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Team for LI
Crutch (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 00:41
So how much do we change or stick with a team that in all honesty should have won despite the lineout debacle and a few glaring individual errors?

I think in the front row assuming they are fit of course we need to revert to first choice with Ross, Webber and Aulika, although I do hope that Flynn gets some decent mins on the pitch. I had thought it was the right thing to give Cam a start last week, but in hindsight with Bryn missing perhaps it was too early.

2nd row, hopefully Bryn is back to partner JB. If not I'd like to see Beaumont take more ball at 2 if the line struggles again.

Back row - I was pretty underwhelmed with what I saw from Strauss to be honest. I'd start him again but with Pearce as an option off the bench as TJ is not an 8. Although the Currys have done well id start Jono Ross and TJ at 6 & 7 for this particular game to try and dominate the collisions from the start.

Faf was everything I'd hoped - I know he made errors and will because he's that kind of player, but he's going to make more happen going forward from 9 than any player since Redpath.

Quite surprised to see very little discussion of the 10/12 axis in comments on the game. Possibly because they created nothing of note? Obviously good to see that the defence was much improved from the 1st game, but IMO McGinty and Jennings can't play together in a home game we're looking to win. Maybe away from home where we're looking to hold on for a losing bonus.

AJ stands so deep he's never going to create much and his game management is not good enough to make up for that. We have a backline of random creatives and they need to be fed, we're not a team built to be solid with a solid 10 who will kick us to victory. People may say that the weather conditions were not conducive to creative play but Faf sent out a number of lovely passes that got us moving so I don't buy it. Therefore if JoC is available I'd like us to throw him straight in, if he's not then Sam James has to play 12 so we have a chance of moving the ball wide, although I'd play him there anyway with JoC at 10 too.

Saw some brief discussion on Will moving to wing and also being greedy - the reality is he is captain and wants to play 13, and we've recruited at wing so it's unlikely without an injury crisis. I prefer him at 13 too and all too often centres ship hospital passes to the wing who gets smashed into touch.

Finally in the back 3 the tricky situation with Haley. One of my favourite players and not just because I know one of his sisters. He has so much potential it's scary, but I really feel like he needs a kick up the backside. His error wasn't the only one but I could just feel that it was going to happen. Maybe dropping him to the bench is the wake up call he needs to cut out the silly errors? I'd move Byron to 15 and give Charnley a shot on the wing, with Haley on the bench.

1 Harrison
2 Webber
3 Aulika
4 Evans
5 Beaumont
6 Ross
7 TJ
8 Strauss
9 De Klerk
10 O'Connor
11 Charnley
12 James
13 Addison
14 Solomona
15 McGuigan

16 Flynn
17 Jones
18 Taurus
19 Ostrikov
20 Curry
21 Pearce
22 Cliff
23 Haley

Re: Team for LI
PoyntonShark (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 04:27
The issue with Will not passing may well be down to captaincy and him feeling he has to take on responsibility. We know he can pass and put his wingers in the clear, but has refused to do so on several occasions already. The whole performance against Newcastle may well have dented his confidence in those around him too. Hope some coaching can help him relax a little more and spread the burden. As you say it is unlikely that he will be shifted and probably not really desirable either. I am a big AJ fan and I am certain that the player we want him to be is there, but it is about time we started seeing more. I agree we need to get a look at O'Connor at 10, just not sure it a good idea to throw him straight in after injury, maybe bring him off the bench first. We were collectively poor defensively against Wasps, not just an issue with our 12. I like Jennings, but think James is a considerably better all round player, another playmaker at 12 also takes a load of pressure off the 10, James would always be my first choice 12 (our new genuine rotation options notwithstanding). I agree with dropping Haley, we appear to have tried to let him play through it, and to be fair that seemed to be working in the final games of last season, but he has slipped back again. We need to find the right way to help him back to form, would be a great shame to not rediscover such a huge talent. Happy with your changes, McGuigan won't give us the same options at 15, but we know he is always reliable and not exactly a stranger to the try line either.

Not sure what people are expecting from Strauss, I've been happy with him so far. Sure. he's not galloping up field, leaving sprawling defenders in his wake, but he is getting through plenty of hard work, making hard yards and ensuring continuity of possession. He's putting in his tackles too. Not so sure about starting TJ, no doubt he has made an impact coming off the bench, I quite like that not sure we want to lose it. Though, of course, if he can provide that impact for 80 minutes then we would be missing out.. Weber and Aulika undoubtedly the right choices, so long as they are match ready, they clearly both weren't for the first game, Weber unusually lost a few line-outs too and Halani just looked completely off the pace.

I'm sure there will be changes, lack of performance last week, coupled with my feeling that Dimes hasn't yet settled on all of his preferred combinations will see to that. I'm fairly happy with your side but I am sure that if we do start with O'Connor then AJ will be on the bench, even if we do have James in the side. 6 - 2 bench split doesn't leave many options particularly when one of them has to be a 9. If we continue with that, then in your side I would have AJ for Haley, though I could easily be persuaded into a 5-3 split.

Unhappiness, where's when I was young
And we didn't give a damn
'Cause we were raised
To see life as a fun and take it if we can

Re: Team for LI
Chris1850 (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 07:19
What is O'Connors record as a goalkicker like?

Re: Team for LI
2007dwain (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 07:40
I can see O'Connor being on the bench

Re: Team for LI
Grumpy Old Shark (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 07:48
What is O'Connors record as a goalkicker like?

Faf' is good..

Re: Team for LI
Seamus O'Rielly (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 07:57
From O'Connors season at LI I was always surprised at how high he kicked the ball when going for the points, I'd have thought a lower, faster trajectory would have been more accurate but he wasn't bad. A classy player and absolutely no sign of any of the baggage that he was meant to be carrying, I never thought he was a ten though, he was much better at full back.

I hope he does well for you but not this Friday please.

Re: Team for LI
PoyntonShark (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 08:02
Believe he is at about 70%, but good under pressure, see Hong Kong October 2010, kick from right hand 5m line (converting his own try) in 82nd minute to beat All Blacks.

Just found THIS backs up the 70%, but claims he is (or was in 2014) the worlds best under pressure. His international record is very similar to George Ford Play 39, Con 39, Pen 25 (Ford Play 37, con 32, pen 32)

Unhappiness, where's when I was young
And we didn't give a damn
'Cause we were raised
To see life as a fun and take it if we can

Re: Team for LI
clutch (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 09:42
I think I agree with most of that, but

I think that is too many changes in one go. It is only one poor performance after all, so I wouldn't advocate wholesale changes yet.

Mind you, they are all well argued, but I disagree re bringing in TJ. Curry was close behind Faff for MOM, and one of biggest positives has been generating quick ball for Faff in the first two games. I don't think it is right to be playing two "6.5s" yet. All this depends on the opposition and the ref of course. Against Blair Cowan I'd be playing a Curry for sure.

I thought Jennings played pretty well, and he showed some creativity against Wasps. Plus, it was his off-load that led to the Faff break. I didn't get why James didn't get 20 mins last week.

The biggest issue for me is with Maginty. He's a good player, but he just doesn't fit into our structure. The difference between him and Cips is huge. The back play has deteriorated as a result. O Connor has been purposely signed because we believe he will slot in seamlessly. Faf has done, so hopefully he will as well. Fling him in as long as he is fully fit.

I'd be tempted to have Pearce on the bench as well, but that would naturally be at the expense of a Curry. Clearly a moot point though, as Diamond doesn't rate Pearce, and he'll probably be on his way when his contract runs out. Especially with the highly rated young no 8 in the wings.

Re: Team for LI
emerging shark (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 09:45
Bit harsh on AJ crutch, leaving him out altogether!

Re: Team for LI
Crutch (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 12:16
Only left AJ out because we seem to be going with a 6/2 split on the bench and James can move to 10 if required.

I do actually quite like him as a player, I admire his determination into contact and he's clearly a good kicker. Unfortunately as Clutch has repeatedly said, he doesn't seem to fit into our attacking structure, and I personally just don't like 10s who play so deep. If he were a 12 then I'd be more likely to pick him.

In terms of the split on the bench, it does allow a Curry and a bigger back row to come on and make an impact. Lots of people are noting the positive of doing this with TJ. I think you could get a similar or better result to do the same with Pearce on for Strauss.

With reference to Strauss, I just felt he didn't particularly punch many holes in the tight which I'd hoped we'd see as a key difference from Josh, and I didn't think he had that many carries although happy to be advised otherwise.

Re: Team for LI
clutch (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 12:23
he made 11 metres, not sure how many carries that was.

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