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Aviva Premiership - Round 21 Preview

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Post by LondonTiger Wed May 06, 2015 3:54 pm

Just one set of home and away fixtures to go and still all to play for in the upper reaches of the table.

Positions

Northampton 71pts
Bath 66pts
--------------------------
Saracens 62pts
Leicester 60pts
==============
Exeter 59pts
Wasps 57pts
++++++++++++++
Sale 49pts
++++++++++++++
Harlequins 48pts
Gloucester 43pts
London Irish 37pts
Newcastle 28pts
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
London Welsh 1pt




Fixtures

Fri 8th May

19:45 Harlequins  v   Bath      BT Sport
Both sides still have very much to play for. Quins are just one point behind Sale in the fight for a champions Cup play-off spot, while Bath need to win their final two fixtures to guarantee a home semi-final and still need one win to guarantee a play-off spot. this will be Bath's 6th Friday night fixture of the season and so far they have a 100% record. the Quins back row shoudl provide Sam burgess with the biggest test of his BS abilities so far, while Danny Care will be on the lookout for any positional lapses from the former RL man. However do Quins have the inner belief to get right in Bath's face? Can the look to isolate and neutralise George Ford? I am not sure they can.


Sat 9th May

14:00 Sale Sharks  v   Newcastle Falcons

Sale's season has started to unravel, while Falcons have offered more than they have actually been able to deliver. Sale will hope for more from Cipriani this week as they seek the win that would keep them ahead of Quins, while Mark Cueto could be appearing in his last home fixture for the Sharks. Falcons lost the reverse fixture in a scrappy match. and can expect to face a Sale back row that will harry them for the full 80 minutes. In the end it may come down to whether the Falcons mdfield can keep making their tackles on Sale's PI pair.


15:00 Gloucester  v   London Irish

With Gloucester's win in the Challenge cup giving them a Champions Cup play-off spot, this fixture is really only for pride. A repeat of the Gloucester/Falcons tryfest would please neutrals.


15:00 Northampton v   London Welsh
Any win guarantees a home semi-final for Saints. The expected TBP win will guarantee top spot in the table should Bath fail to get anything other than a TBP win at the Stoop.


15:15 Wasps  v   Leicester Tigers BT Sport

Wasps came to Welford Rd in their last fixture before the move to Coventry and came second best in a turgid arm wrestle of a game. They will be looking to ensure that in the reverse fixture, the first M69 derby, the game is played at a much higher tempo. Since the early season thrashings at Bath and Gloucester, Tigers have had the meanset defence in the AP. However that does not tell the full story as it can often be caught short of numbers when facing fleet footed opposition. there are few teams more fleet footed than Wasps. they have power in the back row and real pace in the backs. It is possible this could be a painful defeat that all but ends the Tigers season. Yes somehow find the will to win and play-off Rugby is all but guaranteed. Both teams hope to welcome back long term absentees into their second row options with Launchbury and Slater set to make an appearance. Tigers would be really bolstered by the possible return from injury of Marcos Ayerza.


Sun 10th May

14:00 Saracens  v   Exeter Chiefs BT Sport

Win and Sarries make the play-offs, as well as improving the chances of the winner at the Ricoh. Depending on Bath's result at the Stoop they could even move back into second place and with just London Welsh to come all but guaranteed home semi final. Lose and they could drop out of the top 4. any player for player comparison would favour the team from Barnet - but Exeter have been making fools of such comparisons ever since they won promotion. If they can treat Saracen's scrum with the same disdain as they did Saints, if Ewers and Waldrom can continue to win the back row battle as they have done for much of the season then the tyros in the backs such as Slade and Hill could make it a very long afternoon for Sarries and their fans.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu May 07, 2015 10:35 am

Hoping to see a line up of;

Ayerza, Youngs, Cole
Parling, Kitchener
Salvi, Crane, Gibson
Youngs, Burns
Bai, Allen
Thompstone, Tait, Morris

Bench - Rizzo, Ghiraldini, Mulipola, Slater, Pearce, Harrison, Bell, Loamano.

I worry that at the Ricoh the pitch will be wide enough for Wasps to run us ragged and then send that big back row through the holes. Burns and Youngs will have to be spot on with the kicking otherwise we'll be in bother should Wasps have space to run it back.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu May 07, 2015 10:47 am

Goneva's suspension is now up, so he will feature somewhere. Eould rather have Logo and Balmain as props on the bench.

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Post by MichaelT Thu May 07, 2015 11:17 am

LondonTiger wrote: Both sides still have very much to play for. Quins are just one point behind Sale in the fight for a champions Cup play-off spot,

Don't think the play off spot exists anymore with Gloucester winning the Challenge Cup.

BBC page on Gloucester play off qualification

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Post by LondonTiger Thu May 07, 2015 11:37 am

ah you are right. Originally it was intended to be four teams, one form each league and the Challenge Cup winners.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu May 07, 2015 12:22 pm

Well a farewell to the Stoop for Robson and Monye. Good to see Davy Wilson back playing.

HARLEQUINS HAS ANNOUNCED THE SQUAD TO PLAY BATH RUGBY IN ROUND 21 OF THE AVIVA PREMIERSHIP AT THE STOOP ON FRIDAY EVENING, KICK-OFF 19:45 (LIVE ON BT SPORT).


The match, which has sold out, will see Ugo Monye and George Robson appear in a Harlequins shirt for the last time at The Stoop.

Monye is the one change to the matchday squad which beat Sale Sharks, as he starts on the left wing; Charlie Walker is named among the replacements.

As Joe Marler continues his recovery from minor surgery, Chris Robshaw is named as captain.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden and JP Doyle
TMO: Rowan Kitt


Harlequins team
15. Ollie Lindsay-Hague
14. Marland Yarde
13. George Lowe
12. Harry Sloan
11. Ugo Monye
10. Nick Evans
9. Danny Care

1. Mark Lambert
2. Dave Ward
3. Matt Shields
4. Nick Easter
5. George Robson
6. Luke Wallace
7. Chris Robshaw©
8. Jack Clifford

16. Rob Buchanan
17. Seb Adeniran-Olule
18. Darryl Marfo
19. Charlie Matthews
20. Netani Talei
21. Karl Dickson
22. Ben Botica
23. Charlie Walker



Bath team
15 Anthony Watson
14 Horacio Agulla
13 Jonathan Joseph
12 Kyle Eastmond
11 Matt Banahan
10 George Ford
9 Peter Stringer

1 Paul James
2 Ross Batty
3 David Wilson
4 Dave Attwood
5 Dominic Day
6 Sam Burgess
7 Francois Louw©
8 Leroy Houston

16 Rob Webber
17 Nick Auterac
18 Max Lahiff
19 Matt Garvey
20 Carl Fearns
21 Chris Cook
22 Ollie Devoto
23 Tom Homer

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu May 07, 2015 1:01 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Goneva's suspension is now up, so he will feature somewhere. Eould rather have Logo and Balmain as props on the bench.

I don't think Goneva's firm warrants selection personally though Cockers will probably disagree.

I'd normally agree re Balmain over Rizzo but I think the Italian's mobility might be more advantageous than Balmain's bulk and work rate in the tight.

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Post by Bathite Thu May 07, 2015 1:54 pm

Think that's Bath pretty much at full strength now, bar Roko, who is with the Army. I'm never confident about playing Quins away, but that team looks good and the bench has real quality.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu May 07, 2015 1:59 pm

gotta say that on paper that looks liek it should be a big win for Bath. Quins team looks a bit meh, but they have limited options fit and available.

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Post by B91212 Thu May 07, 2015 2:46 pm

Agree, you could argue that the Quins pack looks mobile but to me it just looks under powered. With the front five Quins options have had available this season I wouldn't pick Robshaw and Wallace to start in the same backrow. I guess they are going to try and take advantage of Burgess' lack of breakdown experience. Backs look potentially exciting although the same can generally be said about the whichever backline Bath select. Away win for me.

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Post by Bathman_in_London Thu May 07, 2015 3:18 pm

This will be the first Quins away match that I haven't attended for a while but I am quietly confident that Bath can sneak out a win. I think given that its Quins' last home game of the season and its Ugo's last game, I am expecting them to come out firing but I hope that the Bath pack will prove too much in the end.

Interesting from a WC point of view that Webber has been overtaken by Batty this season, he is deservedly second choice at the moment I think.

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:06 pm

Some interseting choices by Cockers:

Logo, Youngs, Cole, thorn, Kitch, Parling!!!!, Salvi, Crane, Youngs, Burns, Thompstone, Bai, Tait, Goneva, Morris

Reps: Ghiraldini, Ayerza, Balmain, Slater, Gibson, Harrison, Bell, Loamanu

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:14 pm

Wasps Team

15. Andrea Masi
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Alapati Leiua
11. Sailosi Tagicakibau
10. Andy Goode
9. Joe Simpson
1. Matt Mullan
2. Carlo Festuccia
3. Lorenzo Cittadini
4. James Gaskell
5. Kearnan Myall
6. Ashley Johnson
7. James Haskell ©
8. Nathan Hughes

Replacements
16. Tom Lindsay
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Will Taylor
19. Joe Launchbury
20. Guy Thompson
21. Charlie Davies
22. Alex Lozowski
23. Rob Miller

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:15 pm

Sale Team:

15. Tom Arscott, 14. Tom Brady, 13. Johnny Leota, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Mark Cueto, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Chris Cusiter, 1. Eifion Lewis Roberts, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Nathan Hines, 6. Dan Braid (capt.), 7. David Seymour, 8. Josh Beaumont

Replacements: 16. Marc Jones, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Ciaran Parker, 19. Michael Paterson, 20. TJ Ioane, 21. Will Cliff, 22. Joe Ford, 23. Mike Haley

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:17 pm

Falcons Team v Sale:

15 S. Hammersley, 14 A. Tait, 13 A.Powell, 12 JP.Socino, 11 S.Sinoti, 10 R.Clegg, 9 R.Tipuna, 1 R.Vickers, 2 S.Lawson, 3 K.Brookes, 4 C.Green, 5 K.Thompson, 6 M. Wilson, 7 W. Welch (C), 8 A. Hogg

Replacements: 16 G. McGuigan, 17 E. Fry, 18 JP. Orlandi, 19 W. Witty, 20 R. Mayhew, 21 M. Blair, 22 Alesana Tuilagi, 23 Anitelea Tuilagi

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:18 pm

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS TEAM TO PLAY LONDON WELSH

15 Ahsee TUALA
14 Ken PISI
13 George PISI
12 Luther BURRELL
11 Jamie ELLIOTT
10 Stephen MYLER
9 Lee DICKSON
1 Alex WALLER
2 Dylan HARTLEY (capt)
3 Gareth DENMAN
4 Courtney LAWES
5 Christian DAY
6 Tom WOOD
7 Calum CLARK
8 Samu MANOA
16 Mike HAYWOOD
17 Alex CORBISIERO
18 Salesi MA’AFU
19 Sam DICKINSON
20 Jon FISHER
21 Kahn FOTUALI’I
22 Tom STEPHENSON
23 James WILSON

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:19 pm

Gloucester Rugby:

Charlie Sharples; Jonny May, Brendan Macken, Billy Twelvetrees (capt), Henry Purdy; Billy Burns, Greig Laidlaw; Yann Thomas, Richard Hibbard, Sila Puafisi; Tom Savage, Mariano Galarza; Dan Thomas, Matt Kvesic, Gareth Evans

Replacements:
Darren Dawidiuk, Nick Wood, Shaun Knight, Elliott Stooke, James Hudson, Callum Braley, James Hook, Steve McColl

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:20 pm

London Irish team to play Gloucester:
15. Andrew Fenby; 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Eoin Griffin; 12. Shane Geraghty*; 11. James Short; 10. Chris Noakes; 9. Tomás O’Leary; 1. Tom Court*; 2. David Paice*; 3. Richard Palframan; 4. George Skivington (Captain); 5. Jebb Sinclair; 6. Luke Narraway*; 7. Blair Cowan*; 8. Tom Guest
Replacements: 16. Jimmy Stevens; 17. Tom Smallbone; 18. Halani Aulika*; 19. Dan Leo*; Kieran Low*; 21. Callum Watson; 22. Eamonn Sheridan; 23. Andy Short

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:22 pm

Saracens team to face Exeter Chiefs

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Petrus Du Plessis
4. George Kruis
5. Maro Itoje
6. Kelly Brown
7. Jacques Burger
8. Jackson Wray
9. Richard Wigglesworth ©
10. Charlie Hodgson
11. David Strettle
12. Chris Wyles
13. Marcelo Bosch
14. Chris Ashton
15. Alex Goode
Replacements
16. Schalk Brits
17. Rhys Gill
18. James Johnston
19. Alistair Hargreaves
20. Ernst Joubert
21. Neil De Kock
22. Owen Farrell
23. Nick Tompkins

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 12:23 pm

And finally:

CHIEFS SIDE TO FACE SARACENS
15 Byron McGuigan 14 Ian Whitten 13 Henry Slade 12 Sam Hill 11 Matt Jess 10 Gareth Steenson 9 Will Chudley 1 Ben Moon 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie 3 Tomas Francis 4 Dean Mumm (capt) 5 Mitch Lees 6 Dave Ewers 7 Ben White 8 Thomas Waldrom

16 Jack Yeandle 17 Carl Rimmer 18 Alex Brown 19 Damian Welch 20 Kai Horstmann 21 Dave Lewis 22 Fetu’u Vainikolo 23 Max Bodilly

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Post by Geordie Fri May 08, 2015 12:30 pm

Well we've certainly got some impact to come off the bench...!

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Post by Jimpy Fri May 08, 2015 12:44 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Some interseting choices by Cockers:

Logo, Youngs, Cole, thorn, Kitch, Parling!!!!, Salvi, Crane, Youngs, Burns, Thompstone, Bai, Tait, Goneva, Morris

Reps: Ghiraldini, Ayerza, Balmain, Slater, Gibson, Harrison, Bell, Loamanu

You have to assume that Parling is in at 6 so that Tigers can target the line-out and offer power at scrum time. However, never was confident about this match and I'm certainly not more confident now...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri May 08, 2015 12:58 pm

Daly vs Tait at 13. That's going to a good match up. Not sure why we're starting with three locks though, presumably we're short on back row options.

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Post by Poorfour Fri May 08, 2015 1:11 pm

B91212 wrote:Agree, you could argue that the Quins pack looks mobile but to me it just looks under powered. With the front five Quins options have had available this season I wouldn't pick Robshaw and Wallace to start in the same backrow. I guess they are going to try and take advantage of Burgess' lack of breakdown experience. Backs look potentially exciting although the same can generally be said about the whichever backline Bath select. Away win for me.

It is underpowered, but mainly because we are missing 1 senior loosehead and 3 senior tightheads. (Next season we should have Marler, Collier and Sinckler back, plus Adam Jones - and a Horwill/Matthews lock combo, which is a much happier situation). Clifford has proven adept at fishing the ball out of a retreating scrum, so we have a shot at being OK on our own ball.

I think the choice of Robshaw, Wallace, Easter and Clifford all on the pitch at the same time is to give us a lot of mobility, carrying and breakdown capability, and hope we can run them ragged.

Basically, Quins have to hope for good weather, good handling, and being able to keep certain players on the pitch for the duration (Lambert, Care, Evans and Lowe are probably most critical).
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Post by Welly Fri May 08, 2015 1:21 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Daly vs Tait at 13. That's going to a good match up. Not sure why we're starting with three locks though, presumably we're short on back row options.

Although def a lock Parling played a lot of rugby @ 6 for Falcons.

Prob told to target line out and to help with the physicality of the Johnson, Haskell and Hughes back row. Although Salvi and Gibson are good at the breakdown (Salvi excellent) neither are the most physical of players in the contact.

IF Tigers are close with 60 to go with our sub I think we could do it.

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Post by yappysnap Fri May 08, 2015 4:17 pm

I'm really hoping for a Quins win tonight, massive final home game for two club stalwarts. It'll be emotional to see them both go!

Pleased I've got tickets for this one even if I will be there late.

Hoping also for wins for wasps, Irish and Exeter. Especially Exeter.

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Post by B91212 Fri May 08, 2015 7:06 pm

Poorfour wrote:Basically, Quins have to hope for good weather, good handling, and being able to keep certain players on the pitch for the duration (Lambert, Care, Evans and Lowe are probably most critical).
Big ask although with players available I understand you have no choice but to go this way. You need big games from Care & Nev, they seem either to be good or bad but never in between or adequate enough to get the job done. There are always going to be times when your halfbacks are not totally on top of their game but you need them to just scrape through enough to still get the win.

No doubting in my mind that you will be much stronger next year although it may take a while to gel. Although the prop injuries you have are just unlucky COS must shoulder some of the blame for poor recruitment these last couple of years. Give Logan's Run his (or her) do, I think they did forecast a season or two like the one you have had (in the most positive and professional way possible of course Wink).

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Post by doctor_grey Fri May 08, 2015 7:25 pm

Harlequins  v   Bath  
I think Quins will nip this one. Overmatched, Under-respected. Methinks they will pull one out by the one solitary hair on Conor O'Shea's head. Although they haven't played so well against teams above them in the table (hence their current position), I think they have one biggie left. At home.
Quins by 3

Sale Sharks  v   Newcastle Falcons
When was the last time Newcastle won a Premiership match? Yes, I know they are playing better, but just enough to lose? They must be thanking their lucky stars for London Welsh. I hear the entire Northeast are naming their first born male children Sinoti. I am hoping Cueto has a nice farewell game.
My crystal ball says the Cipriani clan beat the Sinoti clan by 3. At home.

Gloucester  v   London Irish
I wonder if Gloucester blew their juice for the season last weekend. If they did, then that would be all over Edinburgh and would be disgusting.
Hopefully a score-fest. Two clubs I like.
Gloucester by 10. At home.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS v   London Welsh
Interesting how anything less than a 4-try bonus point puts SAINTS at a competitive disadvantage since almost everyone else recorded the bonus point against the LW. Hopefully no injuries for Saints. Please finish up safe and sound boys. Then get off the pitch. The score will be close at halftime.
Saints by 1,000,000. At home.

Wasps  v   Leicester Tigers
In the old days, always one of the matches of the season. As it is now, with Wasps improving, the match is once again a headliner. We have to do something about calling it the M69 derby, however. Some dirty minds might poke a little fun at the name. Some real twisted folk might even put Leicester signs up outside Ricoh Arena! As a SAINTS fan, I have learned to never underestimate Leicester. Ever. (incredible ratbastards).
Happy it is televised. But Wasps are improving and seem to be doing well in their new home. This will have to be close.
Wasps by 3. At home. Maybe.

Saracens  v   Exeter Chiefs
Boom. The cap-busting, evil empire of Rugby against the young, stalwart, honest young men from the southwest. Where men are men and sheep are.......
Well, never mind that. Should be a terrific match. Exe seem just a little inconsistent. But Saracens seem just a hair off the level of previous seasons. Is the departure of Borthwick and his nose that important? Can young Slade and his mates grind out a victory? As they play more pressure matches, it may come easier. But I just can't quite see them pulling it out away from home.
Saracens by 3. At home.

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Post by Bathite Fri May 08, 2015 9:35 pm

What a game! My pregame fears were very nearly realised, but i'm unbelievably happy i was proved wrong!

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Post by quinsforever Fri May 08, 2015 9:42 pm

hay bathite. that was a sensational game. i know i'm quinsforever. but if i wasnt i would be a bath fan. they are just going to get better and better. burgess seems to be loving the 6 role, and bath him playing it.

think quins were a bit flattered by the scoreline tbh. but bath looked very comfortable at the end. even with only a 1 point difference. great entertainment.

what a send-off for the gracious Ugo Monye. retiring with 2 tries and MoTM after 13 years with quins. what a classy individual.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Fri May 08, 2015 9:52 pm

That was a cracker. really enjoyable as a neutral. Fair play to both teams, a terrific advert for Premiership rugby.
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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Amazed how close Bath came to blowing that.

Mind, while Bath were clearly superior in most things - Quins really unlucky with both injuries and Garner's decision not to issue YCs to several Bath forwards.

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Post by Poorfour Sat May 09, 2015 8:02 am

LondonTiger wrote:Amazed how close Bath came to blowing that.

Mind, while Bath were clearly superior in most things - Quins really unlucky with both injuries and Garner's decision not to issue YCs to several Bath forwards.

I'm still fuming that he didn't even look at the replay for that tackle on Wallace, or for their penultimate try (where it looked like there was a block).

Still, it was a good Quins performance against a much stronger side. If we can get back to playing like that every game, next season will be much happier.

Up close, Burgess does look like the real deal - I'm very impressed at how accurate he is at the breakdown, which was the big concern about putting him in the forwards. Having a lot to do just seems to suit him and I really hope he makes the summer training squad.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat May 09, 2015 8:31 am

Burgess looks much more at home at 6 than he ever did at 12 or 13.
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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:13 pm

This will be an interesting game, can't see us winning mind you

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:22 pm

Wasps offside a few times now

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:25 pm

Get in!

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:27 pm

I have a feeling this is going to be a really open game

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat May 09, 2015 3:35 pm

Been a while since Tigers have played like this. Where's this intensity been all season? Far from perfect but a damn sight better.

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:39 pm

Give it time, I'm sure they'll revert to type

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat May 09, 2015 3:39 pm

How do Tigers supporters see Burns these days? Is he becoming the player you hoped you'd bought?

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:41 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:How do Tigers supporters see Burns these days? Is he becoming the player you hoped you'd bought?

It's hard to tell when the whole team haven't been playing well.

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:42 pm

His kicking has improved though which it needed to

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:50 pm

Worried about parling, he's had a few head knocks this year

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:52 pm

Masi having a poor game so far

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:54 pm

Just spotted a stamp

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:54 pm

And it goes the other way...

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 3:59 pm

What a stupid thing to do

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat May 09, 2015 3:59 pm

Wasps are flopping all over the ball trying to win penalties. Tigers are frustrated and Bai has done something dim. It should be red.

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Post by nathan Sat May 09, 2015 4:00 pm

Hmmm, there is no contact with the head is there?

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