Latest News:

The Unofficial Northampton Saints Supporters' Message Board

Courtney's Tackle count
Opinion8ed (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 09:15
During the England game on TV I was, as usual disappointed by SKY commentators infatuation with whoever they had decided beforehand was going to be worthy of their praise. For this game it was Sam Underhill and every tackle he made was lauded or at least mentioned to indicate he must have been the most effective defensive weapon. In my GB&G eyes I thought he was excellent but that Courtney was even more worthy of praise but got little notice from Sky and especially from good old SB.

So I thought I would check the actual stats ( and it turns out that, also unusually, I was right.

Courtney 24 tackles (Wow) and only one missed
Underhill 21 tackles (but of course still very creditable) and 3 missed

Only Mako got close with 19. But my point is that anyone else watching the game would have been given the impression that Underhill was the only person on the England team making a lot of tackles.

I remember an almost identical situation in a England v All Blacks game at Twickers once before when Wood made 26 tackles (10 more than anyone else) and didn't get a mention on Sky because they had decided there were other more fashionable players to be focused on.

It really is disappointing to me when pundits are so lazy and inept.

Eif Jones
Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Eif Jones (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 10:24
Underhill seems to be a no 6 playing at no 7. He's a consistent tackler but doesn't win many ruck turnovers and shows very little in the ball playing department, something all top no 7s have.

Stevie Myler's right boot
Re: Courtney's Tackle count
13 November, 2017 10:28
Similar to the Bath game - made loads of tackles but offered nothing else. He needs to add a lot more to his game before he is International ready. On the same link looked at the attacking stats - 2 runs for 0 metres compared to Courts 11 for 14 metres

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 13/11/2017 10:33 by Stevie Myler's right boot.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Wilson Pickett (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 10:29
Pundits and journos in our sport are often lazy with some exceptions. They rarely do work on stats and as you suggest, create a narrative which they continue to push. Luckily Eddie Jones won’t be relying on their advice.

I thought Underhill was pretty fearsome in defence, and Courtney was also a workhorse from lock. I prefer him at 6 where he seems to get the ball more. As Eif suggests, Underhill does have the physique to be a Pocock-esque nuisance but doesn’t seem to have the instinct for timing on the ball. He’s still young, at least he has the raw ingredients.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Neil-H (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 11:16
should be interesting to see the England XV and finishers this weekend, for what should be the hardest game and id say no one rested?

Will he go with Robshaw at 6? or Courtney/Itoje playing 4/6? who will play 7? maybe move Robshaw to 7, even after what Jones said about him during world cup?

I also thought Hughes had his best game for England, I have never really rated him, but he carried very powerfully on Saturday.

St tub
Re: Courtney's Tackle count
St tub (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 11:36
Thought Sam had a pretty big game - very aggressive in defence against a big Argentinian pack
It's easy to focus on negatives remember and whilst I used to love the stats - they are pretty flawed

Courts is getting better and better - probably MoM (him or Hughes), but is definitely more comfortable at #6 (and seems to have more in the tank) than when he also has the tight 5 work to cover.. In saying that, he was also turned over once and stripped of the ball twice in contact (so I'm not accused of pro-saints bias)

I thought Kruis did a ton of work that doesn't show up stat wise (including causing havoc to the opposition lineout)

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Lamont4Saints (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 12:35
For me courtney just tackled his man. Underhill drove them back and make a dominant tackle, big difference there.

If you noticed the whole England team stayed out the breakdown for nearly the whole game so that must have been a coaching tactic rather than Underhill et al. not competing at the breakdown.

All in all, Underhill had a very impressive 2nd cap and can see him growing into the 7 shirt full time. I do prefer Curry but its seems we will always have an injured one.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Nath-coys (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 12:35
Sam had a good game. Infact a very good game!

For his 2nd cap I believe, maybe 3rd.

He has an ability too stop people dead and hit them backwards, extremely hard too do now a days with the size of these blokes.
For me he has put a marker down at 7.
Still has loads of room for improvement as well.

Back row is about ballance........

For me with a work horse like him at 7 that is going to make that many tackles, I want a ball carrier at 6.

Think England are over reliant on one big carrier, was Billy V, now Hughes. If they get stopped or are at the bottom of the ruck we seem too struggle to create momentum.
Making it harder for the backs to get much going.

If all fit I woukd quite like

Williams (big strong abrasive carrier and tackler, solid in set piece)
Billy V

I just think you don't win a World Cup being conservative, let's have a two pronged attack in the back row. Will give defenders NIGHTMARES!

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
LeicesterSaint (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 12:56
The only issue there is that the lineout is so key at the moment, I think Hughes does on occasion go up but he's a lot harder to lift than Itoje or Lawes and not as tall. You also lose Kruis as the lineout nausea which can be key in nicking or at least spoiling a few.

He may be moving towards a slightly wider squad that can play two slightly different ways but thusfar EJ has liked Haskell as a defensive spoiler and Underhill for me does that better. Playing a more free flowing game a linking 7 comes into play but then does that kind of play win world cups which is the ultimate focus?

Saint Stokey
Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Saint Stokey (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 13:32
The problem that Courtney also has is that his tackle count and metres made are now expected.

So someone like Underhill coming in and performing well will generate interest. Courtney is only really likely to get a special mention if he has a 10/10 game rather then his normal 8 or 9/10 or if he has an absolute mare!

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Nath-coys (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 13:34
Take your points about Lineout, think Hughes and Underhill do get lifted.
But granted loosing Kruis does impact your Lineout ability.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
herbie85 (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 13:40
Hughes and Billy v, both good carriers but you wouldn't get the breakdown work or dog required in a balanced back row imho. Against an Australian side would be turn over central

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Nath-coys (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 14:15
Think we are still a bit over obsessed with the Turnover 'player'.
The laws have been changed making it extremely difficult to compete at the ruck.
Why you are seeing hardly any players commiting, like England at the weekend.
Trying to push teams backwards, force them too kick or cause a knock on or error.

But in the England pack, Mako, maro, Billy V are all very good turnover players.
Our problem atm is not defence or competing at the ruck.
It is punching holes in the opposition defence and getting on the front foot.
At the weekend I would say....

Are not big carriers that get over the gainline! That leaves a lot of pressure on Mako, courts, Hughes.

John Rickerd
Re: Courtney's Tackle count
John Rickerd (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 15:38
should be interesting to see the England XV and finishers this weekend, for what should be the hardest game and id say no one rested?
Will he go with Robshaw at 6? or Courtney/Itoje playing 4/6? who will play 7? maybe move Robshaw to 7, even after what Jones said about him during world cup?

I also thought Hughes had his best game for England, I have never really rated him, but he carried very powerfully on Saturday.

He did shine Neil, but his last thought is an offload, and when he has to, it's usually last minute and inaccurate. Billy V. stated like that but changed quickly.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
HerbieSaint (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 18:02
Nath-coys makes a good point regarding the obsession with the 'turnover player' or the 'out and out 7' as the nauseating media phrase has it. Everybody wants their own Richie McCaw but this type of player with that skill set is not too common these days.

On the main subject of the thread, OPTA tweeted that Courtney's tackle count was the highest of any England player in a match under Eddie Jones. That's hugely impressive however you view it, and it cannot be said enough what a significant leap forward Courtney has made in the past 18 months and I'm utterly delighted by it.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Barnetsarrie12 (IP Logged)
13 November, 2017 20:27
Courtney played very well on Saturday and i think every member of the pack played well apart from Kruis who has to do more in attack and Cole who offers nothing around the pack, we might as well have one less player in attack.

I will quickly tackle the line out issue,the line out falling apart without Kruis, I think Kruis has been injured for a long time and he now knows he has to pick up his performances as Itoje has just been nominated again for World player of the year again and will definitely start in the six nations if he is not injured and Lawes is playing out of his mind, Kruis might not get a look in unless lawes is shifted to 6.

I love Kruis but it is totally false to say the line out will fall apart without Kruis, Itoje called the line out in the entire six nations without Kruis and England had the best line out in the competition and only lost two line outs all competition. He also called the line outs in the second and third lions tests so while Kruis might be a little better in that area, Maro is very close and that alone won't keep Kruis in the team.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
LeicesterSaint (IP Logged)
14 November, 2017 13:10
I didn't mean that the lineout falls apart with Kruis, he just has an edge for me over the others in terms of reading and disruption. For me it is more about balance and if we focus too much on heavy ball carriers we are in danger of sacrificing line out performance - for example using Hughes at 6 means more ballast but he's not the lineout jumper that Lawes or Itoje is.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Barnetsarrie12 (IP Logged)
14 November, 2017 13:43
I agree that Hughes at 6 is not the answer, you can't play 128KG Hughes and 130kg Billy in the same back row, that would be a very slow back row.

I agree about Kruis in terms of reading the line out and calling, not disruption, Itoje is better at disrupting line out ball, probably better than anyone in rugby, there is no way he would have played on Saturday and Argentina get as much clean ball.

Like i said earlier, I love Kruis and i'm a sarries fan but i also have to be objective, Itoje will always start, he has just been nominated for world player of the year again two years running,if Eddie does not decide to play Lawes in the back row then Kruis will be the one to miss out as Lawes is playing very well at the moment and will be tough to justify leaving him out in favour of Kruis.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Nath-coys (IP Logged)
14 November, 2017 14:31
Hughes looked pretty nifty on his feet for his try.......

Not saying it is the definite answer, but do think we need to try and find more ball carriers in the pack.

Kaino for NZ is a prime example of what I like in my 6.....
Big hitting, hard carrying impact player on the pitch.

And he is a big guy and not known for his pace, don't know his exact weight though

I like Courtney at 6 for Saints, but not sure like we found with Maro last 6 nations are they good enough carriers for International Back rowers?

This is all opinion of course:

But I think


For me that would scare teams.
Big big strong fit men. 2 prime carriers at 6 and 8.
And a workhorse and big hitter at 7.
With 2 extremely athletic and physical locks.

At the moment if a team can stop Hughes or Billy at 8 and target them, they slow our whole game down. Saw it last 6 nations and saw it first test in the Autumn.

Re: Courtney's Tackle count
Barnetsarrie12 (IP Logged)
14 November, 2017 15:41
Just as i predicted or kind of predicted, Eddie has dropped Kruis for the game on Saturday, it is going to be Maro taking his place and calling the line out with Lawes beside him.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing

Who is online?

Total users online:  

Most users online:  

Users on this site:  

Where are they?