Gallagher Premiership - End of Season run-in (Play-Offs)

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Mar 2019, 10:39 am

First topic message reminder :

Saracens v Gloucester Rugby (Allianz Park, 1.30pm) Live on BT Sport
Referee: Luke Pearce (91st Premiership game, 1st semi-final).
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Paul Dix. TMO: David Grashoff.
Citing Officer: Buster White


Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints (Sandy Park, 4.30pm) Live on BT Sport
Referee: Matthew Carley (87th Premiership game, 3rd semi-final).
Assistant Referees. Tom Foley & Jack Makepeace. TMO: Rowan Kitt.
Citing Officer: Paul Hull.


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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 1:32 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:I still have my suspicions about ring fencing LT. It might end up no one is relegated.

Who do we think the 14th team should be - assuming that the clubs are not going to want a fallow weekend one in seven?

Leeds/Yorkshire? Jersey? Ealing? Pirates? Bedford?

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 08 Apr 2019, 3:37 pm

Leeds / Yorkshire would be my choice. Big catchment area. Potentially big club.

Ealing would just be due to a rich owner
Pirates are covered by Exeter.
Bedford covered by Saracens aren't they?


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Post by king_carlos on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 2:15 pm

Leeds/Yorkshire is an odd one for rugby. As a city it's got a reasonable if not massive population but then sport wise rugby union is competing with rugby league and football - particularly if Leeds get back to the Premier League.

The catchment area is big but also spread over a large area. Yorkshire has effectively the same population as Scotland but it is also gigantic in area. Yorkshire tend to do well at county level but then have the issue of retaining and bringing players into senior rugby.

I grew up around Yorkshire, I love the area and I really like Leeds, but being objective they would have the same old issue of location/lifestyle when trying to bring in overseas players. Southern Hemisphere players looking for a chance to travel are going to pick London over Leeds let's face it.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 2:48 pm

But, but...... Leeds has a Selfridge's.

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Post by BigGee on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 3:38 pm

LondonTiger wrote:But, but...... Leeds has a Selfridge's.

The Knightbridge of the north, is it not?

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 4:13 pm

BigGee wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:But, but...... Leeds has a Selfridge's.

The Knightbridge of the north, is it not?

Maybe - but I think we are still yet to find the Harrogate of the south

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 12:37 pm

15 Matt Toomua
14 Jonny May
13 Gareth Owen
12 Manu Tuilagi
11 Jordan Olowofela
10 George Ford (c)
9 Sam Harrison
1 Ellis Genge
2 Jake Kerr
3 Dan Cole
4 Will Spencer
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Mike Fitzgerald
7 Mike Williams
8 Guy Thompson

Replacements

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Facundo Gigena
18 Joe Heyes
19 Harry Wells
20 Brendon O’Connor
21 Ben White
22 Sam Aspland-Robinson
23 Matt Smith

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood (co-captain), 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Rodney Ah You, 4 Calum Green, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Gary Graham, 7 John Hardie, 8 Mark Wilson (co-captain)

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Evan Olmstead, 21 Michael Young, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Johnny Williams

Won't be surprised if the Falcons back row dominate the breakdown, or if Falcons score several tries through Takulua, Niki and Sinoti targeting Tigers pish fringe defence.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 12:53 pm

Newcastle Falcons team to face Leicester Tigers (Friday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Simon Hammersley
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Chris Harris
12 Josh Matavesi
11 Sinoti Sinoti
10 Toby Flood (co-captain)
9 Sonatane Takulua

1 Logovi'i Mulipola
2 George McGuigan
3 Rodney Ah You
4 Calum Green
5 Andrew Davidson
6 Gary Graham
7 John Hardie
8 Mark Wilson (co-captain)

Replacements
16 Kyle Cooper
17 Sam Lockwood
18 Trevor Davison
19 Sean Robinson
20 Evan Olmstead
21 Michael Young
22 Brett Connon
23 Johnny Williams

Tigers team

15 Matt Toomua
14 Jonny May
13 Gareth Owen
12 Manu Tuilagi
11 Jordan Olowofela
10 George Ford (c)
9 Sam Harrison
1 Ellis Genge
2 Jake Kerr
3 Dan Cole
4 Will Spencer
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Mike Fitzgerald
7 Mike Williams
8 Guy Thompson

Replacements
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Facundo Gigena
18 Joe Heyes
19 Harry Wells
20 Brendon O’Connor
21 Ben White
22 Sam Aspland-Robinson
23 Matt Smith

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 1:54 pm

I'm impressed in our ability to pick such a shocking pack week after week. Four locks, only one of which we are aiming to retain for next season...

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 2:16 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:I'm impressed in our ability to pick such a shocking pack week after week. Four locks, only one of which we are aiming to retain for next season...

Aside form the impact of the injuries (notably Youngs and Denton) is this a shockingly bad pack because of selections or because players havent been producing their best?
Its not that long ago that Mike Williams wouldve been capped had it not been for a badly timed injury, Kitchener spent many years being touted as a future cap, Coles a Lion and the most capped prop England have, and Genge is course thereabouts with the current England side. The rest might be "squad" players and some out of position but they still should be capable of at least being competitive against the bottom side in the premiership who are also suffering their own injuries.

I guess my question here is are you bemoaning the selections, the quality of the squad, or the way they are likely to play based on the season to date (or most likely a bit of all 3)

The point about the locks is worrying in itself though and sums up just how much recruitment is going to be needed in the off season, during a year when the world cup will interfere with that and leave some uncertainty. The departure of Slater was discussed on that other thread, but losing Kitchener too leaves a massive void in the middle of the pack. If its been an area of weakness this year its hard to see how they are going to have a stronger stable of locks next year even if they manage to land one top class signing.

I really do fancy Newcastles chances for this one. Tigers missing the Youngs brothers isnt going to help their confidence or form. Theres a couple of players who would always fancy getting one over on their old club too. Certainly of the two Newcastle are the form team.

Huge game. If Newcastle do get a result then it really blows the relegation battle up, and puts Tigers in full panic. Tigers win and they can feel a lot happier and not even be out of touch of the last HC place. I guess if they do get relegated then they can worry less about the quality of their pack for next season Rolling Eyes

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 2:19 pm

I think our back row could be the big factor in this game...but I also think Josh Matavesi at 12 and Andrew Davidson could have key impacts


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Post by king_carlos on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 2:39 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:I'm impressed in our ability to pick such a shocking pack week after week. Four locks, only one of which we are aiming to retain for next season...

Aside form the impact of the injuries (notably Youngs and Denton) is this a shockingly bad pack because of selections or because players havent been producing their best?
Its not that long ago that Mike Williams wouldve been capped had it not been for a badly timed injury, Kitchener spent many years being touted as a future cap, Coles a Lion and the most capped prop England have, and Genge is course thereabouts with the current England side. The rest might be "squad" players and some out of position but they still should be capable of at least being competitive against the bottom side in the premiership who are also suffering their own injuries.

I guess my question here is are you bemoaning the selections, the quality of the squad, or the way they are likely to play based on the season to date (or most likely a bit of all 3)

The point about the locks is worrying in itself though and sums up just how much recruitment is going to be needed in the off season, during a year when the world cup will interfere with that and leave some uncertainty. The departure of Slater was discussed on that other thread, but losing Kitchener too leaves a massive void in the middle of the pack. If its been an area of weakness this year its hard to see how they are going to have a stronger stable of locks next year even if they manage to land one top class signing.

I really do fancy Newcastles chances for this one. Tigers missing the Youngs brothers isnt going to help their confidence or form. Theres a couple of players who would always fancy getting one over on their old club too. Certainly of the two Newcastle are the form team.

Huge game. If Newcastle do get a result then it really blows the relegation battle up, and puts Tigers in full panic. Tigers win and they can feel a lot happier and not even be out of touch of the last HC place. I guess if they do get relegated then they can worry less about the quality of their pack for next season Rolling Eyes

A lot of all three to put it simply, Goose.

Without a doubt underperforming players have played a big part but it's also just poor recruitment. In the back row especially.

Williams and Kitchener have looked more and more like flat track bullies as Tigers have struggled. In a dominant pack Williams will carry frequently and put in momentum halting tackles around the fringes. Now the pressure is on Williams work rate getting around the ruck in defence has at times been comical. Similar with Kitchener. In stronger packs he was bossing the maul, plucking astounding one handed steals in the lineout and carrying well as a support runner. Since the pack has struggled he's frequently been invisible.

Fitzgerald is a workhorse but shouldn't be starting games at this point in the season whether at lock or flanker. Thompson is a cracking Prem player, one of a few signings I was delighted with, but at this stage in the season he should be at openside or on the bench where he's an excellent impact sub.

As for Cole and Genge, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see better performances from both with Jake Kerr at hooker. Given the amount of cap invested in Youngs and TPN that says a lot really.

As for lock signings it seems that Calum Green and Tomas Lavanini are incoming. Green will offer more than Kitchener has but for far less salary cap - Kitchener is on a lot for what he has offered - hence room for Taufua. Lavanini can be muppet but he will also offer physicality in defence and attack that Tigers have lacked in the row for years.

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 2:50 pm

Based on when Youngs got his contract you cant really argue with Tigers having payed top dollar for him, but its startling just how much hes fallen (ditto Cole although more excusable after years of overwork maybe taking their toll on his mobility). I guess the signing of TPN and his wage was partly based on the , at the time fair, assumption that Youngs would be away with England a lot and that he should be capable of producing better rugby than he has. I know "great Australian front row forwards" is a bit like " famous Belgians" but when you sign a guy with 82 caps for a tier 1 nation you generally assume they are gonna be better than the lad who's fresh out of university....yet here we are with him benched.
I weigh things more toward the coaching, atmosphere and lack of direction/effort across the team than the signings themselves, although TPN has transpired to be an awful investment in context of whats happened.

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 3:11 pm

Injuries and well documented personal issues took their toll on Youngs sadly. His form has also suffered in part due to the loss of leaders in the pack who took pressure off him. When Parling, Ayerza, Salvi and Croft were there he just had to carry hard, tackle anything that moved and hit rucks. It worked great. Leading in those players absence has taken it's toll on his all round game though.

Likewise for others. Kitchener was excellent with stronger players around him but never stepped up as a leader in their absence. BOC is a good player going forward but isn't going to drag a struggling pack back into a game. Williams is a weapon going forward but liability in tight games where opposition players consistently outwork him.

Targeting Shaun Edwards as DOR, securing Taufua, looking for less expensive squad players who will offer much more such as Green, Noel Reid and Jaco Taute. It seems there is some movement in the right direction with regards to things improving beyond this season.

Those potential improvements only matter if the current set-up and squad can steal a couple of wins over the next four games.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 5:02 pm

I didn't want the TPN signing to be honest but I get the point. We wanted a ball carrying option with experience to help add physicality to the pack. Fair enough. The error was in handing a player of his age such a long term deal, he's still got another season to run. Hooker is not that disappointing a situation, a young lad coming through and displacing the more experienced options show that our development squad is doing its thing. The problem is now it looks likely that we'll lose both TPN and Kerr to the RWC.

Lock is a different kettle of fish. Williams, Fitzgerald and Kitch all underperformed last season and arguably the season before that. They are squad players and Carlos has eloquently spelled out the issues with them. The fact that all three are again combining in the pack just leaves us one dimensional and pedestrian.

When I slated the pack I was sort of leaving off the front row who have generally put good shifts in. Cole has had one his best seasons in a while despite being overplayed (again). Genge is a beast and will continue to improve, it's crucial we convince him to sign a long term deal soon (minimum three years). I'd expect us to do a number on Falcons scrum in about the only area we will dominate.

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Post by Rinsure on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:24 am

Sam - given your criticism of the pack in general, I'm interested to know what you think of Guy Thompson. A a Wasps fan, he was one of the guys who left last Summer who I really think we should have done more to retain, and his absence has been felt this season (mainly due to the injury to Willis, and the international call for Thomas Youngs).

He's looked handy for you when I've seen him this season, albeit that's not been often.

Thoughts?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 11:32 am

Rinsure wrote:Sam - given your criticism of the pack in general, I'm interested to know what you think of Guy Thompson. A a Wasps fan, he was one of the guys who left last Summer who I really think we should have done more to retain, and his absence has been felt this season (mainly due to the injury to Willis, and the international call for Thomas Youngs).

He's looked handy for you when I've seen him this season, albeit that's not been often.

Thoughts?

Thomson is a bit of a fan favourite already. His passion and physicality are much appreciated. The recruitment by Tigers last summer was actually not bad, acquiring Denton and Thomson for the backrow was good business it's just unlucky that Denton has missed pretty much the entire season with concussion.

I (and a lot of other Tigers fans) feel that Thomson is often left to do too much himself. The continual selection of big lock/6/8 types who aren't particularly mobile, skillful or good at the breakdown means whomever is in the 7 shirt has a lot to do. I'd much rather see Thomson at 8 and an openside at 7, we have opensides available as well with BOC, Evans and Reffell. At the minute Thomson has an awful lot on his shoulders and probably isn't flourishing as much as he could be.

Next season will hopefully see a backrow of Taufua/Thomson/Denton which is full of pace and physicality that will alleviate some of the pressure on Thomson and see him flourish.

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Post by Rinsure on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 11:57 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Rinsure wrote:Sam - given your criticism of the pack in general, I'm interested to know what you think of Guy Thompson. A a Wasps fan, he was one of the guys who left last Summer who I really think we should have done more to retain, and his absence has been felt this season (mainly due to the injury to Willis, and the international call for Thomas Youngs).

He's looked handy for you when I've seen him this season, albeit that's not been often.

Thoughts?

Thomson is a bit of a fan favourite already. His passion and physicality are much appreciated. The recruitment by Tigers last summer was actually not bad, acquiring Denton and Thomson for the backrow was good business it's just unlucky that Denton has missed pretty much the entire season with concussion.

I (and a lot of other Tigers fans) feel that Thomson is often left to do too much himself. The continual selection of big lock/6/8 types who aren't particularly mobile, skillful or good at the breakdown means whomever is in the 7 shirt has a lot to do. I'd much rather see Thomson at 8 and an openside at 7, we have opensides available as well with BOC, Evans and Reffell. At the minute Thomson has an awful lot on his shoulders and probably isn't flourishing as much as he could be.

Next season will hopefully see a backrow of Taufua/Thomson/Denton which is full of pace and physicality that will alleviate some of the pressure on Thomson and see him flourish.

Good to hear. He was a fan favourite at Wasps!

Let's hope next season sees them flourish in the Prem!

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 12:58 pm

Mark Wilson having a late fitness test today to see if he is fit..

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 3:32 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Mark Wilson having a late fitness test today to see if he is fit..

If he doesn't make it who's the likely replacement?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 8:27 pm

Typical Tigers implosion. Control the first 30 minutes then just errors and unforced ones. Falcons clinical when given a chance to get back into the game.

Harrison has been poor, hopefully see White in the second half.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 8:34 pm

Not an implosion yet Sam - still in the lead. Tigers still look to be the more comfortable to me.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 8:50 pm

Heaf wrote:Not an implosion yet Sam - still in the lead.   Tigers still look to be the more comfortable to me.

Tigers heads looked to have dropped before halftime. Not sure they looked to be back up yet in the second half

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:06 pm

Maybe lucky not to give away a PT there maybe?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:07 pm

Mike Williams the liability continues. We'd actually disrupted the maul after Falcons excellent quick drive pretty well. He makes to attempt to bind and drive. I hope the moron gets subbed after his 10 minutes off.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:10 pm

Tense last quarter ...

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:11 pm

Heaf wrote:Maybe lucky not to give away a PT there maybe?

Had the rest of the pack not splintered the maul before the idiots intervention then probably. It think the splintered maul caused some doubt in Brands mind.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:14 pm

Same net result anyway ...

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:15 pm

Tigers kicking is better ...

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:19 pm

Genge gets pinged for pulling out of a tackle? In the first half there was "no high tackle, player dipping". That wasn't the case there.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:26 pm

Thomson seems to be pretty useful ...


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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:27 pm

Why waste time with 10 mins to go - what if Falcons score again?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:30 pm

Heaf wrote:Why waste time with 10 mins to go - what if Falcons score again?

Wind up.

Thomson has had an excellent game and deserves his two tries. Manu pulling his hamstring is bad news.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:33 pm

Stupid from Genge. May has going to finish that anyway.

Where was the penalty for Wilson slowing the ball down? Barnes had the whistle in his lips ready to blow.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:35 pm

Daft from Genge but yes Falcons probably lucky not to get pinged before.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:37 pm

Penalty for competing at a breakdown when there's nobody on their feet?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:40 pm

All four props still going for the full game? No often you see that anymore.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:44 pm

Well that went to the last. I thought Falcons were going to steal it at the end there.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:46 pm

Falcons survival looking shaky now ... although if Warriors lose tomorrow ...

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:01 pm

Second best for so much of that game. Thank the lord for Thompson, Ford's tactical kicking and Flood's delicately weighted assist.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:11 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Typical Tigers implosion. Control the first 30 minutes then just errors and unforced ones. Falcons clinical when given a chance to get back into the game.

Harrison has been poor, hopefully see White in the second half.
 I think we can out of steam a little. We were flying around like the duracell bunny and suddenly lost all energy. Only really got it back when BOC came on and we had a balanced back row. Harrison's hair line is receding quicker than his service  Cool

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:17 pm

We're gone.

We only have ourselves to blame. Poor , predictable boring rugby kick kick kick.

Toby flood needs to be benched now...hes so past it its unreal.
Only in the last 5-10 mins do we play.

Oh and whilst totally legal George Ford needs a slap round the chops for his antics when kicking the conversion. Gone down in my estimations by a country mile!!!

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:21 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:Typical Tigers implosion. Control the first 30 minutes then just errors and unforced ones. Falcons clinical when given a chance to get back into the game.

Harrison has been poor, hopefully see White in the second half.
 I think we can out of steam a little. We were flying around like the duracell bunny and suddenly lost all energy. Only really got it back when BOC came on and we had a balanced back row. Harrison's hair line is receding quicker than his service  Cool

About time he did the honourable thing I think.

I think we made a couple of errors and our heads dropped. The lads were tired and we seemed to lose confidence. As the second half went on we got a little back (post yellow card). Agree that our backrow looked much better when BOC came on. Liked the aggression of Smith off the bench as well, great to see him back, just a shame he couldn't combine with Manu instead of replace him.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:26 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:

Oh and whilst totally legal George Ford needs a slap round the chops for his antics when kicking the conversion. 

Did not like that at all from Georgie. I would have been karma if we had needed another play to win the game. Legal, but unsportsmanlike.

On that note did I really hear Tom May claim Flood pretended to be knocked out to try and win a penalty and card?

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:34 pm

LT sadly flood needs retired to the pastures...hes no threat at all ball on hand...his kicking is so bad others have to take the kicks now...and all he does is like to hear his own voice.

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:40 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:We're gone.

We only have ourselves to blame. Poor , predictable boring rugby kick kick kick.

Toby flood needs to be benched now...hes so past it its unreal.
Only in the last 5-10 mins do we play.

Oh and whilst totally legal George Ford needs a slap round the chops for his antics when kicking the conversion. Gone down in my estimations by a country mile!!!

But would have been funny if Falcons had scored right at the end there as the clock went red ... would have looked pretty stupid then.

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Post by nathan on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:40 pm

In fairness, Ford was no worse than Floods dive. Genge brushed past him and he went down like a sack of spuds so let's call it karma.

Great game, my heart rate was through the roof though. Weird to think if we beat Bristol and saints and wasps lose there next 2 we'll be up to 7th and 2 points off 6th

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Post by Heaf on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:46 pm

Yep been a mad season ... made it more interesting though

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:47 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:We're gone.

We only have ourselves to blame. Poor , predictable boring rugby kick kick kick.

Toby flood needs to be benched now...hes so past it its unreal.
Only in the last 5-10 mins do we play.

Oh and whilst totally legal George Ford needs a slap round the chops for his antics when kicking the conversion. Gone down in my estimations by a country mile!!!

Job well done by George then. He knew Tigers were under the pump a bit and wanted a physiological edge. What easier way to wind up the opposition. Perfectly in keeping with the laws and it gave time for the Tigers forwards to get some fluids on and get communication from the coaches. Good captaincy.

If you do go down Happy we'll look after Hammersley and Wilson for you...

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 11:19 pm

Its legal Sam that's all I'll agree with. I dont think youd be saying that of it was on the other foot.

Nathan...Genge did hit him . I'm no flood fan these days but it was a hit.

Tigers did what they needed to do. But we were awful.

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