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Leicester Tigers 2019-20

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 10 Sep 2019, 11:23 am

Fixtures


September
13th Misc - Premiership Sevens, Pool Fixtures
14th Misc - Premiership Sevens, KO Fixtures
21st 15:00 - Worcester (a), Premiership Cup
27th 19:45 - Exeter (h), Premiership Cup

October
 5th 15:00 - Bath (a), Premiership Cup
12th 15:00 - Northampton (h), Premiership Cup
19th 15:00 - Worcester (a), Gallagher Premiership
27th 15:00 - Saracens (h), Gallagher Premiership


November
 2nd 15:00 - Gloucester (h), Gallagher Premiership
10th 15:00 - London Irish (a), Gallagher Premiership
16th 15:00 - Pau (h), Challenge Cup
23rd 20:00 - Cardiff (a), Challenge Cup

30th 15:00 - Northampton (a), Gallagher Premiership

December
 7th 15:00 - Calvisano (h), Challenge Cup
14th 13:30 - Calvisano (a), Challenge Cup

21st 15:00 - Exeter (h), Gallagher Premiership
28th 16:30 - Harlequins (a - Twickenham), Gallagher Premiership

January
 4th 15:00 - Bristol (h), Gallagher Premiership
12th 15:15 - Cardiff (h), Challenge Cup

17/18/19 - Pau (a), Challenge Cup
24/25/26 - Bath (a), Gallagher Premiership

February
14/15/16 - Wasps (h), Gallagher Premiership
21/21/23 - Sale (a), Gallagher Premiership
28/29/01 - Worcester (h), Gallagher Premiership

March
6/7/8 - Saracens (a), Gallagher Premiership
20/21/22 - Exeter (a), Gallagher Premiership
27/28/29 - Beth (h), Gallagher Premiership


April
3/4/5 - Castres (h), Challenge Cup 1/4 Final
10/11/12 - London Irish (h), Gallagher Premiership
17/18/19 - Gloucester (a), Gallagher Premiership
24/25/26 - Sale (h), Gallagher Premiership

May
8/9/10 - Wasps (a), Gallagher Premiership
15/16/17 - Northampton (h), Gallagher Premiership
29/30/31 - Bristol (a), Gallagher Premiership

June
5/6/7 - Harlequins (h), Gallagher Premiership


Squad & Coaching Team


Head Coach: Geordan Murphy
Forwards Coach: Mark Bakewell
Attack Coach: Mike Ford
Defence Coach: Phil Blake
Scrum Coach: Boris Stankovich
Senior Development coach: Brett Deacon
Team Manager: Teresa Carrington


First Team Squad:
Props (8): Greg Bateman, Dan Cole, Gaston Cortes, Ellis Genge, Facundo Gigena, Joe Heyes, Owen Hills, Nephi Leatigaga
Hookers (5): Charlie Clare, Jake Kerr, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jimmy Stevens, Tom Youngs
Second Row (4): Calum Green, Tomas Lavanini, Will Spencer, Harry Wells
Back Row (8): Jordan Coghlan, Dave Denston, Sione Kalamafoni, Sam Lewis, Hanro Liebenberg, Tommy Reffell, Jordan Taufua, Guy Thompson
Half Backs: (8)Sam Harrison, Harry Simmons, Ben White, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Tom Hardwicke, Johnny McPhillips, Noel Reid
Outside Backs (13): Sam Aspland-Robinson, Kyle Eastmond, Andy Forsyth, Jonah Holmes, Jonny May, Jordan Olowofela, Jaco Taute, Joe Thomas, Adam Thompstone, Manu Tuilagi, Telusa Veainu, EW Viljoen, George Worth

Development Squad:
Props (3): Osman Dimen, Keston Lines, James Whitcombe
Hookers (0):
Second Row (3): Cameron Jordan, Tom Manz, George Martin
Back Row (5): Ollie Ashwoth, Sam Eveleigh, Taylor Gough, Henri Lavin, Thom Smith
Half Backs (3): Jonny Law, Jack van Poortvliet, Sam Costelow
Outside Backs (4): Joe Browning, Kyran Bungaroo, Leo Gilliland, Freddie Steward


Last edited by LondonTiger on Tue 21 Jan 2020, 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 10 Sep 2019, 12:25 pm

Various talk of us providing some loans to the Championship. Jimmy Stevens to Leeds/Yorkshire and then Nottingham fans at a forum have been told that a flyhalf will come in to cover at least the RWC period possibly longer. Given we are borrowing the Nottingham number 8 we could see a loan or two go that way for the season to help bring the club ties closer as in recent years they've had more DRs/loans from Wasps. We have a number of development players and we've already sent some of the younger ones off to play senior rugby at lower levels so this would tie in.

Perhaps see one of the young backrowers (Thom Smith maybe) go to Nottingham with either Costelow or more likely Hardwick. We'd still have McPhillips and the Reid as options at 10 and Reid, Forsyth and Eastmond as options at 12.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 10 Sep 2019, 2:08 pm

https://www.leicestertigers.com/news/reffell-eager-to-complete-final-fortnight

This quote is a rather damning indictment on last years pre-season:


There’s been a lot more running involved than last season, but I feel really good. We’re a lot more structured and there’s more explanation of why we’re doing particular things than there might have been in the past.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 10 Sep 2019, 4:17 pm

That in no way surprises me. Considering what I heard happened under the old regime our game plan was not thinking man's rugby. Trying to run through contact and bully teams was the order of the day and other teams just ran the legs out of us and then took us to the cleaners.

I think MOC didn't expect to still be in employment by the end of the summer and hence why he ended up returning two weeks late for pre season and turned out such an unprepared and undercooked side. Murphy got a bye for last season, he won't get away with that level of performance again so it's good he's working them hard.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 10:13 am

Leicester Tigers 2019-20 440a3005

Oh my word. "Fluoro red"!!

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 11:13 am

Don't forget the dynamic Tigers stripes.

Home kit looks traditional enough to pass though I wish they'd lighten the green again and move it towards what the academy are wearing. Incidentally if they ever decided to market the academy kit they'd make an absolute killing as there's a serious demand for the traditional style kit they wear.

Away kit is a bit bright for my tastes but some of the colourful away kits have sold previously and this one is more conservative than some of the ones we've seen. It might grow on me yet.

All in all not bad I'd give it a solid 7 out of 10 which may vary once I see them in the flesh.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 11:17 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Home kit looks traditional enough to pass though I wish they'd lighten the green again and move it towards what the academy are wearing. Incidentally if they ever decided to market the academy kit they'd make an absolute killing as there's a serious demand for the traditional style kit they wear.

Yeah, the SuperDry jerseys styled on the old colours sold very well.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 12:05 pm

Those SuperDry shirts were very expensive as well. I thought they'd have used those as the template going forwards. Paler green traditional home shirt and then didn't SuperDry do a blue one that could have worked as the away shirt?

Good post on the Facebook page by someone comparing the home shirt to the 2007 edition. Looks very similar.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 12:39 pm

There were 3 I think. 

The pale green one (circa 97/98 colours) with a "J" on teh back.
A Blue one similar to the away kit from 2002ish with a "B" on the back.
Plus I think there was an "O" shirt.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 11 Sep 2019, 2:22 pm

LondonTiger wrote:There were 3 I think. 

The pale green one (circa 97/98 colours) with a "J" on teh back.
A Blue one similar to the away kit from 2002ish with a "B" on the back.
Plus I think there was an "O" shirt.

Think there was a solid green one. 9 on the front and O on the back.

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 12 Sep 2019, 1:28 pm

Andy Forsyth and Ifereimi Boladau have joined for the start of the season to cover absentees for the World Cup, Mitre 10, Currie Cup, injury etc.

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 12 Sep 2019, 1:29 pm

LondonTiger wrote:https://www.leicestertigers.com/news/reffell-eager-to-complete-final-fortnight

This quote is a rather damning indictment on last years pre-season:


There’s been a lot more running involved than last season, but I feel really good. We’re a lot more structured and there’s more explanation of why we’re doing particular things than there might have been in the past.
I think it was Ellis Genge who posted some glowing views of Reffell on twitter when he re-signed.

I genuinely believe that Reffell can become a first XV player this season and start growing into a role as a leader in the squad.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 12 Sep 2019, 2:15 pm

Hopefully Reffell is going to step up and start pushing Thompson for his spot. Thompson turns 33 this season so we need to seriously look at some options for when Guy's body starts to say "no more" because he doesn't exactly play in a way that offers much preservation. I liked what I saw of Reffell last season so hopefully see some of him staking a claim before Kalamafoni and Taufua come back.

Quite like the idea of a Thompson, Reffell, Liebenburg backrow.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 13 Sep 2019, 6:43 am

Times reporting that the club are still in discussions with Borthwick, with a view to joining set up after 6Ns.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 13 Sep 2019, 8:05 am

LondonTiger wrote:Times reporting that the club are still in discussions with Borthwick, with a view to joining set up after 6Ns.

Bakewell joined on a two and a half year deal didn't he? So he'd be out of contract next summer. Get Borthwick in, in advance to settle in. Makes sense. Can't imagine Borthwick would want to be just the forwards coach so will he become head coach with Murphy DOR or visa versa.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 13 Sep 2019, 8:39 am

The report pointed out that we have no DoR at the moment but stated that the role under discussion was unclear.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 13 Sep 2019, 8:54 am

Well Borthwick would sort our lineout and help bring some intensity up front.

I imagine it would be one of the above, either he becomes DOR or he becomes HC and Geordie goes to DOR. Might even be dependent on how we go at the start of the season. Another poor start and it would be odd to promote Murphy to DOR.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 16 Sep 2019, 6:50 am

Dave Denton has had to retire.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/david-denton-forced-to-quit-rugby-after-concussion-injury-76s5mb9hf

Paywall I know, but contains the info in first part.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 16 Sep 2019, 10:00 am

Sad but entirely expected news. Good luck to him on whatever comes next. With a young family at home he's made the right choice, not worth risking his long term health it's time to take the insurance pay out and go do something else.

It opens up opportunities for some of the development backrow to get game time. Lavin was very impressive in the 7s, looks to have a bit of the Guy Thompson about him ball in hand. I'd be interested to see his all round game in a senior environment.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 2:04 pm

Tigers confirm that Sam Harrison will be leaving after Christmas and emigrating to Australia. This was discussed on last season's thread, but now official.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 5:00 pm

Taking up a non-rugby profession. Hope it goes well for him and his family. He could have had years more in his career if he wanted. Will always be a popular figure with the Tigers faithful.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 11:24 am

He's been a terrific servant to the club but Shazam's form did dip last season. With White and Simmons promoted to the senior squad it's probably good timing for both parties. With White out of form and Simmons only just back from injury I do hope that Shazam starts against Sarries.

Jordan Taufua played in the final of the Mitre 10 in New Zealand yesterday so hopefully his Tigers contract will begin imminently.

With Thompson and Reffell playing well at 7 and Liebenberg slotting in well I'm very excited about Taufua coming into the mix.

It will be fantastic to see Veainu back in a Tigers shirt as well.

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 31 Oct 2019, 9:05 pm

Telegraph article about Borthwick's work with England mentions that he looks set to join Tigers after the RWC.

Would be a huge boost. There's some good forwards to work with in the squad now. The defence has shown signs of improvement but they're still offering nothing going forward - or not going forward more to the point.

Hopefully Borthwick can get the line-out and maul functioning as a weapon alongside the improved scrum, then build from there.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 31 Oct 2019, 9:32 pm

The attacking play was one dimensional last weekend. Liebenburg has done a little video segment for the website talking about how they failed to keep to their attacking patterns last weekend and how they are working in them during the week. We did have a lot of ball in the Sarries 22 in the opening 20 minutes, the next 60 minutes not so much.

I'm hopeful Borthwick will bring an intensity and ruthlessness to the forwards. At the minute we're a little basic.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 3:08 pm

Leicester Tigers (v Gloucester Rugby, Welford Road, Saturday 3.00pm)

15 Telusa Veainu

14 Jonah Holmes

13 Andy Forsyth

12 Tom Hardwick

11 Jordan Olowofela

10 Noel Reid

9 Sam Harrison

1 Greg Bateman

2 Tom Youngs (c)

3 Nephi Leatigaga

4 Harry Wells

5 Calum Green

6 Hanro Liebenberg

7 Guy Thompson

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau

17 Facundo Gigena

18 Joe Heyes

19 Tomás Lavanini

20 Ifereimi Boladau

21 Ben White

22 George Worth

23 Adam Thompstone

Gloucester Rugby: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson; 1 Josh Hohneck, 2 Franco Marais, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Ed Slater (c), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Jake Polledri, 8 Ben Morgan
Replacements: 16 Corné Fourie, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Jason Woodward

Oh crumbs we could be in for another tough afternoon. Gloucester are barely missing any of their big names, that looks a very handy side. I don't feel so assured by what we have.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 3:16 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Leicester Tigers (v Gloucester Rugby, Welford Road, Saturday 3.00pm)

15 Telusa Veainu      

14 Jonah Holmes

13 Andy Forsyth

12 Tom Hardwick

11 Jordan Olowofela

10 Noel Reid

9 Sam Harrison

1 Greg Bateman

2 Tom Youngs (c)

3 Nephi Leatigaga

4 Harry Wells

5 Calum Green

6 Hanro Liebenberg

7 Guy Thompson

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau

17 Facundo Gigena

18 Joe Heyes

19 Tomás Lavanini

20 Ifereimi Boladau

21 Ben White

22 George Worth

23 Adam Thompstone

Gloucester Rugby: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson; 1 Josh Hohneck, 2 Franco Marais, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Ed Slater (c), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Jake Polledri, 8 Ben Morgan
Replacements: 16 Corné Fourie, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Jason Woodward

Oh crumbs we could be in for another tough afternoon. Gloucester are barely missing any of their big names, that looks a very handy side. I don't feel so assured by what we have.

I don't understand why Hardwick is at 12 and Reid at 10? Surely they are both more comfortable to other way around?

I also think that our starting backline, excluding Holmes and Veainu, is easily the worst starting backline in the premiership. It's totally uninspiring. I think we are in for a real whipping.

I'm glad to see Leatigaga get the start after a strong showing from the bench last weekend, and the backrow looks like it could put up a bit of a test, but we'll see.

This has been quite a disappointing start to the season so far, even considering the players at the WC.

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 3:32 pm

if Borthwick is already an open deal then is Murphy going to become DOR? I find it a bit odd to keep him on at all to be honest, giving him a permanent job off the back of overseeing the worst period in Tigers professional history is hardly great even to the most ardent of apologists. And whilst Tigers have been hit harder than many by the world cup they arent missing as many as Saracens. 

That Gloucester line up looks like it should walk all over Tigers, certainly the backs. Again someones done smarter business around test players. Olowofela cant keep using the youngster excuse forever, at some point he needs to start looking like a senior wing.

Borthwick really does sound like a good pick up but it will be a hard climb back up the premiership table if they lose this and then theres no HC place for when the backs are (back?). Another year close to being written off already.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 4:14 pm

Blue, agree completely on Hardwick and Reid. Very odd call that, hopefully they'll interchange as they did in the second half of last week when Hardwick got us moving wide. We could really do with some physicality through the centres, Taute's injury really is unfortunate, he'd be a handy focal point at 12 or 13. If we'd picked up the losing bonus points that we just let slip through our fingers the start to the season wouldn't be so bad.

Gooseberry, Geordie has a vision of where he wants to take Tigers to. I think under him we are moving in the right direction in many areas but he isn't the head coach we need. The move to DOR where he can continue the pathway integration between academy to development squad to senior team. Where he can focus on developing the squad back to a good mix of age and ability, the squad balance is much better this season after the back heavy investment previously. Hopefully that aside Borthwick's tendency to coach very intense and combative sides should be good.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 4:21 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Blue, agree completely on Hardwick and Reid. Very odd call that, hopefully they'll interchange as they did in the second half of last week when Hardwick got us moving wide. We could really do with some physicality through the centres, Taute's injury really is unfortunate, he'd be a handy focal point at 12 or 13. If we'd picked up the losing bonus points that we just let slip through our fingers the start to the season wouldn't be so bad.

Gooseberry, Geordie has a vision of where he wants to take Tigers to. I think under him we are moving in the right direction in many areas but he isn't the head coach we need. The move to DOR where he can continue the pathway integration between academy to development squad to senior team. Where he can focus on developing the squad back to a good mix of age and ability, the squad balance is much better this season after the back heavy investment previously. Hopefully that aside Borthwick's tendency to coach very intense and combative sides should be good.

What is Taute's injury Sam? I haven't heard anything. We could really use him in the centres. As you say, neither starters are particularly physical and can make the hard yards. EW Viljoen has been unspectacular but was highly rated in SA, so hopefully he's just adjusting to a new system. Hell of a boot on him but he needs to be less greedy.

Looking forward to hopefully seeing Green and Lavanini in the second row at some point though. Could be tasty.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 7:36 pm

Gloucester are only missing Mostert on international duty whilst Tigers are missing 4 out of 7 from starting back line for England. Could get messy in the backs.

I like that Forsyth has been recalled, hopefully he adds a bit more shape as he did against Exeter. Viljeon is a talent but I think he needs to get game time either on the wing or with a stronger back line around him in order to settle.

Great to see Veainu back and Lavanini on the bench.

In bright news, Taufua has arrived at Oval Park as well.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 8:36 pm

Blue, Murphy said that Taute had a little knee injury and would be a few weeks away before the Saints PRC game. Should be back soon but isn't quite ready it seems. With Manu at the RWC and all three of Eastmond, Viljoen and Taute unavailable we are little short in that position. We could certainly do with someone with some power to help our playmakers out, surprised to see Thompstone on the bench as he could offer that.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 01 Nov 2019, 9:44 pm

Thompstone has made a good return after a long time out injured. I was worried that a PCL injury at 32 might have robbed his pace but he seems sharp as ever.

It's a familiar story over the last two games. Our depth in key positions isn't what it should be, then poor structure and no game management exacerbates things.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Leatigaga offers from the start. He was impressive in the loose and scrum against Sarries. Hohneck is a good opponent in the scrum too.

I really don't understand why Reid is wearing 10 though. He's a very good 12, so pick him there.

Hopefully that bench means we'll get to see Worth in the midfield at some point though. He has performed solidly at fullback but I struggle to see him ever shining there without more pace.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 02 Nov 2019, 1:31 pm

Depth takes time to develop I don't think it's something you can just but with the salary cap. This is the price we paying for years of misusing the academy. Other teams have got home grown talent padding out their squad already to slot into the long established systems we just don't have.

No one understands the Reid situation. Unless Murphy is being clever and will effectively switch him with Hardwick for the game with Gloucester having spent all week looking at how Reid plays and not ready to pressure the young flyhalf.

Worth has looked good at 15, he's reliable under the high ball but for me he needs a step. Pace isn't that big a problem because he's got a good kicking game and he's got a good passing game. He needs that step to get out of trouble or to just give an edge when he comes into the line.

Leatigaga could be a really good find, looking forward to seeing more of him today. Our scrum in the second half last weekend pummelled Sarries, it'll be very impressive if they can do the same Vs Glaws.

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Post by king_carlos on Wed 06 Nov 2019, 6:56 pm

Veainu broke his nose, passed the HIA and returned last weekend. He played especially well if he broke his nose! Given his history of jaw injuries and concussion he's unsurprisingly got a week off.

Spencer, Reffell and Taute all training so hopefully they are fit for Pau.

If Genge, Spencer, Reffell and Taufua are ready to play against Pau then we might finally start seeing some decent rotation in the forwards. Could potentially rest Bateman, Green, Thompson and Liebenberg for a week whilst fielding a strong pack. Cortes is fit as well just being kept out by Heyes and Leatigaga playing well.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 06 Nov 2019, 7:20 pm

Pau is the home game we should put out the strongest team we have to try and lay down a marker. Rotate some of the younger guys in for the away game. Try and get some rugby into all the lads ahead of the Prem games after. Obviously the England five who played in the final might need a little longer recovery.

Murphy was at lengths to praise Taute for what he'd brought off the pitch, sounds like we might have picked up a midfield leader there, we could definitely do with one during the international periods.

I'd happily rest TV for the next three weeks and make sure his face and head are fine. His impact was massive Vs Glaws and we desperately need his brilliance this season, can't afford to lose him to an injury stemming from a broken nose.

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Post by king_carlos on Wed 06 Nov 2019, 9:26 pm

The England players are due back at Oval Park midweek, next week. Genge aside they will presumably be rested until the Saints game at the least though.

1.Gigena 2.Youngs 3.Leatigaga 4.Lavanini 5.Spencer 6.Kalamafoni 7.Reffell 8.Taufua
16.Kerr 17.Genge 18.Cortes 19.Wells 20.Boladau

All hypothetical obviously but that would be resting Bateman, Heyes, Green, Liebenberg and Thompson. The pack definitely has the depth to rotate more this season. Rotating for away games is more likely though, admittedly.

I wonder if McPhillips will come back into things as a fullback option. He's been away with Doncaster and reportedly playing very well at 15.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 10:52 am

I would have thought we'd go as strong as we can for the league with then more rotation coming in Europe. Lots of players rested for the away Europe game.

We need the league points and LI pre to getting some of their big signings in might be a good chance to get them.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 10:54 am

What are people's thoughts on Liebenberg so far?

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 1:06 pm

bluestonevedder wrote:What are people's thoughts on Liebenberg so far?

Ambivalent so far.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 1:20 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
bluestonevedder wrote:What are people's thoughts on Liebenberg so far?

Ambivalent so far.

Exactly the type of blindside we need. Seems to be happy to do all the physical work and leave the glory stuff to others. Makes his tackles, smashes rucks and gets over the gain line when carrying. Needs a few more barnstorming runs rather than just getting over the gain line and some practice grounding the ball might help.

He seems a little like Louis Deacon in that he doesn't stand out but he helps others too. Kalamafoni had his best game for Tigers against Glaws because he was free to carry a little further away from the breakdown and to target the big hits. I think that's because the likes of Green and Liebenburg are getting through the tight work and freeing him up.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 2:36 pm

The Deacon comparison is good Sam. He certainly gets through the grunt work, and I already think he's an upgrade on Williams who last season just looked today disinterested

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 2:56 pm

I will have to look closer next game. I really did not notice him against Sarries.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 2:57 pm

Williams was one of the worst signings in recent years. Just a complete liability, missed tackles and stupid penalties were his trademarks. Add that to his ineffectual carrying and seemingly absent set of rugby skills I was happy to see him go. He'd occasionally make a massive hit and leave someone trying to count their ribs but that was far too infrequent.

Liebenburg seems smarter and more astute. The one dumb penalty against Glaws aside, that ball wasn't out. At 24 he's already a bit of a leader and his work rate is very good. We needed someone to do the grunt work, it is noticeable this season how every ruck we have is no longer a lottery of whether we will get the ball back and we actually get some quick ball.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 3:42 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Williams was one of the worst signings in recent years. Just a complete liability, missed tackles and stupid penalties were his trademarks. Add that to his ineffectual carrying and seemingly absent set of rugby skills I was happy to see him go. He'd occasionally make a massive hit and leave someone trying to count their ribs but that was far too infrequent.

Liebenburg seems smarter and more astute. The one dumb penalty against Glaws aside, that ball wasn't out. At 24 he's already a bit of a leader and his work rate is very good. We needed someone to do the grunt work, it is noticeable this season how every ruck we have is no longer a lottery of whether we will get the ball back and we actually get some quick ball.

I remember a time when Williams was being touted for the England squad, and I think he might actually have been named in the wider training squad before having to pull out with a broken arm? I could never understand why he was held in such regard by the England coaching staff. The mind boggles sometimes. I don't even know why Bath signed him given their plethora of backrow options who are all far better than him.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 8:22 pm

Williams got into the England team at a time when Jones seemed to like smashing the opposition. Williams should be ideal for that but he's such a a liability I think he got quickly shelved.

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 8:10 am

William's was getting a lot of rave reviews around that time but does seem to have sunk without a trace. I'd argue he could turn out to be a smart acquisition if it gives him a chance to refocus and find his a game again, sometimes a change of environment is needed for that. Tigers has not been a happy place for a lot players over the past couple of seasons. But also a good player to offload for Tigers.

Any word from the England boys on when they will be available?
I agree that focus on the league is more importnat than europe, even the abysmal sides put out in the premiership should be able to beat the likes of Pau. The England players are still under the maximum games in a year EPS clause, and despite missing the France game and getting next summer off cant used for everything.

On that note itll be interesting to see what happens with 6 nations picks. Genge, May, Ford and Tuilagi are almost certain to be called up but Cole and Youngs? Coles the wrong side of 32 and not a realistic contender for the future, but is still a force at test level. Youngs let England down in the final but wheres the pressure coming from?

As much as a like seeing proper career Tigers players like those two in England shirts it would be handy for the club to have them around a bit more.

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Post by Big on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 1:26 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
...

On that note itll be interesting to see what happens with 6 nations picks. Genge, May, Ford and Tuilagi are almost certain to be called up but Cole and Youngs? Coles the wrong side of 32 and not a realistic contender for the future, but is still a force at test level. Youngs let England down in the final but wheres the pressure coming from?

As much as a like seeing proper career Tigers players like those two in England shirts it would be handy for the club to have them around a bit more.

I'd hope that Cole will still be involved in the 6 nations. Yes he's 32, but he's still a good tighthead - and England seem to have far fewer of them available than they do looseheads. Props do seem to age well in rugby as well. A lot of good props seem to play to 34/35 at international level and a few make it to 36 - and given Cole's apparent resistance to injury I don't see why he can't be one of them.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 2:22 pm

I would imagine Cole will be earmarked as third choice unless a suitable younger candidate emerges. Harry Williams and Kyle Sinckler are good props. I doubt Cole will retire, he's very close to the 100 cap mark and though he isn't the sort to go on about it I bet he would like that accolade. He's certainly got a few years left in the tank and is reliable as the day is long.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 9:10 am

David Walsh in the Times wrote:A sunny afternoon in August three months ago. Greg Bateman looked fit, ready for the new season. Over coffees, we skimmed the surface of his life. How at 20 he was running a small company that sold training courses for HGV drivers. He made the pitches, earned more money than he knew what to do with and then gave it all up.

He needed to know if he could be a rugby player. Accepting a pay cut, he moved in with his sister Erica and joined London Welsh. After that it was on to Exeter Chiefs and for the last four years he was a Leicester Tiger. This afternoon he will be in the team who take on London Irish at the Madejski stadium.

That meeting in August followed on from a Instagram message a few weeks before. He had written about struggling with his mental health for the previous two years. Endless nights where he couldn’t sleep, once leaving his bed at 4am to paint the garden fence.

He is 5ft 10in, 18.5st and not much that isn’t muscle. The motivation for publicly admitting to mental health problems was to encourage those similarly affected. The bad times forced him to work out who he really was. He discovered that a naturally enthusiastic and energetic man had a vulnerable side.

The break-up of his marriage and his former wife and their two children moving to Devon was the catalyst for the disintegration of his mental health. “I really struggled with the kids moving away,” he says. “I would go to bed feeling exhausted from training and be ready to shut my eyes but my heart would start pounding. I’d start sweating. I would just be there in a dark room, staring at the ceiling having all sorts of thoughts. It got to a point where I didn’t feel like I really wanted to be around. Then you’d think, ‘Did I really think that I might not want to be here? Has that actually crossed my mind?’”


Books, podcasts, a glass of red wine at 3.30am, opiates, he tried everything to get to sleep. Sometimes he would drift off only to wake up, panic-stricken. “There were active dark dreams where I wake up, no idea where I am, adrenaline pumping,” he says. “There is one particular dream I get emotional even talking about. I’m on a canal boat with my son and daughter. I’ve never been on a canal boat in my life, but my little boy is running around with his little sister when he falls in. I jump in to get him and I’m trying to lift him out but my legs are stuck in silt and I’m drowning while trying to save him. F***, it’s awful thinking about that.

“Just this terror, my son is going to die, I’m going to die, then you wake up and you’re so out of breath and it feels so scary. You talk to the psychiatrist and psychologist and they explain this is how anxiety works. You’re afraid of not being able to see the kids all the time.”

So many nights when he couldn’t sleep, or couldn’t get back to sleep. Some days he trained on empty. He told a few senior players at the Tigers. It wasn’t something he wanted to put out there. “It is a physical game, especially in my position,” he says. “You are taking on that bloke two inches away from your face and he wants to ram his spine through yours. I don’t want him to know I’ve been sad. I want him to think I’m the toughest bloke that’s ever lived.”

Twelve months ago, Tigers played Gloucester at Kingsholm. A Friday-night game that couldn’t have gone worse. Fraser Balmain was his direct opponent, the same Fraser who had been at Leicester and was his mate. That evening Balmain won a scrum penalty against him. That just crushed him.

“I was in the changing room afterwards and I was on my way down to see the kids [in Devon], and my head was gone. I couldn’t look at anyone. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I don’t want to do this anymore. I was distraught. Why not just work at Sainsbury’s in Devon, see the kids all the time? How had my life ended up like this?

“Tommy, I sit next to Tommy Youngs in the changing room, could see I was gone and he said, ‘Mate, I’ll drive you down to Devon’. People come to play against Leicester, they think the M1, the Narborough Road, they don’t realise there’s a group of rugby players there, like a little family, who would do anything for you.”

It was Mattie Toomua who opened his mind to the benefits of medication. “I’d always been really hard on myself, ‘Greg, stop being a fanny’. I didn’t want to take meds. ‘Mattie,’ I said, ‘I take them and it will feel like I’ve lost.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but mate if you had a bad leg, you would take something for your leg’. He made it black and white for me. You’re either going to get better or you’re not. It’s up to you.”

Last January, Bateman started on 15mg of the anti-depressant Mirtazapine, rising to 30mg. The pills came with side-effects but allowed him to sleep. The challenge was then not to oversleep. He worked with a psychologist, spoke to a psychiatrist and though he would continue to cry when saying goodbye to the kids, talking helped.

After the kids went back to Devon, his girlfriend Amy would ask how he was. “It is like fitness training,” he would tell her. “It doesn’t get less difficult, it doesn’t get easier, you just get better at dealing with the pain.”

He sat in a room with the psychiatrist and thought, ‘We have never met and you expect me to tell you my innermost fears and darkest secrets’. It was uncomfortable but necessary. He now has a weekly diary where everything is scheduled; training, FaceTime conversations with the kids, walks with the dog, study periods for his MBA and if there’s half a day, a few holes of golf.

At Tigers, he knows his mates keep an eye on him. Tom and Ben Youngs, Toomua and the others, they notice his moods. “Come on Bateman, that’s enough. Get on with it.” Other times he will get a text in the evening: “Mate, we’re coming around to your place with a bottle. We’re going to get you right.”

The bad weeks still happen but he now understands they will pass. He believes in where the Tigers are trying to go under Geordan Murphy and believes he can be a part of the club’s renewal. The challenge of the MBA excites him and he’s got two fledgeling businesses, one coffee-based, the other beer-based.

The Instagram post in August coincided with the day he stopped taking Mirtazapine. Schooled now in the vagaries of the mind, he hasn’t thrown away his unused supply. “They say you never get rid of anxiety and depression, you just manage it,” he said. “On Instagram it wasn’t me saying I don’t need medication anymore, it was me letting people know that I had been on medication and I may well need to go back on it at some point.”

Richard Cockerill was his first coach at Leicester Tigers. In Matt Hampson’s compelling memoir Engage, Cockerill talked about something that may apply to Bateman. “Brave people,” he said, “aren’t the ones that are born tough. They are the ones that do things they are actually scared of but they will do them because they need to be done.”

Defeat today will firmly fix us to the bottom of the table. However we must always remember that the guys on the pitch are first and foremost human beings with real world problems. It is great to see that with all of his own issues Tom Youngs is still looking out for team-mates. The abusive messages sent to him last season still horrify me.

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Post by Welly on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 9:50 am

A lot of Tigers fans showed their true colours I thought last season.

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