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What is limiting Tigers success Part 2


By TigerR
August 26 2012

Eight Premiership Finals in a row makes Tigers the most consistent team in England over the last eight years but only three wins hints at a glass ceiling that is limiting the success of the team. Results in the European Cup also show a marked decline over the eight year period.

With respect to the European Cup we may blame the Premiership salary cap.  Tigers just do not have the budget to compete with the top French clubs and Irish Regions.  One of the reasons why the cap is so low is that the cash in England generated from International matches, distributed via the RFU and PRL, is spread amongst twelve clubs whereas the Irish concentrate their money in three regions.

However, in England Tigers should be able to compete on a relatively even playing field.  And compete they do, consistently finishing first or second in the ‘league’ and then making the final.  Part of the reason for their consistent success is their record at Welford Road.  Another reason for their success seems to be a large squad so that the Tigers can continue to be highly competitive when injuries strike.  However a large a squad means that the average salary is less than some other clubs.  Tigers are famous for getting some players to stay at Welford Road even when they have a better offer from elsewhere.  Players like to play at Welford Road and have the chance of silverware.  However these strengths may also be weaknesses when it comes to Premiership finals.

You can only pick fifteen to play at a time in the final so a large squad full of good players may be beaten  by a club with a smaller squad of higher-quality more highly paid  players.  Of course some of the highly paid players may be injured in some of the other clubs but they will not reach the final.  The other club reaching the final in any year may well have been lucky with injuries and so able to field very close to their best fifteen plus a descent bench.

The other strength that may be a weakness is Welford Road.  Tigers play 50% of their league matches at Welford Road and usually the Premiership semi-final. However the final is never played at Welford Road but at Twickenham.  The pitch at Twickenham is huge.  The pitch at Welford Road is famously narrow.  The Tigers squad is I fear constructed to take advantage of the narrow pitch.  Blistering pace is not prized.  The ability to run over a defender is.  Our wingers of recent years have often been strong and direct.  Our squad has often seemed to be strong in the forwards, which is great when there are not so many open spaces.  However at Twickenham  the backs have enough room to run round slow forwards.

Do Tigers need to take a gamble and prioritise the recruitment of fast quality backs over strength in depth at no 6?  Do Tigers need to slim down their squad to be able to afford a higher quality first fifteen?  I think the answer is yes, but it would be a risk. However I don’t detect that Tigers’ recruitment for 2012-13 has been conducted to this agenda.

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What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
TheLeicesterTigers.co.uk (IP Logged)
26/08/2012 18:10
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:09:03:20:04:56 by Tiggs.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Stopsy (IP Logged)
26/08/2012 19:10
Many thanks Rex, lots of good angles and questions! Without doubt playing on a narrow pitch does disadvantage us when playing on the open expanses, hopefully this will be sorted when we redo the Crumbie.

We have still produced some amazing backs displays but another area where we seem to struggle is when we only achieve parity rather than dominance up front, particularly the breakdown.

The other issue could be the top 2 inches, getting to the final so many times means it may have lost its allure, the sides we face in the final this is the pinacle of their club careers, of such things is the do or die made.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Tiggs (IP Logged)
26/08/2012 19:38
I think that your last sentence is probably closest to the truth Mike.

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Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Stopsy (IP Logged)
26/08/2012 20:01
So we need a leader or leaders, Deano, Darren, Cockers, none of Johnno whom I suspect treated any game differently.

I know I go on (and on and on etc.) about it but the play offs have introduced the attitude that some games are OK to lose.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
johnthegrif (IP Logged)
26/08/2012 21:34
The situation last season after our twelve players returned from the World Cup was that we could not afford to lose any matches, to obtain a try bonus in most matches was of crucial importance. We were unable to rotate the team as we would have liked with the result that the strain told. When we played in the final we were short of several players that could have been in contention for selection, tiredness plays a part. It will be interesting this season to see how Saracens & Harlequins cope with losing greater numbers of their players to England and how those players will cope with the demands of international rugby and playing finals and semi-finals

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Stopsy (IP Logged)
27/08/2012 10:11
Agreed John however remeber the lack of rotation when we won the HEC, basically same team week in week out. Having said that, the quality of the other sides has improved relatively due to the cap since those days.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
SK 88 (IP Logged)
27/08/2012 13:33
Actually I was watching the games from that era back and one of the things that Miles Harrison was saying over the commentary was how well Deano had employed the rotation and that really we could have picked any of a number of players.

Deano and Pat Howard were both brilliant at mixing and matching at the right time. Howard had to learn the skill as he sometimes over did it, Bristol away at Christmas being a memorable example of picking too many weaker players at once.

Cockerill needs to remember that our reserves are bloody good too. You could blood one front row, one back 5 of the pack, one inside back and one outside back every single game save the knockout ones without noticeable effect on results. I agree with johnthegriff that last year we were in greater need of points than usual, but for instance Flood was literally played until he was broken with seemingly no thought to whether he actually physically play all these games.

I'd look to the Irish, not with envy but as the vision of what Deano and Howard used to do. We need to have a self imposed limit of 30 games a season, fewer for the props, and aim for no player to actually be in danger of hitting that limit. That includes internationals. We have to work around the internationals, they aren't going away and the RFU aren't going to help us. Playing our guys into the ground just because we can isn't a solution.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Stopsy (IP Logged)
27/08/2012 17:25
Ah well if Miles said it...

We had a session where we played 5 games in 20 ish days, most of the team was the same throughout.

I do agree though that we need to introduce people when ready. I remember a young L Deacon coming on a sub v Saints.. Who's he? he already has 50 1st team appearances was the response from another Saints fan.

Cockers does introduce new players, Manu, 36, Morris, Logo, Parling, Green, Ford, Harrison, etc. We just never seem to give him credit for the successes.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
SK 88 (IP Logged)
27/08/2012 21:38
Green who had to leave to Leeds for game time to be replaced by a South African only 2 years older?

I'm not talking about bringing through younger players Cockerill does that well because we he plumps for one they play all time and improve. Manu is a case in point, once he got into the team he's played almost every game since. I'm talking about using our depth, for instance I don't even rate Hawkins but he should have been used a hell of a lot more than he has.

Green is a good example of someone who barely played a Prem game through choice, always when someone was injured, Harrison only got gametime when he was last man standing.

Injuries occur randomly (becoming more likely with fatigue), the best way to avoid them is to lower the number of matches played to lower than chances of them happening. That has happened for decades I don't understand the desire to re-write history to say at one point we picked the same 15 players for 39 game season. That never happened.

Look at tighthead prop, we regularly rotate the position and it must have one of the lower injury rates on the field, I'd argue pretty strongly because the individual in the jersey is constantly getting time to recuperate and having his position challenged. When the same player plays every week, not only is he more likely to get injured his back up doesn't get any game time to challenge the players form either.

Cockerill's got to 6 finals in 4 seasons, he's not a fool and he's probably the best manager in England at the moment. He does rotate his team where he has two very very similar strength players. But he isn't perfect and his flaws are obvious and fixable. And I think they are what are holding him back from being one of the best managers in Europe. He wouldn't stand for it in a player.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Stopsy (IP Logged)
29/08/2012 07:04
You see a lot more than I do SK, however with Green, I felt he had his opportunities but didn't do enough with them to get more considering the strength in depth around.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Tiggs (IP Logged)
03/09/2012 20:04
Thanks again Rex.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/stephen.bath1/Bath/Photos/tighthead.gif http://homepage.ntlworld.com/stephen.bath1/Bath/Photos/TigersFire2.gif

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
TigerR (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 09:14
Now slipping down the list.

Too early to tell whether there is an improvement but playing Hamilton on the wing is not progress (fine player though he is).

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 09:20
Would you rather he play at full-back? Rex? My feeling is that he offers more on the wing whilst offering a secondary FB option.

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
grannyg (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 09:24
""""The other strength that may be a weakness is Welford Road. Tigers play 50% of their league matches at Welford Road and usually the Premiership semi-final. However the final is never played at Welford Road but at Twickenham. The pitch at Twickenham is huge. The pitch at Welford Road is famously narrow. The Tigers squad is I fear constructed to take advantage of the narrow pitch. Blistering pace is not prized. The ability to run over a defender is. Our wingers of recent years have often been strong and direct. Our squad has often seemed to be strong in the forwards, which is great when there are not so many open spaces. However at Twickenham the backs have enough room to run round slow forwards.""""

Widen the pitch then. QED.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 09:32
Finite amount of space?

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
jamesroberts (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 10:43
I find it hard to argue with TigerR - without doubt our narrow pitch has helped our Home form over the years and has had an influence on the make up of the side .When the Pitch is eventually widened( if ever)hopefully we can develop a style of play that is more effective on the bigger playing areas. Your comments on the squad size and make up are valid - we seem to have a large squad where ( with the exception of Croft,Cole,Youngs and Flood)players are of more or less the same ability .Finals are not won by journeymen , but by players of outstanding ability who can really make a difference ,and perhaps we do need to sacrifice numbers for a bit more stardust .

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 11:02
Hmmm - Croft, Cole, Youngs and Flood? But not Manu, Parling, Waldrom, Ayerza? There are some - I'm not really one of them but it's clearly close - who would put Mafi in front of Croft.

It seems to me that we have a large squad but there is as much quality in it as in any other. What we lack is a single super-star of the likes of Evans (cf discussions re: Marquee Players) who does give Quins an edge when he's available. But when he isn't?

I would imagine that some will be grossly offended by being described as 'journeymen' but the fact is that the reason we get to finals - as Rex ponts out - is because we have a strong squad. Reduce the strength in depth for a Nick Evans or an Israel Dagg and we may not find ourselves reaching the finals in the first place.

Then, I suspect, there will be complaints!

The problem is the salary cap - it creates an artificial need to balance quality and numbers.

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 11:17
As far as I'm aware, there are no plans to widen the pitch as part of the stadium redevelopment. There is room (but very little) to widen the pitch towards the Cat if they wanted but would then have to re-centralise the posts, etc.


Aren't some complaining that we've lost our bosh in the wing department in favour of speed?

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
grannyg (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 11:54
If the Caterpillar is a foundation underpinning Tigers future success maybe we should have built it 5 yards further away from the pitch, or are the Crumbie plans to achieve the same.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 11:57
To build it 5 yards further back we would have had to obtain more land and, as I understand it, it's the land that costs...

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
grannyg (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 12:03
I was assuming that 5 yeards could be recovered by reducing the width of existing pathways, roadways and other hard areas.

Despite this it could be a smart Strategic plan, always up at the top via home games even if we dont always win the big ones i.e. most of the revenue comes from success through the season not the big one off games.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 12:05
I doubt it's either.

Suspect that planning regs define those margins.

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 12:15
What Rich said.

We had to buy a little bit of the ex-Granby Halls site anyway when we built the Cat.

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Tigersfan1 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 12:30
But WR is a named venue for RWC 2015 so the must be intention to expand the pitch soon (it's not just width, I think the overall length including in-goal areas is too short) as currently it does not meet the required dimensions for international rugby iirc.

Will be a very embarrassing about-turn if we back out...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 12:55
Quote:
Tigersfan1
But WR is a named venue for RWC 2015 so the must be intention to expand the pitch soon (it's not just width, I think the overall length including in-goal areas is too short) as currently it does not meet the required dimensions for international rugby iirc.
Will be a very embarrassing about-turn if we back out...

Tigers never "backed in"!!

Not just the pitch which isn't upto RWC standards. Changing rooms for example. If it costs too much to "adapt" WR for RWC then WR won't be used.

As I understand it, currently no formal commitment that WR will be used in 2015.

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
SK 88 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 14:22
There is no rule about the size of pitch needed for internationals.

I understand that we might not get a game in 2015 with the RFU preferring to use Notts County ground instead! That would reflect very badly on the club, the city and the RFU in my opinion.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 14:39
Would Tigers perhaps prefer to spend the money it would cost to get WR RWC ready on another prop?

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 14:48
Meadow Lane? Why would they use a smaller, non-rugby stadium rather than WR?

I can see that Tigers may not want to make a significant investment for the dubious benefit of hosting a solitary RWC game with all the issues around branding and advertising but I cannot see why the Organisers would choose Meadow Lane over WR. It would make more sense to go to the 'king Crisp Bowl or whatever it's now called.

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
SK 88 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 15:06
I would prefer to host a World Cup game and get world wide publicity for my club and city than having yet another player.

Rich I don't know why they would have a game in Nottingham at all, it is hardly a rugby city, let alone at Meadow Lane. Just what I'd heard.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Tigersfan1 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 15:11
Quote:
tiggs
Tigers never "backed in"!!
Not just the pitch which isn't upto RWC standards. Changing rooms for example. If it costs too much to "adapt" WR for RWC then WR won't be used.

As I understand it, currently no formal commitment that WR will be used in 2015.

Whether formal or not, there has been plenty of reference made to WR being used, just by way of example:

[www.espnscrum.com]

I would be surprised if such references were made without agreement by the club(s). A lot of publicity was given to the use of a few rugby-dedicated club grounds such as WR and Kingsholm.

(This is all going horribly O/T from the OP of course!!)

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Rich W (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 15:13
SK - fair enough - and let's be honest would anything Rugby's administrators do really surprise us?

...

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 16:44
SK.

I don't believe the club necessarily agree with you!


TF1.

Of course the publicity is going to say such things, but I would refer you to my earlier posts!

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
SK 88 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 16:52
I know but that is because they are rather short sighted. The World Cup won't be coming back to England for a very long time, and we are going to miss the boat for the sake of revamping the changing rooms? Which we also actually need doing anyway. Ridiculous for the club and insanity for the city.

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 16:56
Fair point well made. I'm only the "messenger"!

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
SK 88 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 17:21
I know, this is easily the off field issue that annoys me most so i can get quite het up about it!

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Yorkie (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 17:47
I'd chill about it and see what happens. Club still don't know exactly what will be required of them (and the cost thereof) so no decision can realistically be made, either way.

http://www.jakehowlett.com/tuckshop/wrappers/chocolate/plain/yorkie-nutter.jpg

 
Re: What is limiting Tigers success Part 2
Tigersfan1 (IP Logged)
04/09/2012 20:44
Yorkie - understood! I agree with SK I would love to see WR involved in the RWC/hate to see it miss out; not sure which thought is more powerful for me tbh. But it will come down to the (as it has to really).

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