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Premiership Semi-Finals 2024

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Welshmushroom
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Post by doctor_grey Fri 31 May 2024, 11:11 am

Big weekend boys and girls.  We have worked through difficulties and yet are in a position to win.  
Reminds me of a song:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2X0Gf9jfz8

Northampton Saints v Saracens
Franklins Gardens, Friday 31st May 2024; 19:45
TNT 1/TNT Ultimate/Discovery +
Officials:
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: 
Anthony Woodthorpe and Andrew Jackson
No.4:
 Dan Jones
TMO: 
Ian Tempest


GOODEVIL
George Furbank15Elliot Daly
Tommy Freeman14Alex Lewington
Burger Odendaal13Lucio Cinti
Fraser Dingwall12Nick Tompkins
Ollie Sleightholme11Tom Parton
Fin Smith10Owen Farrell (c)
Alex Mitchell9Ivan van Zyl
   
Alex Waller1Mako Vunipola
Curtis Langdon2Jamie George
Trevor Davison3Marco Riccioni
Alex Moon4Maro Itoje
Alex Coles5Nick Isiekwe
Courtney Lawes (c)6Juan Martin Gonzalez
Tom Pearson7Ben Earl
Juarno Augustus8Billy Vunipola
   
Replacements: 
Sam Matavesi16Theo Dan
Emmanuel Iyogun17Eroni Mawi
Elliot Millar Mills 18Ollie Hoskins
Temo Mayanavanua19Hugh Tizard
Sam Graham20Theo McFarland
Lewis Ludlam21Tom Willis
Tom James22Aled Davies
George Hendy23Alex Lozowski

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 31 May 2024, 11:26 am

Both sides expecting an attritional game and have gone for the 6-2 bench split. Sarries seemingly wanting to go after or at least try to disrupt the Saints lineout (maybe worried about first phase and Saints getting attacking momentum) so have gone for the extra jumping skills of Isekwe, he's more mobile than Tizard as well. Both benches have some fire power as well.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 31 May 2024, 11:32 am

You just beat me to it, I have the teams copied and ready to paste.

I am not sure about Odendaal at 13, he in my opinion is a weak link in the speed and fluidity of the back line. I would much prefer Freeman at 13 and Hendy 14.

Going to be an interesting clash of back rows, some real class acts out there.

George (the incumbent) vs Langdon (the Challenger) should be a very good battle. Pearson might get a bit of a roasting from Earl, but he has to learn. I suspect he will be an early change with Graham and Ludlam coming on for Lawes at about 50 minutes, poor old boy struggles with 80 these days.
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Post by doctor_grey Fri 31 May 2024, 11:53 am

In their last games at the Gardens, I think Alex Waller (who has been playing great recently), Lewis Ludlum, and Courtney Lawes will have terrific games.  Just need to avoid that little bit of extra nerves....

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 31 May 2024, 2:17 pm

doctor_grey wrote:In their last games at the Gardens, I think Alex Waller (who has been playing great recently), Lewis Ludlum, and Courtney Lawes will have terrific games.  Just need to avoid that little bit of extra nerves....

Don't forget Alex Moon, his last game as well
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Post by Poorfour Fri 31 May 2024, 3:08 pm

What are we going to label the other semi? Sturm vs Drang? Flash Gordon vs Ming the Merciless?
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Post by mountain man Fri 31 May 2024, 3:25 pm

Poorfour wrote:What are we going to label the other semi? Sturm vs Drang? Flash Gordon vs Ming the Merciless?

Bath v Sale will do.

No hype required.

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Post by doctor_grey Fri 31 May 2024, 3:53 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:In their last games at the Gardens, I think Alex Waller (who has been playing great recently), Lewis Ludlum, and Courtney Lawes will have terrific games.  Just need to avoid that little bit of extra nerves....

Don't forget Alex Moon, his last game as well
Truly!

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Post by doctor_grey Fri 31 May 2024, 3:54 pm

mountain man wrote:
Poorfour wrote:What are we going to label the other semi? Sturm vs Drang? Flash Gordon vs Ming the Merciless?

Bath v Sale will do.

No hype required.
Why not call it the battle to lose to Saints next weekend...... Run

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Post by Cumbrian Fri 31 May 2024, 8:34 pm

Really entertaining first half.  Important bit of daylight for Saints, but both look dangerous in attack.  Saracens are on the edge a little bit because of the 6-2 bench and losing Parton early.  An early injury in the backs could be disastrous for them, especially with how dangerous Northampton are from long range.
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Post by Geordie Fri 31 May 2024, 8:46 pm

Langdon needs to travel this summer.

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Post by Cumbrian Fri 31 May 2024, 9:02 pm

Saracens' bench has made a huge impact, Saints really need to respond.
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Post by Geordie Fri 31 May 2024, 9:12 pm

Mitchell is outstanding mind...England's no 1 9 now...
Lots of England contenders in this...and some of the old guard not standing up....the young pretenders making the plays.

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Post by Geordie Fri 31 May 2024, 9:22 pm

Everyone questioned Eddie Jones initially for Furbank but hey...he knew what he saw......a classy player!!


Last edited by Geordie on Fri 31 May 2024, 9:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 31 May 2024, 9:22 pm

Think Saints should have gone for the 5m scrum instead of the kick for the 9 point lead. Could have put the game to bed there.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 31 May 2024, 9:23 pm

Geordie wrote:Everyone questioned Eddie Jones initially for Firbank but hey...he knew what he saw......a classy player!!

He's got all the skills, except under the high ball where he's looked weak. The little extra kick of acceleration as he arrives onto the ball has caused problems for Sarries defence.

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Post by Geordie Fri 31 May 2024, 9:24 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Think Saints should have gone for the 5m scrum instead of the kick for the 9 point lead. Could have put the game to bed there.

It's already to he'd Sam...the old guard have been seen off.

It's actually quite a moment this game....so many huge names on their last game....

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Post by Geordie Fri 31 May 2024, 9:26 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Geordie wrote:Everyone questioned Eddie Jones initially for Firbank but hey...he knew what he saw......a classy player!!

He's got all the skills, except under the high ball where he's looked weak. The little extra kick of acceleration as he arrives onto the ball has caused problems for Sarries defence.

Don't think he's weak Sam...just not the brick wall that Steward is. Which few are. Bit he offers so much more in other areas (in my opinion) and I'm a fan of Steward

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 31 May 2024, 9:40 pm

Geordie wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Geordie wrote:Everyone questioned Eddie Jones initially for Firbank but hey...he knew what he saw......a classy player!!

He's got all the skills, except under the high ball where he's looked weak. The little extra kick of acceleration as he arrives onto the ball has caused problems for Sarries defence.

Don't think he's weak Sam...just not the brick wall that Steward is. Which few are. Bit he offers so much more in other areas (in my opinion) and I'm a fan of Steward

Just meant tonight not in general. Think he came for two or three and got nowhere near any of them. Normally he's more composed than that.

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Post by Geordie Fri 31 May 2024, 9:50 pm

Ah gotcha!

Courtney's interview...wow brutal. What a player. Bring it on.

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 01 Jun 2024, 12:26 pm

So Saints scrum took control of a match against Sarries. And, not to hurt myself too severely patting myself on the back, but I really expected Alex Waller to have a great game, and he did. Along with Courtney Lawes both seem to be playing some of their best Rugby now.

Not too bad, not too bad at all.

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Post by Geordie Sat 01 Jun 2024, 4:58 pm

Decent game Bath v Sale...

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Post by Welshmushroom Sat 01 Jun 2024, 5:10 pm

doctor_grey wrote:So Saints scrum took control of a match against Sarries.  And, not to hurt myself too severely patting myself on the back, but I really expected Alex Waller to have a great game, and he did.  Along with Courtney Lawes both seem to be playing some of their best Rugby now.  

Not too bad, not too bad at all.

Losing a lot of players as well are Northampton so going to be interesting how they recruit in the summer and go next year. Some of their best players in the pack are going so that may impact them next year.

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Post by Geordie Sat 01 Jun 2024, 6:17 pm

Who are Saints losing....Lawes, Ludlam, Waller x 2, Moon

Lawes is pretty much irreplaceable, whilst Ludlum and Waller will the tough to replace..but not impossible. Their academy is churning out some top players at the moment aswell...

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sat 01 Jun 2024, 7:15 pm

I think they are losing those plus Hill and letting go a lot more, I think it is something like 13 overall. Lawes is the irreplaceable one as you say, they have got Graham, Pearson, Scott-young, Augustus, plus Irvine and Pollock to bring through. If lock resources allow Coles can also play the Lawes game quite well. They have Munga and Mayanavanua at lock to go with Coles, then it gets a bit thin, Locket is just too lightweight, needs to put on 10kg to be premiership weight, 17.5 stone does not do it these days. If he can't put the weight on properly, perhaps 6 is a better option.

We are well equiped at LH, but TH needs some attention, we have two established Tight Heads then rookies.
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Post by Mr Bounce Sat 01 Jun 2024, 7:40 pm

From a team point of view, I am not sure why Sarries played Farrell when he was crocked? I appreciate that it was potentially his last game etc and he wanted to do his bit for the fans and the club, but was a half-broken Owen genuinely better than their next best 10? It's an odd one.

If he wasn't leaving, he probably would have been rested I guess.

Anyway, well played Saints and Bath - here's hoping that the final will be a cracker.

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Post by Welshmushroom Sat 01 Jun 2024, 7:49 pm

Geordie wrote:Who are Saints losing....Lawes, Ludlam,  Waller x 2, Moon

Lawes is pretty much irreplaceable,  whilst Ludlum and Waller will the tough to replace..but not impossible.  Their academy is churning out some top players at the moment aswell...

They are producing some great players but there are some pretty big losses in there that are not easily replaced. If they go with youth you would imagine it may take those players a couple of seasons before they get to those players level.

They have great coaches there though so no doubt will still be a force next season.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 01 Jun 2024, 8:56 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:
Geordie wrote:Who are Saints losing....Lawes, Ludlam,  Waller x 2, Moon

Lawes is pretty much irreplaceable,  whilst Ludlum and Waller will the tough to replace..but not impossible.  Their academy is churning out some top players at the moment aswell...

They are producing some great players but there are some pretty big losses in there that are not easily replaced.  If they go with youth you would imagine it may take those players a couple of seasons before they get to those players level.  

They have great coaches there though so no doubt will still be a force next season.

Waller is being replaced by West. That's an upgrade. There's Ioygen and Haffar coming through as well, they are huge prospects meaning Waller the Younger wasn't really required.

Lawes is nigh on impossible to replace but Josh Kemeny from the Rebels is inbound to try and do the job. Ludlam and Moon haven't had any replacements announced yet but they'll need them. Moon is a big lump in the row and Ludlam covers the whole backrow. Pollock the England under 20s wonder kid is likely to get more game time next season so Pearson could start to cover more of the backrow but it's a step down. I'd expect a couple more signings to be incoming.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 02 Jun 2024, 2:00 am

Very interesting that the Bath 23 that defeated Sale today was the same as the 23 that defeated Saints more-or-less seconds. Only exception to the XVs being the same was Barbeary, who was on the bench against Saints and started against Bath.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 02 Jun 2024, 4:23 am

Jonny Hill had an altercation with a Bath supporter after the match.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2024/06/01/jonny-hill-bath-supporter-headlock-premiership/

An incident involving Jonny Hill will now be investigated by Sale Sharks after the England and Lions lock was accused of grabbing a Bath supporter in a headlock that left them with a cut above their right eye during ugly scenes after Bath’s semi-final victory at The Rec.

Hill, who is 6ft 7in, was not playing in the match and was dressed in casual clothes sat in the friends and family section of the West Stand, with the incident seen by multiple eyewitnesses.

The 28-year-old fan, who did not want to be named and was understood to have engaged in some banter with Hill at the end of the game, said afterwards: “I was sat there, and he came down the stairs, grabbed me around the throat, snapped my sunglasses and cut the top of my eye. He was like saying to me, ‘don’t ever do that again’.

“To be honest, all I want is a new pair of sunglasses. It is not football. I was sat with my partner and all her family (Bath fans). We were Worcester fans. I don’t want to make a big thing.”

Sale said in a statement: “Sale Sharks are aware of an incident involving a player and Bath Rugby fan at the final whistle of today’s semi-final. The club will work with Bath Rugby to complete an investigation into the incident and will provide no further comment at this time.”

Alex Sanderson, the club’s director of rugby, revealed afterwards that he had not seen the incident while also defending Hill’s character.

“It is news to me, Jonny is not the aggressive type and I will answer those questions when I know,” Sanderson said. “I can vouch for Jonny’s character, he is not an overly aggressive or spiteful person.”

Paul Deacon, the Sale assistant coach, could be overheard speaking to the supporter afterwards offering his apologies, while adding that he had not seen what happened...

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Post by RiscaGame Sun 02 Jun 2024, 7:12 am

I had heard about that. I also heard of a Sale fan being punched in the head by a Bath fan on X too. Sounds a bit feisty there.

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Post by Geordie Sun 02 Jun 2024, 8:00 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:
Geordie wrote:Who are Saints losing....Lawes, Ludlam,  Waller x 2, Moon

Lawes is pretty much irreplaceable,  whilst Ludlum and Waller will the tough to replace..but not impossible.  Their academy is churning out some top players at the moment aswell...

They are producing some great players but there are some pretty big losses in there that are not easily replaced.  If they go with youth you would imagine it may take those players a couple of seasons before they get to those players level.  

They have great coaches there though so no doubt will still be a force next season.

Waller is being replaced by West. That's an upgrade. There's Ioygen and Haffar coming through as well, they are huge prospects meaning Waller the Younger wasn't really required.

Lawes is nigh on impossible to replace but Josh Kemeny from the Rebels is inbound to try and do the job. Ludlam and Moon haven't had any replacements announced yet but they'll need them. Moon is a big lump in the row and Ludlam covers the whole backrow. Pollock the England under 20s wonder kid is likely to get more game time next season so Pearson could start to cover more of the backrow but it's a step down. I'd expect a couple more signings to be incoming.

Didn't know they'd signed West...Good signing...and yes Iyogun and Haffar are two outstanding prospects.
Walkers consistency was his strength...just played every game. Players like that are priceless.

Pearson still a one to watch for me ...and as you say Pollock will play more next season.
If they get locks in Coles could very well play at 6 more...but I like how he's going at lock so would leave him there.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun 02 Jun 2024, 10:25 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:
Geordie wrote:Who are Saints losing....Lawes, Ludlam,  Waller x 2, Moon

Lawes is pretty much irreplaceable,  whilst Ludlum and Waller will the tough to replace..but not impossible.  Their academy is churning out some top players at the moment aswell...

They are producing some great players but there are some pretty big losses in there that are not easily replaced.  If they go with youth you would imagine it may take those players a couple of seasons before they get to those players level.  

They have great coaches there though so no doubt will still be a force next season.

Waller is being replaced by West. That's an upgrade. There's Ioygen and Haffar coming through as well, they are huge prospects meaning Waller the Younger wasn't really required.

Lawes is nigh on impossible to replace but Josh Kemeny from the Rebels is inbound to try and do the job. Ludlam and Moon haven't had any replacements announced yet but they'll need them. Moon is a big lump in the row and Ludlam covers the whole backrow. Pollock the England under 20s wonder kid is likely to get more game time next season so Pearson could start to cover more of the backrow but it's a step down. I'd expect a couple more signings to be incoming.

I would respectfully disagree with your comment about West being an upgrade to Waller (A), he struggles to make first choice with Sarries, two props ahead of him ahead. Waller has made 377 appearances in the Prem, way ahead of anybody else in his position, you don't do that by being a weak scrummager. He is still first choice at Saints in a pack that has being dominant against most Prem teams for the last two seasons. I suspect that Iyogun and Haffar will be on a level or better next year. I am not sure what West's ball play is like but Waller like most Saints forwards has very good hands and happily plays 1st receiver, he is also a lot quicker than he looks.

West has had only 5 starts this season (3 of them in the Rugby Cup), 2 Premiership starts both games Sarries lost and ironically one of them against Saints where Sarries were second best in the scrum; overall 13 appearances averaging 35 minutes per game
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Post by doctor_grey Sun 02 Jun 2024, 11:59 am

Mate, I think West is a good addition.  But Waller has been really playing out of his skin for most of this season.  Really reminds me when he was young and still earning his stripes.  

Saints had the best of the scrum for most of the game, and when Millar-Mills, Iyogun, and Matavesi came on the scrum went from being strong and better than Saracens to dominating.  Almost started to bring back memories of Tiny, Dylan, and Mooj.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 02 Jun 2024, 8:49 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:
Geordie wrote:Who are Saints losing....Lawes, Ludlam,  Waller x 2, Moon

Lawes is pretty much irreplaceable,  whilst Ludlum and Waller will the tough to replace..but not impossible.  Their academy is churning out some top players at the moment aswell...

They are producing some great players but there are some pretty big losses in there that are not easily replaced.  If they go with youth you would imagine it may take those players a couple of seasons before they get to those players level.  

They have great coaches there though so no doubt will still be a force next season.

Waller is being replaced by West. That's an upgrade. There's Ioygen and Haffar coming through as well, they are huge prospects meaning Waller the Younger wasn't really required.

Lawes is nigh on impossible to replace but Josh Kemeny from the Rebels is inbound to try and do the job. Ludlam and Moon haven't had any replacements announced yet but they'll need them. Moon is a big lump in the row and Ludlam covers the whole backrow. Pollock the England under 20s wonder kid is likely to get more game time next season so Pearson could start to cover more of the backrow but it's a step down. I'd expect a couple more signings to be incoming.

I would respectfully disagree with your comment about West being an upgrade to Waller (A), he struggles to make first choice with Sarries, two props ahead of him ahead. Waller has made 377 appearances in the Prem, way ahead of anybody else in his position, you don't do that by being a weak scrummager. He is still first choice at Saints in a pack that has being dominant against most Prem teams for the last two seasons. I suspect that Iyogun and Haffar will be on a level or better next year.  I am not sure what West's ball play is like but Waller like most Saints forwards has very good hands and happily plays 1st receiver, he is also a lot quicker than he looks.

West has had only 5 starts this season (3 of them in the Rugby Cup), 2 Premiership starts both games Sarries lost and ironically one of them against Saints where Sarries were second best in the scrum; overall 13 appearances averaging 35 minutes per game

West has struggled at Sarries but the season before he spent half the season as Tigers go to option at loosehead being a significant part of the post Borthwick turnaround where Tigers went from free fall to making the playoffs and narrowly losing to Sale.

Alex Waller is leaving rugby in the form of his life, for most of his career he's been an average club level prop. West is more than that. Injuries and short term contracts haven't helped but I think he'll thrive for Saints next season. He's a better scrummaging prop than Waller (even the improved version) and can at least match what he offers in the loose. I'm annoyed as I'd have happily replaced Cronin with West every day of the week for next season.

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Post by carpet baboon Sun 02 Jun 2024, 9:20 pm

Quick question.

Of the 4 teams playing yesterday which had the most players from there academy.

My gut says Northampton have the most and Bath the least.






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Post by doctor_grey Sun 02 Jun 2024, 10:40 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Quick question.

Of the 4 teams playing yesterday which had the most players from there academy.

My gut says Northampton have the most and Bath the least.
That's a good question. I would think Saints as well.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 03 Jun 2024, 7:12 am

Sale might have been close with;

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 9. Gus Warr, 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. James Harper, 6. Ben Curry ©, 7. Sam Dugdale,

Replacements:  

17. Si McIntyre, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Luke James, 23. Tom Curry.

13 of the 23.

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Post by mountain man Mon 03 Jun 2024, 7:54 am

As a matter of interest, what's the feeling on having play offs? Good idea as exciting for fans, rugby usually played in better weather and gives opportunity for any of top 4 to win title.

Or is it a cynical money spinner when teams should be resting players and whoever finishes top at end of season should be declared winner?

My personal opinion is whoever finishes top should be winners, so this year it's Saints.
As a fan I love watching the play offs, but let's say Saracens who finished 4th had won their SF and then went on to win final. Would that be right outcome?

Yes all teams know from outset what the situation is but I cant help thinking the best team over whole season should be winner. This season Bath and Saints been close, both ending on 60 points but its not always the case.

Anyway, just wondering what others think about it.

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Post by mountain man Mon 03 Jun 2024, 3:54 pm

As a matter of interest what's everyones opinion on having playoffs?

Good idea as fans get to see some great rugby in in better weather/conditions, a chance for any of top 4 to win title, clubs get money as almost guaranteed sellout crowds?

Or is it a cynical money spinner when players should be rested for summer and that whoever ends season top should be winner anyway?

My thinking is whoever ends season top is winner. For this season it's Saints. As a fan the matches are brilliant of course but let's say Saracens who ended up 4th had won their SF and then went on to win final. Would that be right? This season Bath and Saints ended up on 60 points so a close run affair but in past margin been fair bit more.
Obviously all teams know situation at start of year so it is what it is but I was wondering how everyone thinks about it.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon 03 Jun 2024, 5:55 pm

I don't mind the playoffs, but there should be a reward for winning the Premiership and then another reward for winning another two games.

If I remember correctly, the playoffs were introduced to make it fair to those clubs that had been hit by international call ups, the effect of that has been muted now, so either get rid of them or make it a cup for winning the league and another for winning the top four final.
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Post by doctor_grey Tue 04 Jun 2024, 12:11 am

Yeah, but....
The playoffs were always about the money.  Or, well, money and growing the sport. The rest were simple little obfuscations which helped rationalise the process.  Which is fine because they are not really untrue, just not the main motivator.  And I am firmly in the camp of the winner of the playoffs (a little good fortune Saturday, please) is the winner of the season.  Most sport globally does it that way and everyone wins.  

Ultimately, as Phil Dowson recently said:  "No one remembers who came top of the table.  They remember who hoisted the cup".

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Post by Poorfour Tue 04 Jun 2024, 11:11 am

doctor_grey wrote:Yeah, but....
The playoffs were always about the money.  Or, well, money and growing the sport.  The rest were simple little obfuscations which helped rationalise the process.  Which is fine because they are not really untrue, just not the main motivator.  And I am firmly in the camp of the winner of the playoffs (a little good fortune Saturday, please) is the winner of the season.  Most sport globally does it that way and everyone wins.  

Ultimately, as Phil Dowson recently said:  "No one remembers who came top of the table.  They remember who hoisted the cup".

As a Quins fan who went to Ashton Gate 3 years ago, I endorse this position.
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