By GC89
#14970
Just over a week away and it feels like we know what 99% of the squad will look like going into the resumption of the season. I expect we will go with what looks like our strongest side on paper for the first two games, before rotation will have to come into play with the shorter turnarounds. I expect something like:

1. Dell
2. Matu'u
3. Kepu
4. Mafi
5. De Chaves
6. Rogerson
7. Cowan
8. Tuisue

9. Meehan
10. Jackson
11. OHC
12. Hepetema
13. Rona
14. Loader
15. Homer

Bench: Cornish, Elrington, Hoskins, Nott, O'Brien, Phipps, Parton, Williams
By Margin_Walker
#14975
Looks about right.

Is OHC actually fit at the moment? Conscious I've not seen any footage/pics of him training and we do seem to be scrabbling around for back three cover.
By GC89
#14977
Good point. Would probably have Williams on the wing if he is out.
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By Stevie J
#14992
Felt like when we played them earlier in the season, that in addition to some misfortune, we just got physically bullied at times. So I'd be tempted to try SOB and Cowan in the back row along with Tuisue and Rogerson to bench as he can cover a few positions.

This restarted portion of the season should give us an insight into our squad for next season so I do hope we see some different combinations and blooding of Academy lads in combination with senior players.
By GC89
#14993
That's a good point Steve. We really lost the gainline battle that day. However, I think with the current lack of options at lock, I suspect Kidney and Kiss will want an additional line-out option in the backrow.
User avatar
By Narbia
#15026
Stevie J wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:35 pm
..... we just got physically bullied at times. ....
Aye. Every time we charged forward route #1, two huge Bath defenders repelled our guy quite easily. Hope the coaches have taken note, and changed the game plan? Also, I think this is time for SO'B to show us his Lions stripes, and get stuck right in there.

This is a bit like a season start, and Bath rarely start the season well. Hope springs eternal. ....... :)
By Margin_Walker
#15088
Margin_Walker wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:53 am
Looks about right.

Is OHC actually fit at the moment? Conscious I've not seen any footage/pics of him training and we do seem to be scrabbling around for back three cover.
Scrap that. He's in the pics released today. Backline almost picks itself with only Naholo seemingly unavailable of the players in contention.
Last edited by Margin_Walker on Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Florida
#15089
If the forwards can front up, that backline can do some damage. I'm beginning to get a little excited / nervous for the weekend
By GC89
#15247
I’m guessing just a throw away remark and referencing some guys who have now moved on...but who knows!
By Florida
#15248
Given the players currently unavailable this would be my starting XV v Bath

1. Elrington
2. Matu'u
3. Kepu
4. Nott
5. De Chaves
6. SOB
7. Cowan
8. Tuisue

9. Meehan
10. Jackson
11. OHC
12. Hepetema
13. Rona
14. Loader
15. Homer
By Florida
#15253
Neither am I, but sadly I don't think there's a lot of option except playing one of the back rows in the second row, which I don't really think does us any favours at all.
By Margin_Walker
#15259
I wonder if Albert will show up there at the weekend purely for the ballast given he has some limited experience lock. De Chaves and Nott more likely though.

In other news Dell's wife/partner gave birth yesterday. Definitely makes Elrington favourite for the start.
By Florida
#15260
I was watching an Albert highlight video earlier today to get me in the mood for the rugby this weekend. He was in the 5 shirt quite a lot of the time, so I was wondering the same, but I think we'd opt to keep him in his usual position.
By Florida
#15293
Its very nearly time! Getting super excited now. To help boost excitement I can tell you that the captain will be SOB
By GC89
#15297
Lock pairing may find it tough against Ewels and McNally but excited to see how Donnell fairs. He clearly has a lot of potential. I am guessing Homer has a knock as would have liked to see him at 15. Phipps must have shown up very well in training over the summer as he hasn’t impressed me on the pitch yet.
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By Stevie J
#15300
I think for us as much as any team there is a whiff of pre-season here. There's a lot of games to come and we are going to need to rotate so it makes sense to give the likes of Phipps a start (but so far I agree, Meehan is the number 1 choice).

Thrilled for Donnell who clearly has earned his way into that squad.

It will be tough going - especially if it becomes forward orientated game in the rain.
By Margin_Walker
#15304
Yep, weather looks a bit sketchy, but you'd have to think we'd have a better chance with a dry ball and an open game.
By Florida
#15305
I'm now thinking that when it comes to the scrum we'll bump Albert to the second row and stick Donnell in the back row (shifting Rogerson to 8).

We might be alright with the wet weather, we'll have 4 / 5 back rowers on the pitch :)
By Margin_Walker
#15306
Florida wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:28 pm
I'm now thinking that when it comes to the scrum we'll bump Albert to the second row and stick Donnell in the back row (shifting Rogerson to 8).

We might be alright with the wet weather, we'll have 4 / 5 back rowers on the pitch :)
Yep, wouldn't be at all surprised to see Albert switched there for defensive scrums.

Would rather him at 8 on our ball though as he's really dangerous off the base and it would be a shame to lose that threat.
User avatar
By Narbia
#15359
Final thoughts before tomorrow's battle : I think and hope our back row forwards are going to do some smashing ball carrying in the vein of the legendary ball-carrier Chris Hala' Ufia.

Probably more important, after tonight's game : the team better prepared and au-fait with the new breakdown interpretations will win the match.

Don't know about you good folks, but that game tonight was my first feast after the famine. May the fest begin, ........continuing with part of the Exe/Tigers game before the main act at 3 p.m.

:drunk:
User avatar
By poyntonshark
#15360
Narbia wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:33 pm
Don't know about you good folks, but that game tonight was my first feast after the famine.
Then may I apologise for my much-hyped team serving up such a meagre portion.
By Margin_Walker
#15361
Breakdown will certainly be interesting today. Sure it will settle down, but boy was ball retention difficult last night. Hold on for a split second and you're pinged
By Hsmith18
#15426
Weird game today. Obviously the forwards were well and truly second best but I felt like we were the better team ball in hand. Not quite sure how we're going to cope though without simmons and coleman over the next few weeks.
Thought parton was rock solid. Definitely his most assured performance in the prem
User avatar
By Narbia
#15429
It was a bit strange.

I thought Phipps had his best game in an LI shirt. The new guys seemed up for it as were Donnell and Parton. Jackson's kicking seemed what we'd expect of an international.

But, I felt that we were lacking real leadership somewhere.
By GHA
#15430
I thought the forwards were OK, apart from the rolling maul defence obviously. But we gave away about 8 penalties in the first 20 minutes, which was so depressing to see. I don't know if O'Brien captained Leinster much, and I know plenty of 7s have made good captains, but I felt like he loses his impact in asking questions of the ref if five minutes earlier he's messing about causing trouble in rucks, and getting penalised for it. Turns into a six of one debate with the ref, whereas someone less in the firing line might have more standing in their question...

The Underhill hit on Parton looked high, and the tackle in the air was a penalty for me. Yes he jumped to catch the pass but players jump to catch the ball from kicks and are then taken out all the time - so what's the difference?
By Margin_Walker
#15432
I'm certainly a lot more positive about the game than the crowd over at the other place.

We were poor where I thought we would be and the wings both had an off game. I actually think our continuity was pretty good and we controlled a lot of the game. It's so hard to finish up on the scoreboard though when you struggle in the scrum and maul defence. You just get rinsed again and again when the opposition sense weakness.

Kidney and Kiss are going to have to have a decent think about how we deal with that as it doesn't look like we have another lock to pull out the bag for the moment. I like Donnell and Nott, but they aren't Prem locks for me at the moment. de Chaves is a great guy and actually proper lock, but isn't really going to scare many in this league.

Also thought the starting props were pretty poor on this occasion.

Plenty to build on though:

Parton - Had the best game I've seen him play. Super secure on the highball, taking several contested ones brilliantly and cleaned up a lot of messy ball. Clearing kicks were also very good and popped up at first receiver a fair bit. We know he can do the flashy stuff, but nice to see him put in this kind of performance

Cornish - Only seen his highlights and this game, but like what I see. Could be a really high energy bench option for us.

Goodrick-Clark - Also did well on his prem debut. Scrum was much more secure and won an important jackal pen

Jackson - Good from the tee and his touch finders were accurate

Rona - Unlucky with the offload, it was on an was just super anticipation from Spencer. Otherwise played well and took his try well. Hope his injury isn't serious.

Phipps didn't do much wrong. Albert and SOB had quiet games, which didn't help. Onwards and upwards.
By Margin_Walker
#15433
I thought the tackle on Loader was fine GHA. Rugby incident for me when you jump into the tackle like that (unless you are Sinckler)

Surprised they didn't look at the tackle on Parton. Ref did't really use the TMO for much at all and I've got a suspicion (albeit on one full speed look) that Rona actually scored earlier on following the knock on. I thought it looked like the ball was ripped from Albert by a Bath hand.

May just need glasses though
By GHA
#15434
Margin_Walker wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 7:31 pm
I thought the tackle on Loader was fine GHA. Rugby incident for me when you jump into the tackle like that (unless you are Sinckler)

Surprised they didn't look at the tackle on Parton. Ref did't really use the TMO for much at all and I've got a suspicion (albeit on one full speed look) that Rona actually scored earlier on following the knock on. I thought it looked like the ball was ripped from Albert by a Bath hand.

May just need glasses though
I thought the tackler had a split second to pull out. Agreed on the hit on Parton and also thought it could've been a rip but no one seemed to get too excited and make a fuss, unfortunately.

Quietly excited about Cornish, lot of games under his belt at a reasonable level and he's still only 23 I think. Him and Creevy for one, maybe two seasons has potential. Also has one try in one game as opposed to the Bath replacement hooker who obviously scored his first try on 40 games against us and he won't get many easier
By Florida
#15437
I too am pretty upbeat after that. We were in the right areas of the pitch for a lot of the game, we just lacked the pack to do the job. The pack not being able to do the job is unsurprising, obviously there's the lock issue, but we also recently lost their coach.

As Stevie mentioned earlier, there's a definite feel of pre-season for us right now, which makes perfect sense to me. I would much rather we got our attack and defense in order now, rather than worrying about Champions cup rugby which would put a huge strain on us next season
By GC89
#15454
The hysteria on the other place is pretty funny. Talk that morale is low and there was a lack of players "patting each other on the back" etc. We need a run of games to really assess where we are, but I thought after more or less gifting Bath 17 points we showed good spirit to fight our way back into the game and you could hear the players clapping and cheering when we won defensive turnovers, so I don't have too much concern about fighting spirit etc.

I also struggle to see how anyone can be surprised by the result or the performance. Bath are a dull team that have clearly prioritised a tight, compact group of forwards who will beat teams up in the close quarters. It is hardly surprising when you look at their coaching panel. That combined with our total lack of experience and bulk in the second row meant this was only going one way.

In better conditions we may have stood a chance, as we did show some nice touches in attack. We just need to learn not to force things so much. In the pack I was impressed by Matu'u who was immensely physical, whilst staying disciplined with his hits, the impact Goodrick-Clarke made off the bench and Donnell really stood up well, aside from one or two moments of ill-discipline. He is clearly ready to play at this level on a regular basis, whether in the second row or at 6. Cornish also looked very lively in attack, but evidently needs work on his line-out throwing. In the backs that was Parton's best game by far. I had been saying earlier in the day that he really needs to start stepping up as he has never really convinced me and looks hesitant under the high ball, but he dominated the air and showed a lot of heart. Phipps (another who I have been critical of) did his fundamentals well and got the ball away from the breakdown efficiently. Jackson had a few nice touches (a lovely pop to Matu'u, with a wraparound and pass to Hepetema reminded me of him at his best for Ulster), but needs a bit more time to stamp his authority on the team. Any word on when Naholo is fit?

Possible team for Saints:

1. Elrington
2. Matu'u
3. Kepu
4. Nott
5. De Chaves
6. Donnell
7. Cowan
8. Tuisue

9. Phipps
10. Jackson
11. OHC
12. Hepetema
13. Williams (assuming Rona is out)
14. Loader
15. Parton

Bench: Cornish, Goodrick-Clarke, Hoskins, Cooke, O'Brien, Meehan, Brophy-Clews, Homer
GHA liked this
By Hsmith18
#15458
I've personally never seen him play but I know that Chunya munga is very highly rated. He's reported as being 119kg which is about right for this level and certainly adds a bit more bulk than nott or Donnell.
By Florida
#15462
I wouldn't be surprised to see him feature in a few games, he's only 1kg heavier than Nott though
User avatar
By Narbia
#15464
GC89 wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:23 am
The hysteria on the other place is pretty funny.
:lol Aye. First game after the restart. :lol
GC89 wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:23 am
Possible team for Saints:

1. Elrington
2. Matu'u
3. Kepu
4. Nott
5. De Chaves
6. Donnell
7. Cowan
8. Tuisue

9. Phipps
10. Jackson
11. OHC
12. Hepetema
13. Williams (assuming Rona is out)
14. Loader
15. Parton

Bench: Cornish, Goodrick-Clarke, Hoskins, Cooke, O'Brien, Meehan, Brophy-Clews, Homer
Agreed. Let the young guys up their game time.
But. Captain's armband to Blair Cowan.
By Florida
#15490
I'd actually stick with SOB starting, the Bath game was his second game in about 15 months, he needs time to play himself in and get himself set for next season
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