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Aviva Premiership - Round 21 Preview

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

First topic message reminder :

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 beshocked Mon 11 May 2015, 10:38 am

no 7 & 1/2 wouldn't say he was that bad but if Farrell wants to be no 10 for England again he needs to get back to winning ways. Ford has made the England no 10 shirt his own because he has shown something different.

Farrell in the past would have steered Saracens to victory - perhaps it's harsh of me to single him out but if a player wants to play for England they must put their stamp on the match.Almost doing it is not enough.

I say this because if Farrell is the 2nd choice 10 for England he needs to be able to steer England to victory if he comes on. Not convinced he can do that at the moment.

Similarly with Ashton - a player I have championed - he scored 1 try but didn't take other opportunities he had - should have backed his pace more.

Jimpy you are absolutely right there is an overreliance on Vunipola - I have said that before too.

doctor grey no I didn't say that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 11 May 2015, 10:43 am

Yeah he's not getting the ten shirt back before the WC bar injury. I'd still have him above Myler, Cipriani et al though.

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Post by Jimpy Mon 11 May 2015, 10:48 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yeah he's not getting the ten shirt back before the WC bar injury. I'd still have him above Myler, Cipriani et al though.

Didn't see much of Cipriani during the 6N, which was a shame. When he did come on, he showed a bit of sparkle that you just don't get with Farrell these days.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 11 May 2015, 10:51 am

Never really did sparkle but he's bloody good.

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Post by beshocked Mon 11 May 2015, 10:55 am

no 7 & 1/2 it's about balance though. Farrell is not performing as well as he has in the past. I personally not convinced by him so far. I would probably gamble on Slade more as it stands - at least he's in form.

Jimpy you don't pick Farrell for sparkle. You pick him for his physicality,his spikiness and his game control. Also his ability to help his team win. He's not got the winning mentality at the moment. I want him to rediscover his mojo but he hasn't as of yet.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 11 May 2015, 11:04 am

I think he's getting back there. Not sure the win thing is that important; if for instance his miss pass was executed well from then on by Goode and Ashton and converted and Saracens won what would really have changed from Farrell's input?

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Post by beshocked Mon 11 May 2015, 11:56 am

no 7 & 1/2 it means Farrell would be part of a winning team again instead of being a loser. Winning helps build confidence and belief whereas a loss can demoralise a team.

I don't think losing to Clermont, then Saints would have helped to be honest. It's not ideal preparation to any game to be going in on the back of two losses.

I am saying that for Farrell to be back into England contention he needs to earn it. Shouldn't just be handed to him on a platter.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 11 May 2015, 12:45 pm

No it shouldn't and won't but looking purely on his individual performances and input the teams end result isn't really important.

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