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Squad balance
Discussion started by Awaywin , 15 January, 2020 16:41
Squad balance
Awaywin 15 January, 2020 16:41
What is the optimum balance between experienced (ex-internationals), current internationals and young players for a Premiership winning squad? It has got be thinking that losing Reinach but having Mitchell, preference of signing Kpoku over Kruis (only a rumour), losing Hartley and the emergence of young talent is there a danger of focusing too much on the long term. Is it having certain percentages of each throughout the squad or the balance of these throughout the positions. Be interested to hear some thoughts on an ideal squad make up?

Re: Squad balance
SaintRich 15 January, 2020 17:01
It's an interesting question and one that I suppose coaches and managers have battled since time immemorial.

Whilst Boyd has made no secret of the fact he wants the core of the squad to be young English qualified players and this will determine the main body of his recruitment, you cannot overlook the importance of a few key experienced heads in guiding that youth. Was interesting to see Boyd himself reference the fact that there was no Waller, Wood or Biggar in the game against Bennetton and the inference being that these vocal more experienced players clearly play a key part in managing some of the youthful exuberance in the squad.

I think we currently have a nice balance, when you think of the experience and knowledge the likes of the Franks brothers, Biggar and Wood can pass on to the up and coming talent in the squad. I actually also don't think we should rule out the signing of a few further more experienced heads when our squad now is so youthful.

Re: Squad balance
Wilson Pickett 15 January, 2020 18:15
Basically the balance doesn’t matter if you get top 2 because they’re all available by then. Or even top 4 really....

So the best first team possible, however that is comprised. And a squad good enough to get into the playoffs without the internationals.

Re: Squad balance
ajack 15 January, 2020 18:23
Logic at least in my mind would say around one third at age level international or A side international standard, one third current international and one third ex international or long serving club man.

Re: Squad balance
Wilson Pickett 15 January, 2020 18:25
I would add to that Ajack that sprinkling of overseas sub international level

Re: Squad balance
ajack 15 January, 2020 18:48
Wilson Pickett
I would add to that Ajack that sprinkling of overseas sub international level

If we do go down the route Boyd seems to suggest of more young English qualified players this is the area I would expect to see less of.

Re: Squad balance
Wilson Pickett 15 January, 2020 19:01
I think that would be an error but he did sign Proctor (capped but sub international). Sub elite overseas guys are often better value than their equivalent in England


Dennis (ex international)
White (international)

plus Whitten and Dollman aren’t English

Re: Squad balance
Duckonstilts 15 January, 2020 19:02
Very Experienced players offer a lot. Usually they want a bit less game time which is good for developing the wider squad. They have usually played in other successful teams so can bring fresh ideas. They are hopefully an expert in their position so can bring on the youth in training (we cant afford an expert coach for every position). And most of all the right signing can add a level of guaranteed performance which you might just need if you are unsure of your young players.

You don't need many though. 2 or 3 old heads are enough. A couple of top internationals to mix it with your home grown are imo all you need if your Academy is working.

Re: Squad balance
Wilson Pickett 15 January, 2020 19:03
Big T?

Re: Squad balance
Thrupp artist 15 January, 2020 19:57
At present we can field a strong 15 comprised solely of players that have been developed through the age groups by the club (counting little T as one of these) - I don't feel that such a production line can be maintained at the same standard as this current generation is ad infinitum. The managements skill is to "spot the gaps" but I guess it is not possible to always accurately assess whether a 17/18 years old will have the capacity to develop and in time perform at Premiership level.

Re: Squad balance
pksaint 15 January, 2020 23:09
I was interested to hear Chris Boyd say after the game v Benetton that he wasn't sure what his best team was. I agree. Chris and the other coaches have the squad playing in such a way that it doesn't seem to matter too much who is in the team. No team is perfect, particularly one that is on a steep leaning curve, concentrating on skills and a high tempo attacking game, over the last twelve months or so. But most times the players aquit themselves very well, in all positions. There are going to be stumbles and glitches but the coaches seem to be confident that these problems can be ironed out. That confidence comes down from the top, Chris Boyd. He seems well aware of mixing the youth with experianced players. I sure he will get the blend just right.

Re: Squad balance
Saint Maul 16 January, 2020 04:39
If there is an optimal typical formula as suggested then I suspect factors that then impact on it include:

- Leader(s): who set the right tone are worth a lot. Dallaglio, Farrell, Johnson, Hartley. It's no coincidence their club sides won a disproportionate amount of silverware. The current Saints team could do with this. Pretty much every game we have a period where we switch off. Against Benetton after the first try it was until 60 mins. At Wasps I remember thinking 'Oh No, we'll now switch off' after the bonus try. It almost cost us the match.
- Game management
- Game changing ability
- Ball-carrying, speed, bulk and power
- Defensive leadership
- Goal kicking
- Lineout calling
- Plus factoring in injury and international call-up cover so players who can cover multiple positions like Harry or Wilson are very handy.
- the weather and pitch played on (Bath and our needs are different)
- The league environment at the time - what is optimal in the Premiership might be different from France, Japan, Super Rugby etc. down to things like relegation, strengths and norms of other teams e.g. scrum penalty focus v scrum being for re-starts
- Law interpretation at the time
- What is affordable/VFM in the Salary cap - optimal has changed with the money for English-qualified. Clubs have adjusted to this
- Ease of foreign players to come play in the UK. Will Brexit change current rights? Will fewer antipodeans having English grandparents as time passes have an effect on market forces?
- Who is available when need arises
- Etc

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16/01/2020 04:57 by Saint Maul.

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