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Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
15 April, 2018 21:40

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
blucherquin (IP Logged)
15 April, 2018 21:52
Quote:
Harleys Evil Step Mum
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/what-next-for-the-fallen-giants-of-english-rugby-qwnt65bqt?shareToken=4ef4e127045edbadd182268c4f56277d

Interesting as a read about the others, doesn’t add very much more to what we know about us - but the stats are horrible. Having the second highest number of carries but being worst at tackling, nearly the most number of penalties and by far the worst team in 2018 tells the whole story. We run around pointlessly, then lose the ball and let the oppsition score. Sigh.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Quinten Poulsen (IP Logged)
15 April, 2018 22:33
Can someone with a subscription copy and paste it.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Cookie (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 08:59
So there we were, Thursday lunchtime, a sizeable group of us reporters, gathered at Harlequins’ training base outside Guildford to hear John Kingston, the director of rugby, talk about how it felt to be sacked.

Kingston, to his credit, didn’t duck the inquisition. He was clearly emotional — not surprising given that he had been at the club for 17 years. Yet the impression that lingers from the encounter was how convinced he was that his team who have crashed so badly are on the verge of a real lift-off.

“This squad has got everything required to take off,” he said. “It really has.” Hard to disagree. I would say they are one big ball-carrier short; they have never really replaced Nick Easter. Nevertheless, this is a strong squad. They are certainly not the fourth-worst in the Aviva Premiership, which might be the case with them ninth in the table.

Northampton Saints are tenth, Bath eighth. Here are three of the biggest clubs in England, all with rich histories and titles to their names, all with well-financed playing squads, clattering around ignominiously in the nether regions of the Premiership.

Kingston told us that, around the turn of the year, Harlequins had been “actually doing very well”. As he put it: “I was hoping we could come with a fresh sea breeze behind us.”

Indeed, with a fair wind, Leicester went from ninth at the turn of the year to third now. Northampton were top in October and then plummeted.

This tells us a few things: 1) The best-funded playing squads aren’t necess- arily the best teams. 2) Momentum counts. Everything starts to click and then you can catch that wind. 3) Winning can be complicated. Harlequins (2012) and Northampton (2014) both won the Premiership. It is easy to be persuaded that what you are doing is right because you have recent proof. 4) If you are managing these teams, from the boardroom level, you do not have an easy job.

One of the most fascinating of bumpy rides this season has been that experienced by Mark Darbon, the 39-year-old chief executive at Northampton Saints, who arrived in July with good experience from employers such as London 2012, but none in rugby. On day one of the season, Saints were smashed 55-24 by Saracens and already there was talk of crisis. They then won four games on the spin and floated to the top of the table. That was followed by a run of 11 games in the Premiership and Europe and they lost the lot.

What is the new chief exec supposed to do? Sit on his hands and wait for them to catch the breeze again like they did in September? Put it another way: when is it right to fire your director of rugby (DOR)?

Darbon gave his answer after eight of those 11 defeats. At that point in December, Northampton had a 40 per cent winning ratio in the Premiership yet Darbon felt he had to sack Jim Mallinder, the club’s long-standing DOR.

A month later, Harlequins saw it a different way. After losing six games from nine and with a 46 per cent winning ratio in the Premiership, David Ellis, the Harlequins chief executive, did the opposite and gave Kingston a two-year contract extension.

Of course, it is not just a chief executive making these decisions, it is the whole board, but the CEO takes the lead role. What they are weighing up is the value of continuity versus change. So you wonder, now, where Bath sit.

Bath’s decisions are made by Bruce Craig, the owner, who sacked Mike Ford two years ago and put Todd Blackadder in his place. Blackadder’s team have lost four of their past five in the Premiership. Same question: when is it right to pull the trigger?

This is Darbon’s answer: “As an individual, I found that really tough. I loved working with Jim. At the same time, if you are in that hot seat, you have to be prepared to be a part of the decision-making process and you have to be prepared to be delivering those messages.

“We weighed up the pros and cons of waiting till later or the end of the season. But we weren’t performing. We also felt that making the decision at that stage gave us the best possible chance to get things in order ahead of the following season.”

Indeed, here are three clubs in three different stages of crisis. Northampton have addressed it (sacked the DOR) and solved it (found a replacement). Harlequins have addressed it but not yet solved it. Bath are sticking by their man, hoping he catches the breeze; probably the last place they will find it is tomorrow away to Saracens.

With Bath, it is not just Blackadder in a tight situation. He is employed by one of the more impatient employers in the game. Yet it was Craig who sacked Ford and who recruited Blackadder and if you are continually changing the coaching structure, you are continually pressing the reset button and not allowing anything to build. Then it becomes the recruiter whose wisdom is called into question rather than the people he appoints. Craig needs Blackadder to turn it around, for his own sake as well as his club’s.

Of the three clubs, whose position would you rather be in? Easy answer: Northampton. They have clarity and hope rather than uncertainty. As Darbon says, if you pull the trigger in December, it gives you time to get the recruitment right.

From the recruitment process, Darbon came up smelling of roses: within seven weeks, he had signed Chris Boyd, the Super Rugby-winning head coach of Hurricanes, as director of rugby. The pressure is now massively on Ellis and Harlequins to get the recruitment right; last time they went out in search of the best DOR in the world, they ended up promoting Kingston from within the system. That mistake cost them two years of inertia; they cannot get it wrong again.

“Am I glad we have gone through that [recruitment] already — so we have clarity on where we are going?” Darbon says. “Absolutely. Have we found a silver bullet that guarantees success for next season and beyond? I hope so, but we’d be mad to sit here and say yes. But I feel really good about the choices we’ve made.”

Northampton fans must just be wishing for next season so they can start again, though down in crisis-land, life is not as simple as that. “No one’s holding their breath and crossing off the days,” Darbon says, and that is because they first have to ensure that they are playing in the Premiership next season.

Relegation remains a threat, albeit a remote one. If London Irish win their three remaining fixtures, they could catch Northampton. Mathematically, they could still catch Harlequins. Kingston is staying until the end of the season; relegation is an outcome beyond his worst nightmare. The more realistic facts to consider are that London Irish have won only three games all season (two of those were against Harlequins) and their next two are against Exeter Chiefs and Saracens.

“We’ve got to focus on delivering three really strong performances to guarantee safety,” Darbon said. “We are no fools. We realise we are still in a fight. It’s unlikely that Irish get out of the situation they are in, but it’s possible and until it’s not possible, we are taking it as seriously as you humanly can.”

Indeed they must. They must assure their survival and then start again. They, at least, are well placed for that.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
talkshowhost86 (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 09:17
I certainly agree with the article that I'd rather be in Northampton's shoes now than in ours.

I can't help but feel next season is going to be very bitty whilst the new man tries to bring in coaches and his style of play but using players that he has inherited rather than chosen. If the decision had been taken in December, at least then the new DOR could have been involved in our recruitment plans.

The flip side is that the other team mentioned in that article, Bath, show that a new DOR doesn't suddenly miraculously turn things around, and we are going to need to be patient with the new regime.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Quinky Kin (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 13:21
This is interesting:

Quote:
Of course, it is not just a chief executive making these decisions, it is the whole board, but the CEO takes the lead role.

Many on CAW love to rip into Ellis. Of course he's the front man, but it's also possible that he wanted JK gone a long time ago, but has been overruled. Simply making announcements doesn't mean that you agree with what's being announced.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
T-Bone (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 13:37
Interesting article.

Shows quite how deluded JK was that he thought we were doing well at Christmas and just needed a fair wind. Perhaps he read DOK's analysis of the roadmap and thought everything was fine. If you can't face up tio the fact that there is a problem, how do you fix it. Same with the "we've trained well" line. Does make you wonder if he really thought we were fine but for bad luck with injuries.

The carrying stat is bizarre. Loads of carries, but seemingly mostly ineffectual

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
CPB62 (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 13:42
Is it a coincidence that a lot of the players that didn't perform for Lancaster were at Quins and Saints, wonder if there are players at these clubs that are rather too big for their boots and unrest spreads.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Quinten Poulsen (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 14:04
I don't think JK was deluded, I think it's a fair point. The first half of the season looked more difficult than the second half, and the road maps are usually pretty accurate. Injuries were quite clearly a big problem.

For me the real change came at half time against Saints in the diddy cup. Sure, we were well down on the scorboard by then but Quins hadn't played badly, they were just a bit unlucky and virtually everything went right for Saints. The second half Quins were awful and have barely played any decent rugby since then.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Kent Fan (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 14:10
Despite a player “clear out” rumoured at Saints the response v Tigers on Saturday was outstanding.

Players like Myler seem to be ensuring that their record won’t be “tarnished” as his standards didn’t drop.

Shame some of our leavers can’t seem to raise their game in a similar fashion.

Bath crumbled against Sarries too many dropped passes in attacking positions and some mad defensive passes and kicking out of hand from the 10 (again) didn’t help.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
DOK (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 14:13
While we were following the road map then at half way through the season we were between 4th and 6th place. What happened then is the wheels fell off and the only bit of the roadmap became would we avoid 12th?

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
talkshowhost86 (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 14:15
Quote:
Quinten Poulsen
I don't think JK was deluded, I think it's a fair point. The first half of the season looked more difficult than the second half, and the road maps are usually pretty accurate. Injuries were quite clearly a big problem.
For me the real change came at half time against Saints in the diddy cup. Sure, we were well down on the scorboard by then but Quins hadn't played badly, they were just a bit unlucky and virtually everything went right for Saints. The second half Quins were awful and have barely played any decent rugby since then.

If we charitably include both the Anglo Welsh games and the Northampton game (which was technically after Christmas) then by that stage of the season I think we'd won 8 out of 18 games (6 out of 16 in the main two competitions).

If JK thought that was 'doing well' then I'm not really surprised he's gone, although presumably the board thought the same thing at the time as it was around then that he got the new contract.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Quinten Poulsen (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 14:23
I think 'doing well' needs to be put in context - ie. the injury situation. One of the most galling things about the standard of rugby since the big drop in form is that it coincided with numerous players being fit again.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
talkshowhost86 (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 14:36
Quote:
Quinten Poulsen
I think 'doing well' needs to be put in context - ie. the injury situation. One of the most galling things about the standard of rugby since the big drop in form is that it coincided with numerous players being fit again.

True, and that period before Christmas did include some decent results (if not always performances).

But I still think that if that was the bar that JK was setting, or had been told to set by the board, then it's not really surprising we are where we are.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Bolly-Quin (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 15:31
Quote:
talkshowhost86
The flip side is that the other team mentioned in that article, Bath, show that a new DOR doesn't suddenly miraculously turn things around, and we are going to need to be patient with the new regime.

Indeed - I do remember hearing at some length how SlackBladder was the saviour of Bath and victors' laurels and £ NZ$100 notes were going to rain down at the Rec...(Sm100)

Sarries' stuffing of Saints followed by the latter's beating of the Tiggers shows how strange this season has been around the league.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
Hortiquin (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 19:11
interesting , well written and honest article.

When did it go wrong?
There was clearly something wrong at the first game of the season against the exiles, management and the team should have been targetting 5 points, such a waste, things would look a lot better now.

Why?, Arrogance?, Complacency? poor preparation?
so poor and unprofessional.

 
Re: Fallen Giants of English Rugby...
TitusQuin (IP Logged)
16 April, 2018 20:07
Buffoon head actually writing a decent article.
He mentions the lack of replacing Minty and maybe we underestimated how good he was for us? Or didn’t realise how he brought out the best in Quins?
Couple that with NEV retiring and we have lost our two best players,decision makers and leaders.(hence why
ill judgedly they were promoted to coaching).
It takes time to replace those two and we certainly have talented players like Clifford, Chisholm, Smith, Catrakilis but they are either young or just joined so need time to get to that level.
The current England regulars seem to play as individuals and dissent when things go against them instead of pulling the guys together.


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