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Reasons To Be Cheerful


By PV
September 3 2018

Now then, the new season has finally arrived, after the tough campaign last time round and loss of more top players, we went into this season with mixed feelings on our prospects of a bounce back into the Gallagher Premiership. The opposition have been touted as a serious candidate for winning the league, and on last night’s performance, it’s easy to see why. 

Make no mistake, this was a tough test for Irish and Ealing will only improve as the season goes on, they’ve rotated more players in and out of their squad than ours, but once they bed down, they’ll be even more competitive. More broadly, Ealing reminded me of our days at Sunbury - a decent sense of community and an intimate setting - questionable as to how they'd manage with the promotion criteria, but that’s not for now.... 

Onto the game and my takeaways for what it’s worth. 

We have a seriously mean scrum. The first time we packed down on their ball, we drove them off it and we continued to dominate that set piece all night, this bodes really well for the season ahead given our depth and quality up front. Yes, the line out looked dodgy, but we can work on that and we have a great platform to build from. 

Special mention should go to the back row, for whom Rogerson was great. He’s been compared to O’Sheasby, high praise indeed, but if he keeps up that level of performance, we have a Premiership standard number eight. He can carry, has good foootwork and can handle. Add in Ioane and McNally, let alone the likes of Cowan, Coman, MNG, Gilsenan, Trev, we have plenty of reasons to be cheerful. 

Meehan was sharp and it was refreshing to see a 9 who wants to attack, it begs the question, where was this last season? If he can strike up a decent partnership with Myler, this will provide another platform for the outside backs to develop, and they need it. Myler’s goal kicking accuracy will prove a huge asset (100% last night), a really solid signing and has leadership qualities. 

The only downer from last night was the three quarters. Poor execution, weak decision making, some howlers (Tonks had a first half to forget) and a lack of serious gas needs urgent attention. In fairness, we could probably boss the majority of the Championship with 10 man rugby, but that’s not best preparation if we do indeed get promoted, nor does it draw in the crowd - speaking of which, there were allegedly over 3,000 there last night [Ed - not so according to sites I looked at attendance was 2,205, perhaps Brian Blaney was having a party elsewhere...]. 

I’m sure if you’d offered a 4 point win with nothing for our(potentially) biggest competition at their place on Match day 1 before kick off, most of us would have been very happy to take that. 

If we can focus on getting the backs moving and nurse the speedsters back to health, we will be building a side to genuinely compete in the Premiership. On the evidence of last night’s performance, promotion prospects are high. 

Onwards and upwards! Nottingham next up. 

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Reasons To Be Cheerful
The Craic www.londonirish.org (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 11:30
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Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Florida (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 12:03
Great assessment. Plenty for the backs to work on, both going forward and while defending. Ball retention was excellent in the second half, but Ealing seemed to rip the ball from us a few too many times. Myler improved massively in the second half and his pass to Ojo gave a taste of things to come.

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Steelman (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 12:50
Well writ Pv,
on the subject of some of our first half performances you are only as good as the opposition let you be,and Ealing were right in our boys faces until our forwards took their strength.
So there's no way an all new back line would be slick. I was well impressed with our forwards showing though,and rather hope we'll be seeing the young Master Parton in the 15 shirt before long.

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
PV (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 14:36
Thanks, I’ve been to plenty of games and seen us crumple under the pressure Ealing put us under in the first half hour. To come back from that and do well is a result in itself!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:09:03:14:54:40 by PV.

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Florida (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 14:38
Quote:
Steelman
Well writ Pv,
on the subject of some of our first half performances you are only as good as the opposition let you be,and Ealing were right in our boys faces until our forwards took their strength.
So there's no way an all new back line would be slick. I was well impressed with our forwards showing though,and rather hope we'll be seeing the young Master Parton in the 15 shirt before long.

Only as good as they allow us to be? I'd hope we wouldn't care they tried to get in our faces and instead impose our will on them. Much like we did in the second half. As to the backs not being slick, that Ealing backline had 2 new centres, new fullback and new flyhalf and were slicker than us.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of positives to focus on (as PV pointed out in their write up), but there's also a lot of work to do. As you rightly point out, there's also some young talent they should be getting a chance soon, I'd add Loader on the wing to your suggestion of Parton at 15

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Steelman (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 14:55
Quote:
Florida
Quote:
Steelman
Well writ Pv,
on the subject of some of our first half performances you are only as good as the opposition let you be,and Ealing were right in our boys faces until our forwards took their strength.
So there's no way an all new back line would be slick. I was well impressed with our forwards showing though,and rather hope we'll be seeing the young Master Parton in the 15 shirt before long.

Only as good as they allow us to be? I'd hope we wouldn't care they tried to get in our faces and instead impose our will on them. Much like we did in the second half. As to the backs not being slick, that Ealing backline had 2 new centres, new fullback and new flyhalf and were slicker than us.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of positives to focus on (as PV pointed out in their write up), but there's also a lot of work to do. As you rightly point out, there's also some young talent they should be getting a chance soon, I'd add Loader on the wing to your suggestion of Parton at 15



Yep,and Nottingham at home would suit perfectly, I remember a horribly one sided game,a couple of seasons ago,had to leave 5 minutes early,too much carnage.

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Jamiepep1 (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 15:02
I thought we played ok on saturday not great but honestly never felt like we were going to lose. The anticipation and first game nerves got to a couple of players i think but second half we went into second gear and were comfortable. As a base performance to build from that is a good start.

Cons:
Tonks wasn't great bt think nerves got to him.
Myler few passes to no one but showed his class in second half.
Campbell didn't get into the game until 35 mins but looked good.
Perocki few missed lineouts but took try well.


Pros:
Rogerson was immense with his carrying.
Stephenson looked sharp and hungry to nail down that shirt.
Mclean did ok on the wing couple of decent breaks.
Meehan upped the tempo brilliantly in the second half.
Ionne is an absolutle beast.

In all a good platform especially when you consider the players still to come in.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:09:03:16:29:24 by Jamiepep1.

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
SirBurger (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 15:19
Personally thought Rogerson's carrying was a pro!

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Jamiepep1 (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 16:30
duly noted

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
SirBurger (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 17:12
Quote:
Jamiepep1
duly noted

Would agree with all of the others. Would add the scrummaging of Reid and Cilliers as a big pro as well.

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Jonny_C (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 17:59
Edgy performance in the first half - defence, defence defence.
Second half, Irish turned the screw.

Some Irish backs were lucky not to receive penalties and yellow cards for "slap down" interception attempts. This needs to be eliminated from play.

Also, what was Ben Meehan doing when drawing the ball out from rucks veeerrryyyy slloowwwly to the extremis of the No8's toes, at one point even extending the No.8's leg so he could roll the ball back even further before box kicking?

 
Re: Reasons To Be Cheerful
Hugo.LI (IP Logged)
03/09/2018 18:03
Quote:
Jonny_C
Edgy performance in the first half - defence, defence defence.
Second half, Irish turned the screw.

Some Irish backs were lucky not to receive penalties and yellow cards for "slap down" interception attempts. This needs to be eliminated from play.

Also, what was Ben Meehan doing when drawing the ball out from rucks veeerrryyyy slloowwwly to the extremis of the No8's toes, at one point even extending the No.8's leg so he could roll the ball back even further before box kicking?

Personally have no issue with meehan taking his time to organise himself when about to box kick, he kicked very well in my opinion. Last thing you want is to rush the box kick and not have your forwards set up correctly therefore resulting in a charge down

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