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Aviva Premiership - Round 18

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Sgt_Pooly
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Post by LondonTiger Thu 24 Mar - 10:33

Table


Aviva Premiership - Round 18 Table11

Fixtures



Sat 26th Mar 16

15:15 Saracens  v  Exeter Chiefs BT Sport
The weekend starts with the top two teams in the league facing off. After some poor performances during the 6Ns that has seen the current champions lose 3 times to fellow play-off contenders, twice at home, you suspect they will be welcoming back quite a few of their 6Ns players. Hopefully BillyV will get a rest, but after some disastrous performances from Nils Mordt we will surely see Owen Farrell rushed straight back in. Exeter are unlikely to risk Jack Nowell on the artificial pitch in Barnet and will have a tough decision over whether LCD's open field prowess will be needed ahead of Yeandle's far superior lineout skills.
Should they lose Saracens could well drop to 3rd spot, and if for no other reason I feel they will just be too resolute and grind out the win


17:30 Gloucester Rugby  v   Bath Rugby
Gloucester seem to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous this season, while Bath are still struggling to get out of neutral. If Bath can rediscover any sort of form they should win, but the chances of that happening seem as slight as ISIS winning the Nobel Peace prize. Instead I suspect we will see a feisty, error ridden encounter - maybe with several cards flourished by the ref


17:30 Worcester Warriors  v   London Irish BT Sport
Should Worcester win this game, they can probably start planning for next season in the Premiership. London Irish need to build on last week's win to keep the pressure on Falcons and to bring Worcester back into the relegation mix. Question is whether LI can cope with the high levels of physicality that Wuss bring to the pitch. I am not sure they can.


Sun 27th Mar 16

13:00 Sale Sharks  v   Leicester Tigers BT Sport
Sale will wish to do the double of Tigers, while the visitors will be desperate to put that woeful defeat behind them.

15:00 Newcastle Falcons  v   Wasps
If Wasps play anywhere near their potential, Falcons will continue to look nervously over their shoulders at LI.

15:15 Northampton Saints  v  Harlequins BT Sport
Probably a little early to suggest that the loser of this game will fall out of play-off contention, but the season is approaching it's climax. Saints results recently have perhaps been despite performance levels, but their form is on an upturn. Quins however are still failing to convince they will pull out of their mid-season malaise.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Thu 24 Mar - 10:50

For the Bath side there are allegedly a fair few to come back into the side but not holding out much hope for a coherent game plan with combinations working smoothly. There will still be several first teamers missing and lack of leadership on the pitch has been an issue. Hooper is going to be missed next season.

Critical game for the faint hopes of a top six finish.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Thu 24 Mar - 11:33

Quins will have their international contingent back although I suspect that Robshaw will be rested, Care is the only other that played regularly so I suspect Clifford will start with Care benched.

Saints will have Brookes and Hill back and ready to go so the front row is back to strength, Haywood is a more than competent replacement for Hartley who needs the rest of the season off after two bad concussions this season.

I struggle to understand JM selections these days, continually picking combos that used to work, but don't now and moving players from positions they are playing well in, back to positions they struggled in at the start of the season.

I think Saints will edge it, but not by much.
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Post by yappysnap Thu 24 Mar - 11:55

Not holding out much hope for Quins.

It's a big ask for the England boys to come straight back and turn things around, and I expect Robshaw and Marler to either be on the bench or rested completely for this game, possibly Brown as well. Care and Clifford will come straight back in though fitness permitting (depending upon how big the celebrations were...).

Otherwise an unchanged team from the one that was terrible against Wuss. It's not really the players though, they're alright (mid table maybe) but the mindset of the squad just seems all wrong.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 24 Mar - 16:52

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Quins will have their international contingent back although I suspect that Robshaw will be rested, Care is the only other that played regularly so I suspect Clifford will start with Care benched.

Saints will have Brookes and Hill back and ready to go so the front row is back to strength, Haywood is a more than competent replacement for Hartley who needs the rest of the season off after two bad concussions this season.

I struggle to understand JM selections these days, continually picking combos that used to work, but don't now and moving players from positions they are playing well in, back to positions they struggled in at the start of the season.

I think Saints will edge it, but not by much.
Right now I think Saints are the better team.  But I agree, Mallinder is making some curious choices which don't seem to make sense.  Would like to see Prince Harry matched with Burrell taking the ball from Dickson and Myler.  I also think how Marler plays will be interesting.  And will be up against Brookes or Paul Hill, just like in England practice.  

For me, I would like to see Christian Day and Victor Matfield starting to provide a nice mix of brains and brawn to the lineout.

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Post by HongKongCherry Fri 25 Mar - 8:59

Oh how the appeal of the West Country derby has fallen (pedants need not comment!). Picked for TV coverage only to be dropped, which given how poor both sides is completely understandable. It would have been nice if BT had given enough notice to move the game back to 3pm, but they are our pay masters. Both sides are in a rich vein of dire form, riddled with injuries and generally wildly inconsistent. With the added benefit of torrential rain it has all the makings of a terrible game, so it'll be great!

Glaws' season is effectively over bar the challenge cup but a double over Bath would provide considerable cheer. However given our performance against Irish was as poor as I've seen in the last 10 years I don't hold out much hope.
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Post by doctor_grey Fri 25 Mar - 14:12

So I have the Saints line-up all wrong.  I agree that I don't like the pairing of Burrell and Pisi in the centres.  Prince Harry (future England and Lions captain) should be starting. Maybe Mallinder wants some beef in the mid-field to stop Roberts?  Gibson, Wood, and Harrison seem to be the preferred back three going forwards.  Will be interesting to see how the scrums fare.  I think Saints have a slight edge throughout the pack, but only slight.  Perhaps the difference will be Myler v Botica, and my money is usually on Stevie.

For Quins, I think Brown should be rested.  As I said on another thread, he seems to me to be shot at this moment in time.  He is a tough guy and seems worn down.  I find it disappointing because I don't think he is being handled properly.  

I think Saints have a slight edge, and playing at the Gardens should help. But the Premiership is very tight this year and anything can happen...........

SAINTS
15 Ben FODEN
14 Ken PISI
13 George PISI
12 Luther BURRELL
11 George NORTH
10 Stephen MYLER
9 Lee DICKSON (capt)
1 Alex WALLER
2 Mikey HAYWOOD
3 Kieran BROOKES
4 James CRAIG
5 Christian DAY
6 Jamie GIBSON
7 Tom WOOD
8 Teimana HARRISON

16 Reece MARSHALL
17 Campese MA’AFU
18 Paul HILL
19 Courtney LAWES
20 Sam DICKINSON
21 Kahn FOTUALI’I
22 JJ HANRAHAN
23 Harry MALLINDER

HARLEQUINS
15 Mike BROWN
14 Charlie WALKER
13 Joe MARCHANT
12 Jamie ROBERTS
11 Tim VISSER
10 Ben BOTICA
9 Danny CARE (capt)
1 Joe MARLER
2 Joe GRAY
3 Will COLLIER
4 George MERRICK
5 James HORWILL
6 Jack CLIFFORD
7 Luke WALLACE
8 Nick EASTER

16 Dave WARD
17 Mark LAMBERT
18 Kyle SINCKLER
19 Mat LUAMANU
20 Chris ROBSHAW
21 Karl DICKSON
22 Matt HOPPER
23 Ross CHISHOLM

REFEREE

Tim WIGGLESWORTH

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 25 Mar - 14:24

Leicester Tigers (v Sale Sharks, away, Sunday 1pm)
15 Tommy Bell
14 Mathew Tait
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Owen Williams
11 Vereniki Goneva
10 Freddie Burns
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Harry Thacker
3 Dan Cole
4 Dom Barrow
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Laurence Pearce
7 Tom Croft
8 Jordan Crane (c)

Replacements
16 Greg Bateman
17 Ellis Genge
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Sebastian de Chaves
20 Opeti Fonua
21 Sam Harrison
22 Peter Betham
23 Telusa Veainu

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer; 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 4 Bryn Evans, 5 Jonathan Mills, 6 Cameron Neild, 7 David Seymour (c), 8 TJ Ioane
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

Tigers playing without a seven. Thankfully Thacker is playing to provide some breakdown competition. I can forsee this being a frustrating day up front.

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Post by yappysnap Fri 25 Mar - 16:08

Strong Quins team. Still can't help think it's all in the mind though, I won't believe we can win it until we do win.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 25 Mar - 17:21

formerly known as Sam wrote:Leicester Tigers (v Sale Sharks, away, Sunday 1pm)
15 Tommy Bell
14 Mathew Tait
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Owen Williams
11 Vereniki Goneva
10 Freddie Burns
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Harry Thacker
3 Dan Cole
4 Dom Barrow
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Laurence Pearce
7 Tom Croft
8 Jordan Crane (c)

Replacements
16 Greg Bateman
17 Ellis Genge
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Sebastian de Chaves
20 Opeti Fonua
21 Sam Harrison
22 Peter Betham
23 Telusa Veainu

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer; 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 4 Bryn Evans, 5 Jonathan Mills, 6 Cameron Neild, 7 David Seymour (c), 8 TJ Ioane
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

Tigers playing without a seven. Thankfully Thacker is playing to provide some breakdown competition. I can forsee this being a frustrating day up front.

Cole back is a big boost for our breakdown as well. I'd bet there is no coincidence between him getting back and Lachie being rested.

One gripe would be that last we heard O'Connor would be fit for this game and Cockers said in the week that Ed was fit again. Cockers is usually loose with proclaiming guys fitness so not too surprising really but a bit frustrating.

Hopefully Pearce hits the ground running after a few weeks of non-action. Cockers is likely gambling that a game against his new club at their ground will give him the kick up the backside needed to show his best.

Tait no longer has the pace to play wing and with TV/Betham on the bench it isn't forced. Looks like we will pretty much play with 2 full backs and look to work territory for much of the game. Probably hoping that by making Cips play from his half we can force his worst blunders out of him.

Big mismatch in size and quality of the second rows which Kitch and Barrow will need to drive home to make up for no openside against Seymour and Ioane.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 25 Mar - 18:02

Our pack is significantly bigger and I think we're going to use that. Play for territory using the three kicking options and two full backs to control the field position. Power through the set pieces and use Croft to challenge the or line outs.

The two play makers should allow us to put some width on the ball and with Betham and TV on the bench I expect us to go for the jugular in the second half after squeezing the life out of them in the first.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 25 Mar - 18:14

Agree with all that Sam. If the match-up between the props is fairly even at scrum time then the battle between Wee Harry Thacker and Tommy Taylor will be interesting. They are two hookers who actually strike the ball fairly cleanly. That said I would expect Tigers to get the scrum advantage with Ayerza/Cole back together and so much weight behind them. Kitch is an excellent TH side scrummaging lock.

That Saints - Quins match should be a cracker looking at those line-ups. So many interesting match-ups across the board (and a big challenge for Walker against North). I agree with Doc that the extra control Saints have at 10 should nip it but if Quins can get quick ball and run things off Care then things will be very interesting.

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Post by yappysnap Sat 26 Mar - 9:29

We have the players, it's just if we can sort our defense out and get the mindset right for this game. If the coaches can get the changing room right then I think we can win. Especially with Roberts and Care back. The wings are a little, fragile, in defense so let's hope Saints want to play up the jumper rugby.

Please no injuries.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 26 Mar - 9:48

Huge game for us this afternoon. We simply have to win and put Falcons under real pressure for tomorrow. Good that we have Elliott Stooke back in the starting line up, and big Trev back on the bench to provide some impact with his carrying in the final quarter. Confident but really nervous at the same time, it's a very strange feeling!
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Post by yappysnap Sat 26 Mar - 10:19

After their performance last week I could see Wuss easily beating Irish, but based on seasons form they could easily lose.

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 12:12

Ozzy3213 wrote:Huge game for us this afternoon.  We simply have to win and put Falcons under real pressure for tomorrow.  Good that we have Elliott Stooke back in the starting line up, and big Trev back on the bench to provide some impact with his carrying in the final quarter.  Confident but really nervous at the same time, it's a very strange feeling!

It's a hard one to call Ozzy after you outclassing wuss so completely at your place. I think the Warriors will want to put in a performance to set matters straight but Irish won't be lacking any motivation to get a result. Wuss have never won 4 in a row in the Premiership so could this be the day? I think Worcester will do it but not by very many. Can't wait for kick off!

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 26 Mar - 12:23

Yappy,
I think Worcester are playing better now than earlier in the season. And being at home might make this just a bit too much for London Irish.

This is one of the parts of relegation I don't like: Seeing long standing teams I enjoy watching sent down.

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 17:19

Not a great start for LI - Lewington out injured before they've even started - really can't get a single break this season ...

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 17:36

Lively start..

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 17:40

Wuss cannot afford to be giving away so many penalties.

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 17:49

Good tight match so far. Interesting that neither team opting to kick for goal.

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Post by kingelderfield Sat 26 Mar - 17:56

Watching The west country derby and some body has to sit poor old Ford down and sort out his kicking game. Just tell him to kick for territory and forget all this cross field bomb nonsense.

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:00

What a clearance by Tonks(?)

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:01

Since when has it been legal to kick the ball out of the SHs hands?

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:04

stub wrote:What a clearance by Tonks(?)
Yep - should have signed him earlier in the season ...

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:05

stub wrote:Good tight match so far. Interesting that neither team opting to kick for goal.
What's the wind like?

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:05

Missed that Heaf.

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:05

It's pretty blowy to be fair Heaf.

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:08

stub wrote:Missed that Heaf.
The odd thing was the ref saw it, put the whistle to his lips and then told the SH to play on - odd?

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Post by yappysnap Sat 26 Mar - 18:08

An Irish fan complaining about a reffing decision...

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:10

Fair point though Smile

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:11

I can't work out why the ref played on when he clearly saw it and unless I'm mistaken you can't kick the ball out of someone's hands?

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:11

kingelderfield wrote:Watching The west country derby and some body has to sit poor old Ford down and sort out his kicking game. Just tell him to kick for territory and forget all this cross field bomb nonsense.

What's the score there?

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:13

Heaf wrote:I can't work out why the ref played on when he clearly saw it and unless I'm mistaken you can't kick the ball out of someone's hands?

Perhaps it was a loose boot rather than deliberate?

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:15

No clearly deliberate when you see it - even with my one eye Smile

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:17

Think he called that penalty from the knock on wrong too - the LI player that fell on the ball was behind the player that knocked on - just ... oh well

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Post by yappysnap Sat 26 Mar - 18:19

Wink

By tomorrow I will be cursing the ref for every obviously wrong decision at Franklins Gardens

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:20

Smile

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:22

I'm trying to be more blasé about things but fail miserably ...

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:24

Some of the decision making by LI would also make me tear my hair out if I had any ...

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:27

Still very tight Heaf and anyone's game. Irish have screwed up some good opportunities.

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:28

Ojo looks in trouble - more bad news as we lost Lewington before kick off so will be short of wingers ...

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:30

stub wrote:Still very tight Heaf and anyone's game. Irish have screwed up some good opportunities.
Pretty standard unfortunately - probably missed 2 or 3 tries against Glaws last week - that's one of our big problems

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Post by stub Sat 26 Mar - 18:30

Heaf wrote:I'm trying to be more blasé about things but fail miserably ...

It's impossible to be blasé when you have so much invested in your team but well done for trying! I haven't minded the ref which probably speaks volumes in itself. Hug Mind there's a half to go and only 6 points in it so my views may change!

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:37

Nearly a nice bit of football by Pennell

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:40

again dropping the ball at the critical point steam

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Post by greenandpleasantland Sat 26 Mar - 18:41

Must say that Saracens looked ominously back in form this afternoon. Some lovely touches from them too.
Looking forward to seeing Taylor tomorrow as an alumni of the school I was sent to. Think he could be a bolter for the Australian tour as I like his core skills.

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Post by greenandpleasantland Sat 26 Mar - 18:43

That was painful for LI

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Post by Heaf Sat 26 Mar - 18:44

Heaf wrote:again dropping the ball at the critical point steam
AND AGAIN FFS!

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Aviva Premiership - Round 18 Empty Re: Aviva Premiership - Round 18

Post by nathan Sat 26 Mar - 18:48

Bit of rucking by the Irish player there

nathan

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Aviva Premiership - Round 18 Empty Re: Aviva Premiership - Round 18

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