The sad demise of London Welsh is a salutory lesson for all clubs and specially those in the underfunded Championship - the answer to which is not to make them "B" teams for existing Premiership clubs; ringfencing under another name.
London Irish and Yorkshire Carnegie have already said that they wouldn't sign up to Nigel Melville’s scheme, which would deny promotion as up to eight academy players sent to each Championship side with the Premiership team subsidising their wages.
The "advantage for Premiership teams" would be that their youngsters would start gaining the game time necessary to accelerate their development. Championship clubs would make considerable financial savings by maintaining smaller squads while "gaining access to some of English rugby’s brightest talents." Fair enough but who wants to travel the length of the country supporting a team of "loanees."
Blues' tie-up with Sarries is vaunted as an example of this working. However, we are now third bottom so it isnt working too well, and are there really any Blues supporters out there who would be happy to turn up at Goldington Road knowing the club had no chance of making the Premiership? Does anybody ever consult the supporters who invest heavily in their hobby, or is it purely confined to the England national team and a coterie of moneyed Premiership clubs?
Regardless, we welcome Knights this week having found ourselves 14 points behind them now that London Welsh's results have been expunged. It'll be a tough task, but we've got a decent squad out with George Perkins starting at fullback and Ollie Dodge at inside centre.
Blues:15. George Perkins 14. Pat Tapley 13. Michael LeBourgeois (capt) 12. Ollie Dodge 11. Dean Adamson 10. Myles Dorrian 9. Tom James 1. Hayden Thompson-Stringer 2. Jacob Fields 3. Ben Cooper 4. Paul Tupai 5. Will Carrick-Smith 6. Justin Blanchet 7. Josh Buggea 8. Jason Hill
Reps: Dan George, Camillo Parilli-Ocampo, Christian Judge, Byron Hodge, Ben Adams, Jordan Burns, Jake Sharp
Most of us turn up each home game expecting not to get back into the Premiereship as GR currently does not conform to Premiereship standards. There's not the funding to keep a full time squad. A sharing arrangement with a football club is too expensive. So until 2035 we might as well benefit from Melville's proposals. (The reference to 2035 is tongue in cheek)
We can give Knights a run for their money providing we keep our discipline, don't drop the ball and keep a clean line-out sheet. Not a lot to ask for.
Bedford totally outplayed in thought and deed this afternoon. Chasing a three try deficit within the first nine minutes suggests complacency or disinterest. Given that we can't be relegated this season it seems to me that there will be no desire to strengthen our squad until the end of the season. Two more competitive home games at 'Fortress Goldington Road' before we can all be put out of our collective misery.
A disappointing performance, and Blues weren't much better.
There is little doubt that, being in the top four, Doncaster had more to play for - and more to lose. That showed in the first ten minutes.
Bedford won the last 70 minutes, just (1st qtr 0-19, 2nd qtr 12-12, 2nd half 10-9 I didn't record the times of Flockharts penalties). Too little too late. It shows that Blues are capable. The balance of the game changed when the officials realised that it was the Doncaster prop that was dropping the scrum. By that time Bedford had had three penalties given against them and the game had drifted away.
I think a review of the match would show the officials did not perhaps have their best game. Bedford did not lose because of the officials. They lost because of the slow start, a misfiring lineout, ill-discipline (avoid yellow cards by allowing the crowd to politely point out the officials' shortcomings - it's what we're there for) and Doncaster's very effective 'professional' defence.
Doncaster are not in the top four for no reason. They are effective in all areas and in Flockhart have a consistent kicker. Could we have beaten them? The last seventy suggests we could despite the errors made and should look to that first ten minutes to determine how we might stop gifting victories to the opposition.
Introduction of television review might also assist in determining the justification for awarding tries and picking up malpractice that in the heat of the game officials might miss. Discuss.
Once again Sharp and Burns come on and we look a different team. The days of us closing a 19 point lead are well gone. Why canít we just start with our best side, and not bring it on when the games lost.
Reading the report of Saturday's match in TRP it would appear that Bedford are recognised in the Championship as a 'slow starters' and with that knowledge Doncaster prepared their game plan. Simple as that. Somehow it's just not cricket to exploit another team's deficiency in such a beastly way. It's certainly not the Bedford way, well not this season it hasn't.
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