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Halftime SitRep

December 27 2017

OK, so we’re halfway through the season. Anyone who caught my comments as the Newcastle game was played will have realised I wasn’t at all happy with how we played. And yes, we’re 9th in the table. Of course, 4 more points and we’d be 6th. I find table position is not a great indicator, when within 10 points we could be 3rd in the table. 

I prefer to use John Kingston’s Roadmap 2017-18 by Poorfour, a more scientific (I said “more”, I didn’t say it was scientific!) way of seeing where we are in the world.

So, if you look at the roadmap, and remember we currently have 25 points, look at the line for Newcastle and you’ll be amazed to see on that plan 25 points will still get us 6th place! Only 4 more points (a single win) and we’d be on course for a top 4.

So halfway through the season, we are still on course for our minimum target for the season – a 6th place. I think this is the reason I think all the people calling for John Kingston’s head are going to be disappointed. Despite all our problems with injuries, despite the coaching team apparently on another planet to the players, despite a defence like tissue paper and despite an attack blunt as a bag of wet mice, somehow, we have hit our minimum target.

I said last season and at the beginning of this one that I would judge our progress at the halfway mark. As I look at it, I can see plenty of reasons to be unhappy with where we are. But where we are is just (and I do mean “just”) enough that I cannot in all conscience call for JK’s head for this. It can certainly be argued that other DORs may have had (and yet may have) a greater impact, but assuming the club have a similar roadmap, then it says “achieved minimum requirement for first half of season”.

I do feel that as we start to feed people back from the injury list that we must have a better second half of the season. Surely from an injury list perspective it can’t be as bad as the first half? That being so, even if the coaches cannot address the issues of poor defence, poor attack and not much in between, we should have a better second half than first. Please?

According to the plan, we only need 30 points in the second half of the season to make top six. If we get the wins predicted, we’ll get 28 points, meaning we need 2 bonus points. To get in the top four now we need 39 points.  It means we have to win the predicted games and win one of Saracens, Leicester or Sale. Now we’ve beaten Saracens once, if we play like that we can beat all three!

So there’s my attempt to gauge where we are at the halfway stage. I’m not happy with it, I’m not happy with how the team is performing, if that is due to the coaching then I’m not happy with that either. But it’s not all doom and gloom. By our fingernails we’re hanging onto sight of a top six finish, a top four is still possible (if unlikely) in the second half of the season.

Bring it on! 

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Halftime SitRep
Discussion started by , 27/12/2017 13:14
27/12/2017 13:14
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:10:14:23:13 by DOK.

27/12/2017 13:43
I'll buy this if you can show that in previous seasons our position on the roadmap has been an accurate predictor of our final position in the table.

Even then, we've played terribly most of the season, so no.

27/12/2017 16:52
You really need to chat to poorfour about this, I wouldn't recognise standard deviation if it bit me on the rear end (and given a name like that it might very well do so!)

But I'll give it a shot...
The previous roadmap is here

And the results for last season by this time were
Bristol		4
Sale		0
Exeter		0
Saracens	4
Wasps		0
Northampton	4
Worcester	5
Leicester	0
Bath		4
Newcastle	2
Gloucester	4
Giving a total of 27 points

We had 27 points last season, at the halfway stage.
We managed to find a sixth place finish last season with 52 points.

We have 25 points now at exactly the same point.
Yet you're saying we can't make a sixth place finish this season?

With hopefully the worst of the injuries behind us and (please God) our coaches finding some way of getting the players to play the way they want, I would expect a better second half than first half to the season.

Anyway, what did the roadmap last season say we needed? Well the roadmap said we needed 30 points to be sure of a top 6 place at the halfway stage, and it said we needed 55 points to be sure of a top 6 place at the end stage. In fact we had 27 points at halfway and 52 at the end.

So yes, not accurate to the last point but what method of prediction is?

On current showing, looks like a mid table finish with a good possibility of making top six is my personal prediction. As I say, wouldn't be surprised if this isn't the minimum target the club agreed with JK this season. If it is, then I doubt the club is going to give him the old heave-ho!

27/12/2017 19:46
Good work thanks

If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try and Try again.

28/12/2017 08:23
My main issue with relying on the roadmap at this stage is that it looks very optimistic when you look at the wins it is suggesting we’ll get versus our performances in recent weeks.

Would anyone really back us to win away at Gloucester it Worcester at the moment? And with ‘fortress Stoop’ a lot less fortressy this season, I’d say it’s brave to count wins against Wasps and Bath as bankers.

If seven wins is what we need, plus bonus points, I just don’t see that happening based on how we’ve played so far this season.

DOK is right that the x-factor in all of this is the injured players coming back and we just have to hope that both happens and makes a big difference, because if it doesn’t have an impact, I could see it being a battle to avoid 11th rather than a push for top 4.

Quaking Quin
29/12/2017 10:13
Certainly lots to play for and argue about.

DOK, your comparison with season 2016/17 is not an accurate one - in that year Quins played 6 of their first 11 games at home and should have had more points at the half-way point than in this half when only 5 of the 11 were at home.

The second half of this season should result in more league points with 6 home games left. However, it does mean each of those 4-pointers in the Roadmap are all must-wins because the options to make up any lost ground becomes much more difficult.

Remarkably Quins balanced out the lost away bankers (Irish and Falcons) with unpredicted victories against Wasps & Sarries.

As TSH86 points out - there are some very close calls against many of the bankers in the second half of the season given Quins flaky record so far.

What has been Quins downfall is the inability to put out a consistent side and manage the rotation players from what is, on paper, a talented squad. Even with players returning from injury, the 6Ns will mess up selection until late March, which gives little time to regain any form.

Which all goes to make the second half of the season uncertain and interesting - assuming Quins beat Northampton at HQ tomorrow.

29/12/2017 10:40
unfortunately Northampton will be in the honeymoon period, where changing coach should make a difference! So although yes, by most measures we should beat them, I'm not convinced, which should at least make for an interesting game.

30/12/2017 12:23
And lest we forget, maybe our opponents do not wish to comply with our expectations! And players returning from injury rarely return at peak fitness. And it is a long shot that coaches will drastically improve our tactics, not as if they have done up to this point. I honestly wish I could sound more optimistic!

Quaking Quin
30/12/2017 13:37
Kevin - your analysis sounds optimistic to me.....

Happy Quins watching in the New Year.

10/01/2018 14:22
Just to point out that according to the roadmap, 32 points at this stage puts us halfway between 6th and 4th at season end. Additionally, the roadmap says a single bonus point was the best we could get from the Sale game unless we were going to win the league.

So "Nil Desperandum"!

10/01/2018 14:31
Just to point out that according to the roadmap, 32 points at this stage puts us halfway between 6th and 4th at season end. Additionally, the roadmap says a single bonus point was the best we could get from the Sale game unless we were going to win the league.
So "Nil Desperandum"!

Certainly hope the roadmap is right. It seems to be suggesting we need 6 wins from our last 9 games, so if we manage that it will be a great few months.

10/01/2018 14:45
Well, as I said, it's the closest thing we have to a scientific measure of where we are, but of course prediction algorithms can be very unreliable!

Speaking of which, I saw on this prediction site the prediction for Sale was

Team 1	Win % 1	Win % 2	Team 2	Predicted 	Actual 
                                   Margin       Margin
Sale	69.4%	30.6%	Harlequins	7	1

So effectively they were saying 70% chance of Sale winning.

You'll be interested to know the prediction for Wasps is
Team 1	Win % 1	Win % 2	Team 2	Predicted 	Actual 
                                   Margin       Margin
Harlequins	42.9%	57.1%	Wasps	-2

I'd have said on a 40/60 prediction that Wasps would beat us by 2 points that we might have a chance of an upset!

Interesting that the maths (which has no attachment to either team) gives us a better chance against Wasps than Sale!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:10:14:46:12 by DOK.

10/01/2018 14:52
We're at home innit.

It's not that we were favourites against sale, it's that we could have won on the day if we had done several things under our control. Not let in 2 silly tries at the start, Smith to knock over some pretty straightforward kicks, Marler not to be a complete tool.

10/01/2018 14:57
I agree with 2/3 there, RR. Not sure I can castigate an 18 year old last no 10 standing for missing a few kicks NEv might have got.

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