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Preview - Week Off

Done a good job!

By Almo
January 4 2018

  I thought that I would take up the challenge of writing something interesting during what is probably the quietest part of the season: the gap between the Festive Christmas/New Year matches and the cup games. Firstly, I hope the players enjoy a break, although the weather has been terrible and I don’t think the club allow them to venture abroad during the season. Still their bodies should be rested and those coming back from injury should have some breathing space in terms of their return to active duty.    

The B&I cup is in its final season, and I don’t think there will be too many mourners at its funeral. I have struggled to find optimism and encouragement for this competition, based on low-quality opposition in Scotland and Wales but amazingly high-quality players emerging from the Irish region/franchises in the final rounds. It has been best used for blooding Academy players and of course Sir Kev’s learning curve.

This year the last round of B&I matches were understandably used by J-Lo to rest our over-stretched squad. This meant that youngsters got some excellent experience, but had the side-effect that when the Championship programme resumed, the team looked like it had eaten too much Christmas Pud but it was only mid-December. Nevertheless, the team-spirit got us through two nail-biting 2 point wins and we are now third in the Championship table behind only high-spending Ealing and mega-rich Bristol.

So, with two more B&I games to come, following a rest weekend, if I was in J-Lo’s head I would pick a 10:5 team of established players and apprentices, with more experience on the bench. I don’t think the results matter too much but we need to gather some momentum for the next batch of Championship games. I suppose we might just get into the next B&I round by accident, if so perhaps we should regard it as another full-contact training session/game time.

On the International Front we are all no doubt waiting for the 6 Nations in February. Will Eddie Jones’ magic work once again? Could be a strong event this year with Scotland on a roll, Ireland looking strong and France under new management. Wales lack the resources of England but usually make-up in passion, but they have injuries to key players who are not easily replaced. Not to be left out, Italy will be Italy. So probably not too much controversy in that, hope it has achieved its aim of being of interest to somebody.

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Preview - Week Off (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 21:24
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:14:12:46:18 by Wildwillie .

Re: Preview - Week Off
leemingtyke (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 08:46
An FA Cup style competition to replace the B&I would create genuine interest amongst supporters i think.

And if they made it so the gate receipts and TV income were split 50/50, a good draw could be a financial lifeline for Championship clubs.

Re: Preview - Week Off
almostatyke (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 09:03
I think you are right Leeming. However, as the B&I games are usually the same weekend as the European challenge/championship matches, not sure that the Premiership clubs would have much of an appetite: they would not like to risk the stigma of a loss to a lower-tier club because of having to play with a weakened side. I could be wrong on this, but I clearly remember Bath, in their pre-season friendly against us played at Ilkley, kicking penalties to ensure they did not lose what was a tight match.
Whatever the replacement for the B&I it will required some joined-up thinking plus getting round the vested interests of the Premiership: not an easy one for the rfu to solve.

Re: Preview - Week Off
leemingtyke (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 09:57
They could change the format of the Anglo Welsh Cup to make it a straight knockout and include Championship and Nat1 teams maybe?

Re: Preview - Week Off
Albert Fishwick (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 10:04
The national cup was great if you had a good run - Twickers in 2005 remains one of the high points of my time as a supporter - but less so if you go out early. I would prefer a 14-team league with more, and more predictable, home fixtures.

If I had all the money I've spent on drink ..... I'd spend it on drink.

Re: Preview - Week Off
leemingtyke (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 10:52
Arguably though, that wouldnt generate the interest amongst supporters or very much extra income.

I hear what youre saying about the pitfall of an early exit, but that guarantees that a strong team is fielded and the rugby will be competitive.

As you say yourself Albert, the National Cup is the highlight of your time as a supporter.

I used to love the FA Cup coming around before football disappeared up its own ar$e. I remember queueing up with my dad in the freezing cold outside Bootham Cresent to get a ticket to see York City play Liverpool in the 80s. Dalglish, Rush, Grobelaar, Hansen turning out on a pitch that supporters had cleared the snow off to get the game on.

Something like that would be superb for rugby and a financial lifeline for lower league clubs I reckon.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:05:11:54:54 by leemingtyke.

Re: Preview - Week Off
Bobba (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 13:16
I would be in favour of both options. A 14 team league and an FA Cup style competition. Both are likely to generate extra income, increasing as you progress. It could encourage clubs to invest for success.

Re: Preview - Week Off
Mark_C (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 13:35
You're right Bobba - I remember the days when Birmingham and Solihull Bees took the scalp of mighty Wasps!

Miserati - and Proud to be!

Re: Preview - Week Off
JDH (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 14:12
completely agree with the above. The prem and nat 1 need to be linked and a cup competition is and has been a great idea.

A 14 team AP with us in it would be the icing on the cake but I don't hold my breath.

to have another day a HQ supporting YC.... Lets hope it happens!

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