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News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview


By Western Wanderer
December 22 2015

Whilst the rest of us are tucking into too much food and drink on Christmas Day, the Northampton Saints players will be behaving themselves, preparing to travel down to Reading to take on London Irish on Boxing Day. COYSDC messageboard contributor, WesternWanderer (David to his mates), takes a look ahead to the game...

 

  LONDON IRISH vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS

AP: Saturday, 26th December 2015 - 2.30pm (BT)

MADEJSKI STADIUM, READING

MATCH PREVIEW

 

Tis the season to be Merry, so fair tidings to you all. But it’s not that joyous if you’re a fan of London Irish victories or Saints tries which have been in short supply recently.

I’ve always viewed the Irish as Saints bogey team. Continually, it seemed during the 90’s that Saints with a supposedly stronger squad would be turned over by the men in green. This reached its nadir in 2002 when Saints went to the old Pilkington Cup final as overwhelming favourites only to be trounced 38-7. Saints subsequently signed a number of that Irish team – Geoff Appleford who succumbed to injury (I’m not sure he ever made a first team appearance) and Barry Everitt, when seeking a consistent goal kicker.

That path has become well-trodden as the current Saints squad includes Irish alumni Corbisiero, Fisher, and Gibson, the latter via a mediocre club a little to the north, with Geraghty and Waldouck moving in the opposite direction. Corbisiero’s troubles are well documented, but Fisher could return after injury, whilst Gibson is an early season contender for Saints player of the season with all action dynamic performances. Saints look likely to miss another newcomer after Kieran “soap star” Brookes limped off injured at the weekend. His destructive scrummaging has earnt the Saints many penalties this season, but Paul Hill has performed well off the bench and it will be instructive to see how well he does with this opportunity.

Irish have invested heavily during the close-season. Tom Coventry arrived as coach, previously assistant coach at the highly successful New Zealand Super rugby franchise the Chiefs. He brought back lock Matt Symons with him, who had become highly regarded in Super Rugby as well as recruiting All Black Ben Franks to shore up the scrum, Sean Maitland from Glasgow and Dom Waldouck from Saints. They have endured a difficult start to the season, losing all six league matches so far and were thumped 38-7 by Harlequins in their last outing. European rugby has been somewhat kinder with victories over Agen and Edinburgh, but two further losses.

Early season league tables are often misleading, but interestingly after this match Saints will have played all of the bottom six and only one of the top six, which hints at tougher tests to come. One stat that concerns us all is the lack of tries from Saints. There are many factors influencing this, but I believe one of the most important is that we always seem to get slow ball allowing the opposition defences time to reset. The constant change at scrum half cannot help this, but there were definite signs of sparks amongst the backs against Racing, a match we could have won especially given a dubious scrum penalty against us when on their five metre line.

Recent history has been good to Saints, who have won the last five meetings between the clubs and eight of the last ten. So with that in mind and the strength of our tight five I’m hoping that Santa will bring us a victory by two scores.

A note for those of a pedantic persuasion – they have four Irish players on their books, so can no longer be label the Not Nots, suggestions for a new moniker are welcome…

 

 

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ComeOnYouSaints.com
News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
ComeOnYouSaints.com (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 16:03
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Maverick1
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Phil. (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 16:06
Many thanks, David - a fine read!

Boys and girls, I think this is WW's first article for COYSDC (thank you!) - lots of comments, please... smiling smiley

 
SirBurger
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
SirBurger (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 16:45
Good read - and thanks for the heads up on our Irish contingent! Enjoy the game.

 
Ecksile
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Ecksile (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 16:50
............A note for those of a pedantic persuasion – they have four Irish players on their books, so can no longer be label the Not Nots, suggestions for a new moniker are welcome…...

Not, not, nots?

A good read as always, Merry Xmas to all and here's hoping your lack of tries continues (well at least to the New Year) winking smiley

 
Props are not stupid
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
22/12/2015 16:50
That was a good read, thanks from a London Irish supporter. I would much prefer if you beat us by one score rather than two. Could we manage that?

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Paul Flatt (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 18:07
Oh yes they can..

Not in London,
Not a very nice ground
Not very Irish

Thanks for your piece WW.

One day, someone should write the story of "How London Irish lost their way after Brendan Venter left and never found it again..."

I shall not be going, I don't like the concrete shell that purports to be their home ground. Previously I very much disliked that twerp with the WWII Siren, but now it is easy to focus on the bloke on the PA entreating all and sundry to "CUM ON YEW OIRISH".

As it is the season of goodwill, I shall stop there other than to say, I still haven't forgiven Mark Mapletoft for suckering us sideways with "THAT TRY" in front of the old South Stand...

"Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it."

-- Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161-180 A.D.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Wee Jim (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 20:19
Excellent preview and the generous response from our visitors is an apt reflection.
Paul where is your Christmas spirit man. Have a swig!
Mapletofts try is one of rueful admiration compensated by Geraghty doing the same to Munster for us.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
SaintMaul (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 21:38
Cheers WesternWanderer for a grat preview.

Fingers crossed we can re-discover our try-scoring mojo. COYS!!!

 
HMRH
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
HMRH (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 21:40
Stay in your home mate as you're clearly not much of a laugh. Welcome to everyone else, transport nationally not great but should be fun.

Except for Paul who doesn't seem a fun guy.

COYI - in an English accent

 
LaurieK
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
LaurieK (IP Logged)
22/12/2015 21:59
Thanks for the preview. Very good.
Paul is a fun guy buy you sometimes have to be in his company for it to shine through.
I also disagree about Mapletoft's try. I like that sort of quick thinking and awareness.
Concerning the Nots, I too never feel confident against them, certainly at their place. Rarely are they exciting games. Happy for a win on this occasion. And we are not able to make it, even though Hants is not far away.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Howlin (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 00:32
Not,not many.

Thanks for the preview. Stuck on the sofa for this one full of turkey and mince pies. Hopefully we can score a few tries, if only to stop all the odious repetition on message board and TV alike. COYS.

Saint 'til I die

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
SaintMaul (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 07:25
As to team selection, I'd be keen to mix things up a little in the backs. With the games we have coming up after Irish this is our best chance to experiment for a while and give some game time to promising Wanderers. It might spark some tries.

I'm looking forward to seeing James Wilson coming off the bench. We've really missed his intelligent use of space and he always poses fresh problems for tiring defences.

The Wanderers scored 5 tries away against Tigers 2nds. Collins scored a try using his pace. He's done us proud in some big games (The Tigers semi-final the year we won the title and the Leinster away win) so deserves a chance.

A suggested team against Irish:

1 Waller, A
2 Haywood
3 Hill (Brookes looked unlikely to be fit)
4 Matfield
5 Lawes
6 Gibson
7 Harrison
8 Dickinson
9 Fotuali'i
10 Myler
11 North
12 Hanrahan
13 Pisi
14 Collins
15 Foden

16 Hobbs-Awoyemi
17 Williams
18 Denman
19 Daisy
20 Paterson
21 Kessell
22 Burrell
23 Wilson



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:12:23:10:36:28 by SaintMaul.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
HRsaints fan (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 08:26
Good preview David. Thanks for taking time to pen that.

I agree with Saint Maul that this is a time for some changes although not too many. Personally I would play JJ at 10 rather than Myler. Is Stephenson injured? Our mis-firing backs need to start firing soon, and perhaps changes to the line up will encourage that to happen.

 
Flinstone Saint
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Flinstone Saint (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 08:38
A fine read, David. Many thanks.

I too will be taking this one in from the comfort of my sofa. Not a fan of the Madjeski but I'll probably be hollering as though I am there.

----------------------------------------

Please sponsor me for Saints with Heart [www.justgiving.com]

 
waltham
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
waltham (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 10:25
Yup,a good and fair resume ...
Merry Xmas and see you Boxing Day at the AP's most comfortable stadium....

 
St tub
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
St tub (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 10:33
I doubt Juandre will start v Irish alongside Courts, surely he needs to show some form for the Wandies first

 
SaintPaddy
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
SaintPaddy (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 11:04
Good read - thank you and Merry Xmas

 
saint_tim
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Saint Tim (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 12:34
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
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
Connorman (IP Logged)
23/12/2015 15:43
Thanks for the preview WW.

Four going from the Connor household, including son-in-law over from Barcelona, who doesn't get to many games, so a good win please, Saints.

 
MickeyMouse
Re: News: AP: Irish v Saints - Boxing Day Preview
MickeyMouse (IP Logged)
24/12/2015 12:23
Good preview, should really get one up on our site! As for the Not Not comment, feel free to buy the t-shirt!

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