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Leicester Tigers 2020-21

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Post by king_carlos Mon 16 Nov 2020, 8:55 am

First topic message reminder :

No Geordie, Boris or Taylor. Borthwick definitively the top man and fair few new signings.

Head coach - Borthwick
Defence coach - Ford
Head of physical performance - Walters
Backs/attack coach - Smith (interim)

1.Genge, Gigena, Leatigaga, Bower, Whitcombe
2.Youngs, Clare, Mamukashvili, Kerr
3.Cole, Heyes, de Bruin, Dimen
4.Lavanini, Enever, Martin
5.Green, Wells, Henderson, Chessum
6.Brink, Lewis, Lavin
7.Taufua, Reffell, Wallace, Coghlan
8.Liebenberg, Wiese, Smith

9.Youngs, Wigglesworth, White, van Poortvliet
10.Ford, Bonilla, Henry, McPhillips

11.Nadolo, Williams, Simmons, Aspland-Robinson
12.Scott, Taute, Hardwick
13.Moroni, Porter, Kelly
14.van Wyk, Potter, Olowofela, Browning
15.Steward, Murimurivalu, Worth

There's a fair few things I like about that squad. The pack in particular looks promising with some good signings and a few development squad players looking ready for first XV rugby. Liebenberg, Brink, Wiese and de Bruin is a lot of Bok muscle, the sort of thing that many of us have felt was missing.

In the centre there's a few players I'm less convinced by but Steward coming through in the back three could be great for this side. Not wanting to heap pressure on the lad but if we are going to persist with a kick heavy game plan then a fullback with his boot and presence under the high ball could be vital.

I'm increasingly struggling to see where a few of the backs fit into the squad. Hardwick, McPhillips, Worth and Olowofela in particular. Kelly seemed to be getting deserved game time in the centre. Williams and Potter have signed as similar aged back three squad/project players. Aspland-Robinson regaining fitness and Simmons shifting position adds to that bracket. The Steward has broken through and Browning is coming up the rails. Plenty of good news for the squad as a whole there but perhaps not for those guys who might struggle to make an impact.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 10 Feb 2021, 6:13 pm

Sam Lewis on loan to Coventry. Good news and hopefully he can progress with game time.

Browning, Dimen, Ilione and Coghlan on loan to Nottingham. Notts have a lot of loans from Prem clubs so will be interested to see how the youngsters fare. It's impressive for Ilione in particular to get a Championship contract in his first year out of school. Martin at the same stage last year was with Leicester Lions in National 2 South for instance.

Dave Egerton also floating George Kruis to Tigers in the Welford Weekly email blast. That would be a brilliant signing. When Kruis left for Japan he said he'd only want to play for Sarries in the Premiership but that was before covid, cap reduction and Borthwick joining. He'd be a brilliant signing.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 10 Feb 2021, 9:45 pm

On the Notts website I can only see the four Tigers as loans being announced.

Dimen desperately needed to go out on loan and get senior experience. Coghlan is meh but rated by Notts so I suspect he's been sent to sweeten the deal and ensure Browning and Ilione get game time. Shame we couldn't get Owolfela and Hardwick game time but I'm guessing they might get moved in soon and the Championship clubs are probably getting a lot of offers from Prem clubs.

Ilione was a surprise because I thought he was studying down in London and only doing rugby part time. He is a massive talent though so if he's around its not a surprise he's being eyed for development. If he flies at Nottingham and he has the potential to do that then he could easily be in and around the first team next season. Playing A league, Challenge Cup and LV Cup if that's still a thing by then.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 10 Feb 2021, 11:32 pm

My bad Sam, mixing up Coventry who have loans from lots of clubs. There will be significant Tigers feel to Notts.

Aniseko Sio
Owen Hills
Jake Farnworth
Will Owen
Ifereimi Boladau
Charlie Thacker - Glad to see he's got a club, from what I can tell he hasn't played senior rugby since the 17/18 season

Plus the loanees.

Dimen has a good player to fight past in Oisin Heffernan (who played second XV this season) so will be a good test of his development.

Ilione will be studying remotely I presume so might have chosen to study from back home to save on rent.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Feb 2021, 9:28 am

Good point on Ilione. He might have also deferred his start for a year rather than have all the remote learning issues though you'd presume he'd have arranged to do a proportion remotely to enable him to still train and play with the development side.

Dimen learning from Heffernan should be good for him. The Championship teams of the season last year were split between Heffernan and the Jersey tighthead that Sarries signed (Clarey?) As to whom was the best in the league. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Heffernan on Tigers books next season and Dimen doing another season on loan. Heffernan is mid twenties so prime age. Dimen is a big unit and the Championship will be the physical challenge he needs.

I'm interested to see how Browning goes. Given some half decent ball he should be ripping it up.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 01 Mar 2021, 9:18 am

https://www.leicestertigers.com/news/olowofela-loan-force-210228?fbclid=IwAR1-tKRrBs65RFA0NVVIWBt3DT1-4HY6gW0nIvhoSFWilbIw3-NI6CTf3qk

Olowofela joins Western Force on loan for the 2021 Super Rugby season. That's fantastic news and I'm delighted for Jordan. He's struggled in senior rugby which has been frustrating at times but has largely played in really poor sides. If he can rediscover the pace and running lines that made him standout in age grade rugby then I still think he could kick on in mens rugby.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 01 Mar 2021, 9:40 am

Lucky lad. Perth is very nice and not under lockdown. It's a great opportunity for him to get some game time and show that Tigers need to be talking about him in their long term plans. He's got the potential he just hasn't delivered enough on that potential yet.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 01 Mar 2021, 4:49 pm

Yeah don't think its a bad move for him or Tigers. The game down there could suit him a lot better as well as the weather. If it frees up some cap / cash to prop up the squad elsewhere thats a bonus.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 01 Mar 2021, 4:53 pm

I don't imagine Olowofela is on much but he hasn't played for Tigers this season so won't count under the cap I don't think.

Jake White has confirmed that Marco van Staden won't be with the Bulls next season in an interview. The same report mentions that he will be joining Tigers. It sounds like that deal is done but for the announcement which is great news.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 01 Mar 2021, 6:56 pm

I doubt the Force will be contributing all his wages, sounds more like a development opportunity, particularly with Borthwick's comments about looking forward to seeing how he develops.

I think the squad is in a decent position at present, not sure it needs propping up. We're running a little lean in some areas but the development lads are plugging gaps. Best shown by Whitcombe coming off the bench at the weekend and doing a really good job at just 19. 

For next season we've got;

1. Genge, Leatigaga (plays both sides), van Wyk (rumoured), Whitcombe
2. Montoya, Youngs, Clare, Kerr
3. Cole, Heyes, Hurd
4. ?, Wells, Chessum
5. Green, Henderson
6. Liebenburg, Martin
7. Van Staden (rumoured), Reffell, Wallace
8. Weise, Brink, Smith
9. Youngs, Wigglesworth, JVP, White
10. Ford, Henry, McPhillips
11. Nadolo, Owolfela
12. Scott, Porter
13. Moroni, Taute, Kelly
14. Van Wyk, Potter
15. Steward, Murimurivalu

Not sure on the future of SAP, Worth or some of the lesser featured development players. Coghlan, Dimen and Lewis may all be retained as they'd be cheap and fleshes out the prop and backrow options further. I assume Bonilla is going which might open the door for another flyhalf signing particularly a development one as I believe the next academy can of rank in that department is Woodward who still has another year at that level. I suppose that might mean we retain Worth for another year as he covers virtually the entire backline but if someone like Barton, Finn Smith or Orlando Bailey were to be looking around I'd expect us to be interested.

As long as we don't lose any of those listed and we bring in the two rumours there's more coming out the development squad. Maybe one more senior lock of quality, ideally someone in their 30s who could be a mentor (Kruis would be perfect but unlikely) but ultimately not hold the position from the grasp of the development players for to long. 

There certainly shouldn't be the mass of incomings we've seen previously though I'd be all in favour of fishing for age grade internationals like we did last summer with Henderson and Kelly. Low risk and potentially high reward players.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 03 Mar 2021, 12:33 pm

Worth off on loan to Melbourne Rebels
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/56264649

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Post by king_carlos Wed 03 Mar 2021, 12:59 pm

lostinwales wrote:Worth off on loan to Melbourne Rebels
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/56264649
Lucky blighter. I'd give many things to be living in Melbourne right now.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 03 Mar 2021, 1:32 pm

king_carlos wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Worth off on loan to Melbourne Rebels
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/56264649
Lucky blighter. I'd give many things to be living in Melbourne right now.

Yes. I have a ton of relatives (including one who was a top chef) and an old contact around that area. I did try and wing a 3 month placement out there at CSIRO but it never came off.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 03 Mar 2021, 1:52 pm

Yes my wife has family in both Perth and Sydney and I have repeatedly volunteered to provide assistance with any group expansion plans my employer has over in Aus but sadly nothing yet. I'd have very much likes an excuse to spend much of the last year over there.

Worth and Owolfela must be dancing with glee at their loan moves.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 03 Mar 2021, 1:59 pm

I know a lot of chefs who worked out in Melbourne for 2 years. It's got a fantastic reputation as a city to live in. A lot of Aussie chefs come the other way to Edinburgh it must be said. Lots of crossover in that regard!

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 03 Mar 2021, 3:58 pm

king_carlos wrote:I know a lot of chefs who worked out in Melbourne for 2 years. It's got a fantastic reputation as a city to live in. A lot of Aussie chefs come the other way to Edinburgh it must be said. Lots of crossover in that regard!

And crucially you can actually go to a restaurant out there.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 7:19 pm

Tom Hardwick released with immediate effect. Three line send off merely stating he's no longer a player at the club and the number of matches he played. A pretty brutal send off. No thanks and no wishing of luck for the future. His younger brother was sacked and deservedly so a year or so back when part of the academy. Tom I thought had more sense but it appears not. There's been a few negative rumours concerning him and his conduct but he's a talented boy and I hoped Borthwick would straighten him out.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 11 Mar 2021, 7:43 pm

I'd guess that Hardwick might be imminently announced by Bristol. They are in a bit of an injury crisis at 10 and were linked to him previously.

A shame but not a surprise now. He looked a big talent at one point so I hope he can kick on wherever he ends up. Tigers have brought through and subsequently lost a lot of talent at 10 over the last few years.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:57 pm

We have, you aren't wrong there Carlos. Umaga accepted first team wages straight out of the academy rather than Tigers development contract so went to Wasps. Costelow got talked into going to Wales prematurely. Ford got offered the 10 shirt by his dad. Owen Williams (ok we nicked him from Scarlets but did bring him on) took a mahoosive contract with Gloucester. Now Hardwick has left under a cloud.

Not sure he'd fit with how Bristol play as a flyhalf but as a secondary playmaker at 12 like he was for England under 20s then he could be very good.

Isn't it the kid Woodward who's the next cab off the rank though he's very much academy so not expecting him to appear for a while. Really we could do with stealing a development level player off of someone else.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:03 pm

Hardwick's first contract out of the dev squad took a bit of negotiating if I remember correctly as he ended up on a pretty decent contract for that age. At that point he was looking extremely promising and was already a top goal kicker which helps a players worth. Hopefully there's some cap to sign a decent 10. Tom Curtis is stuck behind a few players at Sale. I always rated former Falcon Craig Willis who is playing well with Ealing. Theo Brophy Clews is out of contract and could be an interesting option filling the exact spot Hardwick could have done as a 10/12 with a good kicking game.

I'm still far from convinced of McPhillips as a 3rd choice 10 when Ford will miss a lot of games. He has been a lot better the last two weeks than previously but I just don't see him having the game management and tactical kicking to start Premiership games there. If Henry got crocked at the start of the Six Nations for instance we'd be staring at 8 weeks of McPhillips starting with little competition. He's a talented player in some aspects but as long as Ford is an international we need a lot of depth there.

I can only presume that Bonilla not featuring much is an issue to do with foreign players rules. He hasn't shown his class when he's played though to be honest.

There's rumours that this years academy leavers have already got contracts for the development squad. Seb Smith (LH), Tim Hoyt (TH), Lewis Chessum (lock), Jake Sterland (wing) and Jed Gelderbloom (scrum-half) have really good shots IMO. Phillipe Tandoh has missed out unluckily judging by his Instagram, he's a good player but there's a lot of back row talent already in the dev squad. Jacob Cuisick and Cornac Calnan are two of the more talented centres to come through the academy for a few years. Calnan has recently put a highlights reel on YouTube which is often a sign of a player searching for a contract, if he hasn't got a dev squad contract I'd guess Cuisick might have. Pheonix Laulu-Togagae and Saimone Tobeyaweni joined the academy for their final year so might have been earmarked for dev squad opportunities as well, due to covid I've seen nothing of either though. Henry Joule didn't start a game last year but was bright from the bench a couple of times. Similar for Joe Plunkett as Archie Vanes backup last season. Callum Oakden had some good games at lock as well but there is strength in the dev squad there already and I really rate the younger Chessum brother.

Jordan Tebbatt was in the England U20 training camp recently as well. He didn't get a contract after leaving the academy (Ilione and Kit Smith was some competition even with Muncaster heading north) but if he keeps progressing hopefully the club have tabs on him similar to Henderson, Manz and Chessum the moderately older.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 12 Mar 2021, 7:18 am

Didn't Tebbatt have a scholarship to go and play in the States for a bit? If he develops well over there I wouldn't be surprised to see him back.

I've not seen any of the academy lads in person only some highlights and what reports have come up. It sounds like the front row is fairly flush with talent again. Is Harry Joule a member of a certain fashion based family who provide clothing to Tigers? If he is there might be a better chance of him getting a shot in the development team. We could very much do with a centre and a flyhalf making it out the academy this season.

Tom Curtis would be a good acquisition, Fin Smith if we could convince him that being sat behind two fairly young flyhalfs that will never get a call up would also be a good player to bring in, he doesn't seem to be getting chances at Wuss. I have similar views on McPhillips, he's a thoroughly average option who doesn't have the attacking game to be anymore than injury cover at Prem level. His kicking game off the tee and kicking for touch is good which always helps. Ideally we want a development player to come in and surpass McPhillips pretty quickly.

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