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News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview


bunny boilers?

By Rob Leach
September 28 2011

Saints travel to Worcester this Friday evening in a desperate search for inspiration and a big "W" in the win column. Can they do it? Regular COYSDC contributor Bleach reads the runes... 

WORCESTER WARRIORS vs. NORTHAMPTON SAINTS

Friday, 30th September 2011 - 7.45pm (ESPN)

SIXWAYS STADIUM, WORCESTER

MATCH PREVIEW

 

Never did I imagine such negativity with just four games played in a season that we all imagined would see us pushing for a top two place. However, the reality is that four games have been played and those that were supposed to mind the fort whilst the internationals are away have simply failed to take up the challenge.

Much has been debated on the COYS site as to what has caused such a lack of belief, total lack of skill and the reluctance of  our leader to lead by example. Never did I imagine I would read paragraphs which question our Director of Rugby’s ability to get this side ticking and yet you only have to read the post match comments to judge the mood of the faithful. As supporters, our patience and tolerance is being tested to the full and we are still in September (well, its September when Im writing this verbiage ). I am trying desperately  hard to write a preview which captures the mood  and sets the scene for our game against  Worcester without descending into a box set of Leonard Cohen – I am mindful that I am failing.

And so it is that I look out across a gloomy, dull  Northamptonshire and l find myself looking upwards for inspiration – I check the date, 27th September which is not only my birthday but the day we bid farewell to  a true Saintsmen four years ago. Oh how we could do with one of Mark’s (WMS) famous odes to lift our spirits. For those of you that are new to COYS, Mark Coleman or West Midlands Saints was a regular contributor to this site who always managed to lift the gloom with his wit and mastery of verse. As I turned the TV off on Friday evening following the latest defeat I tossed my ‘new lucky’ hat into the depths of the wardrobe. I would imagine I wasn’t the only person to do something similar. Its fitting that WMS had a similar experience all those years ago:- 

A FOND FAREWELL  

It's the end of a beautiful friendship

That's lasted for nearly four years

It started at Twickers on Heiny Cup Day

Who knew it would end up in tears?

The relationship's waned, the romance has gone,

Though I've given it every chance

And here I announce to the rest of the world

I've just burned me old lucky pants!!!! 

And so, and fittingly, its onto the Worcester game – a must win game for so many reasons and so early into the season. The players have to step up to the plate and respect the Green Black and Gold of the shirt they are wearing – they only borrow the shirt and should be reminded of that. A win against Worcester would help restore some lost pride and help restore our faith in those that represent Northampton Saints. 

But, the question remains, are we able to compete against a newly promoted side that blew away the championship last year – albeit, saved by the bounce of a Rugby ball in the Semi Final of the play off. The Warriors have not exactly set the world on fire in their return to the Premiership and seem to be suffering some of the same symptoms as ourselves. They held a good lead against Quins but lacked the ability to put the game away. An interesting comment was made by one of the Warriors (The Mailman) which could have been written about the Saints:- 

“Ok, this is probably just a total emotional over-reaction, and I'll think differently tomorrow - but I just don't know if I can be bothered anymore. It's just the same old story in the prem again and again. I was out at lunchtime today, came back home at 4.30 and switched the radio on to listen to the last few mins - having had a tip off that we were actually winning for once.  


So what happens? In the ten minutes I'm listening for, we give away 6-7 penalties in a row and subsequently lose the game (twice when he had the ball ourselves and needed to put something together). Why on earth are the players totally unable to abide by the bloody rules. It was the same under Ruddock for years, and now the same with this side. I used to think we didn't get the rub of the green, but now it's fairly obvious that it's simply our own indiscipline.  
 
So many Saturday afternoons are ruined by my team's failure to do the basics of rugby properly. I can't stand all the tense finishes every weekend. I actually enjoyed the championship a lot more because it was a year's rest from frustration and disappointment (a) we used to win every week, and (b) I wasn't a nervous wreck the whole time (although I admit the playoffs more than made up for that!)  
 
Stupid bloody rugby” 

It seems our own frustrations are being shared by others. Of course, games between the Warriors and the Saints have historically been close affairs. Games which could have gone either way. The record books confirm the observation, just one score typically separating the sides:- 

01 Jan 2007 Northampton Saints 9 - 10 Worcester Warriors

11 Nov 2006 Worcester Warriors 18 - 23 Northampton Saints

07 Jan 2006 Worcester Warriors 11 - 15 Northampton Saints

26 Nov 2005 Northampton Saints 21 - 22 Worcester Warriors

30 Apr 2005 Worcester Warriors 21 - 19 Northampton Saints

20 Nov 2004 Northampton Saints 6 - 17 Worcester Warriors 
 

Those of you that have ever bothered to read the nonsense I offer up as a Preview will know that I’m not one for making knowledgeable comments about our ability in the scrum, the effectiveness of our centre pairings or why we fail to put pace on the ball and break the gain line. I will leave that for those of you that actually understand the game – I mean, I am Welsh so what do I know about the mechanics of the game. Im just your average Saints supporter who enjoys a “Saturday afternoon” down at the gardens. What I do know is that time is already running out and as I said at the top of this ‘preview’ another defeat is out of the question. I am questioning some of Mallinders team selection and reluctance to change things. We have seen this before which is worrying. Ok, the scrum is ok – ish, its good enough to play against Worcester. Its time we looked to our back line which has simply failed to function. Not one member of that backline has stood out which is a shame. Its no good picking players week and week out who are not performing. I know the cupboard is bare, we have injuries to key players but, and a big but something has to change. We have to entrust Mallinder and his team to get it right.  

I’m midway into my Leonard Cohen box set with my spirits lifted by “Suzanne” (younger readers, ask your Dad). And yet, despite the gloom this once visionary with my rose tinted spectacles and half full glass reckons that the Saints will deliver on Friday against all the odds. It will not be pretty and the scores will be close. You read it hear first. 

Travelling to Sixways

I've many good friends down at Worcester

A lot whom I‟m proud to call mate.

But Sixways is grim and it looks like a unit

On an Industrial Estate

West Midland Saint 


If you are travelling down to Sixways the following guidelines have been published on the Worcester Warriors official site 
 

Parking on First Team Match Days  

There is a limited number of Car Parking spaces available to purchase - in advance and on the day -at a cost of £7 per car. This is on a first come, first parked basis. Contact the Warriors Box Office on 01905 454183 for further information. 

Cars parked on site during match days will be prevented from leaving 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after the final whistle. This is to allow the safe exit of pedestrians. 

Park and Walk - Match Days Only 

Take Junction 6 off the M5 motorway and follow the A4440 turning to Warndon Villages. Follow the yellow signs marked 'Worcester Rugby - Park and Walk'. The stadium is approximately 15 minutes walk from the car parks and is signposted. Alternatively leave the car at home and use the bus.

Park and Ride (free parking) County Hall - Match Days Only

Take Junction 7 off the M5 motorway and follow the yellow AA 'Worcester Rugby - Park and Ride' signs to County Hall. (1 mile). A special Express Bus Service operates (match days only) direct from County Hall to Sixways Stadium at frequent intervals. Buses return from Sixways Stadium to County Hall after the match every few minutes.

Park and Ride (free parking) Blackpole Industrial Estate East - Match Days Only

Take Junction 6 off the M5 motorway and follow the A449 signposted to Kidderminster, taking the next junction signposted Blackpole then follow yellow AA 'Worcester Rugby - Park and Ride' signs for Blackpole Parking and bus service. (approx 2 mile) A special Express Bus Service operates (match days only) direct from Blackpole Industrial Estate East and Froude Hofman to Sixways Stadium at frequent intervals. Buses return from Sixways Stadium to Blackpole after the match every few minutes.


The Line Up 

For some weird reason its become customary for the match preview to include a guess at the likely line up. I can not possibly comment upon the team that Mallinder will put out – hopefully, we will have a full back at fullback for a change, maybe Mr May needs some well earned bench time along with Diggin. It wont happen I know and I suspect the Saints team will comprise of the ‘usual’. As for the Warriors – well, they look a useful outfit- the team against Quins was;

15 Errie Claassens  14 Marcel Garvey  13 Alex Grove  12 Dale Rasmussen  11 Miles Benjamin  10 Andy Goode  9 Shaun Perry  1 Matt Mullan  2 Chris Fortey  3 Tevita Taumoepeau  4 James Percival  5 Chris Jones  6 Neil Best  7 Jake Abbott  8 Kai Horstmann (c)  
 
Replacements  
16 Ceri Jones  17 Ed Shervington  18 Bruce Douglas  19 Craig Gillies  20 Matt Kvesic  21 Ollie Frost  22 Joe Carlisle  23 Andy Short 

Plenty of experience in that side along with a couple of old boys – always a great recipe 

Final Prediction 

It will be  a close affair , Worcester have a lot of pace in their back line and Saints probably have a better pack. Mallinder was quoted in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo (26th September 2011) as saying “It is still very early days, we have a lot of good players to come back and they will make a difference,” said Mallinder. “We have a good side. We are confident we can keep going and we can get two wins in the next two games. 

“Last season we got off to a flying start, but this season has not been as good. The performance at Sale was much better than last week though, and there were a lot of good things out there.

“We are a good team, we have got some good players. Some of the lads are new to us, so we are making a few mistakes, but we have been close the last couple of weeks and I think we just need a little bit of luck and we can still turn this around.” 

So the Director of Rugby says more or less that all we need is a bit of luck. I started the preview with reference to a true Saintsman who, despite having a soft spot for Worcester, might just be looking down on Sixways next  Friday evening to deliver that luck . I am confident of a win but will leave the final word to Mark. 

Cheer up my chums who post on COYS –

Too many here to name.

We may be bottom of the pile but, it's REALLY just a game.

Remember you're a Jimmy

And you know it could be worse.

We could all follow Tiggers!!!!!!!!

Oh gawd help me - send a nurse! 
 

(With thanks to COYS for allowing me to quote the WMS poems – thanks )

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ComeOnYouSaints.com
ComeOnYouSaints.com (IP Logged)

News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 11:42
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Maverick1
Phil. (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 11:47
Thank you for a fine read, Rob. Much appreciated! (Sm13)

 
saint_tim
Saint Tim (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 11:51
great stuff.

http://www.smurfomatic.plus.com/sttim.gif

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Benjamin Franklin

Tetleys Block F E143

 
MESSAGES->author
Wee Jim (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 12:43
Enjoyable read!

 
MESSAGES->author
Saint.Kenneth (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 13:43
Excellent preview Bob, and the cross references with Mark's poetry are really fitting due to his big soft spot for Worcester. Is it really four years ago that we lost WMS, how that time has flown and how the Saints have not really progressed into the dynasty that we'd hoped.

http://lowrence.com/_Media/stken.gif

 
silver warrior
silver warrior (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 13:54
Great review Rob :-).

Can't believe it is 4 years since we lost Mark. Still bring a tear when reading his poems, he definately had a way with words.

Really looking forward to welcome you all back at Sixways. Sorry it is on a friday night though as I know this makes it very awkward for people to attend.

Safe journey for those coming along and I hope it is a good game. Hoping for a Warriors win as we need it more than you as you will start winning games again I'm sure when you get all your internationals back in the squad.

See you in the Scrum Bar before the game by the supporters desk for a toast to WMS (Sm128)

 
MESSAGES->author
Bob Stainsby (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 13:58
Well written Rob a fine preview sir of bardic quality! Love the WMS quotes too. Here's to a win on Friday and here's to absent friends who will be there in spirit Friday night. (Sm128)

2013/14 Aviva Premiership Champions 2013/14 Amlin cup winners

Thank you SAINTS team for a wonderfully entertaing season well played boys! (+coaches and all backroom staff)

 
Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
28/09/2011 14:58
I believe at the time of posting of the final posting I replied...HERE thumbs down well done bleach

No alcohol for January. I'm a dryathlete in aid of cancer research.

Dryathlon

 
ElmaFudd.
ElmaFudd. (IP Logged)

Re: News: AP: Worcester Warriors vs Northampton Saints - Preview
29/09/2011 07:36
Nice preview well done.

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