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HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD: COML SEASON VIEW
Discussion started by Comeonmylovers.co.uk (IP Logged), 13 October, 2020 09:46
Comeonmylovers.co.uk
Comeonmylovers.co.uk
13 October, 2020 09:46
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Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 21/10/2020 10:23 by P G Tips.

opti
Optimist
13 October, 2020 22:16
Very much looking forward to the emergence of Orlando Bailey next season, alongside Redpath, Ojomoh, GHW and TdG.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
13 October, 2020 22:38
Have to say I'm desperate to see how the fly half dilemma is resolved in whatever way that may be. I know that Rhys Priestland has been good for us in the second half of the season and fits the Hooper game plan.
However, in the same way we accepted that Chudley was doing OK until we saw what Ben Spencer offered I think we will see a similar upgrade in the backs when we get a 10 more suited to unleashing Redpath JJ and our wings.
I do feel that JJ needs a bit of a reboot as well. Or have I got that completely wrong?



https://i.ibb.co/pZ68Lvp/Ollie-Fox.jpg

Ollie Fox - England U20 international scrum half, youngest of our four 9's. If you are good enough, you're old enough!

Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer
14 October, 2020 00:16
Well written as ever & as you say PG it is early days but pretty well everything that Hooper has said has come into being, not immediately may be but pretty swiftly in comparison with the ďexperiencedĒ DOR who preceded him. There was a lot of concern about the lack of a head coach but Hatley was there from the beginning, though had also had no previous experience as a head coach so there was some logic in delaying confirmation of that appointment. The previously somewhat criticised owner & CEO deserve some credit for how the appointment has , so far, turned out & for not slavishly following the type of appointments made by our Premiership rivals.. I also think & have done for some time that the amount of credence that is given to ďexperienceĒ in many areas of life is somewhat overblown.

P G Tips
P G Tips
14 October, 2020 08:47
Quote:
Bath Hammer
The previously somewhat criticised owner & CEO deserve some credit for how the appointment has , so far, turned out & for not slavishly following the type of appointments made by our Premiership rivals.. I also think & have done for some time that the amount of credence that is given to ďexperienceĒ in many areas of life is somewhat overblown.

Agreed BH. I think eyebrows were raised in similar fashion when Wasps replaced (the highly experienced) Day Young with Lee Blackett - look how that's turned out!

PG

TG Kesmo
TG Kesmo
14 October, 2020 10:34
I also think that credit should be given for attempting to build steadily on good foundations. The change to culture and ethos have been tangible. Building this way is more likely but not guaranteed to avoid the flash in the pan scenario as seen at Gloucester and Saints and dare I say during the Ford period. Many were previously blatting on about SHís lack of coaching experience and qualifications. He was never going to be head coach it is not what he does, management is a whole different skill set. Some excellent coaches are useless managers example again is Ford. Iím feeling more positive about the Bath set up than I have for a long time. I just hope we get a chance to play and watch.

B4thB4ck
B4thB4ck
14 October, 2020 11:40
Well done to the club, hope everyone has a good summers break before the new season. Oh, hang on....

MESSAGES->author
woodpecker
14 October, 2020 13:17
I would like to commend Bruce, partly as he is conspicuous by his apparent absence. He seems to have changed tack, evolution rather than revolution and less churn and it seems to be working. I'm sure Exeter were doing his head in after pi$$ing away millions.

MESSAGES->author
joethefanatic
14 October, 2020 23:46
Oh to be in England, now that April's there...



... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15/10/2020 00:25 by joethefanatic.

P G Tips
P G Tips
15 October, 2020 07:16
Well spotted Joe. Poetic licence on my part I confess: Browning was in Italy, not Spain.

PG

MESSAGES->author
joethefanatic
15 October, 2020 07:22
I must admit that my inability to return to the UK physically, has left me searching out poetry to salve the need. Browning, Brooke and R S Thomas have featured heavily. I have learned, however, to avoid A E Houseman. That way lies madness!

smiling smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15/10/2020 07:35 by joethefanatic.

Boldangrey
Boldangrey
15 October, 2020 21:10
Quote:
woodpecker
I would like to commend Bruce, partly as he is conspicuous by his apparent absence. He seems to have changed tack, evolution rather than revolution and less churn and it seems to be working. I'm sure Exeter were doing his head in after pi$$ing away millions.

Perhaps when the team starts winning he feels less need to be so 'hands on'.

bardofavon
bardofavon
16 October, 2020 10:02
my view for what it is worth....
As others have stated, there have been big improvements since hatley came back. But we are still some way off top 4.
The forwards have done a great job but the backs continue to lag. It is noticeable that although we have scored more tries since lockdown, these have mostly been fat boy tries. Tries from our backs are limited to individual efforts from the likes of Spencer and Mac. We still seem unable to put the ball through the hands in any meaningful way. Our attacks are side to side, predictable and easy to defend. There is no wit or guile in them, no penetration or subtlety. We struggle to open up opposition defences or create overlaps. In the second halves of the sarries and chiefs games we scored a total of 3 points and no tries. A backline containing 6 senior internationals could not cross the chiefsí whitewash. These are sobering stats. It is hard to think of a team in the prem that has a more toothless backs attack than us.
RP has had probably his best season for Bath- ironic since he was originally shown the door. Rhys is very good at what he does but he is a kicking 10 not a running 10. Good for 9-man rugby but not for bringing his outside backs into the game.
BO has often (very often?) complained about Bath dropping the ball and stuffing up possession, ruining any attacking momentum and yielding promising territory. He is right. It happens all the time. Twice on Saturday Bath dropped the kick off which led, a phase or two later, to tries for Exeter. This happened three or four time this last season. It is a basic skill. Why do the coaches not pick up on it? The nuts and bolts of successful rugby are based round skills like these: avoiding knock ons, giving and taking a pass, creating an overlap, putting someone through a hole and doing it all under pressure. We really struggle to do it.
So in my opinion we need to do three things next season in order to push on. We need another flyhalf as a matter of urgency so we can change the plan mid game if we have to and so that we can give Rhys decent rest time. We also need cover for injury- we were lucky RP got through the last round of games without harm. Matavesi is not the man for the job. He has said he doesnít want to play 10. Is Bailey old enough and mature enough to step up so soon?
I think we need more resources at 13. JJ is the only on the field who has no one after his shirt. It is not a healthy situation for the club or for the player. JJ has a habit of going missing in games. He may also struggle to hang on to his england shirt this year. We have wright and clark but these guys are little more than journeymen with defensive weaknesses. We need better than them if we are to challenge for the top. We have Butt in the academy but is it too soon for him?
We need a skills coach. We had Matson briefly before he went back to NZ. Before him we had Edwards, who was a bit of a joke and who got his job, one feels, through the old boy Exiles network. Bath always gives the impression that it is not bothered about skills, that skills are low priority. This is why we keep messing up.
And lastly we have Dempsey. He has been bitterly disappointing. I was excited when I first heard of the appointment but he has done nothing in the two years he has been with us. I canít see any improvement in our attack. It is time to admit that, like Blackadder, Dempsey was the wrong appointment. Dempsey has another year to go I believe. Hooper needs to start looking now for a replacement. The best attack coaches are in NZ or Oz.

wetside
wetside
16 October, 2020 10:52
I agree with most of your comments Bard but with one glaring exception. No way do I accept we are A LONG WAY OFF TOP FOUR. We may be some way off Exeter but from what I've seen since lockdown we are equal to or better than all the other teams in the league. Imho of course.

MESSAGES->author
hasta
16 October, 2020 11:14
It's pretty hilarious to claim we're a long way off top four when we were, you know, in the top four.

MESSAGES->author
Rawce
19 October, 2020 15:21
Anyone got any stats backing up this assumption that we have the worst skills in the league or drop it the most? Do we, along with many other sets of fans, lay claim to the same title when the answer may be different?

Bath Hammer
Bath Hammer
19 October, 2020 22:39
I agree with a fair amount of Bardofavonís assessment but not all. The main thing I agree with is the underperformance of our back line & JJ to some extent. Iím not even sure we get what could justifiably expect from Watson also. This could all be tied up with the Dempsey appointment which seems to have brought nothing to the table. I donít see the personnel as the problem, except having another option at no.10. We canít have stars in all the back up positions & wouldnít write off Clark & Wright . We have plenty of youthful quality coming through. The thing is it all needs to be harnessed & thatís not happening. It is true that we make mistakes at times but have improved in that regard & Iím not sure of the merits of a skills coach. I do agree we need to look for a really creative backs coach to take over from Dempsey. Iím puzzled how the Leinster backline thrived under his guidance. It is true we probably would have ended up 5th if it hadnít been for COVID but I donít know how much better those 3 other teams are. Certainly Bristol & Wasps seem to have more effective back lines, although not better players but we may have the edge up front. I doubt if those teams would have failed to score more than 3 points in the 2nd halves against Sarries & Exeter though.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
19 October, 2020 22:54
Quote:
Bath Hammer
I do agree we need to look for a really creative backs coach to take over from Dempsey. Iím puzzled how the Leinster backline thrived under his guidance.

You have to give credit to Stuart Lancaster for a lot of the attacking flair I reckon.

Quote:
Bath Hammer
It is true we probably would have ended up 5th if it hadnít been for COVID but I donít know how much better those 3 other teams are. Certainly Bristol & Wasps seem to have more effective back lines, although not better players but we may have the edge up front. I doubt if those teams would have failed to score more than 3 points in the 2nd halves against Sarries & Exeter though.

I sort of agree but it was Sarries, last game, wolf pack and all that and Itoje had an absolute stormer but we need some pace and invention at 10. Leinster's fave move was the wrap around and by the time RP gets into position there is cover in place. RP has even found himself in space but can't exploit it. He also lacks the physicality to break tackles in the way that JM does, (who has also lost pace).

TDG has that spark, and Daily isn't slow either but I dot feel a young quick 10 on BS's pass would tear a few holes up the middle that JJ and AW can exploit. When we move it we are just too slow!



https://i.ibb.co/pZ68Lvp/Ollie-Fox.jpg

Ollie Fox - England U20 international scrum half, youngest of our four 9's. If you are good enough, you're old enough!

opti
Optimist
20 October, 2020 08:07
One of the things that Freddie Burns said in his parting shots was that he rated Dempsey highly as a coach who had plenty of ideas, but he was essentially neutered by Hooper. I don't want to drag up the whole Burns thing - we've all done that to death - but, when a player leaves they are going to give a more candid insight than any player who is under contract. Of course, there's the possibility that Dempsey was a Burns fan and vice versa and that informs Freddie's opinion. But, given that everyone is completely perplexed by the whole Dempsey situation, and no-one else appears to have any inside gen on it, FB's opinion is all we've got.

It's fairly obvious that Hooper is a methodical, building-blocks kind of bloke, and so attack may be the next piece. But it's frustrating to think that we have great foundations in terms of the forwards, a proven backs coach, international outside backs, and yet we still consistently fail to look like a side that can create space from set pieces, or threaten from turnovers. As I said on another thread, I think it's entirely a mindset thing, rather than skillset. Brian Ashton turned us into a freewheeling attacking side in a couple of weeks after taking over from Connolly (iirc) and i feel entirely sure that he could do the same with this group of players - Priestland included.

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
20 October, 2020 08:10
Well Yes with one reservation as you can imagine!

opti
Optimist
20 October, 2020 08:21
Look at a player like Gopperth and how he fits in at Wasps. He's 37, certainly no quicker than Priestland and I wouldn't regard his skillset as superior to Priestland. He has the upper body strength that maybe allows him to take a tackle and offload - other than that, he's pretty similar.

I think Priestland has adopted the role of Hooper's man on the pitch. But I don't think for a minute that he couldn't adapt to a different set of instructions.

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
20 October, 2020 08:56
Gopperth is one of my favourite players and has arguably been the best ever import...........supporters of Flow and Nick Evans might well dispute. He is the perfect player as he had two caps for All Blacks second team but has never been in the running for more caps.

However he is a very different player to RP. He feels more dynamic and I suspect could easily have played scrumhalf at any time.

Funnily enough I have just googled them and they are about the same weight but RP is 2 inches taller. I honestly thought that JG might have been 5' 8" and RP 6' 2"...............if you know what I mean.



Adopted player for 2020 - 21 Charlie Ewels Captain of Bath FC......The Bournemouth Barnstormer

opti
Optimist
20 October, 2020 09:26
I know what you mean about the height - i'd have assumed the same. Gopperth has been brilliant for whoever he's played for, but Priestland has also played in teams that like to move the ball.

Only time is going to tell whether the next building block in Hooper's plan is to aim for fluidity in the backs, but we're not going to trouble the elite teams unless we achieve it.

Anybody watch the NZ/Aus game at the weekend. It was pretty helter-skelter at times - lots of knock-ons, but some of the handling and offloading was unbelievable.

warrenball
warrenball
21 October, 2020 07:01
I agree with your comments Opti about a coach like Ashton who could come into this team and transform the backs, but only if he is allowed to. Hooper seems to like to be in control and with his job on the line who can blame him, so he is faced with a choice of keeping it all under control and being pretty sure of winning more games than he loses, so job is safe, or going for broke, giving the backs a chance but running the risk of it all going pear shaped. This is where Baxter and his coaches have been really clever, the introduction of good attacking backs like Hogg have not overwhelmed the forward effort, primarily because the forwards still score loads of tries, but their very presence means the opposition can never take their eyes off the Exeter forwards and this gives space for the backs.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
21 October, 2020 08:20
I wonder if Bath are following the Exeter template almost to the letter.

Exeter Rob Baxter: DOR, ex club forward with local West Country roots, Tavistock
Bath Stuart Hooper: DOR, ex club forward with local West Country roots, Exeter

Team complement in both Bath and Exeter are often England qualified with local youthful origins.

Both Rob Baxter and Stuart Hooper develop teams based on forward strength with a strong defensive ethos. Back development less of a priority.

Similarities beween Gareth Steenson and Rhys Priestland kicking games with young 10ís in development (Simmonds and Bailey)

Club owners have similar aims and ground development concepts.

On that basis the future of Bath rugby is laid out in Exeter rugby clubs recent history. The good news on that front is that European Championship medals are about 4-5 years away!



https://i.ibb.co/pZ68Lvp/Ollie-Fox.jpg

Ollie Fox - England U20 international scrum half, youngest of our four 9's. If you are good enough, you're old enough!

Bath Supporter Jack
Bath Supporter Jack
21 October, 2020 08:22
Nice post SW................as Ballsout would attest to not a bad template..................do Exeter have a song?

warrenball
warrenball
21 October, 2020 09:47
Always dangerous following another clubs template, by the time we get there Exeter will have moved on and still be ahead. You also have to be careful for another reason, Exeter could have looked at our success all those years ago and followed our template, where would they be now? You must be constantly inventive to be No 1 as other teams will find ways of negating your style of play, so you have to stay one step in front, not behind the opposition.

opti
Optimist
21 October, 2020 09:48
Quote:
warrenball
Always dangerous following another clubs template, by the time we get there Exeter will have moved on and still be ahead. You also have to be careful for another reason, Exeter could have looked at our success all those years ago and followed our template, where would they be now? You must be constantly inventive to be No 1 as other teams will find ways of negating your style of play, so you have to stay one step in front, not behind the opposition.

+1 to that. That's what Bristol have done.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 21/10/2020 09:49 by Optimist.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
21 October, 2020 10:10
Quote:
Optimist
Quote:
warrenball
Always dangerous following another clubs template, by the time we get there Exeter will have moved on and still be ahead. You also have to be careful for another reason, Exeter could have looked at our success all those years ago and followed our template, where would they be now? You must be constantly inventive to be No 1 as other teams will find ways of negating your style of play, so you have to stay one step in front, not behind the opposition.

+1 to that. That's what Bristol have done.

Two things, one its currently working for Bath second Bristol with Radradra, Piatau, Afoa, Vui, Luatua, Naulago, Adeolokun and Leiua and then the temps Malins and Earl are hardly building a West Country legacy!

I might be old fashioned but I like what Exeter and Bath are doing.



https://i.ibb.co/pZ68Lvp/Ollie-Fox.jpg

Ollie Fox - England U20 international scrum half, youngest of our four 9's. If you are good enough, you're old enough!

bardofavon
bardofavon
21 October, 2020 10:33
I think exeter initially followed saracens template (ironically). strong forwards, strong kicking game, aggressive defence, feed off opposition mistakes. now bath appears to be following exeter. trouble is neither saracens or exeter play an attractive brand of rugby. it is efficient but not attractive. who wants to watch a game dominated by penalties, driving mauls, multi phase pick and goes (Exeter got up to 35 phases in one attack v Racing, each one moving them forward 6 inches at a time). is lcd (or Tom Dunn) flopping over the line from three feet out an enjoyable spectacle? the next question is: is this how we want bath to play?
the old school believe that winning is everything but they go back to a time when the game was amateur and was played for the benefit of the participants in front of three men and a dog. today the game is professional, played in front of tens of thousands who all pay A LOT to see it. it cannot be denied that fans are increasingly being short changed by the games they see: less ball in play time, more and more cheating, committee meetings before line outs, the nonsense of the crocodile ruck, omnipresent offsides, cynical moves by the bucketload to prevent the opposition getting an advantage. the result of all this is that most games are not worth watching and in the end the fans will go elsewhere. if clubs don't play more expansively and take their responsibility to entertain more seriously they will be signing their own suicide note. which is why bath really needs to sort out its attacking game.

MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked
21 October, 2020 10:46
Fair enough BoA but both Sarries and Exeter having sorted a winning habit developed their backs afterwards. We all want an attacking game but currently strength and fitness are essential for success. That's a product of the professional game. I'm not sure a successful team currently exists that are second on those assets.



https://i.ibb.co/pZ68Lvp/Ollie-Fox.jpg

Ollie Fox - England U20 international scrum half, youngest of our four 9's. If you are good enough, you're old enough!

P G Tips
P G Tips
21 October, 2020 10:57
Quote:
bardofavon
it cannot be denied that fans are increasingly being short changed by the games they see: less ball in play time, more and more cheating, committee meetings before line outs, the nonsense of the crocodile ruck, omnipresent offsides, cynical moves by the bucketload to prevent the opposition getting an advantage. the result of all this is that most games are not worth watching and in the end the fans will go elsewhere.

All valid points BoA but while officials remain relaxed about these infringements it would be naive of clubs to ignore them. If you can find a counter to these offences, use it. If not, you get dragged into the prevailing style and adopt the same tactics - nearly all clubs do.

I firmly believe that the "traditional" Bath style is one of invention and attack and I want to see Bath develop both. The ills you name though are those of the game - not one particular club.

PG

Mike the Taxi
Mike the Taxi
21 October, 2020 11:57
"Crocodile Ruck"; didn't Elton John sing that?

MESSAGES->author
hasta
21 October, 2020 18:31
I'm not sure those are all valid points:
a. Ball in play time is higher now than it was 10 years ago
b. Does everyone remember the kick tennis of the late 2000s?
c. Cynical play has *always* existed in rugby
d. I think a lot of people have very rose-tinted glasses about what rugby was like in the 90s.

The best thing about rugby to me is that there are multiple ways to play the game. Chucking it around is fun, but so is brutal carries. It's a complex game that contains multitudes, as do crowds.

No one here denies that Bath need to develop their attacking game further. Yes Exeter are frustratingly inevitable from 10m out, but they can also break the line and offload (see the Hogg and Devoto tries against us for example).

opti
Optimist
21 October, 2020 19:47
Exeter have also reduced the number of phases it takes them to score - quite often go over in 5 or 6 these days.

MESSAGES->author
joethefanatic
21 October, 2020 20:26
Ali Hepher i(nterviewed in the grauniad) said that Exeter have masses of plans for other ways of playing, they're just waiting for someone to work out a way to stop Plan A!



... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu

warrenball
warrenball
21 October, 2020 20:32
The beauty of rugby was always that there was something for every body shape, certainly we love to watch someone like Finn Russell play but that is fine if you are built like him, I am actually more impressed in modern rugby by the athleticism and skill shown by 20 stone props than by 12 stone backs. In the 70's and 80's if a prop caught a pass and ran 5 yards he was applauded and then took 5 minutes to recover, now they have all the skills in addition to the work in the scrum, so before you castigate Exeter's play just try it and see how skilled and hard it is to achieve.


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