By Raimond
#9656
I know we've just had a bad result but this isn't really a hugely loaded post; I find us genuinely confusing, how good does anyone think we actually are??

I was astonished pre-season that we weren't rated higher by the media with the squad we assembled. Just before the season started, we had a few more mentions and I reckon most fans were genuinely hopeful.

We started disappointingly, disjointedly, bloody awful lineouts etc; we seem to have settled (a little)...a cup final and today we could've gone second, so lots of promise, but it's not quite happened yet has it??

We've some superb players. Tom Curry, Faf, Ashton all pretty much world class; Akker Van Der Merwe could be one of the best in the Prem if he gets his throwing sorted (seems to be doing) and RJVR's superb. Throw in Sam James, Solomona, Yarde (at 100%) Ben Curry, the Du Preezes, it's a hell of a side and squad.

With the Sarries stuff and other teams losing players to the 6 nations, surely we've got to be Exeter's main challengers?? Are we though?? Nowt more leading than that, where (about half way through the season) do you think we'll end up now?
By Olyy
#9658
Realistically?
Top 6 with the potential for more - if we get everyone fit, firing and gelling together then we've got one of the better first XVs (if not squads) in the prem.

We've a lot of new players in key positions that need time to gel in - we've seen, in bursts, what we're capable of and the aim is consistency. World cup and some injuries early doors haven't helped, but then again most sides have suffered the same.


For me, this season - top 6 is a bare minimum. Obviously I'd love to see us top 4 (or top 2), but as today (and other games this season) has shown I think we're far too susceptible to having an absolute shocker - I'm not sure any other side drops off as massively as we're prone to do, when putting out largely the same side.

Hopefully we can sort the mental side of the game out because I do believe that this squad is capable of great things. At the moment we're a bit French - which side will turn up?
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By Clutch
#9667
I think there’s an element of being a bit one eyed, saying we should be Chiefs main challenger. All other teams have v good players as well. I think it’s easy to look at the improvement in our squad and be a bit overconfident. We are all guilty of that. If you do a one on one comparison with other teams there’s not a lot in it.
We fans are overly loyal to the players, as it’s easier to blame the coaches rather than question if the players are good enough.

I agree with Olly pretty much. I think we should be aiming for third. I would have snapped your hand off for 4th at the start. Now upgraded to 3rd with Sarries gone.
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By Surbiton_Shark
#9677
I suspect the players think they are better than we are and yesterday should act as red flag that success won't come consitently if we don't put the workrate on the field, improve good management on the field and be more willing to adopt when pre-made plans cleary aren' working and we vastly improve our core basis (lineouts, catching, passing, kicking)
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By Major Bloodnok
#9678
From my first match report this season:
If we can get a full season out of Ashton and Rohan and if Yarde is back to full blazing speed (and if Denny wakes up quicker than he did last season), then we should consider anything less than top six a failure, given the quality on display, even when ring rusty.

I’d say top four, but there are enough new players and sufficient disruption this season that I would consider that a bonus, rather than an expectation.
And I'll stick by it. I felt that this season would be one of disruption and inconsistency, simply because of (a) the World Cup and (b) so many new players, most of whom would be likely starters.

We're third and, if Northampton do what they should, we will stay 3rd. So far, we've come away with at least one league point from every game up until this last one. I was getting more and more depressed watching the score updates on the Prem app — it was pretty obvious that we were playing poorly.

But... We. Are. Third. I'll take that.

But not next season...
By Lord Elpus
#9689
What is clear is that either the coaches are not doing their jobs or the players aren't. We make a staggering number of schoolboy errors :- knocks-on, own lineouts lost, penalties concede defending mauls, no idea how to use the wind, no idea of how to play against 14 or fewer men.

We are definitely less than the sum of our parts. We lack nous and we lack a playmaker. Sam James is wated largely because van Rensburg always seeks contact.

We need a bp win against the Cheetahs otherwise it's back to mid-table or lower.
By Clutch
#9693
So if we only get a comfortable 3 try win we will be middle lower table?

Same point as always. Tigers aren’t a bad team on paper.
Though missing key players so we should be getting the 5 points.
By Timperley Shark
#9694
A very good point made by Ewok Shark via Whats App last night.
We have 7 hone games, 5 away. Of the home games, you would have to fancy us to win 6, Exeter being the doubt.
Pick up 2 wins away (Wasps, Leicester, Glaws?)
Saints have 5 home 7 away.
Is second place beyond our reach. Don't think so.
By Lord Elpus
#9698
Last saturday was a golden opportunity to get some points at Sorries. We were out-thought and out-battled by a weakened side.

Leicester got a win v Wasps which they didn't really deserve but they are weakened by 6N absences. It's imperative we get a win and we must aim for the bp too.
By Elgar
#9700
Don't think much can be taken from the Sarries game. The weather turned the game into a farce.

Sarries dealt better with it, sure. But if we have to play in those conditions again this season I'l be very surprised.


Aside from that I'd say we are top 2/3 quality at home. Mid-table at best quality away.

Agree that it's flakiness in executing basics that lets us down away (as well as at home in the more competitive fixtures). Presumably that's down to concentration. Therefore well within reach to eradicate but for that same reason perplexing that it's still present.
By SimonG
#9702
Ignore the result of Saturday's game. You were playing against a team who are cheating and should be discounted. Judge yourselves against honest teams.

In my book you are one of four or five teams competing to finish second behind Exeter with little separating them.
By Monty9
#9704
"Weakened side" that still had 9 tier 1 Internationals in their squad. Says it all about Saracens really, they should not be playing a single game and continuing to effect the league this season in my opinion.

No excusing our performance though, we have got to get better at controlling games and stopping stupid mistakes before we can be consider a real title contender, but I still think with our remaining games Top 2 is in our reach.

I´m expecting a big result on Friday.
By stevene
#9707
We are a top 4--6 side. last season we were a top 6-8 side.

To put in perspective we turned up vs a weakened exeter and won. we didnt turn up vs a weakened sarries in bad weather and lost.

The top two sides (at full strength) this season remain sarries and exeter. they (even with a few missing) can expect to compete home and away each game. they might lose a few but are consistent in their performances.

few points to consider:

behind a dominant pack Cliff looks good. less so when not. we need a strong 9 and AJM and RDP are decent 10's but not up there with the best.
RJVR is brilliant when he can catch, less so when he can't.
Our lineout with JLDP in the second row is an area for the opposition to target if they have a decent line out.

going behind so early in poor conditions wasn't what the doctor ordered. compare that to how we started vs chiefs. we started on the back foot and between awful handling, forcing the game and getting pinged off the park by WB it was just not our day.

we should be targettting 100% at home and winning 2 or 3 away for the remainder. that will deliver top 4.

As an aside I also have a sneaking suspicion that FDK is already fit and was deliberately held back for a home game where LDJ will also make his debut. Bit like Wilson also made his first team debut at home. Funny that....
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By poyntonshark
#9708
stevene wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:08 pm
getting pinged off the park by WB it was just not our day.
I agree with most of your post Stevene, but interested by that comment. How many penalties against us do you think were unjustified? I can't bring any obvious ones to mind. Almost certain that there were a couple of times when both sides were offending and WB pinged us, but as has been mentioned when your captain shows contempt for referees then that is always likely to happen
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By dinogyro
#9709
I thought the game was reffed really well. I didn't see anything that looked unfair. Although to caveat that statement, I was watching on Unibet's tiny screen.

If we make the top four and the playoffs it would be brilliant.
By Lord Elpus
#9714
The weather forecast for Friday is for wind and rain which will suit Cheetahs' main weapon - the maul which went well v Wasps. We aren't good at mauls as our body positions are too high. However it looks as though Cheetahs will be missing their captain and hooker. The match is on tv too which won't suit us.

Btw Monty (aka the club) - how many current tier 1 internationals did Sorries put out against us?
By stevene
#9715
poyntonshark wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:40 pm
stevene wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:08 pm
getting pinged off the park by WB it was just not our day.
I agree with most of your post Stevene, but interested by that comment. How many penalties against us do you think were unjustified? I can't bring any obvious ones to mind. Almost certain that there were a couple of times when both sides were offending and WB pinged us, but as has been mentioned when your captain shows contempt for referees then that is always likely to happen
dont think any are unjustified. However thats not the point for me. If you are getting pinged off the park you are not reacting to how the referee is managing the game. Its either (pick your poison) what he has decided to ignore and/or what you get away with. whilst JR may have got on the wrong side of WB its more how we are changing our gameplan/style to get the most out of the game with that referee.
By Monty9
#9716
As always I am struggling to see your point Elpus? I said that even though Sarries were weakened they still had 9 tier 1 internationals, last week the forum was discussing what constitutes a worldie or a tier 1 player, I would refer you back to that thread to understand why I called them that. Current or otherwise.

I know us been 3rd, in a Cup Final and improving significantly on last season doesn’t fit your agenda but have a day off, life isn’t all bad.
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By poyntonshark
#9717
Thanks, Steve, in that case, I think I agree entirely with your initial post. The reason for the question was that to me "pinged off the park" suggests the ref was less than even-handed, I see you didn't mean it that way. A seeming inability to "play the referee" has been a failing of ours for about as long as I can remember. I'm sure it's not true but our opponents always seem to work out quicker than us which ref is lax with the offside line or doesn't pick up on in at the side.
By Lord Elpus
#9719
Monty9 wrote:
I know us been 3rd, in a Cup Final and improving significantly on last season doesn’t fit your agenda but have a day off, life isn’t all bad.
Thanks for that Sam :evillaugh:
By Monty9
#9721
I assume that is a suggestion I am Sam Diamond, maybe if you go back to the old forum you will work out that I have been here for 10+ years as you well know.

Excited for Friday and seeing how much Leicester’s maul takes us apart, surely a team as poor as us will have no way of coping. Yawn
By DaveAitch
#9723
Monty9 wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:43 pm
"Weakened side" that still had 9 tier 1 Internationals in their squad. Says it all about Saracens really, they should not be playing a single game and continuing to effect the league this season in my opinion.

No excusing our performance though, we have got to get better at controlling games and stopping stupid mistakes before we can be consider a real title contender, but I still think with our remaining games Top 2 is in our reach.

I´m expecting a big result on Friday.
Certainly it is no excuse for Sale's performance that Saracens had 9 tier 1 internationals in the squad. Sale Sharks had 12 (if information is correct on the internet - I am assuming the 9 for Saracens is correct, I haven't checked).

The oddity is that this season bonus points are pushing Sharks up a couple of places, whereas last season lack of them, bonus points, had the reverse effect.

Probably the truth is that there are better teams some weeks, and worse teams others. No one team is truly consistent, one way or the other. Harlequins beat Saracens 41-14 then lose to Irish 15-29 at home. Bristol beat both Exeter and Northampton away, coming back to win from two scores or more behind. 8th is just as possible as 2nd for several teams.
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By tigerburnie
#9728
Friday night has never been very successful for us at yours, even when we're firing on all cylinders, however, we do seem to be improving and yes our maul does seem to be working at last. If we could just sort out the lineout, we will be a lot more of a handful. Looks like we will be missing Tom Youngs as he's on the norty step for defending himself from having his face mauled, yes we all know we shouldn't retaliate, but if you look at the marks round his eye, you can see why he lashed out.
I won't be travelling down for the game, but will be shouting at the telly, especially if that worm Dayglo is on it.
By stevene
#9729
tigerburnie wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:45 am
Friday night has never been very successful for us at yours, even when we're firing on all cylinders, however, we do seem to be improving and yes our maul does seem to be working at last. If we could just sort out the lineout, we will be a lot more of a handful. Looks like we will be missing Tom Youngs as he's on the norty step for defending himself from having his face mauled, yes we all know we shouldn't retaliate, but if you look at the marks round his eye, you can see why he lashed out.
I won't be travelling down for the game, but will be shouting at the telly, especially if that worm Dayglo is on it.
For me Friday will be interesting. In the pack pretty even sides in that they both have a strong scrum and a big pack. both also seem to struggle in the lineout. seems to me both teams are struggling for balance between having a big pack with ball carriers and having a well drilled lineout. I will be intrigued to see what difference LDJ makes to our lineout if he plays. Hopefully he is the cog we are missing which balances a big pack that can scrummage and control its own lineout ball consistently.

Where we should be looking better is the backline assuming De Klerk plays and RJVR is fit (and can catch this week). To me Solomona also needs to play as he remains (when fit) our most potent back 3 player. Certainly the backline is where tigers miss their internationals when they are away it seems and hopefully that can be the edge on Friday.

I personally am a bit surprised to me see individuals on here talking about 5 point win being a minimum Friday. It may end up that way but equally wouldnt surprise me to see a tight game decided by one score. Would be happy with 4 points and a clean bill of health in terms of squad and returnees moving into the remainder of the season.
By chris1850
#9733
It will be interesting to see how/if our lineout improves with LDJ in the team. It will take time though inevitably and we shouldnt expect an instant improvement. Dont forget that Bryn has been the main man for some years now, and there are few better lineout operators in the prem. Rob has been our regular first choice hooker for some time as well and so both should be well used the drills, along with the other forwards.

Until this season (and Akker's arrival), I suspect that winning our own lineout was generally pretty good. Often, it was any resulting maul that was letting us down - we were too easy to defend against. Though I do think that when Phillips plays, he helps as Mills did before him.

Akkers throwing then seems to have put a general spanner in the works, though again there are matches when this seems to have improved dramatically. I guess much of this depends on how/if the opposition compete and the relative strength of the opposing lineout generally. There are just so many variables.
By Olyy
#9736
Philips is key to our maul - I'd start him vs Tigers (if Ben is injured then shift Jean-Luc to the backrow, if he's not then i'd bench one of Ross/JL).

Hopefully Lood can make an impact there too - pushing 20st he's a big lump (2stone more than JL/Bryn, 1st more than Philips)
By tigerburnie
#9738
Tigers choice at 10 might be key, do we stick with young Hardwick or go for Reid, who was very good when he came on last week, if it's wet and windy, I might go for Reid myself.
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By MikeGC
#9740
tigerburnie wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:36 pm
Tigers choice at 10 might be key, do we stick with young Hardwick or go for Reid, who was very good when he came on last week, if it's wet and windy, I might go for Reid myself.
.
Hardwick seemed to have a few "rabbit in the headlights" moments, didn't he.
Things seemed to improve with the introduction of Reid and as you say, he should probably start. Equally, things improved when Youngs left the field, Polota-Nau was much better.
By ageinghoody
#9742
stevene wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:58 am
...
I personally am a bit surprised to me see individuals on here talking about 5 point win being a minimum Friday. ...
Me too. If 5 is the minimum, what do they see as the maximum? :thinking:
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By Yareet
#9743
ageinghoody wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:38 pm
stevene wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:58 am
...
I personally am a bit surprised to me see individuals on here talking about 5 point win being a minimum Friday. ...
Me too. If 5 is the minimum, what do they see as the maximum? :thinking:
5 for us and 0 for Tigers?
By stevene
#9745
ageinghoody wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:38 pm
stevene wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:58 am
...
I personally am a bit surprised to me see individuals on here talking about 5 point win being a minimum Friday. ...
Me too. If 5 is the minimum, what do they see as the maximum? :thinking:

Sorry are you actually asking for me to clarify this for you??

If so here goes.....

5 points are a minimum requirement based on expectation of some supporters, eg the maximum actual points we can achieve is the minimum requirement for Friday's match to be an acceptable result to said bunch of supporters.

Hows that?
By ageinghoody
#9780
OK, Stevene fair enough.

To me "minimum" implies that more or better is possible, but maybe I'm just being fussy. I suppose five or more tries is obviously better than four, but it was points that were being discussed.

As far as this particular fan goes, I'll be happy with four for us and an LBP for them. Especially given the most recent performances of the respective sides.

I'll be happier still if the difference is more! :yes:
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