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News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview


By fair_weather_fan
February 5 2015

In the final match before the Aviva Premiership roars back into action, Northampton Saints welcome Coventry Wasps to Franklin's Gardens for the last of the pool matches in the 2014/15 LV= Cup. Penning his third (I think - Ed.) article for COYSDC, fair_weather_fan (Robin to his mates) takes a look ahead to Satdee's game...

 

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs COVENTRY WASPS

LV= Cup: Saturday, 7th February 2105 - 3.15pm

FRANKLIN'S GARDENS, NORTHAMPTON

MATCH PREVIEW

 

The peculiar format of the LV cup means that when the Saints play the Wasps on Saturday, that while both need a win to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, it is not an elimination contest as they are in different groups and both require results in the mirror fixture to go their way, in order to progress. The mirror fixture being between our friends from Pooh corner who are visiting Cardiff Blues the day after the bi-annual dust-up at the Millennium Stadium. Co-incidentally, several players from each team are likely to be detained although to no special surprise, our Calum, Corbs and Stevie M have been released by England and might well participate on Saturday.

Both teams let their qualification chances go, fielding the kind of sides that should be playing in this competition, but come Saturday the chances are that both sides will be reinforced, at bench level at least. Dai Young is on record on the Wasps site that he is targeting a win, well he wouldn’t be targeting a defeat would he, but the double attraction of recording a season’s double over the Premiership Champions and a desire to rebuild momentum before the league resumes should ensure that they turn out a fairly strong side.

The major loss for them is James Haskell who has fully earned his recall for England – he is pulling up not trees at the moment but entire forests.

Meanwhile we seem likely to lose just Dylan and Luther to England, George to Wales of course, all playing in positions where we are well covered, but more serious is the injury list that will limit our options if we are going to try and keep our interest in this year’s competition alive. We surely will as the final is at the Gardens and I don’t think the fan base would be impressed if we turned out a team weaker than necessary this weekend, even though we need help from Pooh Corner to reach the knock-out stage.

It will be a hard job to predict the exact team composition as one of two players have a lot of games to play before season’s end. I will go with...

 

15 Tom Collins

14 Ken Pisi

13 James Wilson

12`Tom Stephenson

11 Jamie Elliot

10 Steven Myler (otherwise Will Hooley)

9 Kahn Fotu’ali

1 Salesi Ma’afu

2 Matti Williams

3 Alex Corbisiero

4 Tom Ryder

5 Christian Day

6 Calum Clark

7 Ben Nutley

8 Sam Dickinson

Bench: Denman (Mercey if fit, haha), Marshall, Waller E, Harrison, Woolford, Manoa, Day, Pisi G.

Not everyone’s selection I am absolutely sure, so plenty to disagree with.

 

So to Wasps.

There is no indication what their team might be for Saturday, at least no-one has started anything on Drunken Wasps to even speculate. Last Saturday’s team was relatively inexperienced while including James Cannon formerly of this parish; surely most of the available first team will return to action this weekend. The team that played Leinster was...

15. Rob Miller

14. Christian Wade

13. Elliot Daly

12. Ben Jacobs

11. Tom Varndell

10. Andy Goode

9. Joe Simpson

1. Matt Mullan

2. Edd Shervington

3. Lorenzo Cittadini

4. Bradley Davies

5. James Gaskell

6. Ashley Johnson

7. James Haskell(c)

8. Nathan Hughes

Bench: 16. Carlo Festuccia 17. Simon McIntyre 18. Jake Cooper-Woolley 19. Kearnan Myall 20. Guy Thompson 21. Ed Jackson 22. Alex Lozowski 23. Andrea Masi

 

Of these, Haskell is with England, Cittadini with Italy, and Johnson is currently indisposed. I would expect the majority of those to be playing on Saturday, but with the team playing well Dai Young may rate the league a higher priority and mix up his selection a bit. No need to burn the team out before they get to Toulon.

For those of us who are statistically minded the qualification situation is similar to the Challenge Cup.

The top teams from each pool qualify for the knockout stages. From the LV site: -

The pool winners will be decided by the following criteria:

1. The pool winner will be the club with the highest number of match points in each pool. The pool winners will be ranked 1 to 4 by reference to the number of match points earned in the pools.

2. If two or more clubs in the same pool end the pool stage equal on match points, then the order in which they have finished will be determined by:

i. the greater number of matches won by the club and

ii. if the number of matches won is equal, the club with the greater total number of tries scored and

iii. if the total number of tries scored is equal, the club with the greater points difference (points scored for, less points scored against) and

iv. if the points difference is equal, the club with the fewer number of red cards and v. if the number of red cards is the same, by the toss of a coin.

 

Now Cardiff are 4 points ahead of Saints, and as they have scored more points than Saints courtesy of this week’s opponents, I suspect they have scored more tries too. The BBC tables helpfully do not show that. So if the Saints win they will need to tip the try balance in their favour as well. If we score 4 and Cardiff get nothing at all from the Tigers, we are through. If Cardiff get a bonus point we will still qualify with a try bonus point if the try count tips in our favour. At least Tigers are very miserly with their defence.

Our opponents face an almost identical scenario despite having lost 2 games, as they accumulated a monumental 5 bonus points in 3 games. So if they win without a bonus point they cannot qualify on games won, even if Tigs lose in Cardiff, they must score a try BP as well. So we can expect penalties to be kicked to the corner by both sides, and a highly entertaining game is in prospect as a result. It could all be for nothing, but may be fun to watch. With Wasps on a bit of a high, I wouldn’t bet on the result.

Fair_weather_fan

 

 

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ComeOnYouSaints.com
News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
ComeOnYouSaints.com (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 15:01
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Maverick1
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
Phil. (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 15:08
A fine read, good sir - many thanks! smiling smiley

 
SaintPaddy
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
SaintPaddy (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 15:16
Thank you for the preview, a good read.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
HRsaints fan (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 16:37
Thanks Robin - a fine review. I think the team selections will be strong as you have stated which, given Wasps recent fine run of form, will give us a good indication of where Saints are at the moment after the indifference form of the last few weeks.

 
fair_weather_fan
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 17:05
What noises there are coming out of FG, viz the Alex Woolford interview, suggest a mixed team. Those that could do with a bit of game time such as Corbs will get it, others who need to be managed a bit may be bench just to have a run-out. We will find out tomorrow

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
Howlin (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 17:47
Thanks for the preview; I think you are right that it will be a mixed team. Makes it hard for me to get up for these matches as it gives the whole thing a wanderers feel and I find myself watching for individual performances of future stars rather than the result. Good thing really as I didn't realise that Tigs were away and as a consequence will probably lose. Still I shall be there whatever, and there is always beer.

Saint 'til I die

 
St Saltaire
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
St Saltaire (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 20:11
Thanks for the preview. Head says Wasps unfortunately but I will be delighted to be proved wrong!

 
Chris_the_Saint
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
Chris G (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 20:30
In the big scheme of things I'd rather the youngsters still get a run over regular first teamers in this, if they win they win and can look forward to the semi when they still should be selected, if they don't two extra rest weekends for all. You can still have your beer Malc

 
StMarlowe1
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
St Marlowe (IP Logged)
05/02/2015 23:35
I good read - thanks Robin, indeed it will be a curates egg selection, but, as Malcolm says - there is always beer!

David L

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

- Live wrong and preposterously

 
Sarge
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
Sarge (IP Logged)
06/02/2015 12:39
"The major loss for them is James Haskell who has fully earned his recall for England he is pulling up not trees at the moment but entire forests."

As he was basically treated as a joke not that many moons ago does he qualify for the "most improved player" award? Must be a close-run thing between him and Cipriani.

 
fair_weather_fan
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
06/02/2015 12:50
Haskell's work rate was astonishing in the Leinster and recent prem games, mainly at the breakdown and close to it. He is less good with the ball in hand and maybe will be found out at International level

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
St Dormouse (IP Logged)
06/02/2015 15:07
Thanks for the great read. Interesting that the game itself could actually prove to be a dead duck or alternatively a real hell for leather charge for points. Would be great to see the Saints in the final at the gardens but mountains to clime to get there.

 
ricohchezwasp
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
ricohchezwasp (IP Logged)
08/02/2015 10:37
Quote:
fair_weather_fan
Haskell's work rate was astonishing in the Leinster and recent prem games, mainly at the breakdown and close to it. He is less good with the ball in hand and maybe will be found out at International level

Yes clearly was 😄

Not a Doctor and not a troll!!

 
Chris_the_Saint
Re: News: LV=: Northampton Saints vs Coventry Wasps - Preview
Chris G (IP Logged)
08/02/2015 12:03
Barney Burnham, there's a name from the distant past, is the old chap still about?

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