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What's gone wrong?
M5 Shark (IP Logged)
22 September, 2018 20:47
Like so many others, I'm absolutely gutted after today's performance (and had a glass or two of wine to cheer myself up!!!)

After 5 years, access to the ground seems to have finally got resolved. The loss of the "permanent fan's bar and toilets" isn't great but the Trafford Centre shuttle (And new bridge) means early arrival at the ground is not necessary.

But on the pitch, I was worried after going to Quins. Faf was key last year and the fact he won't be available until Nov/Dec is very concerning. He was the spark, Will C is a good solid replacement and at times last year I would have preferred him to come on and replace Faf and close the game down. But he is not a game changer. It seems some clubs negotiated for their SA's to come back to play during free weekends but not us? Does anyone know why?

I love the story of Sale being a Northern Powerhouse with our team featuring xx% home grown players and an academy producing first XV players but how realistic is that? Our backline this year has Faf, Yarde, O'Connor, Ashton lined up - thats a large proportion of the squad (I know Addison and Haley left). I remember Josh B being mentored by Nathan Hines and that was great but Dimes often brings players to the club to relaunch their career (Cips, Faf, possibly O'Connor).

Who is in charge of recruitment? Our Director of Rugby who is also a shareholder? The "Big signings in two weeks" announcement has proved to be inaccurate. Dimes has publicly said we need a player in x position, but they rarely can get the signing over the line. Yep, I didn't think we needed Yarde last season but as Charnley left (along with Denny's current form) it now seems like an inspired season. The front five is very very concerning, I know decent props are like gold dust but we are in desperate need of reinforcements.

Rant over, would love to hear other's thoughts.....

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
DaveAitch (IP Logged)
22 September, 2018 21:21
Nothing has gone gone wrong, but even less has gone right.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
LJK (IP Logged)
22 September, 2018 22:02
A very apt question.... we have a settled team largely carried forward from last season, compared to other squads with lots of changes. Yes, some key players are missing, but the squad should have been able to pick up from last year, where until the last games we were secure in the top half of the table.
Last year we were a big bonus point scorer, this year so far none...
The inability to finish off with tries when pressing in the oppos 22, seems to be a theme running through the games so far. Today I made it at least four very possible tries that were either held up by Wasps, or the last pass was not great, and of course Sam J was so unlucky with the bounce after that superbly angled run, carry and chip over.
I have no idea what the issues are of course, but do wonder if the constant promises of new signings which then don't happen, is demoralising the team. They may see a very long season ahead for them, with little squad rotation for rest.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
H's Dad... (IP Logged)
22 September, 2018 23:37
Nothing has gone gone wrong, but even less has gone right.
Is that even possible?(Sm14)

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Jar of Tea (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 00:32
Having Jackson and Olding available at 10 and 12/13/15 this month and next would have helped a lot more than we realised in the summer, IMO.

The tight five, particularly front row, stuff is clear enough. In some ways it manifests itself most damagingly in the back row. Double Curry is necessary to scavange ball when the set piece is so weak. Yet isn't a properly balanced back row because we really lack the forward thrust that Strauss or Beaumont (or even Moore) would give.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
yukon (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 08:49
Every game has shown a second half collapse which means either the replacements arenít good enough (which they should be) and/or the players arenít fit enough.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
clutch (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 09:49
Well the latter is certainly true but why have a bench and not use it. Other coaches would have brought Reed on and probably Warr as well. Iíve never known a team show so little faith in their bench. Playing 9 is hard work, having to sprint to every breakdown. Faff rarely plays a full 80 so why should cliff have to.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
MartWhit (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 11:18
nothing has gone wrong. These faultlines always existed. We were fortunate with injuries and covered our weaknesses well enough last year with some heroic defensive efforts and improbable scores.

This year the league has moved on and we havent. And we are unlikely to enjoy the same good fortune with injury and availability. We have a player in Faf who is a matchwinner, but over whom we have little contractual control. Its all seemingly by personal agreement with him and the SARFU. For whatever reason, SARFU dont have similar cntrol over le Roux.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
thekeg (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 11:37
Iíd say the following are causing problems:

Faf form has been so good that heís away with SA. Doubt we thought that would happen when we signed him, but once it did we have failed to find sufficient cover. Cliff is a sound squad player but shouldnít be playing 80 mins. We need another SH in whom we have sufficient confidence to rotate with cliff while Faf is away, preferably one with a running game to offer some contrast.

Without Faf and with RJVR injured we have a pretty stodgy set of options at 9/10/12. Cliff MacGinty snd Jennings are all honest hard working players, but they need players with a bit of X factor to play off. The ball isnít getting to Sam James quick enough and in the right areas for him to be able to use his best asset, which is the ability to create space for our quality back three players.

Our props are being badly exposed at the moment. Only Harrison would really interest a top 6 side and he is getting ground down playing 80 each week. We are short of a top quality tighthead. WGJ works hard around the park but is getting taken apart in the scrum. Our second row options are a bit better but we still donít have a really decent heavy scrummager or carrier. Phillips looks like what Dimes might describe as an Aldi signing (and in fairness probably came pretty cheap). Ostrikov will help when heís back.

Back row options are strong but Iím not sure that Ross and double curry is the best balance, even if they are arguably the best three players

So itís clear we are lacking a 1,3, lock and 9. But we knew that 4 months ago.....

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
MartWhit (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 12:49
I'm a little more concerend than you keg at 2nd row. I agree Ostrikov will help, but he's still some way short of best in class. What he does add it a balance of power and athleticism which most clubs have several of but we really have only him.

Phillps is heavy but short and frankly pretty slow. He's not an athlete and not a lineout option, so he's pretty limiting and his bulk isnt ecatly loking out one side of the scrum right now.

Evans is becoming more and more peripheral to our loose game. He has skills but spend most of the game just inside the winger. Still a v good lineout operator though.

Beaumont & Nott are not quite big enough to complement Evans. Thus are replacements for him.

I look at Sarries with Itoje, Skelton, Kruis, Isiekwe. All 4 can jump and all 4 can carry, and they can be fit together in several configurations.

Hill, Atkins, Dennis, Lees at Exeter ditto, every one a lineout option and all capable of carrying and locking a scrum, plus they have myriad big carriers in the back row to go with it.

Galarza, Grobler, Mostert, Slater, Savage at Gloucs. Fine athletes across the board with no key elements missing from their game.

Fitzgerald, Kitchener, Spencer, Williams at Tigers - all jump, all carry
Barrow, Craig, Ribbans, Lawes, Ratuniyawara at Saints - all jump, all carry
Attwood, Charteris, Ewels, Garvey, Stooke - all jump, all carry

The league sets a high bar of size and power in the 2nd row these days, and our group falls well short of par IMO.
It might be OK is our front row was top class, but it isnt.
And the combinations we put out in the tight 5 are simply negating any advantage we might have in our back row where Curry/Curry/Ross/Strauss/Beaumont backed up by developing players like Nott and Moore could be a key source of advantage.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
clutch (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 15:53
I agree. We are badly missing Ostrikov. Thatís a pretty sad state of affairs. I love the bear but heís not a top 6 starting lock.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Jar of Tea (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 16:14
I think the 'things will be better when Faf comes back' misses the point.

Undoubtedly true, because he's world class.

But regardless of one's opinion on Cliff, playing with our second string 9 simply isn't an excuse for being so devoid of shape, strategy or accuracy across the entire backline.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
RugbyMarvel (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 16:21
Not enough dynamism or options in the front row. Lots of work horses and not much else.

Underpowered second rows. Evans spends too much time floating in the wide channels and he can be found wanting out there in defence on occasion. Phillips is a stop gap but nothing more. Iíd say we have the weakest lock options in the league (possibly on a par with Bristol).

Not enough carrying options in the back row. If you donít have Strauss in the side then you donít have a true power carrier in the tight. Ross tries admirably but heís not big enough to really smash into the big sides.

Cliff is a good squad player but lacks that flair that Faf brings. The fact heís expected to play 80 min week in week out isnít going to help his game.

AJ doesnít look half the player without Faf inside him. He looks confused at times, poor decision making, average passing, okay kicking out of hand, takes contact much too often. Doesnít look like he reads the opposition much, just tries to force things.

The centres look disjointed in defence. Getting carved up. Sam James falling off tackles.

McGuigan isnít a 15 and itís pretty clear for all to see. Poor positioning and kicking from hand.

Solomona isnít looking for work and doesnít look fit to me.


To summise, we went wrong with our recruitment. Yes, we have Ashton and RJVR as new faces this season who havenít had a go yet this season BUT without the engine room being upgraded we look like a Ferrari with an engine from an old rover.

I also think an old head SOMEWHERE in the back line could help on occasion - maybe if we had looked to get an experience scrum half to come in for a couple of seasons as cover for Faf, it would have helped with some of the decision making issues we have.

We will end game week 4 in last place. Thatís worrying. Itís more worrying in that as the weather starts to worsen, we wonít have the big lumps required.

Shame. Year Zero again?

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
MartWhit (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 17:06
an old head like Leota perhaps? out to pasture at Sale FC

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
StalyShark (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 17:37
Quote:
MartWhit
an old head like Leota perhaps? out to pasture at Sale FC

He did look like he had lost any yard of pace he still had left, the acl going at 34 put paid to that sadly.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place in the centres as we have some very promising youngsters in L James, Redpath and Doherty (who has been a travelling reserve most games) and then Rohan and JOC injured. Jennings is a squad players 3/4/5 choice in most premiership teams and is very one dimensional. AJ taking it into contact shows he doesnít really trust his options; Rohan will give him an easy option every time if nothing is on. Weíve thought we could make do until the cavalry come back from the physios.

The front row is another matter. If we have been nobbed on by the SARFU about a Kitschoff/Shrek deal then we can understand the predicament. Decent props being so valuable weíve obviously decided not to go for numbers whoíll only play Shield games unlike others. Harrison, youíd hope would be on good money given his minutes played, Tarus and John: cheap and Jones even cheaper on a 5 year deal (he wasnít even in Perpignanís 23 in D2). If we donít get anyone or two who can do more than hold up an attacking scrum for 3 seconds until it comes out at 8/9 then weíll be in serious trouble come the new year. Yes, that is negativity but what we saw on Saturday requires a reaction from all of those involved in match day prep. The F.C. link, the improved match day access/egress, marquee signings and Academy prospects are looking positive, but what we loyal, thick and thin fans have seen over the month of September has not.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
clutch (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 17:49
Jar of tea. I donít think we look that disjointed. Weíve messed up many opportunities. It does make a difference if a player in a key position has to play 80, which presumably means he has to conserve energy, and that same player isnít a prem starting standard player. Harrison has to do the same but heís a proven premiership animal who could get in the 22s of top 4 teams potentially.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Rich E (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 17:55
AJ played his best rugby when RJVR was in harness.....lets not write him off yet, however agreed his confidence looks flat at the moment.

More ballast in the front 5 squad will determine where we finish this year/season.

Lets see what is coming through as the Jets are on freeview tomorrow evening versus the Warriors 2's

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Olyy (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 18:17
I've mentioned it a few times before, but when Fridge got his season (and ultimately career) ending injury a couple of years ago Dimes said we would sign someone to cover for the rest of the seaon.
We didn't do that, and still haven't replaced him now, so we've got our 3rd choice tighthead covering him until Flynn (who is not trusted by the coaching staff) returns and gathers dust on the bench again.
We need someone who the coaches trust, at least - Ross can't do 70 - 80mins every single week for a full season.

I'd say we haven't yet replaced Cobilas either - he came to us an unpolished Diamond (ho ho ho) but left us walking into the first choice slot at a top French side and is, more often than not, named in side of the week in France.
I like WGJ a lot but he's not a top 6 scrummager - he excels in his workrate, defence, and looseplay.
Taurus is unpolished and untrusted, signed from the lower French leagues.
Jones, again, signed from the lower French leagues where he wasn't getting played (and isn't really getting time for us either).

Aulika is the best prop we've signed since Cobilas, but he was more of an impact replacement (and then left us for France).





The Rugby Paper has us in for a hooker - naming Tommy Taylor and Luke Cowan Dickie as targets. If that's true then it's laughable - there's a slim slim slim chance we could tempt TT back home (though most of the guys he came through the academy with have gone now), to think we could tempt LCD away from Exeter is ludicrous.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
DaveAitch (IP Logged)
23 September, 2018 18:26
I wonder if we got LCD from Exeter that he would light up our game.

Diamond has had much to commend him in terms of some of the players he has brought in. However, as you say Olyy, he has definitely failed in the props department in recent years. It's a good job Dimes has nothing to do with costume dramas.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Grumpy Old Shark (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 03:49
Quote:
clutch
Jar of tea. I donít think we look that disjointed. Weíve messed up many opportunities. It does make a difference if a player in a key position has to play 80, which presumably means he has to conserve energy, and that same player isnít a prem starting standard player. Harrison has to do the same but heís a proven premiership animal who could get in the 22s of top 4 teams potentially.

Weíre messing up because our attack is totally predictable- we are trying to play RL tactics and they just arenít working

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
clutch (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 06:40
Why are we creating chances. Why did we score a shed load of try bp last season?

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
BasilBullneck (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 07:52
Not with you on that one, GOS. Weíve some lovely moves, such as the one where Denny couldnít take the pass on Saturday. That certainly wasnít out of the league playbook.

I think we are underpowered in the forwards and at inside centre, and Iím afraid Cliff just poses no threat whatsoever, so the opposition know they can blitz us in defence. Without anyone to drive it up the middle Cliff is often required to box kick and on Saturday that was both very laboured and free possession for Wasps.

As a start, we have to play Strauss at 8 with Beaumont to rotate, and hopefully get Ostrikov back on the park. As everyone agrees recruitment is then needed.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
M5 Shark (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 08:22
Solomona needs confidence. He's not get the ball enough to get that confidence.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
emerging shark (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 10:24
Ulster have just released Aaron Cairns a 25 year old scrum half with pro 14 experkience.he might just plug a short term gap for us. Hope someone is reading this.....

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
clutch (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 12:14
Not even sure what he means by Rugby League. Deacon has come from Wigan who played some great attacking rugby, scoring plenty of tries.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
StudentShark (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 14:53
I'm getting to the point where I think we just need ANY change to kick us into gear. The players sound lethargic, and I think I read somewhere that one or two of them had been arguing over missed tackles on field.
Something needs to get into their heads bring them together and give them the desire to perform.
The most obvious way to do this for me is for Dimes to take a step back, but crucially maintain some involvement (I'm not proposing a coup to get rid of him. I'm not sure we could if we wanted to at this point) and bring in a new coach to direct on field strategy and training.

I'm not read up enough on who might be available/a good fit, but Tigers have cast enough off that there must surely but some around that fit the bill

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Jar of Tea (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 15:15
If GOS's point is that they too often go continuosly round the corner, making little ground or incision and make an unforced error before changing the point of attack, then I agree.

It's as though Diamond and/or Deacon have looked at Warren Ball without understanding that it doesn't work at all without supreme accuracy, very quick ball and strike runners showing a bit of imagination on every angle - even when essentially running a traditional 'unders'.

That's a broader issue than who plays 9 and whether the bench is used correctly (though I completely agree that the bench isn't used properly and it goes without saying that almost any if not every side would be better off with Faf).

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
philthefluter (IP Logged)
24 September, 2018 16:13
From what we have seen so far, our pack will get shunted around the park by every other pack in the league, especially in the second half when we tire and bring on our subs whose only impact is a negative one. We are not going to win many games whilst this situation continues. We need new blood and we need it NOW

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
StalyShark (IP Logged)
25 September, 2018 21:45
Some optimism for the board:

[www.facebook.com]

Youngest average XV in the prem in the last round.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
DaveAitch (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 08:17
What this appears to say is that if you have the youngest starting average age you will also be bottom of the league come the end of the games. It might be better to be 0.46 years older on average. Mind you, if Dollman is replaced by an 18 year old Exeter's average comes down to 27.46. A much better way of presenting the facts would be mean and standard deviation, which would give more real insight on composition of sides age wise.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
StalyShark (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 09:17
Sorry for attempting to find a silver lining....

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
MartWhit (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 09:17
Whilst I think a lot of issues go ack to steve Diamond, I also see v limited on field leadership at the moment. Jono was pretty engaged with Wayne Barnes at the weekend, to no great effect, but I saw less of him working to sort out playing issues amongst the team. I perceive much less communication between Sale players than I see with other teams. Talking for talking's sake is valueless, but I think its time for Sale's players to take the bull by their own horns to a greater extent.

In particular, I've been shocked by the regression in the scrum. Its essentially the same pack as last year, which was a very efficient scrummaging unit. Not dominating, but certainly stable and capable of getting a scrum down without attracting penalty whistles. I'm pretty sure it not Cam Nields fault, as we have been no better with Webber in. And Phillips certainly should ballast the thing, but really doesnt seem to be. Head scratcher for me.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Olyy (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 09:27
Agree with that, on field leadership is a big thing.
Braid was excellent for it, and for all his negative points England look are far more composed unit with Hartley on the pitch than without

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Flumpty (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 10:25
From reflink on the Wasps game, Jono didn't seem to be "winning friends and influencing people" with his interactions with the ref !

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
clutch (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 12:25
I think players were starting to work out how to attack John. He's getting hammered and the whole scrum follows.

Or maybe, Ostrikov is that important to the scrum?

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
Raggs (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 12:27
Quote:
DaveAitch
What this appears to say is that if you have the youngest starting average age you will also be bottom of the league come the end of the games. It might be better to be 0.46 years older on average. Mind you, if Dollman is replaced by an 18 year old Exeter's average comes down to 27.46. A much better way of presenting the facts would be mean and standard deviation, which would give more real insight on composition of sides age wise.

I would have thought the 2 Currys do a huge amount towards bringing your average age down.

 
Re: What's gone wrong?
MartWhit (IP Logged)
26 September, 2018 12:38
silly question, which I should be able to answer myself. Which locks are packing down on which side at present?

IIRC Ostrikov/Evans was R/L, which seemed to be fine.


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