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Gallagher Premiership 2020/21

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 15 Nov 2020, 10:01 pm

First topic message reminder :

The new season starts next weekend. What are people's hopes and expectations?

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 17 Jan 2021, 7:55 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:So there was talk of having no relegation this year, does that mean Sarries spend 2 seasons in the championship?
I think the powers that be are winging it.  And I think they have no choice since Covid is dictating what happens.  All we can do is the best we can and react.  

I don't think any plans are firmed up yet.  If I had to bet, I think Sarries come up and we have a 13 team league.  And, by sheer luck, it would help player welfare because each team would have two bye weeks next season.  Would help tv revenue as well.  But it is too far out to even guess how/if relegation would look or even continue to exist.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 18 Jan 2021, 2:39 am

Well, maybe plans are coming together regarding a temporary ring fence, with Sarries expected to come up:
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jan/17/rugby-union-premiership-relegation-expansion

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Post by Highland Shaun Mon 18 Jan 2021, 3:08 am

I certainly would be in favour of a 14 team Premiership Smile.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 18 Jan 2021, 8:54 am

There's zero chance they'd leave Saracens down. Aside form the legal action they'd face it doesn't make sense commercially to drive out one of the well funded clubs. The extended ring fenced premiership had already been on the table before this, so it was always pretty inevitable we would get the kind of solution being settled on.

I personally don't like it a lot, especially as resources will be stretched and the quality of international signings already having dropped in recent times. The premiership will increasingly become a B team competition played during international window with bigger gaps between top and bottom clubs and less meaningful games. That may be fine for giving lots of 20 year old academy players a go but leaves a bigger gap in jumping up to test level and less push to genuine elite levels.

Also spells the end of the Chumpionship as a meaningful competition. Again that had an air of inevitability about it but remains a big shame.

Shame but it its the only viable option going forward, the main thing is to have a functional solvent professional game in 2 years time and rebuild from there rather than just seeing the big clubs fold and go back to amateurism.

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Post by Irish Londoner Mon 18 Jan 2021, 9:23 am

I can see the logic in wanting Saracens back, if for no other reason than England need to get a large chunk of their players more game time.
What I'm not sure about is parachuting in a 14th club - I'm assuming it would be Ealing based on the money their owner can put in, but is there really any demand for yet another club in London? In particular does rugby really need another "sugar daddy" club reliant on one owners whim for finance?
I do however accept that with the recent cuts to funding by the RFU that the Championship is being steered towards a semi-pro set up prior or in conjunction with the Premiership getting ringfenced.
Also given all the current talk about concussion, the long term health effects of playing professional level rugby does anyone think an additional four games a season are a good idea?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 18 Jan 2021, 9:25 am

I do think they need to look heavily into the Championship aswell though. I do think its become a bit of a dredge, a couple of decent sides but the rest arent.

A radical overhaul needed...what that is...well thats for those who get paid the big bucks.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 18 Jan 2021, 10:51 am

Championship won't be great. The clubs were struggling financially before the RFU slashed the funding. It's not better financially for players to sit in a Prem club's A league team and rarely if ever play than it is play weekly in the Championship.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 18 Jan 2021, 11:07 am

Presumably a 14 team premiership sees the end or reduction of the second string cup. Given the cap squeeze and financial constraints on clubs you are going to see a lot more of the young players featuring in the premiership rather than trotting out for Ampthill. The quality is going to go down, but the opportunities for squad players go up. Theres already limits on the number of games EPS players can play, and unless they are looking to significantly extend the season (which is extremely difficult) more of these fixtures will have to be played in test windows. Adding in a maximum game cap for all players would seem sensible, the RFU must be extremely sensitive to the legal implication of not doing more to ensure player welfare as much as they are sensitive to maintaining a functional professional game.

No chance they will ditch the playoffs to enable the extra fixtures, if anything the financial system and dilution of talent makes that even more important both financially and to give more players and opportunity to play high quality high intensity club rugby as a stepping stone to tests.

I expect we will see the sort of weakened premiership sides that have been the norm this autumn/winter for the bulk of the season.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 18 Jan 2021, 11:22 am

SO like the Pro 14 you mean Goose.

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Post by Brendan Mon 18 Jan 2021, 11:48 am

If the Premership goes to 14 teams they need to decide which European model they want to follow.  Both have benefits and negatives for the league.

T14. Have your home team and your away team so effectively 2 players per position are getting 14 league games and  3 european games.
Benefits
You know what the back up player can do
Fans see lots of home wins
League is compeditive
Negatives
Games are one-sided
Young players fail away from home surrounded by poor players

Pro14
Top players play the 6 European games, most of the big games to bring them up to about 14 games leaving space for playoffs and run ins.  Rest of the games have a mixture of first and second team players.
Positives
Better player development
More even performance over season

Negatives
Perceived weakened teams (for alot of clubs there isn't too much between the two players in a position one is just better known)
Stronger teams have stronger second teams to win alot more

What the Prem will go for.
Team will play their best available team every week except for either playing the Bottom or top teams (depending on where in the table) where there will be more injuries and kids sent to the slaughtered.  Prem managers haven't been great at rotation (better than Super Rugby).

Young players will need a good system for bringing them through so some joint venture with the A league and Championship might be the best thing but will most likely just be A league which will result in the players getting games but no pressure or meaning that a young player needs.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 18 Jan 2021, 12:52 pm

Well it is what it is...

Clubs are struggling financially. We cant continue with the current format. The falcons got relegated last season...and won every game pretty comfortably, and then came straight back up.
Saracens would have been no different.

A ring Fenced league, has pros and cons.
It isnt ideal for competitiveness i guess, but will give more scope to give the academy lads more opportunities/ gametime.
I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 18 Jan 2021, 3:01 pm

Feel the same Geordie, they've sat around for years with everyone agreeing something needs to change and its finally been forced. I worry about the impact on England and on the quality of the competition but having a solvent professional game at all next year will be a bonus.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 18 Jan 2021, 3:15 pm

Thats the critical point for the moment, that we have a financially stable strong top league, with European competition. The other clubs will have to be feeder clubs..

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 18 Jan 2021, 4:32 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Thats the critical point for the moment, that we have a financially stable strong top league, with European competition. The other clubs will have to be feeder clubs..
Agree too. Certainly need to make sure the Premiership, as well as the teams in other nations are strong. Covid has set the rules and we have to react within them. In hindsight it was clearly a mistake to try and operate as if we were not in the midst of the worst global pandemic in 100 years. And the situation is dynamic, so being agile and changing direction on the fly may be the only way the various Rugby leagues and governing bodies can get through it. Have to hope enough people get the jabs.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Mon 18 Jan 2021, 4:51 pm

Disappointing but not surprising as the financial survival of a credible league has to be prioritised in the longer term. Short term the PRL are going to get more cricket scores in mis-matches which doesn't do anyone any favours. (The recent Bath v Wasps match aside !!)

The underinvestment in the Championship resulting in fans not investing emotionally and hence financially has been a car crash long in the making. No media coverage or exposure to higher playing standards against PRL sides has left it with few friends and then last year the RFU cancelled funding to concentrate on the elite tier, like all the other Unions, is all well documented.
I still believe the elite Aussie cricket model, copied in rugby has a lot to answer for by reducing top tier access for players and fans.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 18 Jan 2021, 6:57 pm

The lack of investment in the Championship has meant ringfencing by proxy in many ways. Only the relegated PRL shareholder club and Ealing would have taken promotion if they earned it in recent seasons I believe. Cornish Pirates have had a growing setup but I still don't think they reach requirements.

It's necessary financially but will lead to a lot of boring mismatched games which I'm no fan of.

With the salary cap coming down to £5m, the max salary for academy players who are exempt from the cap going up to £50k it could realistically mean a lot more young players getting game time in the short term, which could be fun.

To get the shareholder clubs to agree to the cap reduction it was also agreed that the cap will return to £6.4m in 2024. If it does go back up then I think clubs will deal with the bigger fixture list and rotating away from home by signing a lot of OK squad filler that blocks pathways for academy talent but does little to improve the quality of the league, hence it's ability to produce talent for the England side.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 19 Jan 2021, 4:12 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:SO like the Pro 14 you mean Goose.

No offence to our Pro 14 brothers, but this is not something I want for our league. Hopefully they come up with something (I will not hold my breath) that keeps the league quality and competitiveness....it's what we love about it.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 19 Jan 2021, 3:42 pm

Just a quick thought someone just mentioned to me. If Ealing is considered for the Premiership, assuming a post-Covid world, where would they play? Their ground cannot hold a lot of people and I don't think they have room to add temporary stands. Potentially they could share the ground at Der Schtup (The Stoop), which would make sense but Quins may or may not buy into that. At least they would be coming into the Premiership with goodwill unlike when London Welsh had to use the courts and pi**ed everyone off in the process.

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Post by BigGee Tue 19 Jan 2021, 3:48 pm

doctor_grey wrote:Just a quick thought someone just mentioned to me.  If Ealing is considered for the Premiership, assuming a post-Covid world, where would they play?  Their ground cannot hold a lot of people and I don't think they have room to add temporary stands.  Potentially they could share the ground at Der Schtup (The Stoop), which would make sense but Quins may or may not buy into that.  At least they would be coming into the Premiership with goodwill unlike when London Welsh had to use the courts and pi**ed everyone off in the process.  

Loftus Road (QPR ground for any non football fans) as opposed to Loftus Verfield has been mentioned.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 19 Jan 2021, 5:19 pm

BigGee wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:Just a quick thought someone just mentioned to me.  If Ealing is considered for the Premiership, assuming a post-Covid world, where would they play?  Their ground cannot hold a lot of people and I don't think they have room to add temporary stands.  Potentially they could share the ground at Der Schtup (The Stoop), which would make sense but Quins may or may not buy into that.  At least they would be coming into the Premiership with goodwill unlike when London Welsh had to use the courts and pi**ed everyone off in the process.  

Loftus Road (QPR ground for any non football fans) as opposed to Loftus Verfield has been mentioned.
That would make sense. An easier ride on the Tube than going to Loftus Versfeld.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 20 Jan 2021, 2:53 pm

Gustard leaves quins by mutual consent. Had a great rep and never really improved quins when you consider the impact guys like Blackett have had. A word of warning to sale and anyone pining for Edwards a great support coach doesn't necessarily prosper as head.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 20 Jan 2021, 3:14 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Gustard leaves quins by mutual consent. Had a great rep and never really improved quins when you consider the impact guys like Blackett have had. A word of warning to sale and anyone pining for Edwards a great support coach doesn't necessarily prosper as head.
I will be interested to see where he ends up long term.

Short term he might be in with a shout for Lions defence coach. Farrell has said he'd be interested in being involved again, Gatland was forwards coach in '09 whilst head coach for Wales so it isn't unprecedented for someone in the top job for an international side to take an assistant job.

Gustard has a very good rep as a defence coach though and now has less commitments.

Think even shorter term than that Sarries have just lost Sanderson and Gustard is based in London already.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 20 Jan 2021, 5:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Gustard leaves quins by mutual consent. Had a great rep and never really improved quins when you consider the impact guys like Blackett have had. A word of warning to sale and anyone pining for Edwards a great support coach doesn't necessarily prosper as head.

Don't think he's hit the heights of Blackett buy few take over and make that kind of immediate impact. Wasps also had a fair stellar backline whilst Quins had an aging and injury riddled squad where the big earners were past their best and on hefty contracts. 

Quins finished I think 10th before Gustard joined and the 5th and 6th with him at the helm. He's started rejuvenating the squad but I guess it takes time especially when the guys he probably sees as towards the end of their careers and being paid too much a lot of Quins fans and the board see as club heroes. 

He was doing a steady job something must not have been right if he wanted to move on. Particularly back to being an international defence coach.

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Post by Welly Thu 21 Jan 2021, 9:46 am

Wales defence coach apparently

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Thu 21 Jan 2021, 11:21 am

Welly wrote: Wales defence coach apparently

I suspect you are  Very Happy ing but they could do a lot worse, but look at how England's defence has improved under Mitchell, Gustard's limitations were shown up albeit now using a different system, presumably proscribed by Dr. Jones
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Post by Welly Thu 21 Jan 2021, 12:04 pm

Nope i'm not.
The Harlequins fan who leaked it about 5 days before gustard was announced as gone (Clearly in the know as never wrong) said Gustard gone to Wales defence coach role, Ashton and Baldwin to Wuss and Brown to Falcons

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Post by RiscaGame Thu 21 Jan 2021, 12:12 pm

Wales seem like they're about to give the Defence Coach role to Gethin Jenkins. Perhaps Gustard will be what Sam Warburton was supposed to be?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 21 Jan 2021, 12:59 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Wales seem like they're about to give the Defence Coach role to Gethin Jenkins. Perhaps Gustard will be what Sam Warburton was supposed to be?

I can see it being a short term thing with him then going off to a job with the Lions. Doesn't make a great deal of sense for him to go back to being an international defence coach full time again.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 21 Jan 2021, 2:01 pm

Does Gustard have any defence coach credentials? Pivac is on record as saying we'd like to offer it to Gethin Jenkins - I'm not yet sure if that is the right appointment for Wales. Then again Hayward was the wrong appointment, which I pointed out almost 2 years ago, and Pivac seemingly also isn't the right appointment. Not a great situation to find yourself in tbh.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 21 Jan 2021, 2:04 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Does Gustard have any defence coach credentials? Pivac is on record as saying we'd like to offer it to Gethin Jenkins - I'm not yet sure if that is the right appointment for Wales. Then again Hayward was the wrong appointment, which I pointed out almost 2 years ago, and Pivac seemingly also isn't the right appointment. Not a great situation to find yourself in tbh.

A key designer of the 'wolfpack' at saracens.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 21 Jan 2021, 2:06 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Does Gustard have any defence coach credentials? Pivac is on record as saying we'd like to offer it to Gethin Jenkins - I'm not yet sure if that is the right appointment for Wales. Then again Hayward was the wrong appointment, which I pointed out almost 2 years ago, and Pivac seemingly also isn't the right appointment. Not a great situation to find yourself in tbh.

A key designer of the 'wolfpack' at saracens.

Well that's good, no? Sarries had a pretty hot defence over the last few years.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 21 Jan 2021, 2:10 pm

Absolutely. Along with his work as england defence coach post that. His work around that was massively respected it just appears it's all gone a bit awry out on his own.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 21 Jan 2021, 6:52 pm

A bit controversial maybe but I don't think Gustard was ever able to get England to fully develop the Wolfpack mentality. He did, however, leave a brilliant foundation for Mitchell to come in and build from. 

I'm not sure Gustard got full support from the Quins players either, the Wolfpack defence is such a big mentality thing you have to have complete buy in. I get the impression at Quins there's some senior players who still hark back to 2012 and think that is Quins. It's all free flowing attacking rugby and that off the cuff stuff is Quins. Defence is contest the breakdown and then attack from the turnover. Too much of an old boy's club in the backroom staff with Adam Jones stealing a living as scrum coach and the likes of Nick Evans, JTH and Charlie Mulchrone on the staff in roles at different levels. Tigers are a great example of what happens if there's too many jobs for the boys.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 21 Jan 2021, 8:31 pm

I thought Adam Jones delivered the pizzas?

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Post by Welly Thu 21 Jan 2021, 8:49 pm

Mitchell benefitted from also having Curry and Underhill though.
Those are two flankers who you can easily build a defence around.
Tom Curry had only 1 game with Gustard and 6 games with underhill (3 bench).

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 21 Jan 2021, 9:28 pm

Welly wrote: Mitchell benefitted from also having Curry and Underhill though.
Those are two flankers who you can easily build a defence around.
Tom Curry had only 1 game with Gustard and 6 games with underhill (3 bench).

Yeah the kamikaze kids do make defence a lot easier. Haskell and Robshaw were good workhorses but not the same level.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 21 Jan 2021, 10:35 pm

Just think England had a different focus then. They were trying to play " we'll score one more than you" rugby, now they've switched to "you'll score one less than us". Its a lot easier to defend when you only let the opposition get the ball in their own half.

Anyway he's not got the Wales job.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 21 Jan 2021, 10:42 pm

Jobs for the boys is our thing, therefore Adam Jones will be back at Ospreys next season thumbsup

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 22 Jan 2021, 8:36 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Jobs for the boys is our thing, therefore Adam Jones will be back at Ospreys next season thumbsup

I thought Ospreys already had the pizza deliveries sorted out.
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Post by doctor_grey Fri 22 Jan 2021, 2:27 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Jobs for the boys is our thing, therefore Adam Jones will be back at Ospreys next season thumbsup

I thought Ospreys  already had the pizza deliveries sorted out.
I might have had it wrong - he might be the cheeseburger guy.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 22 Jan 2021, 2:37 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Jobs for the boys is our thing, therefore Adam Jones will be back at Ospreys next season thumbsup

I thought Ospreys  already had the pizza deliveries sorted out.
I might have had it wrong - he might be the cheeseburger guy.  

Would explain the state of the Quins scrum. Even before Sinckler left it was a mess, Tigers managed to get points off Quins last season by winning penalties at scrum time. With two Lions props that should not be happening.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 22 Jan 2021, 2:40 pm

They've lacked good locks for as long as I can remember.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 22 Jan 2021, 2:43 pm

Its no coincidence we have suddenly got two quality big bruising workhorses in the engine room and we are now doing very well.

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Post by propdavid_london Mon 25 Jan 2021, 11:36 am

Welly wrote: Nope i'm not.
The Harlequins fan who leaked it about 5 days before gustard was announced as gone (Clearly in the know as never wrong) said Gustard gone to Wales defence coach role, Ashton and Baldwin to Wuss and Brown to Falcons
I hadnt heard that Baldwin was off too

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Post by propdavid_london Mon 25 Jan 2021, 11:42 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:They've lacked good locks for as long as I can remember.
We've had decent locks.....just not what I would call scrummaging locks. Kohn was the last of them. Symmons and Lewies are a good combination - although I cant remember the last time they lined up together. Could still do with a bruiser in the squad though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:21 pm

Solid locks propdavid but not ones I'd really say were any more than average. Given the rest of your pack at times it's those positions and hooker who I always thought let you down.

Gustard off to Treviso.

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Post by propdavid_london Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Solid locks propdavid but not ones I'd really say were any more than average. Given the rest of your pack at times it's those positions and hooker who I always thought let you down.

Gustard off to Treviso.
I saw that too for Gustard - odd move if you ask me.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:34 pm

Agreed.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:32 pm

Gustard has a young family and apparently wants to travel whilst they are still young enough for moving around not to not disturb their schooling etc. Worse places to live for a few years than Treviso. A magnificent place to visit on a day trip.

It's a bit of a win/win situation for him as well. If Treviso's defence improves out of sight then his stock will be high but if not then Treviso have struggled anyway.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 26 Jan 2021, 10:27 pm

I just looked at the fixture list for the weekend. We have two matches Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. What I find surprising is that the matches are being played concurrently each day. It seems to me the Premiership could maximise exposure by playing the matches at times that don't overlap. Weird decision, eh?


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