Aviva Premiership Semi Final

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Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Mon 09 May 2016, 4:54 am

Home teams to be named by 23:59 hours on Tuesday
Away teams to be named by 23:59 hours on Wednesday
Tactics by 23:59 hours on Thursday

Predictions to be PM’d to SJE by 23:59 hours on Sunday


Sale Sharks v Saracens
AJ Bell Stadium
Light Rain - 16'


 Sale Sharks
Manager – SJE

01. Jack McGrath09. Danny Care
02. Tommy Taylor10. Johnny Sexton
03. Davit Zirakishvilli
04. Maro Itoje11. Simon Zebo
05. Brodie Retalick12. Charlie Ngatai
06. Sean McMahon13. Malakai Fekitoa
07. Sam Cane14. Semesa Rokoduguni
08. Louis Picamoles15. Willie Le Roux
Subs:
16. Ross Harrison 17. Malcolm Marx 18. Rabah Slimani 19. Dave Attwood 20. Matt Kvesic 21. Faf De Klerk 22. Bernard Foley 23. Nick Abendanon

SPECIFICS/KEY POINTS
- Freshness. McGrath, Zirka, McMahon & Cane come into the side to freshen us up in key areas following the Euro final. All have been involved regularly through the season and in these very combinations! We have rotated through an easy run in with home advantage and top spot confirmed weeks ago to peak for the playoffs.

- Trust our handling in light rain and look for offloads from Retalick, Pickles and the midfield to get in behind the Sarries blitz

- Pace through the side with McMahon, Cane, Care, the midfield, Zebo, & Roko. Look to exploit the lack of pace in the Sarries side outside of their back three by shifting the ball on on kick returns and isolating the lags in their chase. 

- We have ball winners throughout the side on defence. Always look to jackal on isolated runners.   

Attack:
 We will be playing a high intensity game looking to keep the ball moving and work the opposition over. Look to get the big carriers throughout our side running off Care & Sexton, carrying hard and getting over the gain line. Once on the front foot, Sexton on the wrap around and runners out of the back door will look to isolate defenders as well as move us into the wider channels. Le Roux, Zebo & Ngatai to be used as secondary playmakers to allow us to change the point of attack and continue to build phases. Care to keep the fringe defence honest with his snipping runs.

Although Sexton, Ngatai, Le Roux & Zebo offer us a strong kicking game our first instinct is to keep the ball in hand and punish any lags in the kick chase/blitz with a lack of pace in the Sarries side. When they do kick, it will be to look for net gains in territory similar to the Highlanders set up. They will look to kick deep and rely on an aggressive kick chase to put the returners under pressure and force rushed clearances. Primarily looking to isolate North and kick in behind him. 

Defence: We will be playing a straight line blitz led by Fekitoa at 13. Focused on winning the gain line collisions and driving the ball carrier back. Line speed and no dog legs are crucial. Care will sweep behind the line to cover chips and grubbers. Le Roux & Zebo have been instructed to defend deep and cover the backfield. Both will look to primarily run the ball back again looking to take advantage in any lags in the Sarries kick chase.

At the breakdown when the initial contact is won and the ball carrier driven back we will commit numbers and get over the ball, turning it over or at least slowing opposition ball up. With ball winners throughout the side with the likes of McGrath, Zirka, Retalick, Itoje, McMahon, Cane, the midfield and Roko we will look to take advantage of any isolated runners particularly in wider areas. Otherwise we will strengthen the defensive line.

Set Piece: Strong scrummaging unit in the front row with the support of a powerful 4-8 will look to get the better of the opposition and build a strong attacking platform. We will look to put a slight wheel on where possible to take the opposition backrow out of play and then attack the space available and look for one on ones in the backline. 

Five mobile, athletic jumpers allows us to genuinely mix it up on attacking ball. Primarily looking to get the backs on the ball in space. Defensively Itoje to get up in the air at the front and challenge on opposition ball looking to disrupt their ball as much as possible.




Saracens
Manager – Pooly

01. Alex Waller09. Morgan Parra
02. Guilhem Guirado10. Nicolas Sanchez
03. Dan Cole
04. Patrick Tuipultou11. George North
05. Sam Whitelock12. Maxime Mermoz
06. James Haskell13. Conrad Smith
07. John Hardie14. Chris Ashton
08. Nathan Hughes15. Stuart Hogg
:-
16. Richard Hibbard 17. Ben Franks 18. Paul Hill 19. Geoff Parling 20. Temani Harrison 21. Lee Dickson 22. Pat Lambie 23. Telusa Veainu

Tactics:

TEAM CONTINUITY - SALE MUCH CHANGED, TAKING US TOO LIGHTLY? - Many changes in the Sale line up and this will affect the fluidity of the side from the off. We'll look to take advantage of this and go straight for the jugular with high tempo rugby. We think they may be taking too lightly by leaving a lot of the big guns out so we'll look to exploit this and get points on the board.

MENTALLY DRAINING AFTER WINNING EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP   - The whole squad will be on a huge high after the result last week and their mindset will just not be there. We'll again look to give them no time on the ball and exploit any hesitation in the side.


ATTACK THE BREAKDOWN - TAKE OUT CANE -  Look to target Cane out of the game and attack the breakdown. Look to use numerous options in Cole, Guirado, WHitelock, Haskell, Hardie amd Hughes to get over the ball and slow down/steal.

ELECTRIC BACK 3, LOOK TO GET IN GAME IN OPPOSITION HALF - World class options in the back 3 and Conrad Smith the ideal 13 to bring them into the game.

General - We'll be playing a structured physical game from the off, look to get at the opposition and target the breakdown. We'll look to tie the opposition in and then get at their backline, more so in their half. Look to keep it tight in the forward pack and grind through work. Looking to bring in the opposition pack and then use big carrying options to punch holes through their defence. Look to control the tempo and areas we play with kicking options at halfback.

Scrum - Look to get a platform from the off with a strong scrummaging unit. Strong front 5 with big locks will look for the big push once the ball is in and drive the opposition back. Our TH and Hooker will look to target LH and try to get between him and Hooker to allow LH to work on TH If no weakness seen will use as restart.

Line out – Look for safe ball with world class line out options and experience. Will allow SH good clean ball and have big carriers running off the 9 at angles. Look to target opposition throw and put pressure on the hooker.

Defence - Blitz defence with high intensity and big hits, looking to drive past the ball player if the ball hits the deck. physical pack that can look to get at the collision and breakdown allowing a chance to slow down/steal ball. Put pressure on SH's basics and force him into errors. Scrum half to sweep behind the defensive line.

Attack - Keep things simple in our own half then look to unleash backs in opp 22 territory. Scrum half to dictate play from the breakdown and runners on his shoulder. Huge carrying pack to get us over the gain line after front 5 set a platform. Midfield to run angles off the 9/10, allowing us gain line breakers. Look to keep opposition guessing with clever lines through midfield. Wingers will look to track the midfield combo. Hogg to cover 10 if injury to Sanchez.




Harlequins v Northampton Saints
Twickenham Stoop
Light Rain - 19'


Harlequins
Manager – Steven_Sharks

01. Cian Healy09. Ruan Pienaar 
02. Scott Baldwin10. Elton Jantjies (k)
03. Kieran Brookes
04. Pieter Steph Du Toit11. Jack Nowell
05. George Kruis12. Robbie Henshaw
06. Damien Chouly13. Jonathan Joseph
07. Michael Hooper (c)14. Santiago Cordero
08. Mamuka Gorgodze15. Damian McKenzie
16. Rob Buchanan 17. Ethan Waller 18. Kyle Sinckler 19. Luke Romano 20. Jack Clifford 21. Henry Pyrgos 22. Juan Martin Hernandez 23. Yoann Huget

Tactics

Game Plan


We will have two distinct game plans for when we are in own own and Northampton's half of the field. When in our own half we will look to use the kicking games of Pienaar, Jantjies and  McKenzie to pin Saints back and exploit what we feel is a relative weak back three in terms of kicking out of hand. We will use the left/right foot combo of Jantjies and McKenzie to pin Saints back and try to gain territory by forcing the Saints back three into kicking due to a solid kick chase. As well as kicking for territory, we will look to use up and unders and box kicks to regain possession of force errors using Henshaw as a specialist as well as the rest of our backs who are solid in this area. 

When we have the ball in Saints half, we will look to play a game based around using our big carriers (primarily Gorgodze, Chouly and Hooper) running an out to in angle aimed at the Saints 10/12 channel. By doing this we hope to force Fofana to be sucked in to help Giteau in defence and therefore isolating Tuilagi either for the next phase of play or if we use an out the back option. In our outside backs we have 5 electric runners with ball in hand and we want to isolate Tuilagi so we can use their agility and test his mobility, defensive positioning and acceleration. We will look to use this tactic whenever we have the correct set up. 

We will look to use our powerful carriers upfront to get us over the gain line and to keep their legs pumping in contact so that we can allow our support players time to get to the ruck first and negate the obvious breakdown threat which Saints carry. We will look to go wide when we get quick ball and this should allow Jantjies to stand flat and put others into gaps in the midfield.

Set Piece


We feel one of our biggest strengths is our defensive line out. In Kruis, Du Toit and Chouly we have three world class line out operators who can put enormous pressure on the Saints line out, who we feel lack an obvious top class line out leader. We will look to put enormous pressure on the Saints jumpers in both short and full line outs and we see the strength of our line out, linked with our tactical kicking game, as a huge weapon in our attempt to control territory in the semi final. 

At scrum time we'll look to use the power of Brookes to put immense pressure on Vunipola and force him into giving away penalties.   

Defence


Our default defence will be the drift using the pace of our side to force Saints into playing wide in slippery conditions. When Saints have the momentum in attack, we will be using the chop tackle to bring the men straight to the ground allowing us to get the first man onto the ball and contest for possession whilst if the Saints attack is static we will look to win the collision and if we win the collision and drive Saints back we will look to attack the breakdown and regain possession or force a penalty.

Breakdown


As stated in our game plan, to negate Pocock at the breakdown we will look to keep the legs pumping in contact to allow our support players to be close by to be first at the breakdown. We will also look to target Pocock in the defensive line to keep him out of the game for the next attack and tire him out. Hooper will use his significant pace advantage over other forwards to look to control the breakdown in wider channel and contest possession of force the penalty.

Key Points


To follow


Northampton Saints
Manager – Dammit_Chris

01. Mako Vunipola09. Conor Murray
02. Dylan Hartley10. Matt Giteau (k)
03. Ramiro Herrera
04. Joe Launchbury11. Julian Savea
05. Jonny Gray12. Weslie Fofana
06. Schalk Burger13. Manu Tuilagi
07. David Pocock(c)14. Adam Ashley Cooper
08. Billy Vunipola15. Ben Foden
Replacements
16. Ashely Johnson 17. Logi Mulipola 18. Jake Cooper-Wooley 19. Samu Manoa 20. Facunda Isa 21. Joe Simpson 22. Lima Sopoaga 23. Elliot Daly

The Stoop
We've already beaten Quins at the Stoop this season and lost to them by a point at home when we were down a man on the bench, so go into the game fully confident that we can repeat a victory and will look to beat them through our power game, especially as we are fresh after a week off. 

Tactics
After a bruising encounter with Sale last week, we want to make sure that this game is played at high intensity and quick tempo, making the game incredibly physical and a battle of attrition to push the Quins players to their limits. We have picked a team full of big ball carriers in the pack and backline to test the Quins defence, tire them down and smash our way through the gainline. This game for us is about winning the collisions and the breakdown battle. 

- win gainline/physical battle and get on the front foot
- look to get advantage at the breakdown with Pocock
- aim to exploit loss of Creevy in Quins setpiece 
- experience in key areas of the pitch
- impact from bench in final quarter
- beaten Quins at the Stoop already this season  

Set Piece
Losing Creevy is a big blow for Quins and we'll look to take advantage in terms of the lineout. We know Kruis offers a huge threat to us, but Hartley is one of the most accurate darts throwers in Europe and Burger and Pocock offer additional jumping options where we can keep the ball from Kruis, or opt for banker ball with Launchbury to get rolling mauls going and get Pocock controlling the ball where he has been so dangerous in S Rugby this season. Scrum time we will attack Quins, Herrera to target Healy and see whether we can exploit Baldwin. We want to give BV the chance to launch runs at Jantjies who is still settling into the Quins setup. 

Gainline/Physical Battle
Our game plan is about winning this battle by getting our big ball carriers on the ball and smashing our way over the gainline and stopping Quins from doing the same. We want Mako and BV on the ball as much as possible, with Savea and Tuilagi offering big carrying options in the backs. We want to make this game very physical and see how much Quins have left from last week. Work through the phases, make Quins tackle and then unleash the impact from our bench as they tire. 

Breakdown
This is another area we target to win - with Pocock looking to dominate the breakdown battle, being supported by the physical presence of Burger, BV and Mako. We will target Hooper the entire game by giving Burger the job of clearing him out of the breakdown area. If this works we will get quick ball and turnovers for our backline. With our ball carriers we should get more gainline success making it easier to generate fast ball as well. This is why we picked Giteau as his ability to attack of quick ball and put our backs into space could be a real game changer. 

Attack
We attack Quins from the first whistle, we want to shift their defensive line all over the park - our forwards are there to get us over the gainline and put us on the front foot and provide Giteau with good attacking ball. We have options across our backline to mix it up, with the Quins drift defence we will use Tuilagi at no13 to straighten the line and attack Joseph's inside shoulder and make hard yards, and will have Savea tracking Giteau's running lines and target the 10-12 defensive channel, which is still settling in as a partnership and there will be space to exploit. With Savea and Tuilagi we can suck in Quins defenders, use them as dummy runners and allow Giteau and Fofana's running games to really test the Quins defence. We are looking to score tries and attack. 

Defence
Defensively if we stop Gorgodze and Henshaw getting over the gainline we stop Quins getting go forward ball and they either have to kick or go wide without committing tacklers. Fofana and Tuilagi offer a brick wall in midfield as a defence, whilst our forwards will look to double up on Gorgodze and stop him making yards on the gainline. We want Hooper to carry the ball, so that we can isolate him and then look for turnovers with Pocock and Burger. Our defence will be the same as the Saracens defence in real life, very physical and confrontational, with Murray sweeping the defensive line. 

Kicking and Territory
Murray and Giteau have the experience (combined they have more caps than the entire Quins backline) and kicking game to steer us into the right areas of the pitch - Murray to focus on putting the ball high into the air to challenge the Quins back three aerially as we have a strong kick chase and size advantage. Giteau will mix up his kicking game, with balls in behind the Quins back three as we want to demotivate Quins and keep them going backwards. 

Final Quarter - Bench Impact
We've picked our bench to have a big impact in the final 20-30 minutes of the game, again more ball carriers in the likes of AJ, Manoa and Isa, whilst Simpson, Sopoaga and Daly all offer that extra bit of pace and attacking threat in the game, which could see the final quarter open up in the light rain as we push on to attack and stretch the game.



Last edited by Sgt_Pooly on Thu 19 May 2016, 10:27 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Mon 16 May 2016, 6:34 am

Creevy is banned for a week Steve

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Steven_Sharks on Mon 16 May 2016, 7:22 pm

Harlequins
Manager – Steven_Sharks

01. Cian Healy09. Ruan Pienaar 
02. Scott Baldwin10. Elton Jantjies (k)
03. Kieran Brookes
04. Pieter Steph Du Toit11. Jack Nowell
05. George Kruis12. Robbie Henshaw
06. Damien Chouly13. Jonathan Joseph
07. Michael Hooper (c)14. Santiago Cordero
08. Mamuka Gorgodze15. Damian McKenzie

16. Rob Buchanan 17. Ethan Waller 18. Kyle Sinckler 19. Luke Romano 20. Jack Clifford 21. Henry Pyrgos 22. Juan Martin Hernandez 23. Yoann Huget

Tactics

Game Plan


We will have two distinct game plans for when we are in own own and Northampton's half of the field. When in our own half we will look to use the kicking games of Pienaar, Jantjies and  McKenzie to pin Saints back and exploit what we feel is a relative weak back three in terms of kicking out of hand. We will use the left/right foot combo of Jantjies and McKenzie to pin Saints back and try to gain territory by forcing the Saints back three into kicking due to a solid kick chase. As well as kicking for territory, we will look to use up and unders and box kicks to regain possession of force errors using Henshaw as a specialist as well as the rest of our backs who are solid in this area. 

When we have the ball in Saints half, we will look to play a game based around using our big carriers (primarily Gorgodze, Chouly and Hooper) running an out to in angle aimed at the Saints 10/12 channel. By doing this we hope to force Fofana to be sucked in to help Giteau in defence and therefore isolating Tuilagi either for the next phase of play or if we use an out the back option. In our outside backs we have 5 electric runners with ball in hand and we want to isolate Tuilagi so we can use their agility and test his mobility, defensive positioning and acceleration. We will look to use this tactic whenever we have the correct set up. 

We will look to use our powerful carriers upfront to get us over the gain line and to keep their legs pumping in contact so that we can allow our support players time to get to the ruck first and negate the obvious breakdown threat which Saints carry. We will look to go wide when we get quick ball and this should allow Jantjies to stand flat and put others into gaps in the midfield.

Set Piece


We feel one of our biggest strengths is our defensive line out. In Kruis, Du Toit and Chouly we have three world class line out operators who can put enormous pressure on the Saints line out, who we feel lack an obvious top class line out leader. We will look to put enormous pressure on the Saints jumpers in both short and full line outs and we see the strength of our line out, linked with our tactical kicking game, as a huge weapon in our attempt to control territory in the semi final. 

At scrum time we'll look to use the power of Brookes to put immense pressure on Vunipola and force him into giving away penalties.   

Defence


Our default defence will be the drift using the pace of our side to force Saints into playing wide in slippery conditions. When Saints have the momentum in attack, we will be using the chop tackle to bring the men straight to the ground allowing us to get the first man onto the ball and contest for possession whilst if the Saints attack is static we will look to win the collision and if we win the collision and drive Saints back we will look to attack the breakdown and regain possession or force a penalty.

Breakdown


As stated in our game plan, to negate Pocock at the breakdown we will look to keep the legs pumping in contact to allow our support players to be close by to be first at the breakdown. We will also look to target Pocock in the defensive line to keep him out of the game for the next attack and tire him out. Hooper will use his significant pace advantage over other forwards to look to control the breakdown in wider channel and contest possession of force the penalty.

Key Points


To follow


Last edited by Steven_Sharks on Wed 18 May 2016, 9:49 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by dammit_chris on Tue 17 May 2016, 10:42 am

01. Mako Vunipola09. Conor Murray
02. Dylan Hartley10. Matt Giteau (k)
03. Ramiro Herrera
04. Joe Launchbury11. Julian Savea
05. Jonny Gray12. Weslie Fofana
06. Schalk Burger13. Manu Tuilagi
07. David Pocock(c)14. Adam Ashley Cooper
08. Billy Vunipola15. Ben Foden
Replacements
16. Ashely Johnson 17. Logi Mulipola 18. Jake Cooper-Wooley 19. Samu Manoa 20. Facunda Isa 21. Joe Simpson 22. Lima Sopoaga 23. Elliot Daly

The Stoop
We've already beaten Quins at the Stoop this season and lost to them by a point at home when we were down a man on the bench, so go into the game fully confident that we can repeat a victory and will look to beat them through our power game, especially as we are fresh after a week off.

Tactics
After a bruising encounter with Sale last week, we want to make sure that this game is played at high intensity and quick tempo, making the game incredibly physical and a battle of attrition to push the Quins players to their limits. We have picked a team full of big ball carriers in the pack and backline to test the Quins defence, tire them down and smash our way through the gainline. This game for us is about winning the collisions and the breakdown battle.

- win gainline/physical battle and get on the front foot
- look to get advantage at the breakdown with Pocock
- aim to exploit loss of Creevy in Quins setpiece
- experience in key areas of the pitch
- impact from bench in final quarter
- beaten Quins at the Stoop already this season

Set Piece
Losing Creevy is a big blow for Quins and we'll look to take advantage in terms of the lineout. We know Kruis offers a huge threat to us, but Hartley is one of the most accurate darts throwers in Europe and Burger and Pocock offer additional jumping options where we can keep the ball from Kruis, or opt for banker ball with Launchbury to get rolling mauls going and get Pocock controlling the ball where he has been so dangerous in S Rugby this season. Scrum time we will attack Quins, Herrera to target Healy and see whether we can exploit Baldwin. We want to give BV the chance to launch runs at Jantjies who is still settling into the Quins setup.

Gainline/Physical Battle
Our game plan is about winning this battle by getting our big ball carriers on the ball and smashing our way over the gainline and stopping Quins from doing the same. We want Mako and BV on the ball as much as possible, with Savea and Tuilagi offering big carrying options in the backs. We want to make this game very physical and see how much Quins have left from last week. Work through the phases, make Quins tackle and then unleash the impact from our bench as they tire.

Breakdown
This is another area we target to win - with Pocock looking to dominate the breakdown battle, being supported by the physical presence of Burger, BV and Mako. We will target Hooper the entire game by giving Burger the job of clearing him out of the breakdown area. If this works we will get quick ball and turnovers for our backline. With our ball carriers we should get more gainline success making it easier to generate fast ball as well. This is why we picked Giteau as his ability to attack of quick ball and put our backs into space could be a real game changer.

Attack
We attack Quins from the first whistle, we want to shift their defensive line all over the park - our forwards are there to get us over the gainline and put us on the front foot and provide Giteau with good attacking ball. We have options across our backline to mix it up, with the Quins drift defence we will use Tuilagi at no13 to straighten the line and attack Joseph's inside shoulder and make hard yards, and will have Savea tracking Giteau's running lines and target the 10-12 defensive channel, which is still settling in as a partnership and there will be space to exploit. With Savea and Tuilagi we can suck in Quins defenders, use them as dummy runners and allow Giteau and Fofana's running games to really test the Quins defence. We are looking to score tries and attack.

Defence
Defensively if we stop Gorgodze and Henshaw getting over the gainline we stop Quins getting go forward ball and they either have to kick or go wide without committing tacklers. Fofana and Tuilagi offer a brick wall in midfield as a defence, whilst our forwards will look to double up on Gorgodze and stop him making yards on the gainline. We want Hooper to carry the ball, so that we can isolate him and then look for turnovers with Pocock and Burger. Our defence will be the same as the Saracens defence in real life, very physical and confrontational, with Murray sweeping the defensive line.

Kicking and Territory
Murray and Giteau have the experience (combined they have more caps than the entire Quins backline) and kicking game to steer us into the right areas of the pitch - Murray to focus on putting the ball high into the air to challenge the Quins back three aerially as we have a strong kick chase and size advantage. Giteau will mix up his kicking game, with balls in behind the Quins back three as we want to demotivate Quins and keep them going backwards.

Final Quarter - Bench Impact
We've picked our bench to have a big impact in the final 20-30 minutes of the game, again more ball carriers in the likes of AJ, Manoa and Isa, whilst Simpson, Sopoaga and Daly all offer that extra bit of pace and attacking threat in the game, which could see the final quarter open up in the light rain as we push on to attack and stretch the game.


Last edited by dammit_chris on Thu 19 May 2016, 10:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Tue 17 May 2016, 9:13 pm

Sale Sharks
Manager – SJE

01. Jack McGrath09. Danny Care
02. Tommy Taylor10. Johnny Sexton
03. Davit Zirakishvilli
04. Maro Itoje11. Simon Zebo
05. Brodie Retalick12. Charlie Ngatai
06. Sean McMahon13. Malakai Fekitoa
07. Sam Cane14. Semesa Rokoduguni
08. Louis Picamoles15. Willie Le Roux
Subs:
16. Ross Harrison 17. Malcolm Marx 18. Rabah Slimani 19. Dave Attwood 20. Matt Kvesic 21. Faf De Klerk 22. Bernard Foley 23. Nick Abendanon

SPECIFICS/KEY POINTS
- Freshness. McGrath, Zirka, McMahon & Cane come into the side to freshen us up in key areas following the Euro final. All have been involved regularly through the season and in these very combinations! We have rotated through an easy run in with home advantage and top spot confirmed weeks ago to peak for the playoffs.


- Trust our handling in light rain and look for offloads from Retalick, Pickles and the midfield to get in behind the Sarries blitz


- Pace through the side with McMahon, Cane, Care, the midfield, Zebo, & Roko. Look to exploit the lack of pace in the Sarries side outside of their back three by shifting the ball on on kick returns and isolating the lags in their chase. 


- We have ball winners throughout the side on defence. Always look to jackal on isolated runners.   

Attack:
 We will be playing a high intensity game looking to keep the ball moving and work the opposition over. Look to get the big carriers throughout our side running off Care & Sexton, carrying hard and getting over the gain line. Once on the front foot, Sexton on the wrap around and runners out of the back door will look to isolate defenders as well as move us into the wider channels. Le Roux, Zebo & Ngatai to be used as secondary playmakers to allow us to change the point of attack and continue to build phases. Care to keep the fringe defence honest with his snipping runs.

Although Sexton, Ngatai, Le Roux & Zebo offer us a strong kicking game our first instinct is to keep the ball in hand and punish any lags in the kick chase/blitz with a lack of pace in the Sarries side. When they do kick, it will be to look for net gains in territory similar to the Highlanders set up. They will look to kick deep and rely on an aggressive kick chase to put the returners under pressure and force rushed clearances. Primarily looking to isolate North and kick in behind him. 

Defence: We will be playing a straight line blitz led by Fekitoa at 13. Focused on winning the gain line collisions and driving the ball carrier back. Line speed and no dog legs are crucial. Care will sweep behind the line to cover chips and grubbers. Le Roux & Zebo have been instructed to defend deep and cover the backfield. Both will look to primarily run the ball back again looking to take advantage in any lags in the Sarries kick chase.

At the breakdown when the initial contact is won and the ball carrier driven back we will commit numbers and get over the ball, turning it over or at least slowing opposition ball up. With ball winners throughout the side with the likes of McGrath, Zirka, Retalick, Itoje, McMahon, Cane, the midfield and Roko we will look to take advantage of any isolated runners particularly in wider areas. Otherwise we will strengthen the defensive line.

Set Piece: Strong scrummaging unit in the front row with the support of a powerful 4-8 will look to get the better of the opposition and build a strong attacking platform. We will look to put a slight wheel on where possible to take the opposition backrow out of play and then attack the space available and look for one on ones in the backline. 

Five mobile, athletic jumpers allows us to genuinely mix it up on attacking ball. Primarily looking to get the backs on the ball in space. Defensively Itoje to get up in the air at the front and challenge on opposition ball looking to disrupt their ball as much as possible.


Last edited by SirJohnnyEnglish on Fri 20 May 2016, 9:09 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 18 May 2016, 5:02 am

Weather updated. Sorry for lateness, thought I'd already done it.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 18 May 2016, 5:08 am

Saracens
Manager – Pooly

01. Alex Waller09. Morgan Parra
02. Guilhem Guirado10. Nicolas Sanchez
03. Dan Cole
04. Patrick Tuipultou11. George North
05. Sam Whitelock12. Maxime Mermoz
06. James Haskell13. Conrad Smith
07. John Hardie14. Chris Ashton
08. Nathan Hughes15. Stuart Hogg
:-
16. Richard Hibbard 17. Ben Franks 18. Paul Hill 19. Geoff Parling 20. Temani Harrison 21. Lee Dickson 22. Pat Lambie 23. Telusa Veainu

Tactics:

TEAM CONTINUITY - SALE MUCH CHANGED, TAKING US TOO LIGHTLY? - Many changes in the Sale line up and this will affect the fluidity of the side from the off. We'll look to take advantage of this and go straight for the jugular with high tempo rugby. We think they may be taking too lightly by leaving a lot of the big guns out so we'll look to exploit this and get points on the board.

MENTALLY DRAINING AFTER WINNING EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP - The whole squad will be on a huge high after the result last week and their mindset will just not be there. We'll again look to give them no time on the ball and exploit any hesitation in the side.


ATTACK THE BREAKDOWN - TAKE OUT CANE - Look to target Cane out of the game and attack the breakdown. Look to use numerous options in Cole, Guirado, WHitelock, Haskell, Hardie amd Hughes to get over the ball and slow down/steal.

ELECTRIC BACK 3, LOOK TO GET IN GAME IN OPPOSITION HALF - World class options in the back 3 and Conrad Smith the ideal 13 to bring them into the game.

General - We'll be playing a structured physical game from the off, look to get at the opposition and target the breakdown. We'll look to tie the opposition in and then get at their backline, more so in their half. Look to keep it tight in the forward pack and grind through work. Looking to bring in the opposition pack and then use big carrying options to punch holes through their defence. Look to control the tempo and areas we play with kicking options at halfback.

Scrum - Look to get a platform from the off with a strong scrummaging unit. Strong front 5 with big locks will look for the big push once the ball is in and drive the opposition back. Our TH and Hooker will look to target LH and try to get between him and Hooker to allow LH to work on TH If no weakness seen will use as restart.

Line out – Look for safe ball with world class line out options and experience. Will allow SH good clean ball and have big carriers running off the 9 at angles. Look to target opposition throw and put pressure on the hooker.

Defence - Blitz defence with high intensity and big hits, looking to drive past the ball player if the ball hits the deck. physical pack that can look to get at the collision and breakdown allowing a chance to slow down/steal ball. Put pressure on SH's basics and force him into errors. Scrum half to sweep behind the defensive line.

Attack - Keep things simple in our own half then look to unleash backs in opp 22 territory. Scrum half to dictate play from the breakdown and runners on his shoulder. Huge carrying pack to get us over the gain line after front 5 set a platform. Midfield to run angles off the 9/10, allowing us gain line breakers. Look to keep opposition guessing with clever lines through midfield. Wingers will look to track the midfield combo. Hogg to cover 10 if injury to Sanchez.

Sgt_Pooly

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Fri 20 May 2016, 10:46 am

PREDICTIONS OPEN

Pms to SJE please

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Fri 20 May 2016, 10:46 am

If you get on to add key points Steve just leave a comment and they will be added

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Fri 20 May 2016, 10:56 am

Cheers Johnny, on phone only today.

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Sat 21 May 2016, 8:18 am

Predictions can stay open till Monday night. Likely to do results around 10ish

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 23 May 2016, 11:01 pm

RESULTS:

Sale Sharks 28 (T:3 C:2 P:3)
Saracens 22 (T:1 C:1 P:5)

Harlequins 27 (T:3 C:3 P:2)
Northampton Saints 26 (T:2 C:2 P:4)

BONUS:

Score: Chris
Full: CJB, Fluxy, Matt, Steve, Prop, Bam, SJE, Pooly & CJ

SirJohnnyEnglish

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 23 May 2016, 11:01 pm

Sale 29-20 Saracens 
The forwards here are dominant for Sale. I think they can really take over and control the game. The half backs and centres for Sale will love this level of control and although the Saracens back there has superstars it just is not enough. 

Sale 25-22 Sarries
Think Sarries are slightly better in the front row with solid technical props. One a piece in second row with Itoje and Whitelock the standouts. Quality back row battle as well but think that Cane can edge out Hardie, Hughes will be potent but think McMahon will stop him getting too much joy. A quality half back battle too, think Care will bring a better edge over Parra, flair vs consistency with Sanchez up against Sexton, both should get ok ball from their set pieces. Prefer the Sale centres on current form and think they will give the old heads in the Sarries centres a headache. Two solid and dangerous back 3's and quality impact benches on show. Sale set out using different initial playmakers and this variety will work with the different styles brought by each player, really feel their centres will run the show today. Sarries looking to put Cane off his game but Sale have enough players to defend their breakdown, a solid structure from them but just not enough today.

Sale 23-22 Saracens

Sale Sharks 25 - 23 Saracens

Sharks just get a little nudge in the scrum, although Sarries will not lose their own possession on regular occurrence and neither will be hindered here. The line out again is pretty even stevens, although again Sale, have guys that get into the air slightly quicker than the some of the Saracens forwards. The competition between the back rows is an interesting one and nothing really to split between them again. Out wide both have great options to make the most of the quick ball they have. A touch more control on territory from Parra and Sanchez. A real closely fought battle between both sides, but Sharks edge the contest against the strong Sarries unit.

Sale 24 - 24 Saracens

In my view both packs are short of a player who can get over the gain line when the defence are really pressing hard and at pace. Hughes and Picamoles can both do this but it's really all about them to do this. Each pack has some good carriers if the game opens up and as the game gets looser in the second half. Set piece wise I think the line out is pretty even but I fully expect a few steals from Whitelock and Itoje. At scrum time I can see a few penalties going either way with no real dominance within the game. The breakdown should be fiercely contested but with no one who really stands out as a genuine world class breakdown operator so I can't see this area really being an advantage for one side over the other. 

Half back wise its control against pace at 9 and in a semi final I'd want Parra in my side ahead of Care whose big game temperament can be questioned. At half back its two of the top 3 in the world. Both offer a very solid kicking game and are tactically astute. I feel as a combination Saracens have the advantage over Sale here. In the outside backs there is real form for the Sale centres and they compliment each other well. Noticeably I feel that Saracens lack a bit of kicking in there back three with a lot of pressure on Hogg to manage this and Sale can pin them back a little easier than Saracens can Sale. Saracens back three has more X factor about it and is more likely to score something out of nothing. 

Both benches offer impact but neither stands out as really changing the game come 50 - 70 mins and I can't see a swing to either side following the unloading of benches. I can't call this game without putting in the weak excuse of home advantage so it's a draw after 80 for me.

Sale 27 - 24 Saracens

Sale have rotated a touch, but they have so much quality in the replacements who've been brought in that they don't skip a beat. Its a terrific battle in the pack, think Sale stronger at the scrum but Sarries take the lineout with the superior caller in Whitelock, although I'd expect both sides to nick a few. Round the park, Sale look to have a slight edge at the breakdown, with Cane having the advantage over Hardie being the main factor as the rest of the packs are pretty well matched. Carrying is fairly well matched, but Sale do have some big carriers in the backs which will make a difference here. 

In the backs, its pretty even at halfback, Sale are stronger in the centres, and back 3s are well matched.

Tactically, both sides set up well. Think the key factor will be the breakdown work of the Sale pack, and the line breaking ability of their centres. At home, Sale win

Sale. 24 - 20 Saracens

Real life Saracens have shown us that winning the European Champions Cup does not lead to complacency- I'm not sure Sale will be fragile psychologically or lack energy. Looks to be a very physical game in the backs. Sale have changed a few, which will keep them fresh in the later stages of the game but may lead to a slow start. 

I think Sale win the scrums, and have a small edge in the lineouts, though not a huge one. Saracens beat them at the breakdown though, with a bit more across their pack and targeting Cane which won't stop Sale making turnovers but will hamper their attacking ball speed. Hughes the biggest carrier but Sale equal this across the pack. 

Parra-Sanchez can dictate where play is very well and Care here will be a threat but also a weakness in his kicking and Sale looking to use a clever kicking game will need Care to be at his best in box kicking, a risk. The Sale back 3 is better than Sarries in this aspect though and this is a handy advantage. More structured approach for Saracens though simple loops etc from Sale could be dangerous, Smith is the man to stop those kinds of strikes. Lots of pace in Sarries back 3 against the footwork of Sale.

All in all, I think it's a tough match for Sale with Sarries causing troubles at the breakdown but they will click later on with a fresher team and strong bench and relentless attack. 

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by SirJohnnyEnglish on Mon 23 May 2016, 11:02 pm

Quins 23-26 Saints
There is not much in the front gives but I would probably give the edge to Saints. It's close again in the back row but the slight edge is with the Saints. The half backs go to Saints but outside of that Quins are more dangerous

Quins 23-21 Saints

More quality to the Saints scrums but they have form issues which evens it up. Quins can cause a few issues at the lineout but there is enough jumpers for Saints to stop them from dominating. Saints look to be more capable of turning ball over but both sides should see a steady flow of good ball. More about the Quins halfbacks currently with both players in good form while Giteau better as a secondary playmaker. Great battle in midfield with a bit of power and guile to both units. Henshaw gives Quins an extra kicking option though. Savea the stand out of the back threes but Quins as a unit stronger both defensively and attacking wise. Decent impact from the Saints back replacements and they can change up the game style late on. Quins looking to use the boots of their backs and really exploit the lack of a kicking game through the Saints backs. Saints looking for a very physical confrontational game hoping to catch Quins on the hop after last week but do feel Quins are capable of back to back performances and have enough about them to win at the Stoop.


Harlequins 27-23 Northampton

Both LH's not the strongest so the scrum will be pretty tight. 2 good sets of locks on show, Quins shading it around the park and the lineout. Both backrows lacking a bit of form but the Saints trio perhaps getting on top here. Not too much in the halfbacks, Giteau not playing much at 10 perhaps holds Saints backline a touch. Savea aside, Quins backline is on top and they can certainly look to get at the Saints in the centres. Really good contest with Saints exerting pressure in the backrow but Quins on top in the set piece and with a backline to attack. It all boils down to home advantage and Saints mindset with them going all out for Europe a few weeks back

Quins 26-23 Saints
Healy not played for a bit so affects the rating here, Saints would still get on top today. Solid second rows from both, do like the Saints pairing although Quins could disrupt the lineout. Both back rows good and compliment each other well, think they will draw even here with similar styles. Quins can get more joy from their half backs, prefer the control they will bring to the game, Saints solid and experienced but Quins have a bit more excitement. Two solid centre pairings, Quins could just get a bit more here and cause Saints some problems. Back 3 just edged by Quins. Great tactics from Quins to nullify Pocock and really like the two approaches depending on territory. Saints targeting Hooper and also looking to stop the centre pairing from getting space and strong carriers. Just think Quins will have enough to reach the final

Quins 24-28 Saints

Great game and hard to seperate. Healy such a weakness at moment and Brookes Baldwin does not inspire fear. Mako been superb and Whilst Hartley lacks form Like Herrera it's just about slim advantage saints. Amazing lock battle psdt and Kruis form pair but launch and Gray excellent. A shade to Quins maybe. Backrow again a great battle but saints so much smarter and have more leadership. Pocock and burger are a combo unlike any other and also both are leaders. Chouly and hooper Also Leaders but hooper in average from. Saints control Breakdown. Gorgodze not an 8 And this kills Quins. Billy V best 8 in world this year. Look for key position combos and 2,8,9,10,12 key. Baldwin , gorgodze, pienaar and jantjes less likely to win a game than vunipola, Murray, Giteau, fofana. Bench equal. Saints weaker bench forwards but stronger backs. I would start sopoanga above Giteau at 10 as Murray Giteau not a partnership that would work for me

Harlequins 21 - 20 Northampton Saints

The scrums are a little messy in this contest, with Mako not the strongest, and Healy and Brookes not in the best form. Quins have a good line out unit and get some good go forward against the Saints boys here. The breakdown, both sides are proficient, however the Saints will be more effective in this battle, despite nuisance of Hooper, Gorgdoze and Kruis,. Pienaar's control mixed with Jantjies flair is a potent mix with Henshaw and JJ. Quins will have a job on their hand to keep Manu, Savea and Fofana all quiet, who will create space for their lads elsewhere. There is a big impact from the Saints bench to really up the intensity. It is really close and fraught until late on, when Quins manage to just seperate themselves and nudge ahead to win.

Quins 19 - 17 Saints

Very difficult game to call. Quins look to have the advantage in the set piece for me, and they are right to go after the lineout, Gray calls for Scotland but neither lock is a good enough jumper to compete with the options that Quins have effectively. I'd expect them to get a real platform off the lineout, and pin Saints back even if they aren't stealing ball regularly. Saints have a fair advantage in the back row for me, with Billy and Pocock arguably the best around at the moment, will be tough for Quins to match them with Chouly a bit lacking for me at the moment. Half backs are pretty even, Jantjies has a lot of talent and if he pushes on this Quins side lacks any weaknesses

In the backs, I'm a big fan of both centre partnerships, while Quins back 3 is the best in the league for me at the moment, so potent but solid defensively.

Both gameplans try to target the right areas, but equally defend their own weaknesses. I'm not sure Quins have the carriers to really smash through this Saints defence, but equally the Quins pack is not going to be bullied. I think this one will be a low scorer in the rain, with territory the main decider. I'll go with a Quins win at home off the back of their line out and territorial game

Harlequins 36 - 37 Saints

This is a fantastic battle with good targeted approaches and clear plans from each side and at the start of writing this I really don't know who will win. Early intensity from Saints could leave them tired later on, but will also tire Quins making them defend and I expect a fast and loose final quarter. Jantjes a very well balanced 10 for Quins' dual plans, and I think they can play the territory better and using big carriers to make space targets the smaller Giteau-Fofana well. This is a high scoring game. Likewise a high intensity game with the gainline breakers Saints have and moving the focus of attack is going to be impossible to keep out for prolonged periods of time. Retaining possession (and ending it with steals etc) is especially key to who wins, as is the bench today.

I give Saints a small advantage at the scrum but both teams will largely retain possession there. The lineout is interesting. Both are very good lineouts and both sides note Quins' ability in defence here, and look to negate and use this respectively. Gray will be able to hold out well against Kruis but Quins will win a couple against the throw. Not dominance. I can't read the breakdown, it could go either way with a given ref and any given day and clear tactics here. It would be a key decider though, so my best estimation is that even trying to stay up, Quins allow Saints to adapt and hold them up for turnovers and that focussing on Pocock makes Burger and Launchbury more dangerous, and Saints will turnover a bit more ball. This is a vital advantage. Great tussle in attack with a great 9-10 battle coming up and power carrying throughout. Lots of players like Nowell, Joseph, McKenzie, Fofana, Manu and Savea get a chance to cut free after a few phases. 

Both sides tire late on. Quins have impact forwards and they will add to their attack and Clifford helps the breakdown too, but Saints have lightning backs subs and with a bit more ball just about steal an away win. But I could easily change my mind and deciding who wins the crucial breakdown battle is so hard

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 24 May 2016, 4:55 am

Congrats lads. Best two managers in the league this year for me clap

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Re: Aviva Premiership Semi Final

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