London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

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London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Ozzy3213 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 pm

First topic message reminder :

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

Technical Director: Brendan Venter
Director of Rugby: Nick Kennedy

Forwards Coach: George Skivington

Defence Coach: Declan Danaher
Attack/Skills Coach: Paul Hodgson
Kicking Coach: Charlie Hodgson

Senior Squad (46)

Hooker: David Paice, Saia Fainga'a, David Porecki, Darren Dawidiuk, Todd Gleave 
Prop: Gordon Reid, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Tom Smallbone, Harry Elrington, Ben Franks, Petrus du Plessis, Lovely Chawatama, Manasa Saulo, Richard Palframan, Ollie Hoskins
Second Row: Sebastien de Chaves, Will Lloyd, Josh McNally, Teofilo Paulo, Franco van der Merwe
Back Row: Blair Cowan, Ofisa Treviranus, Jake Schatz, Connor Gilsenen, Lasha Lomidze, Mike Coman, Max Northcote-Green, Senitiki Nayalo

Scrum Half: Brendan McKibbin, Scott Steele, Ben Meehan
Fly Half: James Marshall, Theo Brophy-Clews
Centre: Johnny Williams, Fergus Mulchrone, Ciaran Hearn, Luke McLean
Wing: Alex Lewington, Joe Cokanasiga, Napolioni Nalaga, Aseli Tikoroituma, Topsy Ojo, Ben Ransom, Tom Fowlie
Full Back: Tommy Bell, Greig Tonks


Senior Academy Squad (10)

Lock: Sam Collingridge
Back Row: Isaac Curtis-Harris, Jack Cooke, Josh Basham
Scrum Half: Rory Brand
Fly Half: Jacob Atkins
Centre: Matt Williams
Wing: Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ben Loader
Full Back: Tom Parton


Preview

It's pretty hard to judge this London Irish squad against the teams that it will face this season, as being newly promoted there is no recent physical evidence with which to make a comparison.  What we can say is that during our last season in the Premiership we were not good enough, that is an indisputable fact.

Much however has changed since then.  Tom Coventry left and in his place stepped up Nick Kennedy as Director of Rugby, with his able deputies from the academy, Declan Danaher and Paul Hodgson alongside him.  Whilst this coaching set up was inexperienced, the man brought in to oversea things was certainly not.  Step forward Brendan Venter as technical director.  Now much has been said about a change in culture at Irish last season but you have to do more than just scratch the surface of names on a piece of paper to understand what that means, and in many regards it is difficult to quantify.

Midway through last season however I was fortunate enough to chat to one of the players, who shall remain nameless, but who told me this.  He said that under the Coventry regime your face either fitted or it didn't.  If you were not in the inner circle there was blame and criticism but little in the way of encouragement or assistance to improve.  Now however he said that the coaches were open and there was dialogue between them and the players, and Venter, whilst fierce and a force of nature who would tell you exactly what you had done wrong in a game, was also approachable and would listen to your viewpoint, and help you to improve from any mistakes you did make, and that honesty and openness was now a feature throughout the squad and coaches.  That, I have to say is a significant shift in mindset and that almost freedom to make mistakes without being paralysed by the fear of failure may be a key factor once this season gets underway.

On paper, which is all we can go by until we see this side play, the squad is stronger than when we went down, and stronger than when we won the Championship in May.  Recruitment, wisely in my opinion has been more forward focused than backs, with a 9-3 split in that regard, including experienced campaigners Petrus du Plessis (from Saracens) and Franco van der Merwe (from Ulster via Cardiff), alongside international front rowers Gordon Reid and Saia Faingaa.  Neither Venter nor Kennedy are daft, our season will not be defined by whether we are able to chuck the ball about at will, we will stand or fall on whether we can gain parity or better up front often enough to pick up points.  To that end, our most important back this year is not likely to be the expansive James Marshall or explosive Napolioni Nalaga, but the metronomic Tommy Bell, who racked up the points from tee in The Championship and will need to do so again in the Premiership this year.

There isn't really much more to say, we just don't know until the first ball is kicked what we are going to get.  My general thoughts on the Premiership are that Sarries, Wasps, Chiefs, Bath and Tigers are in a league of five competing for the four play off spots, and the remaining seven teams are all fairly even, with all having the positives, but all having some major weaknesses that could be exploited by the others.  What order those seven (us included) finish in is anybodies guess, and luck, injuries and momentum will play a part.  We need to start better than we did two years ago when we picked up zero points from our first five matches, if we can get some early momentum, then who knows, a decent mid table finish may not be out of the question.

Prediction:  Anywhere from 6th to 12th!
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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:42 am

the persistence with Petrus depresses me. every time he tries to ball carry he just flops down and slows down the move. if he was destroying scrums I would understand his inclusion, but he isn't at all, if anything he is getting worked over by the opposition loose head. Hoskins or Elrington offer so much more.

Having Coman back will help, he is our best forward and leads the defence. him and cowan seem to work well together as well.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:48 am

stnick88 wrote:the persistence with Petrus depresses me. every time he tries to ball carry he just flops down and slows down the move. if he was destroying scrums I would understand his inclusion, but he isn't at all, if anything he is getting worked over by the opposition loose head. Hoskins or Elrington offer so much more.

Having Coman back will help, he is our best forward and leads the defence. him and cowan seem to work well together as well.

Agree with all of that. Petrus has been diabolical, but Coman's return is probably the one thing I am positive about.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by geoff999rugby on Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:55 am

Question I have for Irish fans - has anyone else started at lock other than

DeChaves and deMerwe

Every time I watch them they a re playing.
Seems they are being flogged and that joke tackle from deChaves last week may be a result of that.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:13 am

Petrus continually starting is a mystery to us all.  I pray that he's not in the 23 announced in about an hours time as I've spent the past 3 or 4 Friday afternoons apoplectic over team selection generally, which in my opinion has been poor.
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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:14 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Question I have for Irish fans - has anyone else started at lock other than

DeChaves and deMerwe

Every time I watch them they a re playing.
Seems they are being flogged and that joke tackle from deChaves last week may be a result of that.

Geoff, I believe they have started 8 out of 12 games, but that includes playing the first 6 games of the season, so since then they've played at most twice in 6 weeks.
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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:17 am

Hoskins is starting
PDP bench

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:22 am

Glad Hoskins is starting, not sure what Petrus is going to bring from the bench.  I'd have stuck Lovejoy on there.
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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:32 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Question I have for Irish fans - has anyone else started at lock other than

DeChaves and deMerwe

Every time I watch them they a re playing.
Seems they are being flogged and that joke tackle from deChaves last week may be a result of that.

Yes, both have been ok, but on current form many would have McNally and Paulo ahead of them.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:39 am

I'd probably have McNally and Van De Merwe as my starting pair.
De Chaves on the bench.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by geoff999rugby on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:44 am

Thanks for the update.

Only watch the BT games, and sometimes the highlights, so obviously miss certain games

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:10 pm

Sadly McNally out for a few months, which is a shame as he has been one of our best/only ball-carrying forwards.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Ozzy3213 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:53 pm

Given injuries and players on international duty it's pretty much the strongest (only) team we could put out this week.  Hopefully Coman being back, along with having McLean and Fergus in the centres will keep us solid enough for long enough that our back three can get some opportunities at the other end.
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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:41 pm

Right then. Safe to say December didn't exactly go to plan. Can't see anything other than relegation following yesterday's game. Whilst there are still plenty of games left to pick up the wins required, I just don't see where they are coming from at the moment and Worcester (and even Northampton to a lesser extent) will pick up plenty more points.

For all the recriminations about the coaching team on the SN site, I just look at our squad and don't see them as being better than any other squad in the league. Worcester would be closest, but the majority of our notable players are into their 30s, with their best years behind them. Inexperienced coaching is certainly a factor, but with the playing resources available it's hard to really compete at this level.

There's a total lack of go forwards from the pack at the moment, that has a knock on impact on the rest of our play. Whilst the backline is lacking the quality and skillset to play the kind of rugby needed to rack up tries. Decent defensive shift from Williams yesterday, but it's a real shame that neither he, Fowlie or TBC has really kicked on so far. Hard to judge too much on Cokanasiga as he sees so little of the ball in space.

Assuming we go down and bounce back up (by no means a given), I can only see it getting harder to compete with the salary cap steadily rising Really does seem like a terminal decline at the moment, that can only really be arrested by new investment or getting lucky with ring fencing.

Not really sure what we do for the rest of the season. We've a run of games that could be winnable coming up in Feb before a brutal run in. They could change things at the top, chuck a few youngsters in, or keep hoping the hard work will pay off. On the positive side, Faingaa looked the part at the weekend, MNG added some much needed energy to the pack and Cokanasiga at least looked to have that searing pace back when chasing those kicks through. Parton is still looking sharp in the Championship and scored again at the weekend. Would be tempted to give him some gametime before the end of the season.

Edit - And the scrum is at least solid at the moment. Suspect Paulo playing has as much to do with this as the prop merry go round as he's a massive lump

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by LondonTiger on Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:45 pm

What is LI's financial situation? Can they survive a second relegation in 3 seasons?

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:42 pm

LondonTiger wrote:What is LI's financial situation? Can  they survive a second relegation in 3 seasons?

I'm not really sure (we'll soon find out). Mick Crossan is a wealthy bloke compared to you and I, but not compared to most other owners in the league that are required to cover losses. They were openly touting for new investment to share the load 6 months ago and I'm sure that's ongoing.


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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 pm

LondonTiger wrote:What is LI's financial situation? Can  they survive a second relegation in 3 seasons?

As MW indicates, it is the million dollar question and nobody is really sure. When we last went down we were able to maintain the quality of the squad. I suspect this time around we would have to make more cuts than last time and just hope that we still have enough to fight off Ealing who are building a good squad.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:45 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:Right then. Safe to say December didn't exactly go to plan. Can't see anything other than relegation following yesterday's game. Whilst there are still plenty of games left to pick up the wins required, I just don't see where they are coming from at the moment and Worcester (and even Northampton to a lesser extent) will pick up plenty more points.

For all the recriminations about the coaching team on the SN site, I just look at our squad and don't see them as being better than any other squad in the league. Worcester would be closest, but the majority of our notable players are into their 30s, with their best years behind them. Inexperienced coaching is certainly a factor, but with the playing resources available it's hard to really compete at this level.

There's a total lack of go forwards from the pack at the moment, that has a knock on impact on the rest of our play. Whilst the backline is lacking the quality and skillset to play the kind of rugby needed to rack up tries. Decent defensive shift from Williams yesterday, but it's a real shame that neither he, Fowlie or TBC has really kicked on so far. Hard to judge too much on Cokanasiga as he sees so little of the ball in space.

Assuming we go down and bounce back up (by no means a given), I can only see it getting harder to compete with the salary cap steadily rising Really does seem like a terminal decline at the moment, that can only really be arrested by new investment or getting lucky with ring fencing.

Not really sure what we do for the rest of the season. We've a run of games that could be winnable coming up in Feb before a brutal run in. They could change things at the top, chuck a few youngsters in, or keep hoping the hard work will pay off. On the positive side, Faingaa looked the part at the weekend, MNG added some much needed energy to the pack and Cokanasiga at least looked to have that searing pace back when chasing those kicks through. Parton is still looking sharp in the Championship and scored again at the weekend. Would be tempted to give him some gametime before the end of the season.

Edit - And the scrum is at least solid at the moment. Suspect Paulo playing has as much to do with this as the prop merry go round as he's a massive lump

Good post MW. Really hard to see how we can stay up currently. However, am pretty sick of going on SN and seeing fans calling for Kennedy to be sacked. In a few years time he will be a top DOR. Like you say, we just don't have the squad of players to compete with the top clubs. I think a lot of fans tend to overrate our players and think they are better than they are. You sum up the problems accurately. Our best forwards have reached their peak and are now on the decline and our backs are consequently not getting the service they need. The ball-carrying issue has been long identified and yet we have done little to address it. It still baffles me but perhaps we just got unlucky in the transfer market. Anyway, praying for a miracle as it is certainly not clear to me that we have enough to survive. Not sure that Venter being more involved will solve anything, but let's hope so.


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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:22 pm

Agreed on the overrating of our players. Something it's always possible to be guilty of as we have a vested interest, but seeing people state on SN that we have a quality squad that would excel if we only cleared out the coaches and installed A.N Other, just doesn't hold any water for me.

I just don't see any value in getting rid of Kennedy unless there is a clear rationale behind it, not just whichever unrealistic (and in some cases unsuitable - Noves FFS...) candidate is out of work at the moment. Worst case scenario for me would be him leaving and the best of that 2016 U18 team that have come through with him following him out of the door.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:00 pm

hard to take any positives out of that Falcons game. We were clueless in attack, knocking on and throwing passes behind players so regularly is just not acceptable at this level. we competed ok upfront but tactically were completely outplayed. I'm sorry but Tonks should not be anywhere near the team. Get Bell back in. not that it will make much difference but I would like to see this team on Saturday.

1 Reid
2 Faingaa
3 Franks
4 De Chaves
5 Van Der Merwe
6 Coman
7 Northcote-Green
8 Treviranus
9 Steele
10 Marshall
11 Lewington
12 Williams
13 Tiks
14 Cokanasiga
15 Bell

16 Woolstencroft
17 Elrington
18 Hoskins
19 Paulo
20 Cowan
21 Meehan
22 Tonks
23 Fowlie

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:44 am

Much improved performance on Saturday. Not sure it is sufficient to start saying that the tide has turned, as Leicester were underwhelming, but a strong showing coupled with a poor performance by Wuss and the news about the two Saffas does fill me with a touch more optimism. Cutting the gap to 9 points is a step in the right direction, but a shock result would have been hugely helpful as looking at the run-in I still think we will end up a couple short of Wuss:

Irish:

SALE SHARKS  4
Northampton Saints  1
WORCESTER WARRIORS  4
Wasps  0
GLOUCESTER RUGBY  4
Harlequins 1
EXETER CHIEFS  0
SARACENS 0
Bath Rugby 0

Total: 24

Wuss:

Exeter Chiefs 0
GLOUCESTER RUGBY 1
London Irish 1
LEICESTER TIGERS 1
Sale Sharks 1
NEWCASTLE FALCONS 1
Wasps 0
HARLEQUINS 1
Northampton Saints 1

Total: 26

Even that analysis requires Wuss to fail to beat Glos, Newcastle or Quins at home, all of whom are fairly poor travellers, whilst requiring us to beat Glos. Obviously bonus points would help massively, but I haven’t seen enough from our attack to suggest that we can pick them up even against Wuss or Sale. However, a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have even seen the merit in such an analysis. Now, I think, at last there is hope. What is pleasing is it looked like certain individuals stepped up against Leicester and have realised what is on the line and in fact it is hard to find fault in anyone’s performance. Most pleasing was probably Faingaa, who might not be the strongest carrier but he is solid at the set piece and really puts his body on the line in defence. Great to have someone to keep Paice company and it was also good to see Treviranus operating at his best. Being able to rotate him with Botha (or even combine them for the last 20 of some games) will be very helpful.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:15 am

Cowan also played well, so the backrow is looking better now with Botha for competition.
We need Van Zyl to be a good so he can get the backs moving and boss the forwards more than the other 9's do.

Saints away is a game we have to target. they are on poor form and without lawes and Hartley their forwards are there for the taking.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:49 am

stnick88 wrote:Cowan also played well, so the backrow is looking better now with Botha for competition.
We need Van Zyl to be a good so he can get the backs moving and boss the forwards more than the other 9's do.

Saints away is a game we have to target. they are on poor form and without lawes and Hartley their forwards are there for the taking.

Yes, forgot that Saints was during 6N. Hartley no great loss at club level, but Lawes will be a blow. Win that one and I think we have a real chance.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Heaf on Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:50 am

The trouble if we end up just a few points short of Wuss is that I will get even more bitter and twisted about the clear and obvious forward pass for Bath's single try in that narrow loss and the blatant obstruction in the lead up to Tigers' first try in that one ...

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:12 pm

yeh but I am sure Worc will have had some dodgy decisions as well. can't blame individual ref errors like that. same for all teams.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Scottrf on Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:19 pm

If you believe the people who stand around me at the Gardens, the ref is to blame for most of our losses.

Truth is, when you are playing badly, you give the opportunity for calls to be made against you.

Easier for a forwards pass to be missed leading to a try when you miss two tackles beforehand. It looks like the other team gets all the calls if they make all of the opportunities.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Heaf on Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:22 pm

I didn't say I was being logical Wink

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:45 pm

Three good performances on the bounce and sounds like the Saffas went well. Good to see the young backs really starting to click as well. Impossible to tell whether we have turned a corner or not but I am increasingly hopeful.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by doctor_grey on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:03 pm

Scottrf wrote:If you believe the people who stand around me at the Gardens, the ref is to blame for most of our losses.

Truth is, when you are playing badly, you give the opportunity for calls to be made against you.

Easier for a forwards pass to be missed leading to a try when you miss two tackles beforehand. It looks like the other team gets all the calls if they make all of the opportunities.
I heard the same things about Saints being on the wrong sides of referees from our fellow supporters. It does make sense (?) the refs were responsible for our missed tackles, bad passes, passes not made, dropped balls, and so on.........

I was at Twickenham for the Premiership DH when London Irish looked really good (what happened?) and Saints, obviously, lost to Sarries due to the referee. Saints are going to have to remember how they played when they had the 4 game winning streak earlier this season. And they are just going to have to grind their way to the end of the season.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:23 pm

SirBurger wrote:Three good performances on the bounce and sounds like the Saffas went well. Good to see the young backs really starting to click as well. Impossible to tell whether we have turned a corner or not but I am increasingly hopeful.

Impossible to tell given the standard of the opposition in all four games, but then you can only play what's in front of you and they've done that pretty well.

Two most encouraging things for me at the moment are how good Cokanasiga looks and having Botha as an option in the pack. Vital to get over the gainline and find ways especially for Joe to get his hands on the ball in the AP. After being unsure at the start of the season, I think he's going to be an absolute weapon. Would be beyond depressing getting relegated and losing him.

Seems like they are going to roll the dice and have Theo involved somewhere. Still think he'll end up a 12 as his kicking isn't great from hand or the tee, but would be fine with him playing a few big games at 10. No point dying wondering and the rest of his game is pretty good. Needless to say the next run of AP games really is make or break.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:34 am

So what do we go with against Sale?

1 Reid
2 Fainga'a
3 Hoskins
4 Van Der Merwe
5 De Chaves
6 Coman
7 Cowan
8 Trev
9 Steele
10 Brophy-Clews
11 Lewington
12 Williams
13 Fowlie
14 Cokanasiga
15 Marshall

16 Paice
17 Franks
18 Du Plessis
19 Paulo
20 Botha
21 Van Zyl
22 Bell
23 Tikarotuma

2nd and back row make up is tough one. Botha looked good and his aggression and carrying is needed. But hard to drop Coman. Coman good enough for 2nd row? Paulo is too ponderous for me, we need to be a bit more direct.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:57 pm

stnick88 wrote:So what do we go with against Sale?

1 Reid
2 Fainga'a
3 Hoskins
4 Van Der Merwe
5 De Chaves
6 Coman
7 Cowan
8 Trev
9 Steele
10 Brophy-Clews
11 Lewington
12 Williams
13 Fowlie
14 Cokanasiga
15 Marshall

16 Paice
17 Franks
18 Du Plessis
19 Paulo
20 Botha
21 Van Zyl
22 Bell
23 Tikarotuma

2nd and back row make up is tough one. Botha looked good and his aggression and carrying is needed. But hard to drop Coman. Coman good enough for 2nd row? Paulo is too ponderous for me, we need to be a bit more direct.

Like the look of that team and would go with those backs, although in the pack won't Reid be with Scotland? Botha and van Zyl could both well start.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Smudge21 on Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:36 pm

Not having reid available gives us a tricky dilemma especially with Danny out injured. Leaves us with Elrington or Franks. I personally feel Franks has been underwhelming this year and does not warrant a starting spot especially at loosehead but kendo doesn't seem keen on dropping him. If we are to go down we may as well go down swinging so I would go with...
Elrington
Faingaa
Hoskins
Franco
Coman
Botha
Cowan
Treviranus
Steele
Theo
Lewington
Williams
Fowlie
Cokanasiga
Marshall
Paice
Franks
Lovejoy
De chaves
Northcote-Green
Van zyl
Bell
Ransom

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:26 pm

For the first time in ages, I am looking forward to a Premiership game this weekend. I was impressed with our two performances in the Anglo-Welsh and the new Saffas have really added something from what I have seen. Cokanasiga is hitting some really good form and we have penetration in the midfield. It is now a case of whether we can take that up a level. A win is a must.

Outstanding concerns for me are Franks at loosehead who just doesn't look as comfortable there, the loss of Coman who was immense at lock against an admittedly poor Wasps side (and who generally is our defensive leader) and Theo's kicking from hand. If we can cope in each of those three areas I genuinely think we will beat Sale.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by stnick88 on Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:09 pm

I think we need to be wary of getting carried away. we beat wasps under 18s and a pretty weak Cardiff side. Sale will be infinitely harder than this. they are only missing one player to the 6N and have the likes of de klerk and JOC available. tough game, lose it and we are down.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:11 pm

stnick88 wrote:I think we need to be wary of getting carried away. we beat wasps under 18s and a pretty weak Cardiff side. Sale will be infinitely harder than this. they are only missing one player to the 6N and have the likes of de klerk and JOC available. tough game, lose it and we are down.

Agreed with the last sentence. Definitely down if we don't win.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:22 pm

We've certainly put ourselves in the best possible position to perform. Botha was great in the Cardiff game and hope his knees hold up. The wings are scoring tries and the homegrown 10/12/13 combo has done pretty well (nice to see Williams getting over the gainline and Fowlie looking sharp). Marshall looking surprisingly good from the tee *touch wood* certainly helps give TBC a bit more freedom too. I guess we'll see at the weekend whether we can perform against AP opposition when the pressure is on.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:38 pm

Done and dusted? I think so.

New Saffas didn't have nearly as much of an impact as I hoped they would and we looked bereft of confidence and/or ideas in the backs. I know Theo went off early which disrupted us, but I still remain to be convinced that he is the fly half to build this team around. A really talented player, but I wonder if he needs to spend some time at 12 on a semi long-term basis to really develop.

My big concern is the manner in which Ealing are building for the future. They were good last season but look even better now and I don't think we can be assured of automatic promotion. A ring-fenced Premiership really looks our best option for long-term stability at the moment.

Pretty gutted right now.


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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:12 pm

That's game over now really. The Worcester win was the nail in the coffin. Perfectly possible mathematically to survive, but it would involve going on the sort of run that this team don't seem anywhere near capable of.

Can't have helped spending the preceding weeks training/playing with Theo/Williams, only to lose the latter to injury pre game and TBC in the first half. Not sure why the hit on Theo wasn't looked at during the game, but probably wouldn't have changed the result. We just didn't look like scoring tries, which has been the story of the AP season really. We've picked up 6 LBPs already now, but honestly, I can't think of any of them where I actually believed we were going to score at the death to take it.

Re the new boys, I actually think Arno went very well. Was among our best players (not saying too much). van Zyl had a pretty poor game whilst he was on, but should probably get another crack next week.

As for the future, it will be interesting to see how Ealing recruit in the summer. They are certainly a threat and capable of causing problems next season. Without ring fencing or significant new investment, it's hard to see much beyond a yo-yo between leagues, before we eventually don't get promoted and the sh*t really hits the fan. It's possible to come up and stay up (and Bristol probably have the resources to have a better crack at it now than they did last time), but it takes a lot more in all departments than we've shown this season.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:13 pm

I expected a bit more from Botha. No fault of his own really as when he was given the ball he seemed to do well, but I don't remember him being used as a carrier much. Will see if the stats change my opinion.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:15 pm

Quick check - statistically he was very impressive, both in attack and defence so perhaps I am being harsh.


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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:48 am

On the assumption we are going down, I think we need to seriously consider re-modelling the squad. We do not have loads of cash and so it makes sense to focus funds on developing youth and saving money for a year so that if we do come up we have the funds to invest in better foreigners. The problem that seems obvious to me is that the core of the side isn't good enough. 2, 8, 9, 10, 15 are probably the weakest in the league and we need to ensure that it is better next time we come up.

Faingaa and Paice are good players, but ageing. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anyone coming through in the academy although I gather Jacob Atkins' brother is converting from the back row.

Treviranus has been a star at 8 and can still put in good performances but he looks like he is being held together by sticking tape and it is only a matter of time before the body gives in. Curtis-Harris is a really good prospect but looks like he could be better used as an openside flanker.

9 and 10 worry me. Haven't seen enough of Brand so perhaps he is the answer but TBC doesn't convince me at 10 and looks like more of a 12. Tonks is possibly the best option we have for a year in the champ.

At 15 we should be looking at Parton.

In terms of the older, more experienced players I think we should look to keep Coman and Van der Merwe in the pack but the rest are very pedestrian and not an efficient use of funds.

I would therefore look to build a side close to the below:

1. Hobbs-Awoyemi
2. Faingaa
3. Hoskins
4. Van der Merwe
5. McNally
6. Coman
7. Northcote-Green
8. Curtis-Harris

9. Steele
10. Tonks
11. Loader
12. Brophy-Clews
13. Fowlie
14. Ransom
15. Parton

16. Paice
17. Elrington
18. Du Plessis
19. De Chaves
20. Lomidze
21. Brand
22. Atkins
23. M. Williams

The positions in bold are those that we would then spend money on if promoted. This is also based on the assumption that we will lose Lewi, Cokanasiga and J. Williams.

This may look a bit negative as we could pick up a result this weekend and end up surviving, but it looks increasingly unlikely.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Scottrf on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:30 am

Think ringfencing is the option. Only a couple of clubs ever have ambition to be promoted. Average salaries are 4x higher in the prem and relegation costs a team 2m. They can't keep players who would rather sit in the reserves and earn a living than play for a Championship club. Have to spend unsustainably like Bristol to even have a shot at staying up, it breaks clubs.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by geoff999rugby on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:35 am

SirBurger wrote: My big concern is the manner in which Ealing are building for the future. They were good last season but look even better now and I don't think we can be assured of automatic promotion.

I know someone in Ealing he reckons they have no interest in getting promoted

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:35 am

Scottrf wrote:Think ringfencing is the option. Only a couple of clubs ever have ambition to be promoted. Average salaries are 4x higher in the prem and relegation costs a team 2m. They can't keep players who would rather sit in the reserves and earn a living than play for a Championship club. Have to spend unsustainably like Bristol to even have a shot at staying up, it breaks clubs.

Yes, there was a really interesting post on the Northampton Saints fans sportsnetwork page which made a very convincing case for ring-fencing. My worry is that if it does eventually come in it will be too late for us. Pretty disheartening listening to a podcast this morning comparing us to London Welsh in the sense that we give other Prem sides a buffer so do not have to worry too much about a bad run of form.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:37 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
SirBurger wrote: My big concern is the manner in which Ealing are building for the future. They were good last season but look even better now and I don't think we can be assured of automatic promotion.

I know someone in Ealing he reckons they have no interest in getting promoted

Interesting - I heard they have been sounding out football clubs regarding a ground share if they do get promotion.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Scottrf on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:39 am

SirBurger wrote:
Scottrf wrote:Think ringfencing is the option. Only a couple of clubs ever have ambition to be promoted. Average salaries are 4x higher in the prem and relegation costs a team 2m. They can't keep players who would rather sit in the reserves and earn a living than play for a Championship club. Have to spend unsustainably like Bristol to even have a shot at staying up, it breaks clubs.

Yes, there was a really interesting post on the Northampton Saints fans sportsnetwork page which made a very convincing case for ring-fencing. My worry is that if it does eventually come in it will be too late for us. Pretty disheartening listening to a podcast this morning comparing us to London Welsh in the sense that we give other Prem sides a buffer so do not have to worry too much about a bad run of form.
I don't think there'd be a ringfence without LI.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by geoff999rugby on Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:47 am

If London Irish are in I cant see the league being less than 13 and probably 14

That smacks of a Conference set up

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:27 pm

Would be hard to exclude LI at the moment given we own P shares. Down the line I could see us giving up and selling them like Yorkshire did if we were to get stranded in the Championship

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by Margin_Walker on Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:09 pm

SirBurger wrote:On the assumption we are going down, I think we need to seriously consider re-modelling the squad. We do not have loads of cash and so it makes sense to focus funds on developing youth and saving money for a year so that if we do come up we have the funds to invest in better foreigners. The problem that seems obvious to me is that the core of the side isn't good enough. 2, 8, 9, 10, 15 are probably the weakest in the league and we need to ensure that it is better next time we come up.

Faingaa and Paice are good players, but ageing. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anyone coming through in the academy although I gather Jacob Atkins' brother is converting from the back row.

Treviranus has been a star at 8 and can still put in good performances but he looks like he is being held together by sticking tape and it is only a matter of time before the body gives in. Curtis-Harris is a really good prospect but looks like he could be better used as an openside flanker.

9 and 10 worry me. Haven't seen enough of Brand so perhaps he is the answer but TBC doesn't convince me at 10 and looks like more of a 12. Tonks is possibly the best option we have for a year in the champ.

At 15 we should be looking at Parton.

In terms of the older, more experienced players I think we should look to keep Coman and Van der Merwe in the pack but the rest are very pedestrian and not an efficient use of funds.

I would therefore look to build a side close to the below:

1. Hobbs-Awoyemi
2. Faingaa
3. Hoskins
4. Van der Merwe
5. McNally
6. Coman
7. Northcote-Green
8. Curtis-Harris

9. Steele
10. Tonks
11. Loader
12. Brophy-Clews
13. Fowlie
14. Ransom
15. Parton

16. Paice
17. Elrington
18. Du Plessis
19. De Chaves
20. Lomidze
21. Brand
22. Atkins
23. M. Williams

The positions in bold are those that we would then spend money on if promoted. This is also based on the assumption that we will lose Lewi, Cokanasiga and J. Williams.

This may look a bit negative as we could pick up a result this weekend and end up surviving, but it looks increasingly unlikely.

Seems like only yesterday we were trying to figure out what our Championship team would look like last time. Hooker is a funny one, we've had tons of them through the Senior academy in the last few years. Adams, Langdon, Kouris, Ellis (who at least got a senior contract), but all fell by the wayside pretty quickly. Faingaa has at least brought something a bit different this season and hopefully he'll stick around.

We'll need to get the balance right between being pragmatic and making sure we actually play some expansive rugby when we get the chance. All very well scoring countless tries through mauls in the Championship, but we've seen this year it just doesn't translate to the AP against better packs. Although our defensive maul has at least been pretty decent.

We'll obviously lose Lewington and Cokanasiga (despite talk of no release clause in the first year of his contract I can't see him being here next season). van Zyl and Botha will be on short term contracts so on the look out for another AP gig next season. Not sure about J Williams, think we have a chance of keeping him. Franks coming off the wage bill at the end of his contract will help financially and I'm sure we'll be open to offers for a few other higher earners. Obviously important to build around the current U20s guys and Atkins who could really fly under the radar and become a decent 10 in time.

Coaching team will be interesting and sure will depend on how much of a fight is put up towards the end of the season. Also what sort of alternatives are likely to be realistic.


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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

Post by SirBurger on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:31 pm

Agree with that MW - if we do go down we do need to open up a bit more and develop more of an attacking identity. We did it in patches in the Championship, but probably not enough to give us a decent shot at survival. Too much of a focus on defence and a kick and chase game, which given the players at our disposal never seemed the best bet.

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Re: London Irish 2017/18 thread - Return to the Premiership.

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