Latest news:

The Unofficial Northampton Saints Supporters' Message Board

Discussion started by SaintsAsh , 14 September, 2020 22:54
SaintsAsh 14 September, 2020 22:54
I can't help but think we need a good ole mutant or two.

A Sam Whitelock with one eye staring at you and the other at someone else. You knock out four teeth and he pulls another out just to intimidate you.

A grisly hard @#$%& that you hate playing against. One with 0% compromise. We just all seem too nice, all very polite the coaches are good men etc. When you play nice teams it is a lot easier to play them than the team full of mutant hard @#$%&.


Re: Mutants
Saint Maul 15 September, 2020 00:15
Now you're talking Ash. Some frighteningly nasty, knarly b**tards who hate losing so much they revel in inflicting maximum pain to prevent it (Sm8). The New Zealand media labelled Martin Johnson and the 2003 England pack white orcs on steroids for a reason. It may have been trying tomock them but really what it showed is how much they feared and respected them.

The other clubs look at our scrum and our pack and licks their lips.

We can dream. But God how I miss our pack c.2012. Powerful, brutal and nasty.

Re: Mutants
Dave Jackson 15 September, 2020 08:10
We need a Paul Tupai type player again.

Re: Mutants
BrianB 15 September, 2020 08:20
Or Neil Best

Re: Mutants
chappers_saint 15 September, 2020 09:40
Dave Jackson
We need a Paul Tupai type player again.

Get Toops in as forwards coach, let Dows learn from him at the same time as the team.

Re: Mutants
Awaywin 15 September, 2020 10:40
Completely agree. We need to earn the right to play and to do this we need to have people who will and can fight to get and keep the ball. Someone who will put their head where most people won't put their feet (a quote I heard about Budge Pountney).

Re: Mutants
WilsonP 15 September, 2020 13:06
Yes Yes Yes

Re: Mutants
TringSaint 15 September, 2020 13:29
Thing is, we have signed said nasty pasties previously and they typically turned out to be pantomime villains.

So, yes, let’s find these brutes (French 2nd division Georgian national team squad players would do) so that they can tenderise the opposition and allow our backs to do their business.

At the moment we seem to turn up to rucks and mauls with a tickling stick and a bubble machine!!

Re: Mutants
smitferbrainz 15 September, 2020 14:10
I’d love a ‘pantomime villain‘ playing for us to be honest. Someone who bleed properly for our shirt. Recent ones were Dylan of course and someone like Callum Clarke. I thought Tei might develop into one but he hasn’t really. Whatever that kind of character has, we need it.....badly!

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 15 September, 2020 14:12
It's a fine line, I suspect some of those mentioned (Johnson, Best etc) would have spent even longer on the naughty step these days! But I did see a little fluff piece about the biggest Prem players and noted that Painter is a good bit heavier that Ma'fu but who would you want on your side in a scrap? By that I don't mean his mean right hook but just not taking a backwards step. Perhaps that will come with experience as that example is two players at the opposite ends of careers but there does seem to be some steel lacking at the moment - in the modern game it's not old school hardmen starting scraps or looking to cheap shots but just not taking a backwards step.

In the pack I see Haywood, Lawes, Ribbans and Teimana in that category, perhaps Ludlam (who just looks tired to be honest, his game is very much based on high energy). I'd also add Biggar but that can be counterproductive at 10 if you're spending too much time at the bottom of rucks. Yes Reinach could turn a game with an intercept and was always on the shoulder for breaks but I think we miss his tenacity in defence and general scrappiness more at the moment.

I don't think we're miles off with a full team, add in Waller and Isiekwe for the rest of this and next season and the 'first choice' pack looks pretty good to me, in all facets;

Waller/Van Wyk
Danny H-A/Hill

I think we look better at the moment with Taylor at 9 as he seems to have more fight.

Re: Mutants
Awaywin 15 September, 2020 14:31
It depends what we are miles off ...

The players you have mentioned are how close to a full strength Exeter, Sale, Bath or Bristol pack? Or competing in Europe. The fact is they are very rarely on the field together but how good are those players at being a dominant forward pack.

Re: Mutants
Abington Adam 15 September, 2020 15:07
I'm with Awaywin on this, that pack doesn't look very good to me. It looks underpowered and unthreatening when compared to any side likely to be challenging for the Premiership or European honours.

Yes, we've got talent in the back 3, and in Adendorff we may have unearthed the ball carrying 8 we've been craving for so long, but where's the needle? Where's the venom? Where's the power and precision in that front 3? Danny H-A may develop into a top player given time and careful management, the same goes for the young LH who debuted against Tigs, but the rest have been around the Gardens long enough to prove that while they may be useful squad players they're not top class. None of the front 3 players as things stand would get anywhere near a starting berth at Exeter or Saracens, and with exceptions above none of them are going to be on the watch list of their respective national teams.

Church's Stand season ticket holder
EMRU Referee

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 15 September, 2020 15:09
There's only one way to find that out I suppose! I meant not far off a good, balanced pack - enough size, grunt, steel, mobility etc etc. Yes there are bigger out there but I don't think it's a lightweight pack. Of course the pack doesn't work in isolation, it goes a long way having the backs putting in intelligent kicks to keep you moving forwards and not getting isolated and of course as mentioned elsewhere, getting points for your efforts whether it is 3, 5 or 7 - to not do so has to be so energy sapping.

Re: Mutants
Helmet and sack 15 September, 2020 16:28
There's only one way to find that out I suppose! I meant not far off a good, balanced pack - enough size, grunt, steel, mobility etc etc. Yes there are bigger out there but I don't think it's a lightweight pack. Of course the pack doesn't work in isolation, it goes a long way having the backs putting in intelligent kicks to keep you moving forwards and not getting isolated and of course as mentioned elsewhere, getting points for your efforts whether it is 3, 5 or 7 - to not do so has to be so energy sapping.

Good: results / play / scorelines pre and post covid suggest the pack is not particularly good.
Balanced: I'd say that there is little balance in the pack. It lacks effective breakdown players and impact runners. The front row lacks balance (quite literally).
Size: the front row cohort doesn't seem to be imposing and I would suggest it to be one of the lightest. Facts anyone?
Grunt: possibly present in a few of our pack. T, Lawes err... Isiekwe...
Steel: you've got to be joking. They fall apart in defence at the moment and I can't even begin to compare it to good Saints sides of old.
Mobility: what use is mobility without any of the other points?

Re: Mutants
Sir Hector 15 September, 2020 21:27
We need a Buck Shelford or better still, Gary Pagel, he’d sort out our problems at loosehead and a few more besides

Re: Mutants
Brackleysaint 16 September, 2020 07:06
Most of the past players mentioned on here would in this day and age spend less time on the field and more on the side of the pitch and make Dylan's disciplinary record seem quite mild in comparison!

Re: Mutants
TringSaint 16 September, 2020 08:24
I think we just need ballast. Our props are small.
One of the bath props (Obano i think it was), which destroyed our front row, was a monster. Legs like tree trunks and incredibly solid and powerful (but was mobile also).

We need props like him.

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 16 September, 2020 11:08
I don't think weight is the most important factor but just out of interest I thought I'd look. I can't be bothered to look across each club's squad listing and weights and those are debatable anyway, however going from the England squad;

Cowan-Dickie - 112kg
Dunn - 106kg
George - 109kg
Fish - 110kg
Haywood 105kg
Ma'asi - 100kg
Marshall 105kg

I'm surprised to be honest by Cowan-Dickie, I'd have said George was the heaviest - clearly Ma'asi is smaller but very young, other than that Fish is actually heavier than the other England lads.

Genge - 113kg
Marler 110kg
Stuart 124kg
Williams 134kg
Vunipola - 121kg
Auterac 116kg
Franks 118kg
Garside 125kg
Hill 123kg
Hobbs-Awoyemi -109kg
Iyogun - 114kg
van Wyk - 119kg
Waller 120kg
Painter 129kg

Again, no real disparity there - again interested to note that Marler is one of the smallest.

Ewels 108kg
Hill 0 (presume there's an error there, that lad is carved from granite)
Itoje 115kg
Kruis 113kg
Launchbury - 118kg
Lawes 111kg (115 Saints)
Moon 116kg (123 Saints)
Isiekwe 111kg
Ratuniyarawa - 115kg
Bean 125kg
Ribbans 121kg
Coles 107kg

Other than Coles (again, very young but only 1 kilo less than Ewels) all seems even - until I compared the Saints and England lads on both websites, either they've bulked up since England duty or our scales are broken at the Gardens! Perhaps that's the issue found - they're all coming in and the coaches are saying 'well done, you've added xkg without losing speed, how did you do that?!'

Curry 99kg
Earl 102kg
Ludlam 98.5kg (perhaps struggling slightly if the half kilos are being included but that means 500g difference with Curry) - 104kg on Saints
Underhill 103kg
Wilson 108kg
Billy V - for some reason not on the England website (should we read into that?!) but according to Sarries 130kg!
Wood 112kg
Uru 112kg
Tonks 107kg
Adendorff 100kg
Gibson 107kg
Harrison 104kg

That does sort of underline the disparity between our stats and England's - Ludlam is 5kg bigger! Perhaps the better comparison is a unit - Vunipola, Curry and Underhill totals 332. Ludlam, Harrison, Adendorff totals 308 or 302.5 depending on who's stats we're using. Now that is a big difference and gives credence to the theory that the backrow is unbalanced. Stick Lawes at 6 and you get closer...… However England were effective without Billy, using combinations of Curry, Underhill, Ludlam, Lawes and Wilson.

Could we use a Skelton or Vunipola? Yes but who couldn't unless they've already got them. Are we underweight across the board? No but the back row is on the light side - Harrison and Adendorff carry above their weight but are both small for 8's.

I know there's another thread for left-field ideas but if we're going to try and solve this by moving an existing player to a different position - didn't Paul Hill start at 8? He's a big lad, explosive on the short carry and relatively quick once he extends his stride. If he's played there before he'll have some of the skills at the base and I don't remember him showing any real destructive scrummaging (that's not all down to the prop as we know).

Re: Mutants
Saint Maul 16 September, 2020 13:56
LeicesterSaint - what's the source of the weight data for Saints players? As a number of Saints players are heavier than the weights from their bios on the Saints website from when I posted a comparison a couple of seasons ago using weights on the Saints website and other clubs websites. The next season the weights were removed from the player bios so I can't update it sadly. But I've added it at the bottom for reference below as it seems more credible weights.

In the examples you gave, I'd be amazed if Hill is 123kg. 2 kg heavier than Mako Vunipola. Seriously! Iyogun 4 kilos heavier than Marler? Did u see how skinny his legs were compared to all the other props in the Tigers game (not a criticism - he is 19).

The commentators have said how our pack looks physically smaller than other packs. I'd agree.

Waller 114
Hartley 110
Ben Franks 120
Ratuniyarawa 115
Lawes 115
Haskell 118
Broussow 101
Harrison 100

Bench: Van Wyk 114, Haywood 98, Hill 117, Ribbans 116, Gibson 107

Starting 8 total: 893kg
Starting 8 average:  111.6 (17 stone 8)
Bench total: 552kg
Bench average: 110.4 (17 stone 5)

Vunipola 121
George 112
Figallo 119
Kruis 115
Itoje 116
Isiekwe 120
Burger 114
B Vunipola 130

Barrington 124, Tolofua 117, Koch 118, Skelton 128, Wray 112

Starting 8 total: 947kg
Starting 8 average: 118.4kg (18 stone 9)
Bench total: 599kg
Bench average: 119.8kg (18 stone 12)

Moon 110
Cowan-Dickie 110
Williams 132
Hill 112
Lees 122
Dennis 113
Ewers 125
Armand 115
Simmonds 103

Hepburn 108, Yeandle 108, Francis 135, Dennis 113, Kvesic 107

Starting 8 total: 942kg
Starting total average: 118kg (18 stone 8)
Bench total: 571kg
Bench average: 114.2kg (18 stone)

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 16 September, 2020 14:12
I used the Saints website for ours and the England website for others (except for Billy V who wasn't on there, that was from Sarries) - however as I noted, all those who are on both are listed a good few kilos differently with the stats from the Saints website always higher. Make of that what you will! Links below, neither work well if you're stuck with old internet explorer



Who knows, Saints could be taking a leaf from the old WWF (wrestling not pandas!) playbook and adding on a bit to each. To my untrained eye Painter is a unit but he's the only player I look at (in the pack, big T being the exception in the backs) and think what a unit. I think Hill is a big lad but to me he looks more no-8 shaped if that makes any sense, he's relatively tall, less potato-shaped (no offense to our potatoes and ex-potatoes on the board).

Re: Mutants
Saint Maul 16 September, 2020 14:52
Interesting. Like u say weights can be misrepresented. So I'd go back to old-fashioned which teams seem to have the biggest packs?

For me: Bath, Exeter, Sarries, Bristol are biggest. All have some monsters and a collective large size when combined even with some smaller units like Thacker or Simmonds.

In comparison, Painter is our only monster like you say. The majority of our first choice pack is lightweight: Hooker - Mikey; loosehead - Waller (or van Wyk); Lawes in the 2nd row; Ludlum 7 and Harrison 8. They are all good players individually and in larger packs would thrive. It's when you put them in the same team that combined they become a lightweight boxer trying to fight a heavyweight. It's not an equal contest. IMHO.

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 16 September, 2020 15:28
Oh for another Samu Manoa! Not a pantomime villain, in fact I can't remember him ever being penalised really although that might be rose tinted...… but an absolute unit that could shift with great hands, I'd pay a lot of money to see him in the current squad. I suppose the US are likely to keep more of their promising players these days but there must be some gems somewhere to unearth.

Re: Mutants
TringSaint 16 September, 2020 15:50
ok, so lets assume that the mass of the players is the same between two teams, yet one team get a consistent drive on in the scrum or one player consistently forces the other back in the tackle. in such cases by using simple physics (force = mass x acceleration), if one player is forcing the other backwards then they must be moving with a greater acceleration, ie going quicker.

in the scrum, the players are initially stationary, so the relative forces are equal, but when they start to push, one is clearly accelerating faster than the other in order to drive it backwards (assuming ground conditions are the same for both teams), hence in this case the team being pushed backwards has either A) failed to accelerate at the same rate as their opponent, cool smiley they have a loss of traction, C) have not been able to maintain their shape.

looking at collisions, we tend to go backwards, so unless we are much lighter per man, we arent moving fast enough! so, speed training and add some bulk to compensate, but also look at our body positions going into contact. If we cant do that, then we need to plan to offload before the collision so support lines have to be close and accurate.

Looking at scrums, we get slaughtered all over the place, but its often due to a loss of footing or really poor body position (players hinging or popping up), hence the power cant get from the locks to the props. This is way more complex to fix as its not just a case of adding bulk, albeit that negates an opposition's power to some degree and extra strength would stop the hinging / popping, but more a case of scrummaging (and mauling) as a unit - no point having players not synchronised in such situations as they will get repelled easily.

when I first started playing, the first lesson we had as forwards was to push in time with each other, so one player (usually hooker or openside) would call out the first drive and each subsequent step with the cadence changing to meet the challenge (so it could be hold or step) and we had a good scrum that rarely went backwards. That was u11's, so im pretty sure these guys are better drilled than we were, yet when you watch them collectively, they are not as one, so maybe the problem is less mass or acceleration, but cohesion, and for that we need someone who knows the dark arts to help out the coaches, because we arent going to be signing a new front row any time soon!!

Re: Mutants
craig84 16 September, 2020 16:02
We need a Jake Polledri/Dave Ewers type player, but they dont come cheap. you also need a strong scout network looking at players in foreign and lower leagues and perhaps offer some big units a trial to see how they get on at a higher level of rugby.

Re: Mutants
Saint Maul 16 September, 2020 16:18
Good point Tring. Whilst mass is part of the equation it's only half the equation. Acceleration comes from ability to generate power.

It's like you have two cars of equal weight but one has double the horsepower/acceleration. Obano is a good example. There are bigger props but he is powerful for his size.

I'd add it's not a single equation. Trying to move an object with greater mass requires more force.

In other words smaller packs need to exert more energy to move a larger pack than a larger pack does needing to move a smaller pack. Eventually the smaller pack tires whilst the larger pack isn't as tired. For me it's a big part of why we look more dangerous in the first half and tail off in the 2nd half. Players like Ludlum and Harrison probably do have more acceleration to offset their lower mass but once they tire then mass becomes important.

You can't ignore the basic laws of physics.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16/09/2020 16:24 by Saint Maul.

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 16 September, 2020 16:24
Tring I'd add D) into that equation - the ref! Most will quite quickly decide who they think is dominant and from that point on anything 50/50 goes one way unless you can somehow reset that opinion. I'm not a huge scrum expert (having spend most of my playing days wedged in the row) but commentators quite often share the opinion that quite often 'failed' scrums are either not really down to one side or the other (footing lost, both sides cheating equally etc) but refs and crowds don't want endless resets so it will typically be given as a pen or freekick at least one way or t'other. That's what's been most disappointing about Franks, I know that SH teams typically see it as more of a restart but he's played against plenty of huge SA packs where managing the ref is key.

I think it's like a lot of other areas, it isn't one thing. Certainly personnel-wise we don't have monsters so can't use the scrum to milk penalties etc but it was working well enough as a platform before. It's part the split of the squad, part energy/momentum (another knock on?! can't believe that decision went against us etc).

Re: Mutants
LeicesterSaint 16 September, 2020 16:34
Surely that works both ways though Saint Maul as the human body can't exert force equally in all directions/body positions. There have been some very effective smaller players propping because larger (more taller) players just can't get their weight/power down when forced to scrum low? Or they do get forward momentum but are pushed up and so done for popping up rather then rewarded for forward momentum. How did Jonny Wilkinson dump so many bigger blokes, his technique was perfect and drove up into them so they had no chance to push back and use their own power.

However we don't have any props in that mould either at the moment so perhaps grasping at straws. Matt Fergusson came with some reputation which hasn't been borne out so far.

Re: Mutants
Saint Maul 16 September, 2020 17:52
A really good point LeicesterSaint.

Tom Smith got under players and made it hard for bigger players to exert their power. So there is that at scrum time. But like you I don't see our props as scrummaging masters like Tom was. However, Will Stuart and Ben Obano do seem very good technical scrummagers and powerful for their size so size/mass isn't everything but it is something and a significant part of the equation.

Ultimately what we've got is 8 smaller players pushing or resisting 8 larger players in mauls, 8 smaller players tackling 8 larger players, 8 smaller players trying to make headway crashing ball through 8 larger players. It's going to take its toll over the course of a game.

Re: Mutants
Brackleysaint 16 September, 2020 18:55
Alex Corbisiero was no monster but technically was outstanding probably the best to have played for Saints.
The issue for me is you need either a heavy front row to accommodate lighter second and back rowers or vice versa, we just seem to lightweight in the whole pack. As much as I rate Chris Boyd I think he would have realised that he needs to find a compromise on the type of player needed in the Premiership and that of Super Rugby, unless of course he does realise this and the right players are not available at the right cost.

Re: Mutants
Tidy 17 September, 2020 09:24
Corbs was very much a beast. 19.5 stone for a loosehead. Big and technical that's why he was so good

Re: Mutants
smitferbrainz 17 September, 2020 11:51
Don’t we need a couple of Georgian front rowers?

Re: Mutants
PaulSaints 17 September, 2020 16:04
LeicesterSaint interesting post re comparative bodyweights but that is only part of the equation of course. Technique and attitude are equally important.

Look at Moon. Now he could be an absolute monster. He could become exactly the type of player we're talking about. He certainly has the size and from what I've seen he's a very good young player with masses of potential. Does he "play" his size? I'm not sure but he's young and that may still come. Look at little T on the other side. Under-sized as an 8 and not that big for a modern flanker either. I suspect if he was coming through most Academies these days he'd be a centre. But he has a undeniable physicality and "punches" way above his weight.

On the general subject of being bullied though I think its no coincidence that we have tended to do better when playing our bigger locks together and Lawes at 6.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing

Who is online?

Total users online:  

Most users online:  

Users on this site:  

Where are they?