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One Eejit's opinion on next year
Caimh (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 18:44
Amidst all the speculation about who is coming in and leaving, personally I'm feeling pretty positive about next season. Here is my opinion for what it's worth!

Our single biggest attacking problem all year has been a lack of go forward ball from the forwards. It is no coincidence that when we got Big Chris back for the Tigers game, we looked like a different team. Our gameplan relies on being able to release our potent backline with some decent ball so they can run at people, we've not been able to do that enough as we've been too easy to defend against around the fringes - not drawing enough defenders in. I'm fully convinced that's why we seem to have kicked a lot more ball away. Chris staying on the right side of the disciplinary folks is vital.

Added to that - I think Big Trev is proving to be an awesome signing - if we'd have had him for more games this year, we'd be looking at HC qualification now I reckon. He carries well and his ability to send people backwards in the tackle has been nothing short of a revelation. If we can get both him and Chris in our backrow, we could have powerful runners either side of a ruck and we become a nightmare to defend against around the fringes. Added to that, our front row is loaded with good mobile ballcarriers and Matt Garvey is very strong in that area too - in the loose, we're shaping up to be quite a handful.

Our scrum has had difficulties for a lot of the season and lets be honest, it's never been a consistent strength. The upside though is that Max is developing very well, Leo seems to have been very good yesterday and Lawson coming in will add yet more competition at 2. Corbs is an international standard prop now - unfortunately that'll mean losing him for big chunks of the season but that can't be helped. That's not to say we're going to develop into a fantastic scrum overnight - I'd be delighted to settle for one that holds its own TBH. Obviously we're all hoping for some news on a new TH. Fingers crossed Halani Aulika proves to be a great signing, we'll have to wait and see on that one.

With the Line-out - Kendo is a massive loss, no question. Skivington is a good signing though, Evans has done well and there'll be plenty of competition at lock with Matt in the mix of course. Kieran Low has been unlucky with injuries but could well develop into another outstanding academy product - been impressive when I've seen him and seems to be very highly rated. There's also Sandford and Sinclair there so it's going to be exciting to see who wins the battle for the 4 and 5 shirts.

If we get enough decent ball, I believe Shane is a 10 who can really get us moving. He has the skillset we would look for in that position, forget the history. His kicking out of hand seems to have improved considerably over the last few years and he certainly looks to have added a fair bit of muscle. As always with Shane, his awful luck with injuries will be a concern. Shingler seems to have played very well yesterday though and as others have mentioned, I'm excited to see him at 10 against Glaws. Rumour has another 10 coming in, be interesting to see who that is - a shrewd signing there could make the world of difference. Personally I think Bowden is a great 12 but not a 10 - he seemed to try dinky kicks a lot, although again - that might go back to the lack of go forward ball.

12 - With Hape and Bowden gone, it certainly sounds like we'll have another option at 12 coming in. Shingler did well there earlier in the season. I would've loved to see Guy play more but that's all water under the bridge. I don't know how much weight to give the Tindall reports - I can certainly see the logic in looking for an experienced player in that position though - we're a young team who could do with an old head in the backs to help with decision making.

Outside of there is where we all know our real strengths lie. If we can get quick ball out to the 13 channel and beyond rather than bad ball that's been shoveled out - then whoo Mama! JJ is superb, which'll hold defenders from just pushing out to Losi - and Losi breaks more tackle than a bull in a fishing shop. Delon is a big loss of course but Tommy is developing well in open play - not to mention being the best kicker in England. Add in Topsy, Marland and Anthony who are both fantastic prospects and again, it'll be very exciting to see who gets the wingers jerseys. Ansbro has done well when fit too and he can cover 12-15 which is a big plus.

We've lacked control to see out a lot of games this year - a massive amount of games to be honest. That's been our second biggest problem. Tomas O'Leary's experience will help a lot there. A 10 being able to relieve the pressure and control the tempo as needed will also be vital.

There's plenty of stuff that can go wrong of course - Tommy gets injured and we're hoping the 10 steps up well to the kicking duties - pre-Tommy, we weren't exactly blessed in that area. Too many injuries in one area and we'll struggle. That's the nature of club rugby though, unless you're Leicester with their big pot of emergency money, you've got to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

All-in-all, while I'd be even happier to see a top quality TH and another strong option at 10 walking through the door, I think we're in a pretty healthy state. It'll be a young team that'll have some bumps along the way but on the upside, Tommy, Max, Matt, Jamie, Shingler, JJ and Marland have all tasted a lot of premiership action this year and that'll help a lot going forward. I think Smithy is doing well on the recruitment front so far and it'll be exciting to see what other rabbits he pulls out.

And yes, I'm aware how long this post is but it was either this or write an Edinburgh show.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
SirBurger (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 18:49
Brilliant write up and captures all of the reasons that I am positive about next season....No thanks to Tindall though! Sorry!

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
CraicAddict (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 18:53
An excellent piece, it's got me feeling a bit more positive too!

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Caimh (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 18:55
Cheers Burger - I'm not banging the drum for Tindall, I just pointed out that I can see some of the logic.

Captain for next year will be interesting - I'd imagine it is between Dec and Evans. Alex is still quite young and he'll have international commitments.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
NoExpert (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 18:56
Nice preview albeit a bit early.

FWIW Shane created the 2 Brive tries away at Toulouse at the weekend - Brive still lost due to the number of dumb pens that they gave away. If the pack can give him enough decent ball then next season certainly won't be dull.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
dandaman (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 19:00
Could not agree more with you Caimh (Sm152)(Sm152)(Sm152)

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
SirBurger (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 19:16
Quote:
Caimh
Cheers Burger - I'm not banging the drum for Tindall, I just pointed out that I can see some of the logic.
Captain for next year will be interesting - I'd imagine it is between Dec and Evans. Alex is still quite young and he'll have international commitments.

I think it has to be Evans. The second row will be competitive with Skivs and Garvey challenging for a slot, but the back row is beginning to look very full. For everything that Dec offers I cannot see him starting every week. Trev and Hoff have to be in there due to the comments you have raised and then you are looking at one from Dec, Gibson, Sisi and Smith for the 6 spot in my opinion. Is Dec streets ahead of any of them? Not in my opinion, although obviously he has been a great player for us.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
paulm1953 (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 19:35
Max was brillant yesterday and great cover for Alex while on England duty please EPS rest periods. I was thinking on the way back from Worcester - would it be possible to convert Max into a tighthead as he was definitely the spark that created the third try. I think we play better when Max is in the team.



Come on you Irish

Paul

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Jack (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 19:41
That's a great write up , before this I was feeling fairly confident . Now I'm very positive !

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Ken E (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 19:44
Caimh

Realistic assessment and I too am optimistic about 2012/13.

But the unknown is what other clubs are doing - will everyone else be thinking that they too have improved their squads?

What is good enough this year will not be good enough next year. My view is that Tigers' squad of five years ago would be facing relegation this year, such is the rise in standards.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
cheffy (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 20:56
Whilst I can understand peoples misgivings about HRH I seem to recall we signed one Mike Catt a few years ago and that one worked out quite tidily!!

and Tindall can play 10!!

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
SamB_LI (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 21:05
Skivington is a craicing bit of business. Watched the Tigers game from yesterday earlier and he is the epitome of an enforcer. Big and nasty, just what we need.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Austin1 (IP Logged)
22 April, 2012 22:35
Nice to read - as others have said, I too have been feeling positive about next season.

Martin Bayfiled voiced his concerns today (I expect you saw it) saying that with the players that are leaving there's a chance we might go into freefall. I don't think that, with the players we've got, but it's a word of caution.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
orsoncart (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 06:21
The Eejit has got it pretty well spot on.

For me there are now three key issues:

- Tighthead. Although we've some depth with Leo, Ion, and Aulika, I believe that we are still some way short of what's needed. I appreciate that good and affordable 3s are like hen's teeth
- No 8. Dead right about Huf. He's a fantastic player, but just am not convinced that he is capable of keeping away from the citing officer. Another trip to Blackett would probably result in them throwing away the key
- Leadership. Think that this has been lacking without Casey and Hodgson on the field. Corbs can't be captain as he'll miss half the season, so Evans and O'Leary have to step up. Think Skivington is a top signing

As ever think that first choice 1-15 can live with most. It's when injuries and suspensions kick in that the dozen or so really experienced leavers will begin to hurt

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Portcullis Irish (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 08:30
Quote:
orsoncart
The Eejit has got it pretty well spot on.
For me there are now three key issues:

- Tighthead. Although we've some depth with Leo, Ion, and Aulika, I believe that we are still some way short of what's needed. I appreciate that good and affordable 3s are like hen's teeth
- No 8. Dead right about Huf. He's a fantastic player, but just am not convinced that he is capable of keeping away from the citing officer. Another trip to Blackett would probably result in them throwing away the key
- Leadership. Think that this has been lacking without Casey and Hodgson on the field. Corbs can't be captain as he'll miss half the season, so Evans and O'Leary have to step up. Think Skivington is a top signing

As ever think that first choice 1-15 can live with most. It's when injuries and suspensions kick in that the dozen or so really experienced leavers will begin to hurt

Top post OC(Sm152) T/h 8 & lock/6 priorities then a 10/15 who can place kick.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
MH@Biorra (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 08:40
I'd take a punt on making Skivington captain.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
X~Pat (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 08:44
" then a 10/ 15 who can place kick"
" another option at 12 "


10/12/15/big boot = Henson !

(Sm159)

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Portcullis Irish (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 09:51
XP - rather have Henson on a pay as you play contract than HRH

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
X~Pat (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 10:08
As Loobs has indicated there is a hazy 10,12,13,15,big boot place kicker ,logic to it , esp with the London Welsh connection ,time will tell .



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 23/04/2012 10:10 by X~Pat.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Ozzy3213 (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 11:46
Quote:
MH@Biorra
I'd take a punt on making Skivington captain.

Seconded.

I am optimistic about next season.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Jamo (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 12:23
Nice write up, very well balanced. Personally, I think Tindall would be a good signing. An experienced head with a bit of mileage still on the clock!

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
SirBurger (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 19:54
Quote:
Portcullis Irish

Top post OC(Sm152) T/h 8 & lock/6 priorities then a 10/15 who can place kick.

I don't know. I can see the benefits of signing another tighthead, but Leo H is starting to really come on, Aulika will be a similar player I reckon and Ion can't have another season as bad as this one. Additionally, I think next season we will really begin to try and use Lahiff more at 3. We need to, as we look so much better with him on the field. However, having said that, if we were able to bring another guy in then it would definitely be a worthwhile move.

I don't think lock is a priority anymore though. Skivington, Garvey and Evans give us three of the best locks in the league, while Low and Sandford are excellent prospects who deserve game time. Sinclair can also provide cover there, while it is worth pointing out that the majority of Chris H's games for Tonga were made at lock. I can see him moving further forward in the pack as age catches up with him.

Ditto at 6. We currently have Dec, Sisi, Gibson, Smith and Thorpe, all of whom I would suggest are best at 6. Again at 8. Hoff will be available next season, and if/when he is not we have Trev to move over from 7 and Alex Gray, who seriously needs some game time next season.

I agree that the pack has been weak in areas this season, but I also feel we have been unlucky with injury and a lot of our young players will be a year older. For me, the only forward role I would be looking to potentially fill is at tighthead. I think in the other areas we should prioritise a healthy competitive spirit with the right number of players. Sisi, Gibson and Gray, for instance, can and should push on to become England players. They need a chance and it would be devastating if they were to leave when their contracts ran out due to a lack of game time.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Loobs (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 19:57
For me, Tindall is a one-trick pony crash ball merchant who has been pretty effectively neutralised by Irish most times I've seen him play. Im not sure exactly how much mileage is left on the auld fella. For me, Henson would be a better option. In the Irish midfield there is a lack of creativity and just plain nous to suss out in the blink of an eye what's in front and how to attack it effectively. Pre season training with Brian Smith at the helm will hopefully start the flair play again.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
hooray Henley (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 20:00
Very positive over here in Henley land too.

I actually don't think we have been a bad team this season. We have been a naive team, a bit of an unlucky team, a bit of an inexperienced team at times, and I would say, although I am a big supporter of Toby we have been a team looking like the coaches have run out of ideas.

But with the likes of Hoff, Trev, Joe A. and JJ having played so few games this year, they will be like new signings for us next year. I also expect great things from Evans, he has played non stop rugby for over a year, when he is fresh I reckon he will shine very brightly indeed.

The youngsters have played a lot of rugby this year, and they will be a year better next time round. The big problem I see with this is that we will lose Tommy and JJ to England next year and it can only be a matter of time before Max gets fed up of being the second best loosehead in England and the 2nd best loosehead at LI. Marland and Anthony were the two best players for England U20s this year, if they have a good JWC I can see them becoming real stars next year. Anthony especially is the thing that sweetens the pill of losing Delon.

I actually think that we have not carried badly this year in the forwards, but we haven't had enough carriers. Hof can only do so much and hopefully Trev will step up. I am also very confident that Shaggy will start to shine next year too. Add Max, Corbs and Matt G and that is a pretty decent carrying pack. Evans and Skiv are good at smacking into rucks and clearing a few bodies so all in all broken play should be ok.

For me, the big worry is the set piece. A few years ago TB was revered as the most innovative lineout coach around. I see no reason why our current personnel cannot emulate the lineout of 5 years ago and even improve on it. we have some great athletes and some great lumps of meat, we have three hookers that can all throw, so Toby... get yer dissertation out again and read it, you,ll probably find that every other coach in England has and is using your ideas, so innovate again and get some clear water.

The perennial problem for forwards coaches is balance, and at the moment I think we have a pack that can tear @#$%& around the paddock, potentially be a good lineout team, but that means we don't have the grunt for the scrums. I reckon that Skiv and especially Lawson may prove to be inspired signings on that count. Both Paicey and cabbage are "feet forward hookers" ie. they ain't great at pushing. Lawson is and always has been a feet back hooker and a bloody powerfull scrummager, Skiv will play at 5. ie tight head side (That is the side you get the numerical disadvantage) and he is also a damn good pusher, so if we can get a half serviceable tight head then I think we will have a stable scrum. Personally I would like our first choice back row to be Trev, Garvey and Hoff. with two bloody great flankers like that and a solid 2-3 we would have a solid scrum. but again balance. with that back row you lose some of the mobility you get with Dec or Gibbo.

Anyway, I reckon we will see quite a few more signings and I absolutely trust that Smiffy will get good ones.

Actually... I can't wait for next season I think it will be a craicer for LI



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 24/04/2012 01:37 by hooray Henley.

 
Re: One Eejit's opinion on next year
Foggy-Balla (IP Logged)
23 April, 2012 20:51
If we're worried about the line out there's a ringer for Wee Jimmy playing open side for the Wild Geese...



Faugh-a-Ballagh!

"Our prayer is 'God save Ireland' and pour blessings on her name!"

Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 23/04/2012 21:27 by Foggy-Balla.


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