Since we’re at the end of the first block of this season’s Premiership games, I thought I’d take a look at how our first six results compare to expectations and our starts in previous years.
Looking at the Falcons’ first six fixtures, many would have said that Sale, Worcester and Bristol should have been targeted as wins. Anything from Bath away, Leicester at home and Gloucester away would be a bonus.
I wouldn’t have said that, because I think every game should be targeted as a win and I’d be disappointed if Richards and pals don’t feel the same way. But I think the above is how most fans feel.
So if we’d been offered wins against Sale, Worcester and Bristol, and two losing bonus points from the other three games, would we be happy now? Add into that, that we are a never-expected sixth in the table, twelve points above Bristol and five above Worcester. I think most fans would be. Fair enough we didn't beat Worcester, but the win at Gloucester compensated for that.
Look at it objectively: sixth in the table, three wins and two LBPs, and twelve points clear of relegation. So surely we’ve had a decent start to the season.
Indeed, it’s been our best first six games since 2007/08, and we haven’t had more points at this stage of a Premiership season for fifteen years:
2001/02: 4 wins, 19 points
2002/03: 1 win, 9 points
2003/04: 2 wins, 12 points
2004/05: 3 wins, 13 points
2005/06: 1 win, 9 points
2006/07: 2 wins, 10 points
2007/08: 3 wins, 14 points
2008/09: 2 wins, 9 points
2009/10: 1 win, 11 points
2010/11: 1 win, 6 points
2011/12: 1 win, 5 points
2013/14: 3 wins, 13 points
2014/15: 2 wins, 9 points
2015/16: 0 wins, 2 points
2016/17: 3 wins, 14 points
Of course there was the Bath debacle, but every team in the bottom half of the table has a few stinkers every season. At least one of ours is out of the way and hasn’t hurt our league position too much.
Worcester was by all accounts dire, and our attack needs to improve – the Falcons are the only team to have scored fewer than ten tries so far, and we have only scored one point more than rock-bottom Bristol.
That said, our defence has been solid, at least in terms of overall points: only Saracens, Bath (both way ahead of everyone else on this stat) and Northampton have conceded fewer than the Falcons so far.
Taking all of this on board, I think we should be fairly happy with how the Falcons have done in the first six games of the league season. Of course, there are still sixteen games to come, an we’ll see how they go. But for now, things are looking up.
Fairly happy too. But the test begins in three weeks when we have Wasps away and Exeter at home.
Was surprised about Wasps at Sarries. I genuinely felt they would put the saffers to sword the way they had been playing up to that stage. I suppose Sarries defence won it in the end.
Looking forward to seeing how the game tonight pans out. Hoping to see a good game from Hodgson and Willis as I believe this where the Falcons game will be dictated.
Hopefully if one of these lads or both play well we can be looking at giving them a start against Wasps.
I think we need to start pushing one of these boys to give us a different attack dimension. Hodgson hasn't really let anyone down and needs this opportunity to hopefully impose his style. Listening to Willis being interviewed you sense that he's disappointed not to have been involved in the AP so far, which I think is good. He clearly backs himself. Interviews well and I think he's the long term future at fly half.
Happy to see the lad starting admittedly not in his favoured position, but I think that's a good idea actually essentially playing with two fly halves. Eases Willis into the team as well having not featured so far. Can't wait to be honest. I will be happy with a never say die loss.
Listening to some of the interviews you feel the boys will be up for this one too.
Liberty stadium looks like a mini millennium stadium considering it's primarily a football ground. The boys pictured taking a stroll around on twatter and appear excited to put their wares on show tonight.
I hope there is good vociferous crowd too. The Welsh can be quite tribal against the English teams playing in Wales. I was at our game in Newport last season or was it the season before?when Witty announced himself with a try.
The atmosphere was electric at Rodney parade! How the Welsh bayed for blood!It was quite a performance by our team away at a hostile venue. You have to love the passion of the Welsh when they meet English teams. I don't think anything motivates them(Welsh)more.
Tonight is a massive step up from that day. Whilst on paper we have no chance, I still think we can nullify the power in their pack with our energy. Our backrow though unproven should be quicker than plodders like Lydiate who is still a good player,but quite slowed by numerous injuries. And is just back from injury. Imagine will be rusty?
Other than Hodgson and Willis, I think Dan Temm will need to play out of his skin. His speed and athletic ability will need to be on show against Tipuric. I think this will be an interesting match up! I like the look of Temm,in spite of his size. He's a proper 7 with his work rate. And I think he will relish this match up, regardless.
I also hope to see Watson getting his mojo back. Sam Lockwood at Loosehead as we need more firepower there with Vickers having a few bad days at the office of late.
I know Sowrey didn't impress many in preseason but I've impressed by him whenever he's come on. Another one not normally mentioned but hasn't had a particularly bad game in the AP. He scrummages well, adds power and his throwing, which was considered suspect has been spot on so far.
Ultimately, you want these guys to be playing for premiership positions in three weeks time . Witty,Robinson, etc got their break through the challenge cup. Naturally,I hope for this to continue with the other players, which can only be good for the whole club.
Can't wait. Cmon Falcons!!
The squad is better than for a long time and it is showing in that we are 6th in the table.
I have been very vocal and critical about the style and tactics. We have been poor at times, kicked so much and been thoroughly inefficient point scoring with alot of the possession we have had in games.
I think we can get more out of games with this squad than we currently are.
I would agree that the squad looks to be in good shape for the Premiership, although as we just found out not strong enough for cup games too. I get the impression however that we are light on the coaching side of things compared to other clubs. The top teams have dozens of top class coaches, trained to the highest levels and we are not competing there yet. If we can keep the playing squad stable over the next couple of seasons then that is where we could invest usefully, budget permitting of course.
Results so far have been encouraging, although the early run of games means that the league table flatters us a bit. We should have pipped Tiggers at the end, but then Sale should have pipped us at the end so they cancel each other out when looking at the bigger picture. Taking losing bonus points from two of the three games lost is a positive, but on the other hand one of those really should have been a win against an awful Wuss side, and we capitulated to a very poor Bris team thus failing to get a try bonus that should have been in the bag.
A good start but still a lot more work to do if we are to finish in a decent spot by May. They can do it if they want to.
Pretty much agree, pretty much on par for the games we've had but could've been alot better but then again could've been worse with Sale and Bristol also being close affairs so in a good spot in the league and now it's how we do against the tougher sides and we must play with no fear against them.
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