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London Double Header

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Post by HQ matt Mon 27 Aug 2012, 10:10 am

Wasps Vs Quins-
How will the new additions go for Wasps? Personally I think they have recruited very well but there are still storm clouds hanging over the board room. The likes of palmer, haskell and johnson are surely going to bolster that pack, all dynamic players I expect to see wasps looking for quick ruck ball and to put the ball through the hands a bit. I like the balance of simpson at 9 and jones steady influence at 10.

From Quins I expect to see a more considered approach, the management seem keen on developing a ruthless effieciency with balance in all facets of play. Big packs like tigers and saints brought out a tactical approach from quins last year, moving the ball quickly to negate the oppositions power worked well (something wasps will look to do this year), this year however they will need a few more tactical strings to their bow if they are to challenge on two fronts. Last years defeat to connacht is the perfect example, the end of quins HC campaign was the result of some serious tactical naivety. The conditions that night in the west of Ireland were not conducive to an open game yet quins failed to baton down the hatches and were beaten.

I think we will see an open game and I hope to see wasps show us some flair and a hard working defence, this would be a good platform for the season for them. From quins I hope to see evidence of a balanced game plan, some tactical diversity and a reliable set piece. I'd also like to see some sunshine.


Sarries Vs LI
Less excited about this one. Sarries were disappointing last year, they struggled with injuries and international call ups but they also lacked some ambition with the ball. I thought with Hodgeson at 10 we would see more attacking intent last season but it never really materialised. Couple of years ago sarries did play an exciting brand of rugby for a spell, so we know they are capable. Ultimately I dont think the structured forward play and kick chase game will bring sarries more success or support and they will need both if they are to continue their development.

This season could be huge for sarries development they have brought in Englands top winger so lets hope they can get him and his fellow backs plenty of ball in hand to keep us spectators entertained.

I worry about Irish. I have said it before but they seem to have lost some experienced heads and i am not sure they have replaced them. They have, of course, re-jigged the coaching setup and brought new players in. Irish are always a pretty good side to watch going forward and im looking forward to seeing the likes of JJ and Yarde kick on and show what good players they are. But the defence was all over the place at times last year, I saw them miss a lot of first up tackles, discipline was also poor. Suppose shaun edwards is the right man for the job.

So from sarries more invention and open play and from irish tighter defence this weekend please.






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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 27 Aug 2012, 10:35 am

As a London Irish fan I am an excited and nervous in equal measure. I cannot wait for the season to start, and we will definitely be better than last season, but it's a tough start against a Saracens side who look a lot stronger than last term as well.

Roll on Saturday and COME ON YOU IRISH!!!!!! Leprechaun
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Post by HQ matt Mon 27 Aug 2012, 8:12 pm

ozzy, how do you think you will go in the 2nd row having lost casey and kennedy?

hodgeson and delon armitage gone too.. is geraghty the man?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 27 Aug 2012, 8:26 pm

HQ Matt

Big Bob Casey is a real hero of mine, but he barely played last year, and Kendo also missed a lot of games. Our lineout last season was a pale shadow of 2/3 years ago when that paring was pretty much untouchable. Our main three locks this season will be Matt Garvey, Bryn Evans and George Skivington. All provide more grunt than Kennedy did, so don't expect us to be underpowered in way. The lineout will take time to settle down and be totally cohesive, but Skivington is an excellent lineout leader, and I think we will be much better in the engine room this season than we were last time out.

Of the other leavers, Hodgson lost his place last year to Allinson, and we now have TOL who has looked very good in pre season, so I would say we are better at 9. Delon lost his way a bit, and although he is a loss as he is a fantastic player, it was right for him to go, and Homer is a very good replacement in the 15 jersey. Bowden missed half a season through injury, and I don't see as being any better in reality than either Geraghty or iHumph, both who arrive at London Irish with points to prove, for different reasons.

I am very happy with the signings that Brian Smith has made and am positive about the season ahead. The only are for concern for me is at tighthead, where we lack a real top class player. Rumour is that we have someone coming in in that position at the end of October, so most likely someone currently playing in either the ITM or Currie Cup. If we can get by until their arrival, then I genuinely think we have a better squad than last season, and will obtain more points than we did last year.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 27 Aug 2012, 8:47 pm

Id love to see foster horan getting some gametime with LI. He is a real prospect. Hopefully he'll at least get some games in the LV cup

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 27 Aug 2012, 8:48 pm

LeinsterFan, where would you say was his best position? I understand that he can play wing or centre.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 27 Aug 2012, 8:50 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:LeinsterFan, where would you say was his best position? I understand that he can play wing or centre.
Imo centre as he is quite hard to bring down. Would LI have a lot of dept at centre?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 27 Aug 2012, 8:54 pm

12. Sa (when he arrives from Catalan Dragons), Ansbro, Geraghty, Shingler, Luke Peters (academy)
13. JJ, Ansbro, Yarde (at a push)

We also have former Munster player Ian Cross who has come back from Rugby League and is on trial with us who can lpay centre (although he broke his foot against Blackheath in a pre season game so is out for a bit).

With Ansbro injured, and JJ potentially being away with England at some points, Horan may well get some gametime in the centre this year.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 27 Aug 2012, 9:08 pm

thats good to hear. im sure you have already seen this try but just incase you didnt.
http://www.balls.ie/2012/02/13/must-see-foster-horans-try-for-the-ireland-u-20s-against-france-last-weekend/

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Post by Hound_of_Harrow Mon 27 Aug 2012, 9:49 pm

Shaun Edwards will (already has made) make a huge difference to the Irish defence. Saracens should look to get away from the kick chase game that has blighted English rugby. Sarries have the strike weapons out wide, and should look to get them into the game.

As a Wasp, I can't see us beating Quins. In the last few games they have blitzed us in the first ten minutes, so I hope Dai Young takes note.

Our biggest problem is a lack of leadership and direction from the players on the pitch.


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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 27 Aug 2012, 9:51 pm

Surely having players like Palmer, Haskell and Stephen Jones will help with that side of things Hound?
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Post by Hound_of_Harrow Mon 27 Aug 2012, 9:58 pm

I would like to think so, Oz. A fit Simpson at 9 is the key, and Jones should give us a big + in terms of leadership.

Are you at the DH next weekend? We'll be in the TC beforehand.

Good luck.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 28 Aug 2012, 7:07 am

Sadly I am working next weekend. Finish at 4, so will be racing to the nearest pub I can find showing the game.
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Post by beshocked Tue 28 Aug 2012, 9:47 am

Never optimistic about the London double header. I think we've lost 8 out of the last 9 matches in it.

London Irish are a dangerous side on their day and very unpredictable.

If I was picking the Saracens 23 I would go for this:

1.Vunipola
2.Brits
3.Du Plessis
4.Borthwick
5.Botha
6.Brown
7.Fraser
8.Joubert
9.De Kock
10.Hodgson
11.Short
12.Barritt
13.Tomkins
14.Ashton
15.Goode

16.Nieto
17.Gill
18.George
19.Hargreaves
20.Wray
21.Wigglesworth
22.Farrell
23.Wyles

We need to put London Irish on the back foot instantly and that means attacking relentlessly. With Hodgson pulling the strings I am confident Saracens can do this. Plenty of firepower throughout the side. Need to use it. Du Plessis and Vunipola played well in pre season so deserve to start.

Kelly Brown back in the side definitely strengthens the backrow.

The bench is suited to turning the screw in the scrummaging department and change to a more conservative controlling gameplan if needed.


My thoughts on pre season - Tomkins looked poor but he needs time. It's a risk but he was a expensive signing so needs to prove his worth. Vunipola looked good at loosehead. Big lad and gives a big ball carrier to punch holes. Ashton looks sharp. Still lack of creativity but handling was good.

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Post by Jimpy Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:04 am

Unfortunately what I'll think you'll get is a conservative gameplan initially to try and contain LI and a reversion to a more open style of play if this doesn't work. We all know Saracens 'can' play, but it would be nice to see them actually do it.

I'm looking forward to it, have my tickets.

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Post by beshocked Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:15 am

Jimpy you are probably right but I want to see the opposite.

Look at the likes of Leicester,Leinster and Harlequins - they play with attacking confidence and it works.

Start off playing a more open style. Make the opposition chase the game which generally leads to a more porous defence.

When playing more open there's always the danger of conceding more tries but as long as you score more than the opposition....

If that doesn't work Saracens can always rely on the strong lineout and kicking game.

In the rare occasions when Saracens do get more than a score ahead it's very difficult for the opposition to come back.

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Post by Jimpy Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:18 am

beshocked wrote:Jimpy you are probably right but I want to see the opposite.

Look at the likes of Leicester,Leinster and Harlequins - they play with attacking confidence and it works.
Start off playing a more open style. Make the opposition chase the game which generally leads to a more porous defence.

When playing more open there's always the danger of conceding more tries but as long as you score more than the opposition....

If that doesn't work Saracens can always rely on the strong lineout and kicking game.

In the rare occasions when Saracens do get more than a score ahead it's very difficult for the opposition to come back.

Well Leicester can get away with it because they score lots of tries, witness the last 6 games of the regular season last time. They also let in the most tries of any team though (I think). You're right its a risky strategy, especially for the likes of Saracens (i'm not having a go by the way) who don't score that many. Which is why I think we'll see them start off conservative and if it all goes wrong, just be a little less conservative....

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Post by Hound_of_Harrow Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:18 am

Not much interest in the double header then.
Whistle



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Post by bathmad Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:29 am

Interesting about Wasps - do people see Stephen Jones starting ahead of Nicky Robinson when both are fit? Robinson was hard done by last year with injuries and squad rotations around him....

Personally, I see Harlequins beating Wasps, and Saracens bullying Irish up front (where they appear weaker).

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Post by bathmad Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:29 am

And I'm going to be there, looking forward to it!!

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Post by Jimpy Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:37 am

Its a great day out for the neutral supporter this one. We go every year and have no allegience to any of the 4 clubs. Its also great value for money.

What is a bit naughty (in my opinion) is where certain of these London Clubs (no names, no pack drill), use events like this to push up their average attendance figures.

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Post by beshocked Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:38 am

Jimpy I agree. Saracens have a conservative mindset which is a shame. The problem is the coaches can't see that it doesn't work particularly in Europe. So many times I have said to myself - why can't Saracens finish off the opposition convincingly?

You always need two plans.

A conservative gameplan has meant many wins but they've been tight. There has to be a time when Saracens won't be on the right end of these close matches. To a certain extent this has started already - see Leicester x 2 and Quins.

In the AP wins don't necessarily mean you top the table. It's mostly try bonuses. More tries is more fun to watch both for neutrals and diehard fans.

On paper the Saracens players should be able to score tries. The likes of Brits,Joubert,Goode,Ashton,Hodgson,Short are attacking threats.

Leicester are smart because they can both be attacking but have more facets to their game.. I still believe Leicester need a defense coach but that's for another topic.


Quins were successful last season because they've added mental toughness to their repertoire. Still went missing in a couple of big games but they've come on leaps and bounds.

London Irish and London Wasps will be dangerous in the double header because they'll be unknown quantities.

With Saracens and to a lesser extent Quins you know what to expect.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:41 am

Ansbro's injury means we will be less of a danger beshocked, he was looking very good at 12 for us in pre season.
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Post by Bathite Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:44 am

Beshocked

You really think that Vunipola, Du Plessis and Tomkins have a chance of starting over Gill, Nieto and Farrell? I'd be very surprised if any of these three started.

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Post by beshocked Tue 28 Aug 2012, 11:56 am

True Ozzy. Who will be your 12? Going to be tough for the opposition vs Barritt. Barritt has looked good from what I have seen - not just boshing it up either.


Seeing as these 3 have started in the pre season matches I hope so. Unfortunately I think you could well be correct Bathite.

Farrell as a 13 just doesn't work. Tomkins hasn't been great in pre season but he needs to be persisted with as it looks like Powell is out of favour and Wyles is seen as more of a wing/full back. Tomkins has the attributes you would want in a 13 but needs to deliver.

Gill hasn't taken part in any pre season I believe bizarrely. In contrast Vunipola has been very good. Heard he did a barnstorming run vs Bedford and got MOM vs Stade Francais.

Nieto is 35/36 - in my opinion would make more impact from the bench. Du Plessis has been in good form and is underrated. Haven't seen much of Stevens in pre season.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 28 Aug 2012, 12:16 pm

I would imaging it will be either Geraghty or Shingler at 12 beshocked, although I would go another way personally, and start Tagicakibau in there to get him on the ball as often as possible, looking to pull defenders in and offload.
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Post by Bathite Tue 28 Aug 2012, 12:27 pm

beshocked wrote:True Ozzy. Who will be your 12? Going to be tough for the opposition vs Barritt. Barritt has looked good from what I have seen - not just boshing it up either.


Seeing as these 3 have started in the pre season matches I hope so. Unfortunately I think you could well be correct Bathite.

Farrell as a 13 just doesn't work. Tomkins hasn't been great in pre season but he needs to be persisted with as it looks like Powell is out of favour and Wyles is seen as more of a wing/full back. Tomkins has the attributes you would want in a 13 but needs to deliver.

Gill hasn't taken part in any pre season I believe bizarrely. In contrast Vunipola has been very good. Heard he did a barnstorming run vs Bedford and got MOM vs Stade Francais.

Nieto is 35/36 - in my opinion would make more impact from the bench. Du Plessis has been in good form and is underrated. Haven't seen much of Stevens in pre season.

Surely Nieto makes more impact from the start, grinding down the opposition LH, drawing penalties and cards with his fearsome scrummaging. Then after 50 miins when he's knackered, bring on someone who offers a bit more in the loose. I'd always prefer it to be that way round. Want the younger, more mobile props in the half, when it is a bit easier on them. I'm a big Nieto fan, proper prop!

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Post by Hound_of_Harrow Tue 28 Aug 2012, 12:28 pm

bathmad - we would be daft not to start Jones with his experience. Now I think NR was instructed to play to a limited game plan last season as we kicked away possession far too much. But some of NR's kicks were woeful and were run back for tries (at least 5 tries were conceded like that). And some of those kicks were supposed to find touch!!
mad

We will not survive with such a limited game plan and godawful kicking this season.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 28 Aug 2012, 4:28 pm

Right, pray for me people.

I now have a ticket, but I am working on Saturday, and due to staffing issues I can't get leave, but depending on how busy it is on the day, I might be able to get away early, in time to get there and catch the second (and clearly most important) game!!!
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Post by Guest Tue 28 Aug 2012, 4:31 pm

Best of luck Oz. How far from you to Twickenham?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 28 Aug 2012, 4:41 pm

5 minute walk from work to the train station, then 27 minutes to Clapham Junction, 10 minute wait for the train to Twickenham, which is a 20 minute ride. If I can get away by 3, then I can make it for kick off for the Irish game!
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Post by ChequeredJersey Tue 28 Aug 2012, 5:38 pm

Can't wait, looking forward to some tries in the first game. Don't want to jinx any result though
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Post by beshocked Tue 28 Aug 2012, 5:41 pm

Will be interesting to see what Wasps bring to the table but realistically Quins should be too good.

Quins' defense is really underrated yet it's one of the best in the AP.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Tue 28 Aug 2012, 5:46 pm

I want to see what team we put out... Realistically we need to rest and test players this season- I'm interested in who and when
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Post by SirBurger Tue 28 Aug 2012, 6:23 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:5 minute walk from work to the train station, then 27 minutes to Clapham Junction, 10 minute wait for the train to Twickenham, which is a 20 minute ride. If I can get away by 3, then I can make it for kick off for the Irish game!

Hope you make it mate!

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