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London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview


By Samuel Browne
October 1 2014

  “Oh when the saints…”, a worse example of the wonderful gospel genre I am yet to encounter. Nonetheless, I fully anticipate that, at some point during Saturday afternoon, I will have to endure this woeful dirge. The main reason for this state of affairs is that Irish welcome the reigning champions to the Madjeski this weekend and, bearing in mind their current form, I expect them to be in good voice.  

Last weekend we dispatched the Leicester Tigers in reasonable fashion (not that you’d know it from the BT Sport coverage). No set of fans is quicker to generate excuses for a defeat than the Tigers and their Head Honcho started them off with a big moan about the referee. Did Blair deserve a yellow card? Maybe. Will that have changed the result? Unlikely. The fact that the same people who complained about Blair’s in accurate jab at a chest condoned Crane’s assault on an unprotected back really doesn’t do much for the strength of their case. For me, Tigers were beaten by the fact that Irish are finding form. Barring injuries, I do not expect any changes to the starting lineup. Our backs are being made to click by a very effective 9,10,12 combo. Fenby is a solid defensively and potent in attack. Our pack is rumbling along nicely and Halani looks as though he is getting up to speed. Finally, we are also starting to see the impact of our summer signings. It is no coincidence that we are performing well at a time when guys such as Narraway, Noakes, Steele, Leo, Short and Guest are making their contributions.

Saints are a very different prospect from Leicester. They look to be at the peak of their strength rather than slipping down the pecking order. Their pack is meaty and led ably by the ferocious Manoa. Jon Fisher has landed straight on his feet in Northampton and his game looks to have gone up another notch from when he was with us. Christian Day and Courtney Lawes combine ruthless defence with solid carrying and security at the set piece. Saints may be missing Corbisiero (it sounds harsh, but his leaving us was a great move for the club – no more paying a guy to sit on the sidelines all season) but Waller is a more than able deputy. There is no fragility at half back or beyond. Fotuali’I and Myler are a wonderful combination of flair and solidity. I’m not a fan of Burrell – nobody appears to have taught him that centres are most effective if they commit the tackler before passing – but his weaknesses are masked by the brilliance at 13, 14, 11 and 15. Foden is right back. He is another man I am not a fan of, but is there an English full back in better form right now? The Pisi brothers look comparatively fragile physically but they must be carved out of granite such is their strength. Oh, and then there’s George North…

So, how do we win? I’ll leave that to Brian and Glenn, but my take on it is thus: we have to commit Saints at the breakdown. They are most dangerous when thumpers such as Manoa, Lawes and Fisher are able to loiter in the backline in defence and attack. We MUST ensure that these guys are unable to fill this role and have to concentrate on securing ball, clearing out rucks etc. This will give us freedom to attack against players who can drift in and out defensively – Burrell, the Pisis and North. Alternatively, if the big lads are hanging out wide, we need to flood the breakdown, slow down the possession stream and attack through the middle. This will cut them off at source. Hartley, Day and Clark are their big clearers, so we will need to counter them with ours – Skivs, Jebb and Low. Then our jackals – Cowan and Trev (if available) can slow things down. Technically, I’d like to see us clearing men out over the top of their ball, but refs can take a dim view of this so we’d need to roll away like mad. That only leaves: the set pieces, defensive lines and attacking patterns to things about…!

This is sort of game where we either step up or fall away. We have the players and form to step up and run Saints all the way, but they are a mighty, mighty team. I would happily settle for another two points as we got against Sarries, but I have no doubt that Brian is aiming for four.

 

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London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
The Craic www.londonirish.org (IP Logged)
01/10/2014 12:05
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
AlecW (IP Logged)
01/10/2014 12:08
Good preview - thanks!

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
GHA (IP Logged)
01/10/2014 12:35
Good stuff

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Ozzy3213 (IP Logged)
01/10/2014 13:09
Good stuff Sam.

From memory of last seasons games, Saints are very strong defensively in midfield. They come up at pace and in units of 3 or 4 making it difficult if the ball goes 9-10-12, as they shut down the space so well. What it does mean is that they can get a little bit narrow at times. I will not be surprised to see 10 and 12 splitting either side of the ruck and trying to stretch that midfield defence a bit, or the occasional cross kick and miss pass from either 9 or 10.

Here's hoping it's good weather and we get to see another cracking game.

COME ON YOU IRISH!!!

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
paulm1953 (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 07:13
Excellent read. I hope Brian and Glenn have a trick up their sleeve. A 4 point win would make even BT Sport sit up and pay attention

Come on you Irish

Paul

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
TheRealBigEasy (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 07:40
A 4 point win would require a rapid change of underwear.

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Foggy-Balla (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 08:13
A four point win (by us) would be the cause of me being a little [ahem] subdued [/ahem] coaching my U9s the next morning...

Faugh-a-Ballagh!

"Our prayer is 'God save Ireland' and pour blessings on her name!"

Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
St Francis (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 12:53
That's a good preview, enjoyed reading it.... Thanks.

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Grim Reaper (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 16:44
"Woeful dirge" from the boys that pound out "Fields of Athenry"?

"Hello, Pot? This is kettle....."

Still, looking forward to the match, hoping to make it there

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
PV (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 18:14
Key things are

Win our set piece

Get their big pack moving and chasing for first 50/60

Kick to corners and pin them back

Tackle the big ball carriers early and double preferably.

It's winnable.

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Ozzy3213 (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 18:44
It's definitely winnable PV.

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
HMRH (IP Logged)
02/10/2014 21:28
What's the problem with Ben Foden? A fine player I think as are Brown and Goode for that matter

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
hooray Henley (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 08:37
Shano is on fire already and must have a big chip on his shoulder about the way things went for him at Stains. I'm looking for a very big game from him and another really tight but high scoring game, but this time we will get over the line 5 match points to 1 or 2

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
HMRH (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 09:05
weather wont help and will reduce score overall I think

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
hooray Henley (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 09:17
At the start of the season when looking at our squad with all the big new forwards I thought we were being set up to be a "bad weather team" and have been quite surprised how well the girls have performed so far. I am really looking froward to seeing our hard carrying game in the wet.

I also think that Steele is made fro wet weather duty. so I am really excited about saturdays game

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Paul_D (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 09:23
The forecast I saw this morning had the rain well gone by 15:00. I hope so.

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Griff (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 09:30
The MetCheck forecast (which you can get to from the link on the MB header) says showers 0900 - 1200 and then fine. They're usually pretty accurate.

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Bustabloodvessel (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 11:00
Pmsl Woeful dirge, at least we don't have to print the words to our song in the programme so the supporters can sing something.

"I HAVE A BIG ONE".

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Foggy-Balla (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 11:31
Quote:
Bustabloodvessel
Pmsl Woeful dirge, at least we don't have to print the words to our song in the programme so the supporters can sing something.

There are only 15 words in your song, I would hope you could remember them!

Anyway, with about 15 minutes to go we all enjoy singing:

Oh when the Saints,
All push off home'
Oh when the Saints all push off home.

They will miss all the traffic
On their long journey home!

Have a good trip if you're coming (Sm14)

Faugh-a-Ballagh!

"Our prayer is 'God save Ireland' and pour blessings on her name!"

Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum

 
Re: London Irish v Northampton Saints Preview
Bustabloodvessel (IP Logged)
03/10/2014 12:48
Quote:
Foggy-Balla
Quote:
Bustabloodvessel
Pmsl Woeful dirge, at least we don't have to print the words to our song in the programme so the supporters can sing something.

There are only 15 words in your song, I would hope you could remember them!

Anyway, with about 15 minutes to go we all enjoy singing:



Have a good trip if you're coming (Sm14)

"I HAVE A BIG ONE".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014:10:03:12:49:28 by Bustabloodvessel.

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