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London Irish 2014/15 Thread

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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 30 Jul 2014, 9:02 am

First topic message reminder :

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

Senior Squad (36)
Hooker: David Paice, Michael Mayhew, Jimmy Stevens 
Prop: Tom Court, Matt Parr, Johnny Harris, Geoff Cross, Halani Aulika, Leo Halavatau, Jamie Hagan
Second Row: George Skivington, Nic Rouse, Sean Cox, Dan Leo 
Back Row: Kieran Low, Blair Cowan, Jebb Sinclair, Ofisa Treviranus, Tom Guest, Luke Narraway, Connor Gilsenen 
Scrum Half: Tomas O'Leary, Darren Allinson, Scott Steele 
Fly Half: Shane Geraghty, Myles Dorrian, Chris Noakes 
Centre: Eamonn Sheridan, Eoin Griffin, Guy Armitage, Fergus Mulchrone
Wing: Topsy Ojo, Andrew Fenby, James Short
Full Back: Tom Homer, Alex Lewington

Senior Academy Squad (11)
Hooker: Gerard Ellis, Ollie Adams 
Prop: Tom Smallbone, Richard Palframan 
Second Row: Ollie Curry, Theo Vukasinovic 
Scrum Half: Conor Murphy 
Centre: Ross Neal, Tom Fowlie
Wing: Harry Lightfoot-Brown 
Full Back: Cameron Cowell

Season Preview

After what can only be described as a disappointing 2013/14 season there is cause for some optimism as we approach the season.  For the first time in a number of seasons, there are more players coming in than leaving, and those arriving are bring with them international experience in varying amounts.  Of those who have gone, only Marland Yarde and James O'Connor would be guaranteed starters this season, and overall the squad looks stronger in terms of both the first XV and depth behind it.  

Up front international props Tom Court and Geoff Cross have joined the club, and Halani Aulika returns after missing the whole of last season through injury.  These three players could be key for us, as an improvement in the set piece will be required if we are to improve on our league position this season, and I am confident that these guys will see us right in that area.  Behind them the combative Sean Cox and powerful Dan Leo have also arrived and should bring the sort of physicality needed to be successful in the Premiership.  In the back row Tom Guest, Luke Narraway and Conor Gilsenan will give us options that we did not have last season, and hopefully Jon Fisher has now recovered from the concussion that saw him miss all of last season.  In short the pack looks far better equipped to provide a platform to play from this time around, and one or two injuries shouldn't hurt us as much as they have done over the last couple of seasons.

Behind the scrum Scott Steele has arrived and has been highly touted to challenge for 9 jersey, and Chris Noakes arrives from Super Rugby to challenge at 10.  Shane Geraghty however may have other ideas after finishing the season strongly in that jersey, but whatever happens, the competition for places can only be good for the team moving forwards.  Eoin Griffin arrives from Connacht in the centres, and looks to be a very good player.  With all of the four senior centres able to play 12 or 13 there could well be some mixing and matching and horses for courses selections over the season, and that is not to mention Tom Fowlie in the academy, who impressed every time he put on the jersey last season, be it at centre or on the wing.  James Short arrives to bolster the wing options and is a proven finisher who the fans will hope can fill the hole left by the outgoing Marland Yarde.

From the academy, Gerard Ellis, Tom Smallbone and Tom Fowlie should get some extended game time this season.  Ellis in particular impressed at the back end of last season and has spent the summer in Australia to assist with honing his skills at hooker, and Smallbone has been in New Zealand playing club rugby and continuing his development as prop by working on his skills with the father of All Black props Owen and Ben Franks.

Whilst we will most definitely be a better side this season than last, it is fair to say that most other sides have also recruited well and will be stronger than last time around.  After a very poor start in 2013 we spent the majority of the year in the relegation scrap, and lost a lot of games by narrow margins.  The key for us will be turning those narrow losses into narrow victories if we want to finish higher than last season, and I think we have recruited well enough to do that.  We must start the season better though, and that won't be easy as we play all of last seasons top four in our first six games.  We will have to raise our game immediately, although it is fair to say that some of our best performances last season came against those sides, and we should be able to draw from those performances this time around.  

I fancy us to steer reasonably clear of the relegation scrap this time around and improve on last years finishing position.  Whatever happens though, one thing will always remain true, and that's I'd rather be a paddy than Quin!!!  Leprechaun  Leprechaun  Leprechaun 


Ozzy's prediction: 8th


Fixture List
DayDate KO Opponents Venue Competition Result 
Sat6th Sep 1416.30 HarlequinsTwickenham Aviva PremiershipL 15-20    (7th) 
Sun14th Sep 14 15.00Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park Aviva PremiershipW 20-18   (7th)
Sat20th Sep 1415.00SaracensMadejski Stadium  Aviva Premiership  L 23-36    (8th)
Sat27th Sep 1415.00Leicester TigersWelford RoadAviva PremiershipW 22-19    (6th)
Sat4th Oct 1415.00Northampton Saints Madejski Stadium Aviva Premiership
Sat11th Oct 1415.00Exeter ChiefsSandy ParkAviva Premiership
Sun19th Oct 1415:00TBCMadejski StadiumEuropean Challenge Cup 
Fri24th Oct 1419:30FC GrenobleStade LesdiguièresEuropean Challenge Cup
TBCLeicester TigersMadejski StadiumLV Cup
TBCWaspsAdams ParkLV Cup
Sat15th Nov 1414.00Sale SharksSalford City StadiumAviva Premiership
Sat22nd Nov 1415.00Bath RugbyMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
Sun30th Nov 1415.00GloucesterMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
Cardiff BluesBT Sport Arms ParkEuropean Challenge Cup
Cardiff BluesMadejski StadiumEuropean Challenge Cup
Sun21st Dec 1414.00WaspsAdams ParkAviva Premiership
Fri26th Dec 1415.00London WelshMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
Sat3rd Jan 1515.00SaracensAliianz ParkAviva Premiership
Sun11th Jan 1515.00Exeter ChiefsMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
FC GrenobleMadejski StadiumEuropean Challenge Cup
TBC European Challenge Cup
TBCScarletsParc y ScarletsLV Cup
TBCNewcastle FalconsMadejski StadiumLV Cup
Sat14th Feb 1515.00Northampton SaintsFranklins GardensAviva Premiership 
Sat21st Feb 1515.00Leicester TigersMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership 
Sat28th Feb 1514.30London WelshKassam StadiumAviva Premiership 
Sat7th Mar 1515.00HarlequinsThe StoopAviva Premiership 
LV Cup Semi Final
LV Cup Final
Sat28th Mar 1515.00Newcastle FalconsMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
European Challenge Cup Quarter Final 
Sun12th Apr 1515.00Sale SharksMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
European Challenge Cup Semi Final
Sat25th Apr 1515.00Bath RugbyThe RecAviva Premiership
European Challenge Cup Final
Sat9th May 1515.00GloucesterKingsholmAviva Premiership
Sat16th May15.00WaspsMadejski StadiumAviva Premership

Links

Official website
The Craic
Wikipedia page
London Irish ARFC
London Irish Supporters Club website

London Irish RFC Twitter feed
RugbyLI Twitter feed
LISC Twitter feed


Last edited by Ozzy3213 on Mon 29 Sep 2014, 6:52 am; edited 10 times in total
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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 04 Feb 2015, 1:37 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/31115534
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Post by SirBurger Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:05 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/31115534

Sounds pretty promising, although won't get ahead of myself until it is officially announced. Skivington has been such a big player for us that I would still like an additional option brought in alongside Symons to cope for those occasions when George is out, or indeed, if all goes according to plan, Symons is with England.

A front five of:

Franks--------Paice----------Cross

-----Skivington----Symons-------

That really is top 6 material in my mind and will allow the mobile back row of Treviranus-Cowan-Guest to do what they do best and really flourish with more front foot ball.

The backs could still do with one or two extra names, especially at 10, but I think we are getting there.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:19 pm

That would be an excellent front 5, especially when you then consider the bench options would be Ellis, Court, Aulika, Rouse, all of whom can come on and have a positive impact.
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Post by Driver Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:25 pm

Hasn't Rowntree already spoken to Symons?
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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:26 pm

He has indeed.
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Post by Driver Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:49 pm

Must be highly thought of, mind you Rowntree speaks to every English qualified forward on the go.
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Post by SirBurger Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:54 pm

To be honest we probably don't want the England set-up speaking to him too much at this stage, as they seem to like to encourage our English qualified players to move to other clubs!

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Post by Driver Wed 04 Feb 2015, 2:58 pm

Imagine being a Falcons fan with Kieron Brookes. 

Rebuild his career for him to leave again.
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Post by exileray Wed 04 Feb 2015, 7:36 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:That would be an excellent front 5, especially when you then consider the bench options would be Ellis, Court, Aulika, Rouse, all of whom can come on and have a positive impact.  

really hope big bob can pull this one off with a 3 year deal, this guy is the real deal.

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Post by Hood83 Sun 08 Feb 2015, 10:04 am

How often has Symons played for the Chiefs, and has he stood out?

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Post by SirBurger Sun 08 Feb 2015, 10:33 am

Hood83 wrote:How often has Symons played for the Chiefs, and has he stood out?

He played almost every game last season although some were as a sub. He was still finding his feet a bit at Super Rugby level last season but both seasons for Canterbury in the ITM he has been very dominant. Chiefs have named him as provisional captain while Retallick, Messam and Cruden are out so he's obviously well regarded there.

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Post by SirBurger Mon 09 Feb 2015, 9:35 am

Rouse extends although length isn't revealed.

I really rate him - actually one of my favourite players. Age might not be on his side, but he is one of the first names on the team sheet at present. I expect Symons, if he comes, to overtake him, but Rouse's experience will be crucial over the course of a long season.

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Post by SirBurger Tue 10 Feb 2015, 4:12 pm

Dom Waldouck confirmed on the offy. Good signing and can play both 12 and 13. I wonder what the current hierarchy going into next season is in the midfield. I am guessing if we get a new 10 it will be:

12. Geraghty
13. Mulchrone

However, I could easily see it being:

12. Griffin/Waldocuk
13. Fowlie

By the end of next season, especially if those three guys can stay injury free.

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Post by Margin_Walker Tue 10 Feb 2015, 5:13 pm

That scenario looks possible, but I guess it's still dependent on a few things.

What we do with the third 10 berth (Myles renewing or another squad option coming in or whether we sign a starter)
Whether Coventry will see Shane as a 12.
Whether Fowlie can get a proper run without the injuries that have held him back over the last year or so.

Like the signing of Waldouck. Won't have cost a lot given the hard time he's had at Northampton and has potential to be a surprise package. Regardless Griffin/Waldouck/Fowlie and Mulchrone are a decent enough batch of centres with Shane able to cover. Guessing Guy (probably) and Sheridan (possibly) will be off.

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Post by SirBurger Tue 10 Feb 2015, 6:13 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:That scenario looks possible, but I guess it's still dependent on a few things.

What we do with the third 10 berth (Myles renewing or another squad option coming in or whether we sign a starter)
Whether Coventry will see Shane as a 12.
Whether Fowlie can get a proper run without the injuries that have held him back over the last year or so.

Like the signing of Waldouck. Won't have cost a lot given the hard time he's had at Northampton and has potential to be a surprise package. Regardless Griffin/Waldouck/Fowlie and Mulchrone are a decent enough batch of centres with Shane able to cover. Guessing Guy (probably) and Sheridan (possibly) will be off.

You're right - it is a long way off and probably a bit of a silly question! A lot will definitely depend on what role Coventry envisages for Shane and whether we do sign another first choice fly half (I think we will).

A run without injuries for Fowlie would definitely be near the top of my wish list for next season.

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Post by Margin_Walker Wed 11 Feb 2015, 8:05 pm

Tom Fowlie drops out of the 23 for England U20s on Friday night. Could indicate that he has some part to play in Northampton instead.

Or he could just not have been selected.

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Post by SirBurger Wed 11 Feb 2015, 8:47 pm

Hoping the former. I don't think he got off the bench against Wales which is a bit annoying.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Thu 12 Feb 2015, 10:23 am

I understand he's been pulled rather than dropped.
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Post by SirBurger Thu 12 Feb 2015, 10:32 am

Ozzy3213 wrote:I understand he's been pulled rather than dropped.

Makes sense with Homer off - I think Lewington may well be injured from stuff I've seen on twitter etc.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Thu 12 Feb 2015, 10:59 am

I'm guessing as we play tomorrow night the team will be announced today. i wouldn't be surprised to see Fowlie starting on the left wing.
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Post by SirBurger Thu 12 Feb 2015, 12:19 pm

You were right. Surprised it is over Lewington though, who I thought was injured but apparently is not as he is on the bench. Short's continued absence from the 23, other than in LV/European games is a bit of a mystery. He wouldn't be in my starting side, but I am surprised he has been used so rarely in the 23.

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Post by George Carlin Thu 12 Feb 2015, 12:52 pm

Haven't you guys bought Foley yet?
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Post by Majestic83 Thu 12 Feb 2015, 1:01 pm

Bernard Foley wont be going to Irish. He has signed a 2 year deal to play in Japan and also to play for the Aussie 7s team at the Olympics.

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Post by SirBurger Thu 12 Feb 2015, 1:03 pm

Was never going to be Foley. We have signed an '85% kicker' that we won't lose for the 6 Nations. So basically Goode or someone from SH.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 14 Feb 2015, 8:19 am

A real shift from the boys last night, Franklins Gardens is never an easy place to go, and but for a poorly called knock on from the referee we could have nicked it late on.
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Post by Radox For Men Sat 14 Feb 2015, 10:21 am

Getting bored waiting around for my match to start this afternoon so thought I'd leave this video of Tagicakibau's best tries for us here. Easily my favourite highlights compilation on youtube, really reaffirms my view that he was once the best winger in the prem, especially since there are actually quite a few memorable tries left out. Also love the bit of skill by Mapusua at around 2:10.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbAKs9lEZXA

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Post by Hood83 Sat 14 Feb 2015, 12:44 pm

SirBurger wrote:
Hood83 wrote:How often has Symons played for the Chiefs, and has he stood out?

He played almost every game last season although some were as a sub. He was still finding his feet a bit at Super Rugby level last season but both seasons for Canterbury in the ITM he has been very dominant. Chiefs have named him as provisional captain while Retallick, Messam and Cruden are out so he's obviously well regarded there.

Thanks, sounds handy.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 14 Feb 2015, 1:50 pm

Hood83 wrote:
SirBurger wrote:
Hood83 wrote:How often has Symons played for the Chiefs, and has he stood out?

He played almost every game last season although some were as a sub. He was still finding his feet a bit at Super Rugby level last season but both seasons for Canterbury in the ITM he has been very dominant. Chiefs have named him as provisional captain while Retallick, Messam and Cruden are out so he's obviously well regarded there.

Thanks, sounds handy.

Skippered the Chiefs to an opening round win over the Blues this morning. Did pick up a yellow card though.
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Post by Irish Londoner Mon 16 Feb 2015, 3:03 pm

Andy Goode coming from Wasps at the start of next season.

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Post by Radox For Men Mon 16 Feb 2015, 3:05 pm

Andy Goode now confirmed, very pleased with that. Would like to see a 10/12 of him and Geraghty next year with Mulchrone/Sheridan/Griffin/Fowlie/Waldouck fighting for the 13 shirt... pretty tough to pick one out of them, would be tempted to put Fowlie on the wing but then with Maitland at fullback it'd be hard to choose one from Ojo/Short/Lewington/Fenby for the other wing. We seem to have lots of good options without any real standouts. Much better strength in depth than we've had lately though!

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Post by SirBurger Mon 16 Feb 2015, 4:37 pm

As things stand (and on current form):

Franks
Paice
Cross
Skivington
Rouse
Treviranus
Cowan
Guest

McKibbin
Goode
Fenby
Geraghty
Mulchrone
Ojo
Maitland...

Looks pretty decent, with some good depth. I reckon at least 2 more signings to come as well, maybe 3.

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Post by bluestonevedder Mon 16 Feb 2015, 4:47 pm

You boys have been busy! 

A very decent looking starting 15 there SirBurger.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 16 Feb 2015, 5:09 pm

mind you that 15 isnt going to net LI much in the way of EQ player credits

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Post by Margin_Walker Mon 16 Feb 2015, 5:18 pm

lostinwales wrote:mind you that 15 isnt going to net LI much in the way of EQ player credits

9 out of the 15 EQ. Not great, but I've seen worse.

Expect at least one second row to come in (hopefully Symons) depending on who of Cox, Leo, Low renews.

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Post by SirBurger Mon 16 Feb 2015, 7:01 pm

What is the average that you need to obtain for EQP payments? Is it 14 or has it gone up to 15?

9 in the starting line-up must be about average.

With a bench of:

Ellis
Court
Aulika
Cox
Trayfoot
Steele
Noakes
Fowlie/Lewington

We would be up to the quota more or less.

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Post by Margin_Walker Mon 16 Feb 2015, 7:31 pm

Think it's 15 these days.

Shouldn't be an issue really. You have to really get your planning wrong (or have a glut of players declaring for and getting capped by Scotland...) to fall foul of it.

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Post by Margin_Walker Mon 16 Feb 2015, 9:28 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:
lostinwales wrote:mind you that 15 isnt going to net LI much in the way of EQ player credits

9 out of the 15 EQ. Not great, but I've seen worse.

Expect at least one second row to come in (hopefully Symons) depending on who of Cox, Leo, Low renews.

And right on queue it looks like Low is off as suspected.

Just tweeted that he's gutted he'll miss #Coronatime, Goode's unofficial hashtag.

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Post by SirBurger Mon 16 Feb 2015, 10:14 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:
Margin_Walker wrote:
lostinwales wrote:mind you that 15 isnt going to net LI much in the way of EQ player credits

9 out of the 15 EQ. Not great, but I've seen worse.

Expect at least one second row to come in (hopefully Symons) depending on who of Cox, Leo, Low renews.

And right on queue it looks like Low is off as suspected.

Just tweeted that he's gutted he'll miss #Coronatime, Goode's unofficial hashtag.

No disrespect to Low, but I've never really seen what all of the coaches have seen in him. Secure on our own ball in the line-out...a medium level work rate. I then begin to really start clutching at straws. Solid, but very unspectacular in my opinion. Shame as he is young and there is room for development but we don't need back-rowers and I don't think he is ever going to bulk up enough to be a genuine option at 6 for us.

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Post by Margin_Walker Mon 16 Feb 2015, 10:23 pm

Yeah, agree with that SirB. Seems to be rated by the coaching staff, but you don't see a lot outside of the lineout.

I think him no longer being English qualified makes him a less attractive option as well. Perhaps a move north is on the cards.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Tue 17 Feb 2015, 7:19 am

Low, signed his own leaving card really when he declared for Scotland. He'd have to be considerably better than the EQ options available in his position(s) to stand a chance really, and the fact of the matter is that he's not. Good servant to the club, but not a player I'm upset over losing.
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Post by SirBurger Tue 17 Feb 2015, 2:16 pm

I hope he goes to Bath. Just for comedy value and the reaction it would get!

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Post by Driver Tue 17 Feb 2015, 3:04 pm

I see former England U20s wing Andy Short has signed for Irish till the end of the season.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Thu 19 Feb 2015, 6:32 pm

Re-signing to be announced next week I believe.
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Post by Margin_Walker Thu 19 Feb 2015, 7:25 pm

Only a re-signing?

Shocking lack of action on the transfer front, if that's the case.

In all seriousness, who do we think? Following are out of contract I believe:

Matt Parr
Myles Dorrian
Eamonn Sheridan
Guy Armitage
Kieran Low
Dan Leo
Sean Cox

Possibly also Palframan. Won't be Myles, Guy or Low I wouldn't have thought. Guessing one of the locks? Possibly Eamonn, but I get the feeling he may head back to Ireland.

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Post by SirBurger Thu 19 Feb 2015, 7:38 pm

Think Palframan is still in contract.

Parr on a player-coach deal? He's been working with the academy front row. Otherwise it has to be one of the locks. Or, the alternative, that it is someone whose contract doesn't actually expire this season.

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Post by Margin_Walker Thu 19 Feb 2015, 7:45 pm

Yeah, hadn't thought of the latter point.

Parr seems like a pretty switched on guy, so that would definitely make sense. Now you mention it, remember seeing something on LI's Youtube a month or two ago with him working with the academy.

Not sure who I would chose out of the two locks. Cox is steady but at least EQ, where as Leo offers a little more and an offloading game, with the downside of being a bit of a penalty magnet.

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Post by SirBurger Thu 19 Feb 2015, 7:52 pm

Yea - Cox looks very slight to me. But at least he is EQP and good in the lineout. I think that's why, even if Symons does come, I would ideally like another lock as well. Although I guess Jebb will be used there more frequently next season.

Guess it also could be academy guys like Brophy Clews although not really a re-signing.

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Post by SirBurger Thu 19 Feb 2015, 7:58 pm

It's going to be Gilsenan I think. Remember reading after the STH meeting that BBC mentioned it.

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Post by Margin_Walker Thu 19 Feb 2015, 8:02 pm

Ah right, good if that's the case. Assumed he was one more than a one year deal, although I know the length wasn't mentioned when he signed.

Like the look of him, massive energy around the park.

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Post by Radox For Men Thu 19 Feb 2015, 8:08 pm

Would be pleased if it's Gilsenan. I'd personally have him in a first choice back row along with Trev and Cowan with Guest to come off the bench. Still think we should of hung onto Hala'ufia for another year or two though

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