penn - 2012 for 1yr
Ben Atiga - 2012 for 2yrs
Ben Cairns - 2010 for 3yrs
Nick De Luca - 2012 for 2yrs
John Houston - 2010 for 4yrs
James King - 2011 for 2yrs
Matt Scott - 2012 for 3yrs
Alex Black - 2012 for 2yrs
Piers Francis - 2012 for 2yrs
Greig Laidlaw - 2011 for 3yrs
Chris Leck - 2012 for 2yrs
Harry Leonard - 2012 for 2yrs
Gregor Hunter - 2012 for 2yrs
Richie Rees - 2012 for 2yrs
Dimitri Basalaia - 2012 (? Length but assume 2yr)
David Denton - 2011 for 3yrs
Roddy Grant - 2011 (? Length but assume 2yr)
Stuart McInally - 2011 for 3yrs
Ross Rennie - 2012 for 2yrs
Netani Talei - 2010 for 3yrs
Sean Cox - 2011 for 2yrs
Grant Gilchrist - 2012 for 2yrs
Perry John Parker - 2012 for 2yrs
Steven Turnbull - 2011 for 3yrs
Izak Van Der Westhuizen - 2012 for 2yrs
Robert McAlpine - 2012 for 2yrs
Geoff Cross - 2012 for 2yrs
Ross Ford - 2011 for 2yrs
Allan Jacobsen - 2010 for 3yrs
Steve Lawrie - 2012 (? Length but assume 2yr)
WP Nel - 2012 for 3yrs
Lewis Niven - 2012 for 2yrs
Andy Titterrell - 2012 for 1yr
John Yapp - 2012 for 2yrs
Alun Walker - 2012 (? Length but assume 2yr)
Robin Hislop - 2012 for 3yrs


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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 3:00 pm

Wait, we gave Atiga a 2 year deal?? There's other worrying ones in there too - Alex Black til 2014, Chris Leck til 2014, John Houston a 4 year deal??

So looks like the following will be out of contract this summer:

Sepp Visser
Mike Penn
Ben Cairns
James King
Roddy Grant (potentially)
Talei
Sean Cox
Ross Ford
Chunk
Titterell

That's quite a lot of players!

Out of all of them the ones I definitely want renewed would be Cairns, Grant, Talei and Cox

I wouldn't overly mind if King and Titerell re-signed

I think it is time to say bye bye to Ford, Chunk, Penn and Sep Visser, although granted that is a lot of experience taken away from our pack.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 3:15 pm

Also do we know how much of Ford's contract is being paid by Aberdeen Asset Management? It's my understanding its a fair bit (if not all), so would we gain anything from shipping him on?

That is from an Edinburgh POV rather than Scotland where Ford moving on could be beneficial in the same manner as Beattie.

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Post by RDW on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 3:19 pm

My understanding is that they are paying none of it.

My very first article when I came over to 606V2 was some insider gossip that Ford was offered a new contract in the region of £400k, on the basis that AAM would stump up half of it. Anyway AAM pulled out at last minute and left the SRU having to pay the whole salary.

http://www.606v2.com/t6041-edinburgh-gossip-ross-ford

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