Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

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Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 18 May 2015, 4:50 pm

Home teams to be named by midnight on Tuesday
Away teams to be named by midnight on Wednesday
Tactics to be provided by midnight on Thursday
Predictions by 22:00 hours on Sunday



Wasps v Harlequins
Location - Ricoh Arena
Light Cloud, 16 degrees, 10mph winds.


Wasps
Manager: Ozzy3213  
                 
01. Joe Marler09. Aaron Smith
02. Bismarck du Plessis10. Aaron Cruden
03. David Wilson
04. Matt Symons11. Bryan Habana
05. Alun-Wyn Jones ©12. Ma'a Nonu
06. Jerome Kaino13. Henry Slade
07. Steffon Armitage14. Noa Nakaitaci
08. Duane Vermeulen15. Anthony Watson
16. Tom Youngs 17. Scott Sio 18. Ben Alexander 19. Sebastien Vahaamahina 20. Marcell Coetzee 21. Ben Youngs 22. Samu Kerevi 23. Tim Nanai-Williams

Basic Game Plan
In good conditions we will be looking to play a possession based, fast offloading game, keeping the ball alive moving the Quins defence around. When deep in our half we won't take chances with offloading, but will make ground carrying close to the ruck and recycling quickly, or using the boots of Cruden, Slade and Watson to take us up the field.

In defence, as always we will be running a blitz defence.  Our focus will be on the gainline collisions and driving back in the tackle.  Line speed and no dog-legs will be key components for us.  Smith will sweep in behind the defensive line to counter any chips/grubbers.


Specifics

  • Lineout.  Symons will call, as he does for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.  In decent conditions we will mix it up on our ball, utilising Symons, Jones, Kaino and Vermeulen as reivers, whilst also at times shortening the line and using our back row forwards as crash ball options off first phase.  Defensively we will look to compete for the ball and disrupt wherever possible, making any ball secured by Quins as scrappy as we can.
  • Scrum.  Get low.  Wilson to really look to drive through straight onto Brits left shoulder, thereby forcing Woodcock to turn in and trust that the referee will penalise him when he does.  If we get going forward, mix up between forcing the penalty and getting the ball out quickly and into play against a retreating defensive line.
  • Breakdown.  When we carry into contact, if we are taken to ground, we will flood the breakdown.  In defence, if we have made a passive tackle and the carrier has momentum we will not overcommit, but will maintain a strong defensive line.  If we win the collision and knock the carrier back we will look to get the second man in hard over the ball to turn it over.  Key for us is being selective.
  • Attacking Play.  We will be looking to play a Super Rugby type offloading game, with the ball shifted on to the support runner just prior to the point of the tackle with the defender already committed.  We want to keep the ball alive as much as possible.   We will look to get Watson and Nakaitaci in particular trying to isolate front 5 forwards in the defensive line and use their pace, power and footwork to go past them and get us on the front foot.  If the ball is slow and Quins are blitzing we will also utilise the pick and go, with the aim of keeping the blitz honest and forcing them slowly onto the back foot before going wider out.  Smith to also look to snipe around the fringes and keep us going forwards all the time.  
  • Tactical Kicking.  If we kick, we will look to kick for the corners and contest the opposition lineout.

Key Points

  • World Class Spine  In those key jerseys, 2,8,9,10 we have world class players who are all arguably the best in their position in the world.  In big games, when things get tight, those guys can be the difference between winning and losing.
  • Routine  We have changed nothing for this semi final, bar minor opposition specific tweaks.  This is our usual game plan, we are well drilled and everyone is comfortable with their role.  In pressure situations, this can be key.
  • Impact Bench  6 full internationals plus Kerevi and Nanai-Williams.  All can have a huge impact on this game.
  • Experience  As a group, this is our 3rd semi final of the season, and 4th in 2 seasons, all of which we've won. We know how to get the job done.
  • Home Advantage  Very few semi FInals are won by the away team, which is why every year in tHis game people aim for top 2 rather than top 4.
  • Cruden  Steve suggests fatigue for Cruden, but you don't get so tired when you're winning, and he has guided the team to a run where we've only lost once since the turn of the year.  He has also been rested through the season so fatigue will be no issue.
  • Ma'a Nonu  Is absolutely in the form of his life, baging another couple of tries last week for the 'Canes, and is undoubtedly the best player in the world in his position right now.



Harlequins
Manager – Steven_Sharks


01. Tony Woodcock09. Ruan Pienaar
02. Schalk Brits10. Colin Slade
03. John Afoa
04. Bakkies Botha11. Teddy Thomas
05. George Kruis12. Robbie Henshaw
06. Tom Wood13. Jonathan Joseph
07. Michael Hooper (c)14. Jack Nowell
08. Damien Chouly15. Rob Kearney
:-
16. Rob Buchanan 17. Steven Kitchoff 18. Kieran Brookes 19. Nick Easter 20. Mamuka Gorgodze 21. Eric Escande 22. Steven Myler 23. Yoann Huget

Game Plan

We will employ a very different type of game plan in our own half and in our oppositions half.

In our own half we will be using sensible and varied kicking game to gain territory or really contest for possession. If their are gaps to exploit behind the Wasps back three we will kick to it and if there aren't we will look to use the up and under to really test Watson and Nakatici who we feel could be vulnerable. Using experts under the high ball Henshaw, Kearney and Nowell to win that ball back. This is something we will really look to employ when we can't kick directly to touch. We will also look to use Pienaar's extensive range of kicking to keep Wasps back three guessing at all times.

In the Wasps half it is all about building pressure through high intensity carrying and playing at a quick tempo. Slade has been picked to play flat and put others into spaces which will appear through effective rucking from our whole team. Runners will carry at pace and with support so as to offload or recycle the ball quickly. We will look for our power runners to attack gaps and look to get across the gain line. Persistent quick ball should allow us to create gaps out wide for JJ and our back three to exploit and in spaces with front foot ball our outside backs will be a force to reckon with. We really want to look to move Wasps pack around and not run straight at them. This will mean varying our point of attack and numerous players operating as first receiver including Slade, Pienaar, JJ, Nowell and Kearney and tiring out the larger Wasps pack.

Set Piece  

We've picked experience up front. We will look make the set piece a battle from start to finish.

Scrum We will look to use our experience and techinically sound props to get penalties from the scrum, especially looking to target a tiring Wilson with a quick tempo game. The weight of Botha and Kruis will significantly bolster our scrum.

Line out

Kruis will run our line out and we will look to use it as a weapon. In Botha, Kruis, Wood and Chouly we have four top class line out operators and we will look to use all four of them in rotation. We will look to use full and shortened lines and look to be quick at the line out to keep the tempo of the game up. In defence the lighter Wood will mark AWJ and try to force Wasps to through to less skilled line out operators.

Breakdown

Look to negate Armitage for Wasps by employing crocodile rolls and ensuring he has released the tackled player. Rather than attempting to blast him backwards we will simply judo roll him sideways in order to take him off his feet and out of the game. Hooper and Wood will work in tandem with the rest of our side to ensure we have somebody making life tough for Wasps at each breakdown through competing as the first man or legally slowing the ball down with Bakkies an expert in this area. We will look for Hooper to come alive in the wider channels using his pace and fitness to exploit the breakdown area when Wasps spin it wide.

We feel the key to stopping Wasps rhythm is to harass Smith who's a livewire but on slow and unclean ball will make mistakes.  

Defence

Quick line speed looking to cut of Crudens options. We will look to chop Wasps bigger ball carriers and get Hooper and Wood on top of the ball whilst when we are set in defence we will look to target the likes of Slade and Cruden and knock them backwards.

KEY POINTS

Target Slade in defence - Look to get JJ running at him one and one or use Hooper and Chouly to charge at him. Feel he can be got at.

Move Wasps around - Variety in our attack. Attack different channels with different players. Look to use out the back wedge moves as our default to have a crash ball option and an out the back option. Tire out AWJ, Wilson and Vermaulen. Have them chasing us around.

Chop the big men - Not looking to get into a man v man who can make the biggest hit. We knock backwardws when its on but our default is to chop and get a man on the ball. Brits, Hooper and Wood can do this.

Attacking kicks - Exploit Watson and Nakatici and use Henshaw and Kearney especially to win the high ball battle. We feel this is a great way to gain territory as well as regaining possesion.

Our attack - with the likes of JJ, Thomas and Nowell as well as Hooper and Brits we back ourselves against anyone when we get quick ball. We have scintillating runners with ball abd hand who trouble any defence individually working as a unit with a 10 and 12 bang in form. Create havoc out wide for Wasps.

Cruden - Cruden has played the last 9 games from the start including one with a full 80 plus extra time. This will be his 10th start in a row including two cup finals and three semi finals. Fatigue must be a factor for him both physically and mentally. Whilst Smith's workload hasn't been quite so heavy, he also has played a lot of rugby.

Judge the game on sides and tactics as these are a much greater factor than location. Please don't go in with the attitude '' Wasps don't lose at home'' and therefore a closed mind over the result.


Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints
Location - AJ Bell Stadium
Light Cloud, 14 degrees, 12mph winds.


 Sale Sharks
Manager – SJE

01. Marcos Ayerza09. Danny Care
02. Benjamin Kayser10. Johnny Sexton
03. Davit Zirakishvilli 
04. Brodie Retalick11. Simon Zebo
05. Dave Attwood12. Kyle Eastmond
06. Peter O'Mahony13. Jared Payne
07. Sam Cane14. Willie Le Roux
08. Louis Picamoles15. Nick Abendanon
:-
16. Jack McGrath 17. David Paice 18. Martin Moore 19. Will Skelton 20. Matt Garvey 21. Calum Braley 22. Beauden Barrett 23. Semesa Rokoduguni

We will play an expansive, high intensity offloading game looking to create space particularly in the wider channels and break the defensive line. Mobility and handling is key to our approach.

Key Points

Home advantage is always crucial in these playoff games and the big knockout games in general. We are undefeated here this season and want to keep it that way.  

- We have genuine breakdown operators throughout the pack with Kayser, Zirka, Retalick, POM & Cane all known for their ground work and feel we can outwork Saints here and really slow them down.

- We come into this game the fresher side with 2 weeks off in recent times due to the Euro Final and playing a 2nd string in the Euro Semi. Confidence is flying following the bonus point win last week and our first ever top 2 finish while Saints come into this off the back of a grueling battle to Tigers.  

- Some key Saints players have put up significant game time. Herrera has now started the last 5 weeks and Billy V is 6 starts from 7 with significant game time from the bench in the European final that went to extra time being his rest week! We expect some dog legs on the Saints blitz particularly after last weeks game.

Tactics

Numerous playmakers across the backline with Eastmond, Payne, Zebo & Le Roux comfortable at coming in at first receiver allow us to change the point of attack constantly. All also carry a strong running threat and will look to target isolated front 5 forwards.

Target the Saints dog legs. Sexton will look to play on the gain line and draw the likes of Lawes/Manoa rushing out of the line with runners coming round the back door looking for the pop pass to attack the dog legs left behind. 

Work the wrap around. Sexton to play off Payne or Pickles carrying in midfield, and take advantage of the space in the wider channels with the Saints back three defending deep for kicks. 

Attack from the scrum. Strong technical front row backed up by a powerful second row will look to build a platform for Pickles, Care & Sexton. An area we will look to target if winning.

Mix it up at the lineout. Five genuine jumpers gives us a strong attacking platform. Look to use both the rolling maul and ball off the top to keep the defence guessing.

Straight line blitz defence. Focused on winning the gain line collisions and driving the ball carrier back. Line speed is crucial. Care will sweep behind the line to cover chips and grubbers.

Cover the midfield. Cane has been instructed to defend the 12 channel with Eastmond, specifically looking to stop offloads and get over the ball first at the breakdown preventing any Saints momentum.

Target the breakdown. Committed to the breakdown with POM & Cane fetching for the ball, supported by the rest of the pack when needed. We will always look to turn the ball over.

Cover the backfield. Zebo & Le Roux instructed to sit deep on defence and cover the field with Bendy. We will not be giving any space away for Saints to kick into. Look to counter with interest.


Northampton Saints
Manager – Dammit_Chris

01. Mako Vunipola09. Joe Simpson
02. Dylan Hartley10. George Ford
03. Ramiro Herrera
04. Samu Manoa11. Julian Savea
05. Courtney Lawes12. Weslie Fofana
06. Schalk Burger13. Elliot Daly
07. David Pocock(c)14. Tommy Bowe
08. Billy Vunipola15. Leigh Halfpenny(k)
Replacements:
16. Thomas Domingo 17. Rob Webber 18. Logi Mulipola 19. Joe Launchbury 20. Sergio Parisse 21. Cobus Reinarch 22. Matt Giteau  23. Napaloni Nalaga

Overall Gameplan: To play a very physical game in both attack and defence, at a high tempo and providing opportunities to get our big ball carriers on the ball and over the gainline. We have selected a strong, mobile pack to compete with Sale, but believe we can beat them physically at the breakdown and with a number of strong strike runners in the backline. We are also looking to place a lot of emphasis on the impact we get from our bench to finish the semi final strongly.

Key Points:
* Sale are a great team, but believe we can get at them with extra physicality from the likes of Burger, Lawes, Manoa Vunipola in the pack and Fofana, Savea and Bowe in the backline.
* Stop Sale making it over the gainline - their backline lacks a really strong carrier so will look to marshall their attacks and force them into a kicking game to make ground.
* Target the breakdown, hit this area hard and make it extremely physical. Want to make it difficult for Danny Care to get good ball and then pile pressure on the 10/12 channel. Look for Pocock to take control, with support from Burger, Lawes and Manoa.
* Mix up attacking options, target big runners at Eastmond, use Daly to attack outside channels and for Ford to probe Sale defence with attacking kicks for our back three to chase. Want to isolate Abendanon where possible.
* Keep the scoreboard ticking over with Halfpenny's boot.
* Confidence from European Cup Final win and key players hit good form in real life.

Pack/Setpiece/Breakdown
- strong mobile pack, which has been picked for its physicality to take the game to the home side and turn the game into a very physical contest.
- Utilise scrum for BV to run at Sexton and take out key player for Sale.
- Lineout see a variety of options for Lawes, Manoa and Burger to generate quick ball to attack and get us over the Sale gainline from the midfield.
- Exploit rolling maul with BV getting on the ball and getting a drive on, seek penalties or tries.
- Lawes to put Kaysar's throwing under pressure whenever possible.
- Hit breakdown aggressively and turn it into a really physical battle with Burger, Lawes and Manoa. Look for Pocock to exert influence here and win this key battle and give Simpson chances to break from turnovers.

Attack:
- Ford to control tempo of the game, mixing up attacking options and sending big ball carriers down Eastmonds channel when possible. Also using dummy runners to then give Daly space to attack Payne's outside shoulder at pace.
- Implement an attacking kicking game, with Bowe, Savea and Halfpenny chasing kicks.
- Halfbacks been in excellent form this season and will look at them to provide us with a very good attacking platform.

Kicking/Territory:
- Have a variety of kicking options with Simpson, Ford, Daly and Halfpenny - will clear our lines and not take chances in areas where Sexton can get three points.
- About playing in the right areas and forcing Sale into errors.

Defence:
- Aggressive rush defence, not providing the Sale decision makers with time to think and looking for Manoa and Lawes to give Sexton a torrid afternoon.
- Simpson to sweep behind defensive line.
- Halfpenny and Bowe selected due to their ability under the high ball to deal with Sexton's kicking game.



Last edited by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 25 May 2015, 7:16 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Mon 18 May 2015, 5:41 pm

Mark

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 19 May 2015, 2:35 pm

Saracens
Manager – Pooly

01. Alex Waller09. Morgan Parra
02. Keven Mealamu10. Pat Lambie
03. Dan Cole
04. Brad Davies11. Juan Imhoff
05. Flip van der Merwe12. Sonny Bill Williams
06. Callum Clark13. Malakai Fekitoa
07. Thierry Dusatoir(c)14. Chris Ashton
08. Nathan Hughes15. Scott Spedding
:-
16. Jamie George 17. Nick Auterac 18. Tom Francis 19. Sam Carter 20. Dave Denton 21. Francois Hougaard 22. Bernard Foley 23. Matt Tait

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Steven_Sharks on Tue 19 May 2015, 6:33 pm

Wrong page mate

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 19 May 2015, 6:37 pm

Delusions Steve, cheers

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Tue 19 May 2015, 9:14 pm

Sale Sharks
Manager – SJE

01. Marcos Ayerza09. Danny Care
02. Benjamin Kayser10. Johnny Sexton
03. Davit Zirakishvilli 
04. Brodie Retalick11. Simon Zebo
05. Dave Attwood12. Kyle Eastmond
06. Peter O'Mahony13. Jared Payne
07. Sam Cane14. Willie Le Roux
08. Louis Picamoles15. Nick Abendanon
:-
16. Jack McGrath 17. David Paice 18. Martin Moore 19. Will Skelton 20. Matt Garvey 21. Calum Braley 22. Beauden Barrett 23. Semesa Rokoduguni

We will play an expansive, high intensity offloading game looking to create space particularly in the wider channels and break the defensive line. Mobility and handling is key to our approach.

Key Points

Home advantage is always crucial in these playoff games and the big knockout games in general. We are undefeated here this season and want to keep it that way.  

- We have genuine breakdown operators throughout the pack with Kayser, Zirka, Retalick, POM & Cane all known for their ground work and feel we can outwork Saints here and really slow them down.

- We come into this game the fresher side with 2 weeks off in recent times due to the Euro Final and playing a 2nd string in the Euro Semi. Confidence is flying following the bonus point win last week and our first ever top 2 finish while Saints come into this off the back of a grueling battle to Tigers.  

- Some key Saints players have put up significant game time. Herrera has now started the last 5 weeks and Billy V is 6 starts from 7 with significant game time from the bench in the European final that went to extra time being his rest week! We expect some dog legs on the Saints blitz particularly after last weeks game.

Tactics

Numerous playmakers across the backline with Eastmond, Payne, Zebo & Le Roux comfortable at coming in at first receiver allow us to change the point of attack constantly. All also carry a strong running threat and will look to target isolated front 5 forwards.

Target the Saints dog legs. Sexton will look to play on the gain line and draw the likes of Lawes/Manoa rushing out of the line with runners coming round the back door looking for the pop pass to attack the dog legs left behind. 

Work the wrap around. Sexton to play off Payne or Pickles carrying in midfield, and take advantage of the space in the wider channels with the Saints back three defending deep for kicks. 

Attack from the scrum. Strong technical front row backed up by a powerful second row will look to build a platform for Pickles, Care & Sexton. An area we will look to target if winning.

Mix it up at the lineout. Five genuine jumpers gives us a strong attacking platform. Look to use both the rolling maul and ball off the top to keep the defence guessing.

Straight line blitz defence. Focused on winning the gain line collisions and driving the ball carrier back. Line speed is crucial. Care will sweep behind the line to cover chips and grubbers.

Cover the midfield. Cane has been instructed to defend the 12 channel with Eastmond, specifically looking to stop offloads and get over the ball first at the breakdown preventing any Saints momentum.

Target the breakdown. Committed to the breakdown with POM & Cane fetching for the ball, supported by the rest of the pack when needed. We will always look to turn the ball over.

Cover the backfield. Zebo & Le Roux instructed to sit deep on defence and cover the field with Bendy. We will not be giving any space away for Saints to kick into. Look to counter with interest.


Last edited by SirJohnnyEnglish on Thu 21 May 2015, 10:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Ozzy3213 on Tue 19 May 2015, 9:54 pm

Wasps
Manager: Ozzy3213  
                 
01. Joe Marler09. Aaron Smith
02. Bismarck du Plessis10. Aaron Cruden
03. David Wilson
04. Matt Symons11. Bryan Habana
05. Alun-Wyn Jones ©12. Ma'a Nonu
06. Jerome Kaino13. Henry Slade
07. Steffon Armitage14. Noa Nakaitaci
08. Duane Vermeulen15. Anthony Watson
16. Tom Youngs 17. Scott Sio 18. Ben Alexander 19. Sebastien Vahaamahina 20. Marcell Coetzee 21. Ben Youngs 22. Samu Kerevi 23. Tim Nanai-Williams

Basic Game Plan
In good conditions we will be looking to play a possession based, fast offloading game, keeping the ball alive moving the Quins defence around. When deep in our half we won't take chances with offloading, but will make ground carrying close to the ruck and recycling quickly, or using the boots of Cruden, Slade and Watson to take us up the field.

In defence, as always we will be running a blitz defence.  Our focus will be on the gainline collisions and driving back in the tackle.  Line speed and no dog-legs will be key components for us.  Smith will sweep in behind the defensive line to counter any chips/grubbers.


Specifics

  • Lineout.  Symons will call, as he does for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.  In decent conditions we will mix it up on our ball, utilising Symons, Jones, Kaino and Vermeulen as reivers, whilst also at times shortening the line and using our back row forwards as crash ball options off first phase. Defensively we will look to compete for the ball and disrupt wherever possible, making any ball secured by Quins as scrappy as we can.
  • Scrum.  Get low.  Wilson to really look to drive through straight onto Brits left shoulder, thereby forcing Woodcock to turn in and trust that the referee will penalise him when he does.  If we get going forward, mix up between forcing the penalty and getting the ball out quickly and into play against a retreating defensive line.
  • Breakdown.  When we carry into contact, if we are taken to ground, we will flood the breakdown.  In defence, if we have made a passive tackle and the carrier has momentum we will not overcommit, but will maintain a strong defensive line.  If we win the collision and knock the carrier back we will look to get the second man in hard over the ball to turn it over.  Key for us is being selective.
  • Attacking Play.  We will be looking to play a Super Rugby type offloading game, with the ball shifted on to the support runner just prior to the point of the tackle with the defender already committed.  We want to keep the ball alive as much as possible.   We will look to get Watson and Nakaitaci in particular trying to isolate front 5 forwards in the defensive line and use their pace, power and footwork to go past them and get us on the front foot.  If the ball is slow and Quins are blitzing we will also utilise the pick and go, with the aim of keeping the blitz honest and forcing them slowly onto the back foot before going wider out.  Smith to also look to snipe around the fringes and keep us going forwards all the time.  
  • Tactical Kicking.  If we kick, we will look to kick for the corners and contest the opposition lineout.

Key Points

  • World Class Spine  In those key jerseys, 2,8,9,10 we have world class players who are all arguably the best in their position in the world.  In big games, when things get tight, those guys can be the difference between winning and losing.
  • Routine  We have changed nothing for this semi final, bar minor opposition specific tweaks.  This is our usual game plan, we are well drilled and everyone is comfortable with their role.  In pressure situations, this can be key.
  • Impact Bench  6 full internationals plus Kerevi and Nanai-Williams.  All can have a huge impact on this game.
  • Experience  As a group, this is our 3rd semi final of the season, and 4th in 2 seasons, all of which we've won. We know how to get the job done.
  • Home Advantage  Very few semi FInals are won by the away team, which is why every year in tHis game people aim for top 2 rather than top 4.
  • Cruden  Steve suggests fatigue for Cruden, but you don't get so tired when you're winning, and he has guided the team to a run where we've only lost once since the turn of the year.  He has also been rested through the season so fatigue will be no issue.
  • Ma'a Nonu Is absolutely in the form of his life, baging another couple of tries last week for the 'Canes, and is undoubtedly the best player in the world in his position right now.


Best of luck Steve, should be a cracking a game.


Last edited by Ozzy3213 on Thu 21 May 2015, 9:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by dammit_chris on Wed 20 May 2015, 1:41 pm

Northampton Saints
Manager: Dammit Chris

01. Mako Vunipola09. Joe Simpson
02. Dylan Hartley10. George Ford
03. Ramiro Herrera
04. Samu Manoa11. Julian Savea
05. Courtney Lawes12. Weslie Fofana
06. Schalk Burger13. Elliot Daly
07. David Pocock(c)14. Tommy Bowe
08. Billy Vunipola15. Leigh Halfpenny(k)
Replacements:
16. Thomas Domingo 17. Rob Webber 18. Logi Mulipola 19. Joe Launchbury 20. Sergio Parisse 21. Cobus Reinarch 22. Matt Giteau  23. Napaloni Nalaga

Overall Gameplan: To play a very physical game in both attack and defence, at a high tempo and providing opportunities to get our big ball carriers on the ball and over the gainline. We have selected a strong, mobile pack to compete with Sale, but believe we can beat them physically at the breakdown and with a number of strong strike runners in the backline. We are also looking to place a lot of emphasis on the impact we get from our bench to finish the semi final strongly.

Key Points:
* Sale are a great team, but believe we can get at them with extra physicality from the likes of Burger, Lawes, Manoa Vunipola in the pack and Fofana, Savea and Bowe in the backline.
* Stop Sale making it over the gainline - their backline lacks a really strong carrier so will look to marshall their attacks and force them into a kicking game to make ground.
* Target the breakdown, hit this area hard and make it extremely physical. Want to make it difficult for Danny Care to get good ball and then pile pressure on the 10/12 channel. Look for Pocock to take control, with support from Burger, Lawes and Manoa.
* Mix up attacking options, target big runners at Eastmond, use Daly to attack outside channels and for Ford to probe Sale defence with attacking kicks for our back three to chase. Want to isolate Abendanon where possible.
* Keep the scoreboard ticking over with Halfpenny's boot.
* Confidence from European Cup Final win and key players hit good form in real life.

Pack/Setpiece/Breakdown
- strong mobile pack, which has been picked for its physicality to take the game to the home side and turn the game into a very physical contest.
- Utilise scrum for BV to run at Sexton and take out key player for Sale.
- Lineout see a variety of options for Lawes, Manoa and Burger to generate quick ball to attack and get us over the Sale gainline from the midfield.
- Exploit rolling maul with BV getting on the ball and getting a drive on, seek penalties or tries.
- Lawes to put Kaysar's throwing under pressure whenever possible.
- Hit breakdown aggressively and turn it into a really physical battle with Burger, Lawes and Manoa. Look for Pocock to exert influence here and win this key battle and give Simpson chances to break from turnovers.

Attack:
- Ford to control tempo of the game, mixing up attacking options and sending big ball carriers down Eastmonds channel when possible. Also using dummy runners to then give Daly space to attack Payne's outside shoulder at pace.
- Implement an attacking kicking game, with Bowe, Savea and Halfpenny chasing kicks.
- Halfbacks been in excellent form this season and will look at them to provide us with a very good attacking platform.

Kicking/Territory:
- Have a variety of kicking options with Simpson, Ford, Daly and Halfpenny - will clear our lines and not take chances in areas where Sexton can get three points.
- About playing in the right areas and forcing Sale into errors.

Defence:
- Aggressive rush defence, not providing the Sale decision makers with time to think and looking for Manoa and Lawes to give Sexton a torrid afternoon.
- Simpson to sweep behind defensive line.
- Halfpenny and Bowe selected due to their ability under the high ball to deal with Sexton's kicking game.

Good luck SJE - great team you've put together!


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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Steven_Sharks on Wed 20 May 2015, 4:46 pm

Harlequins
Manager – Steven_Sharks

01. Tony Woodcock09. Ruan Pienaar
02. Schalk Brits10. Colin Slade
03. John Afoa
04. Bakkies Botha11. Teddy Thomas
05. George Kruis12. Robbie Henshaw
06. Tom Wood13. Jonathan Joseph
07. Michael Hooper (c)14. Jack Nowell
08. Damien Chouly15. Rob Kearney

16. Rob Buchanan 17. Steven Kitchoff 18. Kieran Brookes 19. Nick Easter 20. Mamuka Gorgodze 21. Eric Escande 22. Steven Myler 23. Yoann Huget


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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Steven_Sharks on Thu 21 May 2015, 4:26 pm

Tactics

Game Plan

We will employ a very different type of game plan in our own half and in our oppositions half.

In our own half we will be using sensible and varied kicking game to gain territory or really contest for possession. If their are gaps to exploit behind the Wasps back three we will kick to it and if there aren't we will look to use the up and under to really test Watson and Nakatici who we feel could be vulnerable. Using experts under the high ball Henshaw, Kearney and Nowell to win that ball back. This is something we will really look to employ when we can't kick directly to touch. We will also look to use Pienaar's extensive range of kicking to keep Wasps back three guessing at all times.

In the Wasps half it is all about building pressure through high intensity carrying and playing at a quick tempo. Slade has been picked to play flat and put others into spaces which will appear through effective rucking from our whole team. Runners will carry at pace and with support so as to offload or recycle the ball quickly. We will look for our power runners to attack gaps and look to get across the gain line. Persistent quick ball should allow us to create gaps out wide for JJ and our back three to exploit and in spaces with front foot ball our outside backs will be a force to reckon with. We really want to look to move Wasps pack around and not run straight at them. This will mean varying our point of attack and numerous players operating as first receiver including Slade, Pienaar, JJ, Nowell and Kearney and tiring out the larger Wasps pack.

Set Piece  

We've picked experience up front. We will look make the set piece a battle from start to finish.

Scrum We will look to use our experience and techinically sound props to get penalties from the scrum, especially looking to target a tiring Wilson with a quick tempo game. The weight of Botha and Kruis will significantly bolster our scrum.

Line out

Kruis will run our line out and we will look to use it as a weapon. In Botha, Kruis, Wood and Chouly we have four top class line out operators and we will look to use all four of them in rotation. We will look to use full and shortened lines and look to be quick at the line out to keep the tempo of the game up. In defence the lighter Wood will mark AWJ and try to force Wasps to through to less skilled line out operators.

Breakdown

Look to negate Armitage for Wasps by employing crocodile rolls and ensuring he has released the tackled player. Rather than attempting to blast him backwards we will simply judo roll him sideways in order to take him off his feet and out of the game. Hooper and Wood will work in tandem with the rest of our side to ensure we have somebody making life tough for Wasps at each breakdown through competing as the first man or legally slowing the ball down with Bakkies an expert in this area. We will look for Hooper to come alive in the wider channels using his pace and fitness to exploit the breakdown area when Wasps spin it wide.

We feel the key to stopping Wasps rhythm is to harass Smith who's a livewire but on slow and unclean ball will make mistakes.  

Defence

Quick line speed looking to cut of Crudens options. We will look to chop Wasps bigger ball carriers and get Hooper and Wood on top of the ball whilst when we are set in defence we will look to target the likes of Slade and Cruden and knock them backwards.

KEY POINTS

Target Slade in defence - Look to get JJ running at him one and one or use Hooper and Chouly to charge at him. Feel he can be got at.

Move Wasps around - Variety in our attack. Attack different channels with different players. Look to use out the back wedge moves as our default to have a crash ball option and an out the back option. Tire out AWJ, Wilson and Vermaulen. Have them chasing us around.

Chop the big men - Not looking to get into a man v man who can make the biggest hit. We knock backwardws when its on but our default is to chop and get a man on the ball. Brits, Hooper and Wood can do this.

Attacking kicks - Exploit Watson and Nakatici and use Henshaw and Kearney especially to win the high ball battle. We feel this is a great way to gain territory as well as regaining possesion.

Our attack - with the likes of JJ, Thomas and Nowell as well as Hooper and Brits we back ourselves against anyone when we get quick ball. We have scintillating runners with ball abd hand who trouble any defence individually working as a unit with a 10 and 12 bang in form. Create havoc out wide for Wasps.

Cruden - Cruden has played the last 9 games from the start including one with a full 80 plus extra time. This will be his 10th start in a row including two cup finals and three semi finals. Fatigue must be a factor for him both physically and mentally. Whilst Smith's workload hasn't been quite so heavy, he also has played a lot of rugby.

Judge the game on sides and tactics as these are a much greater factor than location. Please don't go in with the attitude '' Wasps don't lose at home'' and therefore a closed mind over the result.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Thu 21 May 2015, 11:08 pm

PREDICTIONS OPEN

Best of luck to all thumbsup

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Fri 22 May 2015, 12:34 am

Wasps 28-24 Harlequins

Not too much in the front rows, perhaps a small shade to Wasps but Wilson's lack of form stops too much of an advantage. Little in the engine rooms, perhaps another small advantage to Wasps with Kruis the weakest player on show. Big step at 6/8 for Wasps and overall a pack advantage, Quins flanks a touch weak around the breakdown.

Step up at half back for Wasps with a bit more class. Nonu much better than Henshaw and JJ a step up on in Slade in the centres. Little in 2 good back 3's but prefer Quins bench.

Home advantage is worth a lot and Wasps have a better side out, especially 1-10. This gives them a decent win against a spirited Quins side.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Fri 22 May 2015, 12:42 am

Sale 26-22 Northampton

Meaty front 5 battle with Sale offering more around the park and scrum with the line out pretty even. Great backrow contest and hard to split with 2 good units.

Even off form, Care is a big step up on Simpson and Sexton better than Ford good giving Sale a good half back edge. One a piece in the centres with Daly a problem defensively against the strong running Payne. Magic galore in the back 3's with Bowe possibly the weakest on show (shows the strength).

Great game but again home advantage is key in the semis. I think Sale have the better front 5 and a big step up in the half backs where as Saints aren't really stronger in any area. This and the home advantage gives Sale a good win.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by BamBam on Fri 22 May 2015, 5:05 pm

Wasps 27 - 25 Harlequins

Purely looking at the teamsheets, its pretty hard to see an advantage for either side as a whole. Wasps stronger in the front row and half backs, Quins stronger in the second row and outside backs. The back row is usually the key area I look at when the teams are this well matched, and I just think that Wasps have a little bit more physicality than Quins, and will get the advantage at the breakdown.

Steve has set up well, and given the quality of the outside backs I think they'll have success attacking Slade and the high ball tactics will also have some degree of success.

Wasps have only specifically targeted Brits in the scrum, and that is a solid tactic IMO, and they have the strength in the scrum to do this.

Overall, the breakdown advantage coupled with being at home is what swings this for me, and Wasps will take this one


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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Guest on Fri 22 May 2015, 7:03 pm

Sale 22-26 saints

Great game and hard to decide in parts.

Front row even with ayerza lacking form but zira probably best th in world currently. Hookers even

One a piece second row but saints better unit with attwood not playing that well.

Backrow 7s even 6 just to saints but at 8 BV a different league to pickles.

One a piece at halfbacks with Simpson being better than care this year and sexton just squeeking ford.

Outside of that is where saints take it. Centres and back 3 much better and the worries about sales back 3 defensively persist.

Saints stronger bench also.

Sale would have looked better with Skelton starting and maybe Roka on the wing as Zebo/roka not that much of a drop quality wise

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Guest on Sun 24 May 2015, 1:52 pm

Wasps 26-25 Quins

Really hard to see a clear advantage. On paper wasps take the front row with Wilson and BDP however there lack of form sees the front row battle. BDP been good in last 2 games but been poor apart from that.

Second row battle is even with 2 hard working units that will graft and graft.

Prefer balance of wasps Back row but quins very close.

The biggest key difference is at half back.

Wasps much better at 9/10 .' I have huge reservations about slade at top level. Smith is utter world class and think his leadership and organisation are key.

He will get quick ball to cruden.
Centres to wuins. Nonu superb but quins unit much better as a pair and could see slade struggling. Quins also take the back 3 battle with Kearney the stand out. Wasps exciting ball in hand but can see Watson and nackataci leaking some tries as neither is strong defensively.

Overall I think home advantage and halfbacks see wasps squeak a thriller

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Ozzy3213 on Sun 24 May 2015, 9:04 pm

Sale Sharks 39 Northampton Saints 34
Lots of power in the Saints pack, but I prefer the balance to the Sale 8, with some good technicians throughout. Both backlines have tries in them, with both sets of half backs able to get their team on the attack. Key man for me is Sam Cane, who has been excellent whenever I've watched him this year, and will assist in ensuring that Sale get marginally better ball from the breakdown than Saints do, and at home this will be enough for them to win a 9 try thriller.
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by dammit_chris on Sun 24 May 2015, 9:23 pm

Thought I posted this on Saturday!

Wasps 22 - 23 Harlequins
See Harlequins as a team that very much have the same sort of spirt/ethos of Sarries in real life. They have a pack that really compliments each other and why they might not have the big names of Wasps I prefer the way the side would gel and the defensive ability of that pack.

Would have been a Wasps win, but BDP, Wilson haven't had great seasons in terms of form, injuries, though similar with Brits there for Steve. The form that Youngs is in I'd have started him. Cruden's been injured for a little time now and his kicking hasn't been as good this season. Nonu is in great form for Pete but I can see Henshaw being able to marshall him defensively.

Like Steve's approach of getting attacks at Slade in no13 shirt with JJ who and the chase kick game of Henshaw and Kearney. Can see this being very similar to how Saints v Sarries panned out in real life - with kick chase game just about being the decisive factor.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by ChequeredJersey on Sun 24 May 2015, 9:32 pm

Wasps 29 vs 26 Quins


Tough pack battle, Wasps win the scrum and can pressurise the Quins put in but Quins have a very safe lineout with nice options for me. Steff and BDP are beasts at the breakdown and will certainly turn some ball over, however across the whole pack Quins have an advantage here and will be able to get quick ball and slow Wasps ball, aided by their tactical approach. Wasps edge the carrying ability though 

The established real life HB pairing of Snith and Cruden edge that area and then I love the balance of the wasps centres with a dangeorus back 3 outside them, and good use of them in tactics. The Quins backs also play an all court game with great kicking and kick returning capability, but I think targeting Slade will be difficult. Overall, the packs are even but Wasps edge the attack and win at home
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by prop_lyd on Sun 24 May 2015, 10:09 pm

Sorry guys will be tomorrow for me if that's ok?
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by ChequeredJersey on Sun 24 May 2015, 11:00 pm

Sale 28 vs 28 Saints

Sale win the scrum, very close in the lineout, but Saints will maybe just get an advantage as Lawes and Hartley have a great understanding. Excellent breakdown battle that I really can't separate, both really good but different approaches to the breakdown. Poccock vs Cane and POM would be brilliant to watch 


Care's form has been off and Ford and Simpson are in great nick so they edge the HBs and create some great attacking opportunities. The backs are very close but the Sale backs probably get an edge

All in all very hard to call, and I'm gonna to bail on it
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Fluxy on Sun 24 May 2015, 11:29 pm

Wasps 29 - 28 Harlequins

Two very big front fives going at each other here. Both are secure over their possession at the scrum and at the line out again, both are pretty secure, it's the contrast in styles that is interesting when utilising the possession. Wasps have a bit more power in their back row to break the line, whereas Quins trio are supercharged with energy to try and out pace the Wasps forwards. Quins will benefit from targetting Slade in midfield with some big runners and bombarding the Wasps wingers, it won't necessarily create a try, but it does provide momentum and territory. Wasps ethos of trying to keep the ball alive, played through the likes of Steffon, Vermeleun, Smith and Cruden gets them pushing the Quins defence which won't always hold out against the waves of black and yellow. In the dying moments of this game it will be high scoring and tight. Quins back line can cut lose at any point and Wasps also have the team motive of keeping the ball on the move. This one is really close and will come down to who can deal with the pressure late on. I just see Wasps scrapping through by the skin of their teeth in a fantastic game.

Sale Sharks 33 - 31 Northampton Saints

Sharks have a bit more in the front five around the park and in the set piece, to create a solid platform for their back row. Saints get some bollocking go forward from their back row and Billy V most impressively, the collision between him and Skelton late on would be Earth shattering! Cane is the lad in the Sharks back row that keeps disrupting the Saints flow in attack. The Care Sexton axis is well rehearsed in games of these magnitude, but the Saints half back duo are in cracking form as of late and really give their backs and forwards something to play off and create opportunities for. The creativity in the Sale midfield allows the likes of Le Roux and Bendy to come in on late lines and cut through the Saints midfield. The Saints bench will swing momentum late on but a moment of magic from Barrett will seal Sharks a massive victory and route into the AP Final

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Sun 24 May 2015, 11:37 pm

Wasps 29-27 Harlequins

Slight scrum edge to Wasps even with some form issues for Wilson. Wasps solid at the line out but Quins with some great options and will be a real threat from the line out. Wasps pack overall have an edge at the breakdown and will see the better quality ball. The All Black halfbacks would give Wasps an edge but Crudens fatigue levels this up. Nonu the outstanding centre but the Quins combo better as a pair.
In the back threes Thomas struggling since the 6 nations. Quins maybe slightly better aerially though. Feel Wasps have a few more game changers from the bench.

On tactics see Wasps making good ground with the offloading game with fast ball back from the breakdown. Nonu's form a key factor at the moment. Quins can get some joy from time to time outside Slade and the kick chase approach will work well at times but feel they are giving up a lot of ball to dangerous runners. Wasps more capable in the attacking areas with the better ball for the halfbacks is what decides this for me.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by CJB on Mon 25 May 2015, 12:32 am

Wasps 30-29 Quins
Sale 26-27 Saints

Sorry lads bank holiday weekends are manic at work

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Steven_Sharks on Mon 25 May 2015, 10:35 am

Sale 28 - 30 Northampton

Fascinating game. Sale are fresher and at home but Saints in my eyes have the stronger XV on the park. I prefer the Saints carrying options and feel they will do better in the collisions. I feel Sale have the stronger breakdown options but in Pocock Saints have the standout. Bit more at the lineout for Sale with scrums even for my money.

Half backs fascinating. Sale have the better players but Saints in far better nick as a pairing which balances things out. I don't see where Sale are making big inroads in backs despite Saints not being overly physical and they need someone in the backs to do this as I can't see the Sale pack marching Saints back up front. They have excellent elusive runners but no one who is going to get in Dalys channel and dominate him physically. Sale however have Savea and Fofana to back to there stronger carriers up front and make inroads.

It's a great game which I see going to the away side. They have the power, precision and x factor to take a win.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 25 May 2015, 11:20 am

Results will be this evening at 5 due to the bank holiday so get them in anyone yet to do so please

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 25 May 2015, 11:50 am

Just Luke, Prop and Bam to finish up. A full set would be greatly appreciated this week lads thumbsup

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Guest on Mon 25 May 2015, 2:39 pm

Luke has said he will get them in tomorrow. Does it make sense to leave them open to get a full set? It is a semi final and bank holidays can be a mare for some people ?

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 25 May 2015, 2:47 pm

Luke and Prop both said yesterday they would get them in today. Bam is around at the moment so is hopefully working on it thumbsup

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by BamBam on Mon 25 May 2015, 2:53 pm

Mine will be in soon

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by LukeLovesLuka on Mon 25 May 2015, 3:50 pm

Wasps 26 - 23 Harlequins

Really good pack battle that I think wasps just about shade with their back row. I think Wasps HBs get on top of their opposite numbers. Quine have some great form with their back line but wasps have enough at home to win this.


Sharks 22 - 25 Saints

Pack battle is really close. Both players have great options - think Saints have the slightly better carriers. Class v Form tough to call at HB - but Saints look so much more dangerous in the backs for me, and I see them out scoring sale, even away.


Congrats to all four managers in guiding sides to the playoffs.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 25 May 2015, 4:07 pm

Cheers Luke.

Just prop and Bam to go then.
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by BamBam on Mon 25 May 2015, 4:14 pm

Sale 29-27 Saints

When I look at the two sides, I see very little to separate them pretty much all over the park.

I think Sale could get a nudge on in the scrum with the quality of Ayerza and Vili backed up by a hugely powerful second row. Saints props also good, but think their second row maybe misses a bit of grunt in the tight. At the breakdown, both excellent with Pocock the standout but POM and Cane will have plenty to say

Think the halfbacks are even with Simpson and Ford's form matching the class of Sale.

Saints centres are class going forwards, but think Payne has the physicality to challenge Daily defensively, and Saints have the edge in the back 3.

Home advantage seals this one for me, and for anyone to beat this Sale side at home they need a clear advantage, just don't see it today

Well done to all the playoff managers

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 25 May 2015, 4:22 pm

Just Prop to wrap it up for the full house thumbsup

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 25 May 2015, 4:24 pm

Not currently online.
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by prop_lyd on Mon 25 May 2015, 4:58 pm

Will do them now
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by prop_lyd on Mon 25 May 2015, 5:00 pm

Wasps 28-27 quins
Feel it could be tight up front but wasps could get small nidge nit enough to make big difference. Out wide I feel wasps will have the edge at halfback and, even with the form of the quins centres I think wasps edge the back 3.
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by prop_lyd on Mon 25 May 2015, 5:05 pm

Sale 32-31 saints
I've been sitting on the fence with this one with sale getting ahead but the saints bench brining them back into it. Halfbacks are pretty even but I think its the sale back row, especially cane who will get the vital points here.
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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 25 May 2015, 5:25 pm

RESULTS:

London Wasps 32-26 Harlequins
Sale Sharks 31-30 Northampton Saints

BONUS:

Score: CJB
Full: Everyone else

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 26 May 2015, 8:48 am

Congratulations Pete & Johnny.

Unlucky Steve & Chris, always a tough ask to win away in the playoffs.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals

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