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Saracens vs London Irish - return to the AP.

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Post by beshocked Fri 07 Feb 2014, 12:27 pm

Saracens starting XV to face London Irish;
15. Ben Ransom; 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Chris Wyles, 11. David Strettle; 10. Charlie Hodgson, 9. Neil de Kock; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Matt Stevens, 4. Steve Borthwick (c), 5. Mouritz Botha, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Jacques Burger, 8. Ernst Joubert.
Replacements; 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Rhys Gill, 18. James Johnston, 19. George Kruis, 20. Matt Hankin, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Joel Tomkins, 23. Jack Wilson.


Ben ransom has been given the nod at full back with Alex Goode away with England. Even with Barritt and Farrell also away in the backline it's still very strong. Good depth on the bench too with the return of Joel Tomkins and Jack Wilson, ex NZ 7s winger has looked lively when I have seen him.

In the pack it's nice to see Barrington getting the nod at loosehead, another talented English prop, just 23 years old after performing well in the scrum this season. The pack is strong with plenty of powerful depth on the bench. The Vunipola bros are huge absentees to any side due to their carrying power but there should be enough muscle in the pack to overpower London Irish.



London Irish team to face Saracens:

15. James O’Connor*; 14. Topsy Ojo*; 13. Fergus Mulchrone; 12. Eamonn Sheridan; 11. Andrew Fenby; 10. Shane Geraghty*; 9. Tomás O’Leary*; 1. Matt Parr; 2. David Paice*; 3. Jamie Hagan*; 4. George Skivington (Captain); 5. Nic Rouse; 6. Kieran Low*; 7. Blair Cowan; 8. Ofisa Treviranus*

Replacements: 16. Jimmy Stevens; 17. John Yapp*; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Jebb Sinclair*; 20. Gerard Ellis; 21. Alex Lewington; 22. Ian Humphreys; 23. Sean Kennedy

In contrast to the Sarries side which is missing players, this London Irish looks to be close to full strength.

A lot of London Irish's efforts will hinge on their key players like O Connor, Ojo,Geraghty, O Leary,Paice, Skivington and Treviranus.

Particularly O Connor and Ojo will relish playing on the fast surface. You would think that London Irish would look to exploit the relative inexperience of Ransom.


I expect Saracens to do what they have in recent matches - labour in the first 40 but step it up in the 2nd 40 to finish comfortable winners. Sarries are missing players but there's too much experience on the bench that can be called upon if things aren't going to plan.

Allianz Park is becoming a very tough prospect for away sides.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon 10 Feb 2014, 6:57 pm

Ooopps BS, called it a bit too early.

What the feck happened to your boys?
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 10 Feb 2014, 7:29 pm

A weekend where quite a few top sides struggled to get going. Including 1pt wins for Tigers and Quins, this was the shock result though.

Sarries had to lose sometime. Anyone see the game?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 10 Feb 2014, 7:55 pm

I've watched the 1st half on the Prem Rugby website, I'll save my analysis until I've watched it all. Interestingly though, the commentator said at the beginning that Sarries had over 300 international caps in the matchday 23, that's some serious experience considering the players they were without. I think in their starting XV, only Barrington, George, Wray, Joubert and Ransom were uncapped.

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Post by beshocked Tue 11 Feb 2014, 9:39 am

Well past it I got it half right. Saracens did labour in the first half - more so than I expected too. I thought that Saracens might raise their game in the 2nd half but they got worse.

formerly known as sam I went to the game. I go to almost all the Sarries home matches.

My interpretation of the game was: Saracens started okay putting quite a bit of pressure on Irish with Irish infringing numerous times which eventually led to a man in the bin. Despite a bit of sustained pressure there weren't too many clear cut try scoring opportunities though Bosch did score. Irish in comparison were simply very clinical - virtually every opportunity of points on offer they took.

There was a very strong wind which added to the unpredictability and Irish had that strong wind in their favour in the first half.

Irish hit back with a try of their own when Saracens foolishly engaged early at a scrum and Irish exploited the good attacking opportunity to score.

After that Irish hit Sarries with two soft and bizarre tries which knocked the stuffing out of them as they both came in rapid succession. One was from a poor chargedown by Hodgson who had a day to forget, he thought it was intelligent to kick through when it was 2 vs 4.

The other try came from a bizarre ricochet and was the jammiest tries I have ever seen - even more so than South Africa's fluky try vs England in the Autumn of 2012. I am not just saying that because it was against my team - if you saw it you would know what I mean.

That meant at half time Sarries were 14 points adrift.

In the 2nd half Saracens didn't really threaten to overhaul Irish and if you have to Irish credit for that. They defended very well and throughout the match were a menace at the breakdown - disrupting and getting turnovers again and again. They played the ref very well.

Irish closed out the game in the 2nd half by being more controlled and getting a bit of sustained possession.

Ozzy3213 experience counts for nothing if you don't use it to your advantage. Suppose you could use the cliche that London Irish wanted it more. Disappointed that with all that experience no one tried to galvanise the team. Generally Mark Mccall and his team talk seems to do the trick but not this time.

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Post by Heaf Tue 11 Feb 2014, 12:44 pm

I know what you mean by the 3rd try - I thought I was watching football for a moment rather than rugby Smile... although to be fair I think you do have to give the players some credit for controlling the ball throughout that move - I wouldn't say it was just down to luck.

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Post by beshocked Tue 11 Feb 2014, 1:53 pm

Heaf watching it again it was a bit fortunate- the ball eluding numerous players. Okay a bit of credit must be given for some control but the way the ball bounced throughout was incredibly lucky.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Tue 11 Feb 2014, 3:26 pm

Out of curiosity, how did Sheridan do in the centres for LI? I always rated him when he was with Leinster academy but he was really unfortunate with injuries during a key time when he should have been making the step up.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 11 Feb 2014, 10:41 pm

Having watched the game, I thought we played very intelligently and took our chances.

First half, Sarries had all of the ball, but our goal line defence was excellent, and we cleared well with the wind and made them come from deep. Our scrum was good, and we employed the choke tackle brilliantly.

In the second half playing into the wind, we looked after the ball really well. We played a pick and go game and just frustrated the life out of Saracens. Charlie Hodgson was poor Sarries. His decision making was terrible and as a result they struggled to take their chances.
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