London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

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London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Tue 11 Aug 2015, 1:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

  Welcome to this seasons thread for talking about all things London Irish. 

Senior Squad (39)

Technical Director: Brendan Venter
Director of Rugby: Nick Kennedy
Assistant Coach: Clark Laidlaw
Forwards Coach: George Skivington
Defence Coach: Declan Danaher
Skills Coach: Paul Hodgson

Hooker: David Paice, Gerard Ellis, David Porecki, Jason Harris-Wright, Todd Gleave (dual registered with Rosslyn Park).
Prop: Tom Court, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Tom Smallbone, Ben Franks, Richard Palframan, Ollie Hoskins.
Second Row: Sebastien de Chaves, Jerry Sexton, Jebb Sinclair, George Robson, Will Lloyd.
Back Row: Blair Cowan, Ofisa Treviranus, Luke Narraway, Connor Gilsenen, Joe Trayfoot, Mike Coman, Max Northcote-Green, Senitiki Nayalo.
Scrum Half: Brendan McKibbin, Scott Steele, Darren Allinson (on loan to Bath).
Fly Half: Greig Tonks, Tommy Bell, Theo Brophy-Clews.
Centre: Johnny Williams, Fergus Mulchrone, Ciaran Hearn, Tom Fowlie
Back Three: Topsy Ojo, Alex Lewington, Aseli Tikoirotuama, James Marshall, Ben Ransom


Senior Academy Squad (12)

Hooker: Matt Kouris (dual registered with Esher)
Prop: Harry Elrington (dual registered with Rosslyn Park), Austin Hay (Academy Plus)
Back Row: Isaac Curtis-Harris (dual registered with Esher), Jack Cooke (Academy Plus)
Scrum Half: Conor Murphy, Rory Brand (dual registered with Rosslyn Park)
Fly Half: Tom Parton
Centre: Ross Neal, Matt Williams
Wing: Joe Cokanasiga, Jacob Atkins


Fixture List

Date Time Opponents H/A Venue Competition Result Scorers 







Sat 13th Aug15:00 HarlequinsAThe Stoop FriendlyW 28-12 T: Cowan, Neal, Nayolo, Atkins  C: Bell 3, Tonks.
Fri 19th Aug19:30NottinghamHHazelwood FriendlyW 43-14
Fri 26th Aug19:30Loughborough StudentsHHazelwoodFriendlyW 46-21
Sat 3rd Sep15:00Doncaster KnightsHMadStadChampionship W 19-0T: Fowlie, Tikoroituma  P: Bell 3.
Sat 10th Sep15:00RichmondHMadStadChampionshipW 36-12T: Paice, Cowan 2, Ellis, McKibbin, Elrington. C: Bell 3.
Sat 17th Sep15:00Bedford BluesAGoldington RoadChampionshipW 30-23T: Franks, Williams, Ojo, Northcote-Green. C: Bell 2. P: Bell 2.
Sun 25th Sep15:00Ealing TrailfindersHMadStadChampionshipW 32-12T: Ransom, Trayfoot, Marshall, Steele C:Bell, Marshall 2 P:Bell 2.
Fri 30th Sep19:45NottinghamALadyBay SportsChampionshipW 29-7T: Steele Tikoroituma Northcote-Green Mulchrone C:Bell 3 P:Bell. 
Sat 8th Oct15:00London WelshHMadStadChampionshipW 35-12T: Mulchrone, Paice, de Chaves, McKibbin. C: Bell. 3 P: Bell 3.
Sat 15th Oct15:00Ospreys Prem SelectAThe GnollB & I CupW 25-14T: Neal, Ransom, Nayalo, Palframan.  C: Tonks.  P: Tonks.
Sat 22nd Oct15:00Connacht EaglesHMadStadB & I CupW 34-3T: Elrington, Hoskins, Harris-Wright, Parton, Cokanasiga.  C: Tonks 3 P: Tonks.
Sat 29th Oct15:00London ScottishARAGChampionshipW 62-12T: Paice, McKibbin, Cokanasiga, Bell 2, Tikoirotuma, Steele, Cowan C: Bell 8, P: Bell 2.
Sat 5th Nov15:00Yorkshire CarnegieHMadStadChampionshipW 41-17T: Ransom 2, Tikoirotuma, Marshall 2. C: Bell 5. P: Bell 2.
Sat 19th Nov13:00Cornish PiratesAMennaye FieldChampionshipW 35-24T: Ransom 2, Franks 2, Northcote-Green  C: Marshall 2.  P: Tonks 2.
Sun 27th Nov15:00Jersey RedsHMadStadChampionshipW 42-29T: Ransom, Paice 2, Palframan, Fowlie  C: Bell 4  P: Bell 2  DG: Bell.
Sat 3rd Dec14:00Rotherham TitansAClifton LaneChampionshipW 38-10T: Cokanasiga 2, Bell 2, Steele.  C: Bell 5  P: Bell.
Sun 11th Dec15:00Cornish PiratesHMadStadB & I CupW 33-24T: Atkins, Gilsenan, Porecki, Nayalo, M.Williams.  C: Tonks 4.
Sat 17th Dec14:30Cornish PiratesAMennaye FieldB & I Cup
Sat 24th Dec
15:00
Richmond
A
RAG
Championship


Sat 31st Dec
15:00
Bedford Blues
H
MadStad
Championship


13/14/15 Jan

Connacht Eagles
A

B & I Cup


Sat 21st Jan
15:00
Ospreys Prem Select
H
MadStad
B & I Cup


Sat 28th Jan
15:00
Ealing Trailfinders
A
Vallis Way
Championship


Sun 5th Feb
14:00
Nottingham
H
MadStad
Championship


Sat 18th Feb
14:00
London Welsh
A
Old Deer Park
Championship


Sat 25th Feb
15:00
London Scottish
H
MadStad
Championship


Sun 5th Mar
15:00
Yorkshire Carnegie
A
Headingley
Championship


Sat 18th Mar
14:00
Cornish Pirates
H
MadStad
Championship


Sat 25th Mar
14:00
Jersey Reds
A
St Peter
Championship


Sat 8th Apr
15:00
Rotherham Titans
H
MadStad
Championship


Sat 15th Apr
15:00
Doncaster Knights
A
Castle Park
Championship

Season Preview

Well it's been an interesting summer in the aftermath of relegation.  It was clear from the outset that we would lose some players and would have to cut our cloth accordingly.  Initially it appeared that Tom Coventry was staying, but a late u-turn from him meant a new coaching set up was required.  New coaches, loss of big names, new players to integrate, sounds like a recipe for disaster, and we've certainly been there many times over the past few years.  This however, does not feel like that at all.  Perhaps it's because we are a league down, but there is real optimism around, primarily because of those things.  The holy trinity of Nick Kennedy, Declan Danaher and Paul Hodgson have been promoted to the first team after overseeing a successful academy season last year, and have Brendan Venter overseeing them as technical director.  This is exciting.  A proven winner overseeing a young, hungry and exciting coaching team.  On the playing side, the main losses being Matt Symons and Sean Maitland are more than offset by the likes of George Robson, James Marshall and Tommy Bell coming in.  If anything it feels as if we may have a stronger squad this year than we've had for the past 4 or 5.

Two games into pre season and things look positive.  Comfortably beating an admittedly understrength Quins, and a high scoring win against Nottingham have given plenty of optimism for the season ahead.  There were still defensive lapses, which will need to be ironed out, but barring complacency or an absolute stinker in terms of form, we should have more than enough to comfortably make the dreaded play offs, where it then becomes a test of mental strength rather than ability.



Ozzy'sprediction: Champions


Last edited by Ozzy3213 on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 5:21 pm; edited 27 times in total
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Sun 04 Dec 2016, 9:26 am

Went to the game yesterday. Sounds like a decent improvement on the Jersey game. A few thoughts:

- Rotherham were pretty physical, but struggled to break through our line. They were kept in the game to an extent prior to HT as a result of some lax discipline from us. Penalty count was 7 - 12 against us, most of which seemed fair enough.
- As above, defence was great bar a couple of broken field breaks and maul defence for their one try. Good line speed, Nayalo worth a mention here after he came on as he was very visible defensively. Elrington too. Good impact off the bench.
- Bell was my MOM, his line kicking was unreal again. 100% from the tee as well iirc, which took some doing as some of the tries were out wide. Topped it off with a brace himself. Don't think we've ever had a better player with the boot in the pro era. I certainly can't think of one, not even Barry.
- Cokanasiga was a weapon again, he's going to be some player. Went through a couple of their players for one try, set up Bell with a nice offload and then scored a sharp try in the corner. Was also error free in the rest of his play.
- Johnny Williams went off injured in the first half. Not sure if he was 100% fit before the game started, so can't help thinking they could have given him a few more weeks off with the B&I coming up. Hopefully precautionary rather than a set back.
Mention for Hearn who came on and did well. Nice break and kick through for Steele's try in the second half.

Edit - Court also seemed to go off with an injury, which is perhaps more worrying. Assume e may still be getting some cover in at LH, unless one of the two injured guys are close to a return

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 10:52 am

Thanks for the write-up MW. Looking forward to seeing the full highlights when they are up and pleased that it doesn't sound like Williams' injury is anything serious.

I expect we will see more rotation again for the two Championship games, although not sure on some players' fitness.

1. Elrington
2. Porecki
3. Hoskins
4. Lloyd
5. Sexton
6. Trayfoot (?)
7. Gilsenan (?)
8. Nayalo

9. Murphy
10. Tonks
11. Fowlie
12. Neal
13. Hearn
14. Atkins
15. Parton

Bench: Harris-Wright, Hay, Palframan, Cooke, Narraway (?), Brand, Brophy Clews (?)

Lots of question marks there regarding fitness. Think we will have to ask some Championship starters to double up if those guys aren't fit, or alternatively use some AASE players.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 11:33 am

I suspect that won't be far off the team SB.  Back row could be an issue.  As far as I know Naz, Trayfoot and MNG are all injured, so that leaves Trev, Blair, Coman, Nayalo and Gilsenan from the senior squad.  I'm not sure if Conor is fit now or not, and if not we are just left with the four who were in the squad on Saturday.  Jack Cooke undoubtedly will be involved and possibly Luke Frost who is at Loughborough and was on the bench for us against Connacht.  If we do only have the four senior guys fit, we can't risk breaking any of them in this competition.  

In the backs I think TBC is still a few weeks away from being ready, so I'm not expecting to see him before Christmas.  I am looking forward to seeing the young lads get another run though, thought they were great against Ospreys and Connacht, especially Parton who looked to have loads of time on the ball.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 4:37 pm

Just been on the Rotherham forum to see what they made of our performance and interesting that one poster in particular thinks we will really struggle to stay up in the Premiership if we do go up. Described us as having lots of players who are too good for the Championship but not quite Premiership standard and described Bell as falling into that category.

Hard to say how I feel about that, but I think it does back up the point that we have been making that we do need to strengthen across the board if we do gain promotion. Glad that this seems to be in hand.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 8:35 pm

Probably a pinch of salt needed with that to be fair, although there is without doubt strengthening that will need to go on. Tommy Bell is better than plenty of players we've had playing in our backline over the last 5 years and managed to stay up.

It's a bit of a no win situation really as we can only play what's in front of us and wont really make an impression unless we are putting 60/70 points on teams, in which case you'll only get, 'well it's only X'. Personally I'd say we are a better team than Bristol are now and we were last season. Remains to be seen whether that would be enough to stay up though.

Not done the research but I'd be pretty confident that we have a better points total than any team at the half way point in the play off era. Including teams like Newcastle and Worcester that managed to stay up.


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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by TrailApe on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 9:34 pm

I'd be pretty confident that we have a better points total than any team at the half way point in the play off era

Better than the Falcons - only 52 points for 11 games.

It's not being top dog at the end of the season though - it's winning the playoffs - and that's sqeakey bum time.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 9:38 pm

Yeah, for sure. No point having a perfect record if you choke in the play offs, which is certainly possible. It's an odd league in that regard, and I'll probably be more nervous than I've ever been watching LI for those play off games..


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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by TrailApe on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 10:10 pm

Good Luck anyroads.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 7:53 am

Cheers TrailApe

Back to the B&I. I wonder if Ben Loader will get a look in on the bench against the Pirates. Still in school, but probably the next cab off the rank given he was playing for Eng U18s a year ahead last season.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 10:04 am

He may well do MW.  I guess it will depend on who of the more senior lads needs a rest and who needs a run out. 

Just going back slightly to SB's point about where we are as a team, I've been reading all the Championship clubs message boards before and after we play them, and the general consensus appears to be that we are the best side to have come down, and are considerably better than Bristol were last season.  

That's certainly a good starting point heading into the second half of the season, particularly considering I don't think we have put in anywhere near a complete performance.  Kendo and the Doc are acutely aware of the need to strengthen and I believe that should we get promoted we already have some gnarly experienced forwards to come in and supplement what we have.  It will be a delicate balancing act though, as trying to integrate too many into what is a settled and cohesive squad could be a problem.

With regards to Tommy Bell, in my mind, and that of almost everyone I have spoken to, he is a top 6 Premiership player, despite what one Rotherham fan may think.  At 15 he will allow us to control territory with that excellent boot of his, and that is the case whatever division we play in.  Will he cut through Premiership defences with ball in hand quite as easily as he has done through Championship ones?  Unlikely, but I'll settle for his point tally going up in multiples of 3 to be honest.

15. Bell
14. Lewington/Cokanasiga
12. Williams/Mulchrone
11. Tikoroituma/Ransom
10. Marshall/Brophy-Clews
9. McKibbin/Steele

... are all good enough to play in the Premiership and be competitive.  Tonks, Ojo, Hearn, Neal and Fowlie will need to up their game if they are to be considered for Premiership action next year, which means potentially we need to recruit at 13 and 15, with the academy lads Murphy, Brand, Williams, Atkins and Parton backing up behind.

Up front

1. Court, Smallbone, Hobbs-Awoyemi
2. Paice
3. Franks
4. Robson
5. de Chaves
6. Coman
7. Cowan, Northcote-Green, Gilsenan
8. Treviranus, Nayalo

... can all do the job.  Elrington, Ellis, Harris-Wright, Porecki, Palframan, Hoskins, Lloyd, Sexton, Sinclair, Trayfoot, Narraway will need to show strongly in the second half of the season if they are to be considered good enough, and realistically I'd say Sexton, Sinclair, Trayfoot and Naz are unlikely to be able to manage to cut it.  The others the jury is out on.

I make that worst case scenario we need two hookers, two tightheads, three locks and a flanker, with only Curtis-Harris of the academy forwards in any way near ready to step up as a third choice behind senior guys.  If we go up, I am lead to believe that Petrus du Plessis and Jim Hamilton are done deals, as is a tier one international hooker.  That would leave us a hooker, tighthead, two locks and a flanker short.  At tighthead Palf and Hoskins are young enough still to kick on, so that might be ok with them as 3rd and 4th choice next year, we've not seen Porecki yet and Harris-Wright is potentially good enough to be 3rd/4th choice hooker.  Ellis could yet convert to blindside flanker, which would just need a couple of locks to be found.

I think we'll be ok if we go up, but a lot will depend on what sort of start we get.  As seen this year, Falcons hit the ground running and are now playing with freedom and confidence having effectively steered clear of the relegation dogfight.  Worcester on the other hand didn't start well and are now in the mire.  We will need a fast start, and if we get one I can see us being in that comfortable 6th to 10th group next year.

That said we need to negotiate the pray-offs first, and that could well be squeaky bum time.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 11:27 am

11th would be just fine with me if we did go up...

Agree with most if that though. Specifically in the areas that would need attention and those who will perhaps fall by the wayside. Assume the tier 1 international hooker may be Fainga'a, who I've heard mentioned a few times. Think we may need to look at an additional loosehead too depending on whether Elrington looks like making the grade. May be well off the mark but you'd there's a good chance Court won't still be playing next year

Edit - Unless Franks is going to act as LH cover.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 11:42 am

Court came to rugby late so doesn't have the same number of miles on the clock as other props his age.  I reckon he probably has at least another year in him.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 10:42 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:He may well do MW.  I guess it will depend on who of the more senior lads needs a rest and who needs a run out. 

Just going back slightly to SB's point about where we are as a team, I've been reading all the Championship clubs message boards before and after we play them, and the general consensus appears to be that we are the best side to have come down, and are considerably better than Bristol were last season.  

That's certainly a good starting point heading into the second half of the season, particularly considering I don't think we have put in anywhere near a complete performance.  Kendo and the Doc are acutely aware of the need to strengthen and I believe that should we get promoted we already have some gnarly experienced forwards to come in and supplement what we have.  It will be a delicate balancing act though, as trying to integrate too many into what is a settled and cohesive squad could be a problem.

With regards to Tommy Bell, in my mind, and that of almost everyone I have spoken to, he is a top 6 Premiership player, despite what one Rotherham fan may think.  At 15 he will allow us to control territory with that excellent boot of his, and that is the case whatever division we play in.  Will he cut through Premiership defences with ball in hand quite as easily as he has done through Championship ones?  Unlikely, but I'll settle for his point tally going up in multiples of 3 to be honest.

15. Bell
14. Lewington/Cokanasiga
12. Williams/Mulchrone
11. Tikoroituma/Ransom
10. Marshall/Brophy-Clews
9. McKibbin/Steele

... are all good enough to play in the Premiership and be competitive.  Tonks, Ojo, Hearn, Neal and Fowlie will need to up their game if they are to be considered for Premiership action next year, which means potentially we need to recruit at 13 and 15, with the academy lads Murphy, Brand, Williams, Atkins and Parton backing up behind.

Up front

1. Court, Smallbone, Hobbs-Awoyemi
2. Paice
3. Franks
4. Robson
5. de Chaves
6. Coman
7. Cowan, Northcote-Green, Gilsenan
8. Treviranus, Nayalo

... can all do the job.  Elrington, Ellis, Harris-Wright, Porecki, Palframan, Hoskins, Lloyd, Sexton, Sinclair, Trayfoot, Narraway will need to show strongly in the second half of the season if they are to be considered good enough, and realistically I'd say Sexton, Sinclair, Trayfoot and Naz are unlikely to be able to manage to cut it.  The others the jury is out on.

I make that worst case scenario we need two hookers, two tightheads, three locks and a flanker, with only Curtis-Harris of the academy forwards in any way near ready to step up as a third choice behind senior guys.  If we go up, I am lead to believe that Petrus du Plessis and Jim Hamilton are done deals, as is a tier one international hooker.  That would leave us a hooker, tighthead, two locks and a flanker short.  At tighthead Palf and Hoskins are young enough still to kick on, so that might be ok with them as 3rd and 4th choice next year, we've not seen Porecki yet and Harris-Wright is potentially good enough to be 3rd/4th choice hooker.  Ellis could yet convert to blindside flanker, which would just need a couple of locks to be found.

I think we'll be ok if we go up, but a lot will depend on what sort of start we get.  As seen this year, Falcons hit the ground running and are now playing with freedom and confidence having effectively steered clear of the relegation dogfight.  Worcester on the other hand didn't start well and are now in the mire.  We will need a fast start, and if we get one I can see us being in that comfortable 6th to 10th group next year.

That said we need to negotiate the pray-offs first, and that could well be squeaky bum time.

Great post Ozzy. I agree that we are probably better than the post I was referencing had suggested, but I am glad that it has sparked an interesting discussion. On Bell in particular, I think it is clear that he is a better player than suggested and his goal-kicking alone will make him an invaluable asset. His broken field running isn't world class by any stretch, but is probably better than I was anticipating. I think his kicking alone will keep us in the sorts of games that we let drift away from us last season (if we do go up).

Regarding the make-up of the squad, I think the model we need to work towards is having three players in all positions that can genuinely challenge (plus one extra in a couple of others), with some guys doubling up in positions that lend themselves to that (lock and back row for instance). I think the model should be similar to that which Sarries have adopted of two genuine senior pros and one youngster, but only when that youngster is one whose talent genuinely indicates that he can make the step up. I know that we need to ensure that we don't disrupt any harmony, but on the flip side I think we need to accept that guys like Fowlie and Ellis are into their fourth seasons with us and their third/fourth different head coach (if you count Glenn) and still haven't nailed down a spot in the side. That worries me. Having said that, I agree with most of your calls, although don't think we have seen enough from Nayalo to say he cuts the mustard yet. I would happily keep him on as a project player behind an experienced Number 8 and allow Treviranus to focus more on rotating between blindside competition with Coman and the 8 jersey. I have high hopes for Curtis Harris in the 8 role, but hope his injury hasn't set him back too far. If I was being really fussy I would probably want two back rowers to come in as I think it is the most important area of the team.

In the backs I think outside centre is the most obvious of gaps. Tonks I am happy with as a back-up and to play in the LV games and Brophy Clews and Parton are genuine talents that deserve game time and should end up playing a lot of games for us. I really want to see Williams kick on and develop his game though. We used him as a bit of a crash ball merchant last season, but I think in patches he showed some real subtleties to his play and whenever I read coaches talking about him they reference his passing, offloading and kicking ability. I think that is why he has stayed at 12 ahead of Mulchrone, who has moved out to 13, as I think long term they see Williams developing into the perfect, hybrid inside centre who can carry it up in traffic but also bring those around him into the game. Injury has held him back a bit so far this season, but I really hope to see some of those developments over the course of the remainder of the season.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri 09 Dec 2016, 11:18 am

Pirates team for Sunday is up...

http://www.cornish-pirates.com/16-17_match_previews/london_irish_away_cup.html

Cornish Pirates:

15 Toby May, 14 Jack Arnott, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Bar Bartlett
11 Alex O’Meara, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Mike Pope
1 Jack Andrew, 2 Tom Channon, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Edd Pascoe, 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Jake Parker, 7 John Stevens, 8 Tom Duncan (capt).

Replacements: 
16 Rob Elloway, 17 Marlen Walker, 18 Chris Morgan, 19 Sam Simmonds
20 Stuart Townsend, 21 Laurence May, 22 Nicolas De Battista.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri 09 Dec 2016, 12:02 pm

And our team is...

London Irish: 15 Jacob Atkins, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 12 Matt Williams, 11 Ciaran Hearn, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Conor Murphy, 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Dave Porecki, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Jack Cooke, 5 Jerry Sexton, 6 Conor Gilsenan (c), 7 Gerard Ellis, 8 Senitiki Nayalo 

Replacements: 16 Austin Hay, 17 Richard Palframan, 18 Luke Frost, 19 Blair Cowan, 20 Ben Ransom, 21 Rory Brand, 22 Tom Fowlie


Interesting to see Ellis in the back row and the set up of the back line.  Matt Williams is primarily a 13 as is Hearn, but they're playing 11 and 12 with Tiks at outside centre.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 9:33 am

Bonus point win yesterday and some really promising performances from a few of the young lads.  Bob Casey was sat behind me for the first half and we were chatting about the game.  Was really interesting to hear his views on a few things.  

Will be very interesting to see what sort of side we put out next weekend.  Will be tough down in Penzance, and I think the Pirates may go close to full strength next week, so if we can go there with the youngsters and come back with anything I'll be pleased.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 10:10 am

Thanks Ozzy - was there anything in particular that Bob mentioned (fit for public consumption of course!) that stood out?

It sounds like, for the first time really since the pre-season games, that Nayalo really stood out which is great to hear. I wouldn't be that surprised if we were close to full strength next week, as otherwise it will have been a fairly long break for the first choice guys before the Richmond match.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 10:30 am

Not really SB, was more just general game chat and a bit of back room stuff.  We currently only have 5 permanent staff in the offices and Bob is a little concerned that some stuff may be getting missed, but we have a new head of Marketing and Communications starting some time in the new year who the board are really happy with, so that should be a positive.

Nayalo was excellent yesterday.  Carried well and made some huge hits in defence.  Likewise Gerard Ellis, who put in a massive shift in the back row, before going to loosehead for the final quarter.  I did ask Bob if it may be a permanent shift to the back row and he was understandably cagey, but I got the impression that it could be.  He did also say that Trayfoot, Naz and TBC are all close to being fit again.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ecksile on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 6:32 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:Not really SB, was more just general game chat and a bit of back room stuff.  We currently only have 5 permanent staff in the offices and Bob is a little concerned ......

Wow! That really brings home for me the effect of the relegation. I seem to remember taking the tour of Hazelwood a couple of years ago and actually being astonished at the sheer number of backroom staff who were employed there. You can really see the cuts weren't made with the playing staff.

For yesterdays game I thought Gerard Ellis put in a huge effort, looked like a guy who was out to prove something --- which I guess he was. His face when he came off almost showed the relief.

Didn't Dave Porecki actually fluff his first throw. Smile

I find it very easy to get complacent with what we are achieving at the moment. Including the friendlies, we are on a run of 17 games since a defeat, scoring an average of 36 points per game. In fact we have scored 4 or more tries in every single game bar the first against Doncaster -- when we "only" scored 2 tries.

Full marks to the coaching team it is just great to see those smiley faces on the players as they come off the pitch. Love to see Dodge, he's as animated now as he was in his playing days.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Smudge21 on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 9:46 pm

I would love to see gerard get an extended run in the back row as I think he could be a real gem there. Obviously our back row is very competitive though so will obviously be tough.

Interestingly on Facebook some pirates fans thought they should of won on Sunday and are confident about this weekends game so am hoping we go for a slightly stronger side albeit still bedding in the youngsters

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Heaf on Tue 13 Dec 2016, 12:37 am

Not sure Pirates should have won - they put in a good performance true but honestly all their tries came from loose play on our part although to be fair they did blow a few good positions too losing a key scrum and a couple of line-outs 5m out.   They were fortunately not to pick up a yellow in the opening minutes as I thought the guidelines for taking a player out in the air who then lands on their side was an automatic yellow.  We'll certainly need to play well to win again this weekend.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 12:00 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:Cheers TrailApe

Back to the B&I. I wonder if Ben Loader will get a look in on the bench against the Pirates. Still in school, but probably the next cab off the rank given he was playing for Eng U18s a year ahead last season.

He makes it into the squad for the second game

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Matt Williams, 12 Ross Neal, 11 Ciaran Hearn, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Connor Murphy, 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Dave Porecki, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Jack Cooke, 5 Jerry Sexton, 6 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Conor Gilsenan, 8 Senitiki Nayalo

Replacements: 16 Austin Hay, 17 Ollie Hoskins, 18 Luke Frost, 19 Gerard Ellis, 20 Jacob Atkins, 21 Rory Brand, 22 Ben Loader

Younger back line than last week and certainly one we could lose, so a big test for them

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 12:14 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:
Margin_Walker wrote:Cheers TrailApe

Back to the B&I. I wonder if Ben Loader will get a look in on the bench against the Pirates. Still in school, but probably the next cab off the rank given he was playing for Eng U18s a year ahead last season.

He makes it into the squad for the second game

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Matt Williams, 12 Ross Neal, 11 Ciaran Hearn, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Connor Murphy, 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Dave Porecki, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Jack Cooke, 5 Jerry Sexton, 6 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Conor Gilsenan, 8 Senitiki Nayalo

Replacements: 16 Austin Hay, 17 Ollie Hoskins, 18 Luke Frost, 19 Gerard Ellis, 20 Jacob Atkins, 21 Rory Brand, 22 Ben Loader

Younger back line than last week and certainly one we could lose, so a big test for them

Looking forward to seeing some more of Loader. I think he has great promise (probably not Cokanasiga level, but possibly the next best of players in that age category).

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 12:21 pm

That is a young, but incredibly exiting back line, which will get even younger and more exciting when the bench comes on.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 2:18 pm

It seems like Atkins and Parton are both really impressing. It will be interesting to see where they end up longer term (15 or 10) as this will have an impact on TBC. I think Parton is potentially the most talented of the lot and I like the pace he is able to put on the ball at first receiver, but I hope that he focuses on full back as he has the raw materials to be the complete package. Brophy Clews started to look good for us at fly half at the end of last season and I hope that he can continue where he left off, otherwise he may slip down the pecking order.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 2:25 pm

Parton is a lovely all round play maker. Hopefully he doesn't end up too much of a utility back, but his versatility will certainly be useful. Will be really interesting to see how they reintroduce TBC to the squad as there's lots of competition for that 10 shirt now.

Atkins is an interesting one. Seems a solid enough player, but if he continues to excel from the tee he'll always have a good shot at a top level pro career. Reliable kickers are worth their weight in gold, as we've found out recently.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Sun 18 Dec 2016, 8:00 pm

Well that was a pretty tense listen today and it was out of our control at the end with their missed conversion, but you make your own luck.

With Basham coming in for Ellis, I made it 10 teenagers in the 23. To go and get that result down in Cornwall was impressive, especially after going behind early on. On to next weekend...

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Smudge21 on Sun 18 Dec 2016, 10:59 pm

A fantastic win under the circumstances, a very young team against a good pirates side on their own patch is a great result. It will be interesting to see the development of some of the lads not in the academy (frost for example) whether they'll play again after the b and I cup games remains to be seen. Just wondering but where does loader play? I presumed it was on the wing but on the match report he came on for Neal

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 5:44 am

He is a back 3 player. He went onto the wing and Heard went into the centre.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 1:48 pm

So after yesterday that is 19 home grown players who have featured in matchday squads this year, with Smallbone, Brophy-Clews, Kouris and Curtis-Harris still yet to feature due to injury.  The only place we are light on home grown talent is at lock.


15. Parton
14. Cokanasiga
13. Williams
12. Williams
11. Fowlie
10. Brophy-Clews
9. Murphy


1. Smallbone
2. Paice
3. Palframan
4. Cooke
5. Basham
6. Frost
7. Ellis
8. Curtis-Harris


16. Kouris  17. Elrington  18. Hay 19.  20. Brand  21. Neal  23. Atkins


would be a top 4 Championship side based on what I have seen so far this season (give or take at 4 and 5) and given that 13 of them are still under 20, the future could well be very bright if the club manage the rest of this season and the start of next season correctly.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 5:20 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:So after yesterday that is 19 home grown players who have featured in matchday squads this year, with Smallbone, Brophy-Clews, Kouris and Curtis-Harris still yet to feature due to injury.  The only place we are light on home grown talent is at lock.


15. Parton
14. Cokanasiga
13. Williams
12. Williams
11. Fowlie
10. Brophy-Clews
9. Murphy


1. Smallbone
2. Paice
3. Palframan
4. Cooke
5. Basham
6. Frost
7. Ellis
8. Curtis-Harris


16. Kouris  17. Elrington  18. Hay 19.  20. Brand  21. Neal  23. Atkins


would be a top 4 Championship side based on what I have seen so far this season (give or take at 4 and 5) and given that 13 of them are still under 20, the future could well be very bright if the club manage the rest of this season and the start of next season correctly.

I have bolded the guys that I am fairly convinced are going to make it as top end players. That really does highlight the fact that we have real strength in the backs and I am also convinced that Ben Loader, who has also played, falls into that category. In the forwards we are probably a bit lighter and this is why I would really be identifying the pack as the focus of our recruitment for the next few seasons. The likes of Basham and Frost may also make the step up but I think it is less clear cut in their cases and those of the other forwards.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 5:47 pm

On the above, do we know when Curtis Harris is likely to be fit? If he isn't back in time for the B&I cup games at the end of Jan we may not see him this season, which would be real shame.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 6:57 pm

Last I was told was that he should be fit early January so fingers crossed.  I don't think it is any surprise that the three players I know of, that we have signed pending being promoted are all front 5 forwards.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Ozzy3213 on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 7:13 pm

Basham is still at school so it's very early days for him, and as a lock, it will be awhile before we know if he is likely to make it, but I know he is highly regarded within the club.  I reckon if Ellis was to move to the back row permanently, and was to lose about a stone, he could well be a top AP flanker.
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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 7:32 pm

Would be great if Basham could make it. Know he's played England age grade rugby (including U17s last year with Loader), so would like to think he'll be involved in the U18 6N in a few months. It's been a long time since we've produced a really decent lock. Would be Garvey really as Low never really did much for me, despite getting capped by Scotland.

Agree with most of the others bolded though, although think Matt Williams perhaps has a little more potential than Murphy. Early days with the younger lads though. Speaking of which the U18 Academy league kicks off in the next week or so. Think we'll struggle to match last year's exploits (fewer Eng age grade players and not a great year for the AASE lads, despite finishing strongly). Will be interesting to see who makes a name for themselves. Guessing next year's senior academy intake will include Loader, Basham and Ollie Hassle-Collins (think it was him in the club pic of the academy lads in Cornwall in civies). Dylan Moss has also been making a name for himself, but he's signed for Ospreys next season, I believe.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Smudge21 on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 7:58 pm

On the Craic it was saying that we have signed lock Josh mcnally from London Welsh. 6 ft 7 and nearly 20 stone so there's quite a lot of him!

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 8:01 pm

Yeah, it's in a TRP article yesterday. Don't know much about him other than what you can see googling him. Quite new to pro rugby having been in the RAF and assume the coaching team think he has some potential.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Smudge21 on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 8:02 pm

Agree with that list SirB, I haven't made it to the last couple of matches but from what I've seen Elrington has improved a lot this season so I'm hoping he can push on, obviously when Smallbone and Hobbs-Awoyemi are fit it will be difficult to break into the side but courts not getting any younger

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 10:10 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:Would be great if Basham could make it. Know he's played England age grade rugby (including U17s last year with Loader), so would like to think he'll be involved in the U18 6N in a few months. It's been a long time since we've produced a really decent lock. Would be Garvey really as Low never really did much for me, despite getting capped by Scotland.

Agree with most of the others bolded though, although think Matt Williams perhaps has a little more potential than Murphy. Early days with the younger lads though. Speaking of which the U18 Academy league kicks off in the next week or so. Think we'll struggle to match last year's exploits (fewer Eng age grade players and not a great year for the AASE lads, despite finishing strongly). Will be interesting to see who makes a name for themselves. Guessing next year's senior academy intake will include Loader, Basham and Ollie Hassle-Collins (think it was him in the club pic of the academy lads in Cornwall in civies). Dylan Moss has also been making a name for himself, but he's signed for Ospreys next season, I believe.

High hopes for Basham myself, but it is that much tougher to break through as a forward, so I would still put him in the maybe category. I believe that he has been playing at 8 for Wellington this season and is a very good ball carrier. I wonder whether he will end up in the second row or back row. Matt Williams does look like a good prospect, but I didn't bold him as I still think it is early days.


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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 10:11 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:Yeah, it's in a TRP article yesterday. Don't know much about him other than what you can see googling him. Quite new to pro rugby  having been in the RAF and assume the coaching team think he has some potential.

McNally was London Welsh's player of the season last year and also made the Championship dream team, so without having seen him play at all, I am fairly confident that he can be a good asset for us.


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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 10:19 pm





First video is highlights of the Welsh game against Nottingham a few years ago. He scores two tries, runs a good line for a carry and wins a turnover in the line-out. Second clip you should skip to 5.20ish where he cuts a good line to run a try in from about 22 metres out (including a nice step around the full back). He looks a good acquisition from these limited clips.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Tue 20 Dec 2016, 6:59 am

Cheers for the links. Definitely looks a big unit, which won't do us any harm at all. Assuming it's true, will be interesting to see whether he's been signed to the end of the season or if he's been given a longer deal.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Wed 21 Dec 2016, 9:30 am

This passed me by the other day

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/12/18/artificial-intelligence-tool-can-unearth-bargain-rugby-players/

Would have assumed this is already happening to an extent, given the amount of data clubs presumably have access to these days.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Smudge21 on Thu 22 Dec 2016, 6:17 pm

Contract extension for mulchrone. Good news as I think he's a very solid player who has developed a lot whilst he's been with us. I user to think he was a bit of a lump in midfield who was just used as a crash ball but he's offered a lot more these past couple of seasons

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Thu 22 Dec 2016, 7:32 pm

Yep, happy enough with that. Decent player to have around the squad albeit not always going to be first choice. A good pro and our best defensive centre imo

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Smudge21 on Thu 29 Dec 2016, 3:24 pm

And a contract extension for Hearn. interesting one...

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Thu 29 Dec 2016, 4:51 pm

I am quite surprised by that one. Hearn is slightly old and non EQP. He is a good player but I would have though outside centre was an area we would be looking to bolster for next season.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Thu 29 Dec 2016, 7:06 pm

Yeah, I thought he just had a few too many things going against him, especially for a two year deal. Will be 33 in his final season (getting on a bit for an outside back), fringe player at the moment and non EQP.

Started with a bang with the well taken tries against Gloucester and Worcester, but hasn't really hit those heights since.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by SirBurger on Mon 02 Jan 2017, 5:04 pm

Wasn't at the game on Saturday, but sounds like another slightly underwhelming performance. However, the strength of the pack worked well for us, but sounds like the backs haven't quite delivered in previous weeks.

Of real interest to me are the posts of malco on the other thread. He asked hypothetically how we would feel about Toby Booth returning to Irish which I thought was interesting, so I had a quick look on the Bath board. On one of the threads there he has written he has been told that if we get promoted we are going to be trying very hard to bring him back to Irish. He is normally fairly accurate with his predictions and has a contact in the know I believe. Independently, it is also something I have wondered about before as I am not sure whether he fits into the structure at Bath. He remains a fantastic coach, albeit one I was fairly pleased to see go due to his failure to select a team on form or recruit the players we needed. If he comes in as Head Coach, with Kennedy responsible for overall strategy (with Booth's involvement), it may well be a good move. Anyway, it may be pure conjecture, but I do think if we go back up we will need at least one experienced head to join the coaching panel, particularly with Laidlaw's departure at the end of the season.

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Re: London Irish 2016/17 Championship Thread

Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 02 Jan 2017, 9:15 pm

I'd be open to him being involved (assuming we go up) provided he isn't parachuted into the top job. Agree that the experience at that level would be good and I'm not one that places all the credit for the title run in 08/09 on Smith.

Speaking to people at the game on Saturday, it didn't sound too impressive and the backs are still a bit of a worry. Will be good to have TBC (to see what he has to offer/where he fits) and Lewington back (him an Cokanasiga on the wings would be nice). Last I heard TBC was slightly closer, so hopefully makes and appearance in the B&I. Hopefully Williams also gets over his niggles and gets a run of games at some point, as the season has been pretty stop/start for him.

That said, I'll only start moaning, when we start losing games.

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