By Underdog
#6614
No, I haven't lost my medication. I've had two thoughts circling around my head since Saturday and wondered what others thought.

1) When you watch the best sides in the league (Saracens and Exeter obviously, then probably Saints and Bristol), it's hard not to notice that they have a fairly clear style of play that they adhere to. We definitely have this without the ball - muscular, patient defence and at times superb breakdown work to slow the opposition. But when we have the ball, what are we?

2) With the standard of the prem being fairly mediocre / Uber competitive (depending on the level of liquid in your glass) and Saracens' enormous points fine, it's not unthinkable that we will find ourselves in the HC spots at the end of this year. Given the fate Newcastle met after having a great season and then getting relegated, are we ready to give the HC a real crack if we do get in?
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By TVM
#6615
Underdog wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:09 pm
it's not unthinkable that we will find ourselves in the HC spots at the end of this year. Given the fate Newcastle met after having a great season and then getting relegated, are we ready to give the HC a real crack if we do get in?
Ah - the elephant in the room!

It happened to Bristol some ten years ago I seem to remember...semi final one year and then a war on two fronts meant they stuggled big time domestically.

You are right to ask the question.
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By TeflonTed
#6617
Yes underdog, you are right to ask.

And I agree with the sentiment that however nice it would be to qualify for Europe we’re not ready, and would risk disaster.

As to what are we, that’s a very good question.

More experienced in defence than attack, that’s for sure.

For me there’s 2 things we’ve been missing for ever, and both of them are showing improvements this season and started towards the end of last season.

Continuity of management and coaching is one, and the absence of “dog” is the other.

Continuity needs no further explanation, “dog” is not so easy to pin down. I just feel that too often we seem like a team of genuinely nice blokes, doing an honest job, respecting Sir, not pushing the boundaries as far as others.

We need a bit more niggle, and while I’m not for one moment suggesting cheating, we need to be a lot more streetwise at times.
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By Underdog
#6618
I think we are actually fairly dogged and streetwise at times. We are often pushing offside, and do pretty much everything possible to slow down the opposition. No more than other sides do, but that's your point I think.

But I agree that we are seeing the benefit of experience and continuity of management from a defensive point of view. I do think our attack is a little blunter than last year despite some continuity there. Maybe that's just the loss of Adams and Heem.
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By OverTheBorder
#6630
For me, we are a team that leaves my heart in my mouth when we throw the ball around in the centre, yet feels more confident when staving off continued numerous phases of attack within our own 22.

Loving being 4th (and I have taken the screen shot of the table like most) however way to early to talk of the HC. I would like the attendance to increase and become more consistent which will come after year on year progression. I would like to be a club that firstly can retain its academy players whilst being attractive to “the big names”.

This session 8th would be more than expected.... HC finalists by 2025 (apologies for the negativity).
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By Abmatt
#6635
I don’t think that’s negative at all. It’s pragmatic.

Sporting history is littered with sides who have progressed too quickly only to fall by the wayside the following season.

Leicester city has a shocking season after they won the premiership, Newcastle Falcons demoted after a good season (HC competition a contribution?)

It has been said before but I wish we would follow the Exeter model. Build slowly but steadily, improve year on year until you have the finances and squad to compete in multiple competitions. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.
By TVM
#6637
Abmatt wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:13 am

It has been said before but I wish we would follow the Exeter model. Build slowly but steadily, improve year on year until you have the finances and squad to compete in multiple competitions. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.
In fairness we sort of are these days
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By Abmatt
#6638
Yes. But probably due to financial constraints rather than a conscious choice.

Exeter have always had the finances I think but chose to do thing slowly and bought in the right players, developed the rest internally.
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By FlipFlop
#6686
After too many false dawns, if this season we managed to achieve a solid looking 7th or 8th, i would not be disappointed on missing out on HC, dispite money spinning Group stage benefiting the club coffers.

Supporters are eager for seeing what may be viewed as the next big step up i.e.6th or above and all that goes with it in some regards, because the cycle of reinvention, coaches, players and fighting to finish barely 11th, has become tiresome and made thoughts of Rugby eutopia, very very distant thoughts- almost unobtainable. The 'rush' that the next step change might provide battle hardened and fair weather supporters alike is almost too good to miss out on, but as mentioned elsewhere, steady development of this current improvement will be better all around in the long run, so we are ready to properly compete when we get to HC rugby and expect to challenge top flight Prem status on both fronts.

Context of where we are currently is also needed. Although we have fashioned wins, it has been at a time when other teams have been depleted by WC call ups, who are now coming back. Those teams will improve. I sense, by and large, that we are operating at or near to our better levels of ability to get what we have already got. These levels may not keep us near the top once the New Year is here. In addition, the Sarries Saga, gives us a place higher than expected until that reality kicks in and they erode their points deficiency.

Personally, i would like us to be viewed as a pain in the arse to other teams we play, rather than BP generators for them. Where are we going- gently upwards would be my hope with a few surprises against the 'established' teams as we go.

Thanks to those that stuck with these garble musings until this point :mrgreen:
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By TeflonTed
#6695
Well put Flippy, particularly with regard to the general perception of Jason and Colin, who seem overall to be doing pretty much most of the right things.

The communication re. Duncan has not been great, but we really won’t know the details, and like most storms in most teacups it will soon be forgotten.

I’d prefer to focus on the good stuff, and I’m sure J&C will have had a hand in the retention of Sharky, which is the best news of the week.
#6736
FlipFlop wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:46 pm

Personally, i would like us to be viewed as a pain in the arse to other teams we play, rather than BP generators for them. Where are we going- gently upwards would be my hope with a few surprises against the 'established' teams as we go.

Spot on FF. love the thought of being the pain in arse to others. This sits alongside the sentiment of the victory song:

“We are the Warriors, the F@*#’in Worcester Warriors”.
By Underdog
#6737
Anyone care to do a bit of analysis as to what sort of attacking side we are, bar the comments about us being inexperienced. I admit I'm struggling to see what we're trying to do sometimes.
#6893
Analysis of our attacking play is a bit beyond my skill level but I would observe that we look a lot better when we are patient, look after the ball, and build phases. When we do that, we stress the opposition and create spaces, which we are well capable of exploiting. Too often, however, we do seem a bit frantic and/or try a risky offload, turning over the ball.

As for how well we do this season and whether we could cope with HC qualification, I have 2 observations on that.

Without looking like a team that can qualify for the HC, attracting current internationals, in the way that Exeter have, is very hard to do.

If we do qualify for the HC we are better placed to cope than either the Bristol or Newcastle teams mentioned on here. Richard Hill commented that when Bristol qualified they did so with an ageing team and he told the Board that he needed funds to bring in new players. He didn't get them and the club suffered badly. If you look at Newcastle, at the end of the season where they qualified for the HC they lost 4-5 of their first choice, most experienced players, especially in the forwards. Again, they didn't really replace them. A few key injuries and the impact was magnified.

We are currently re-signing our key first choice players and developing some real strength in depth, using a mixture of Academy and brought in talent. If we were still top 4/6 in the New Year, then whoever Solly is targeting to add value next season will be much more inclined to come. If we did have to cope with HC rugby next season, I would trust Solly to be able to manage a better squad in a way that meant that relegation wasn't really on the cards.
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