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Would Saints have reached the top 4 without injuries?


By Saint Ted
June 14 2019

Chirs Boyd has finished his first season in charge at Saints with the goal of getting Saints back into the top 6 the main objective, it's probably fair to say the minority thought we would get into the top 4, by 18 inches they made it capping off an amazing first season of the new era and bringing some silverware with them along the way.  The players can't speak high enough of the man at the top, his vision is clear to all and they are headed in the right direction, my question is this, would Saints have acheived the same result, better or worse without the injuries they had?

This season has seen Saints seemingly with more injuries, in particular long term ones than they have done for a long time, I don't think it's been this bad since 2006(?) when all you had to do was put on the 13 shirt and you would end up out of action for a period.

This has seen the rise of a number of youngsters, Boyd stuck by them instead of bringing in help up to the point when all bar 1 hooker was injured, even with that, if it hadn't been such a specialised position I think Boyd would rather have shifted a member of the current squad into place.

Ludlam has at the start of the season must have had the daunting thought at the start of the season of 'how do I get ahead of two or three very experienced internationals', he got given his opportunity and through injury managed a decent run of games, cementing his place in the first XV, we already knew he was a good player, but illness hampered him in what could have been his big break through year last season.

At hooker Mikey was out for pretty much the whole season and with Dylan only playing a handful of games we were down to what would have been 3rd, 4th, 5th choice hookers, all did a good job in what is arguably the most techincal of positions.

Hit by injury to Ribbans and Courtney being away, we saw the rise of Alex Moon who certainly added some grunt at the back end of the season

Alex Mitchell and James Grayson are probably the exceptions of the youngsters who shined this season, they played more than able understudies to two world class players both showing how bright the future is at half back.

Going into the season I wasn't sure what our first choice back line would be, with the loss of Horne and the only out and out centre brought in getting broken early doors, Hutch grabbed the chance and in that a place in the Scotland world cup training squad.  Add to that Luther and Francis have both spent chunks of time on the sidelines, opening up opportunities for the likes of Furbank, Sleighthome and Dingwall, all doing a standup job

Would we have seen all these players get so much game time without the injuries to more senior players? From an outsiders point of view at points of the season you could have looked at the team sheet and thought it was an under strength team based on previous seasons, a lot of the names mainly featured for the wanderers.

Without the injuries, would saints have made the top 4?

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Would Saints have reached the top 4 without injuries?
Discussion started by Marching On , 14/06/2019 07:14
Marching On
14/06/2019 07:14
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ancient mariner
14/06/2019 07:43
The interesting question is, what would Jim have done with the same injury situation? Would he have brought the youngsters in to the team or looked for experienced players to fill in from outside? If he had brought the youngsters on, would they have been as fired up as under Boyd? "What ifs" are impossible to answer, and whether Boyd would have done even better with the senior players, assuming there were far fewer injuries, is another one. Makes one think though.

expeeler
14/06/2019 08:14
Injuries have developed our squad to a position where I am not concerned if we have to replace someone... there is little division between first and second string, unlike in previous seasons. The OPs point is interesting... indeed, the injuries might prove to have been a strange positive last season and a blessing in disguise for the long term, but only if some of those serious injuries heal and those players return to top form.

Plus of course, many squads have beefed up and signed some world class players... the competition will be that much more difficult.

Would we have made top four easier? Well who knows. But injuries permitting, next year will be fantastic. Certainly a couple of positions to recruit next year but our best squad for years.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019:06:14:08:18:21 by expeeler.

Aberavon Wizard
14/06/2019 08:15
Interesting thought. If we had played a back line of T, PF, LB, KP and Ace all season would we have seen much of Hutchinson and Collins let alone Furbank and Dingwall ? Likewise in the forwards would we have seen the emergence of Moon, Coles and Ludlam ?

If Jim had one failing it was his perceived loyalty allied to a reluctance to experiment. Whether that was all down to him or he was too reliant on West was/is open to speculation. Cbris Boyd has been faced with a long injury list and he has been to some extent forced to use our younger players and that situation has reaped huge dividends.

We nicked a top four spot by the smallest of margins - still very much work in progress.

Chris Hoddle
14/06/2019 08:21
I posted a team list of the then injured players a couple of months ago. I think that had they all been fit there would have been far more opportunity to rotate the players that I think would have proved positive.
With these players it looks good for next season.

http://chrishoddle.smugmug.com/photos/i-TsCHdzK/0/M/i-TsCHdzK-M.gif

Walks11
14/06/2019 08:43
I think we would have comfortably finished 4th and possibly even have been near Glos points wise. The real plus of the long injury list as mentioned above is the development of the younger players. with the odd exception we have strength in every position and shouldn't fear throwing anyone in as they have prove they are more than capable.

Saint For Life
14/06/2019 10:03
Re the 3 questions raised by St Ted - who knows and it would be purely a guess . Boyd has also introduced a different style of rugby and a change of culture - all the players appear to have responded well to this. Was never going to happen overnight although I suspect progress has been quicker than most would have anticipated .Look forward to next season and further progress.

fishface
14/06/2019 11:47
This is an interesting question which could equally apply to the results of every other club.

It is easy to assume that we are the unlucky ones who suffer more than others and often in a specific position.

Trawling through our competitors sites usually reveals that it is common to have something like 12-16 players out of action at any time,such is the intensity of the game today.

Perhaps the most frustrating injuries are ongoing "last season" or preseason ones, not least for the lads themselves.

Prime example Harry Mallinder, how is he progressing ?

craig84
14/06/2019 12:09
Great post and subject, and at a guess im not sure we would have made the top 4?
My opinion is the players that came in-eg Ludlam when Wood was injured, Ludlam was a better fit to the speed and fluidity of play Boyd has got the team playing, you cannot doubt Woods commitment and is great at his game,but is a penalty machine which stops our momentum when he goes in off his feet,at the side of doesn't listen to the ref when he being told to let the ball go and gives away easy 3 points to the opposition- but is a real menace around the park and Ludlam does that too with the same penalty count. VW playing more minutes because Waller was the most pinged prop in the league, and V has done a fantastic job- i like Alex Waller but his decline has been awful, hopefully MF can help him sort his issues out because he great around the park throwing his bodt about for the cause. Painter has been exceptional for his first season,Fish jas been really consistent,Hutch showing his class and really giving us depth to hepp Proctor eased into English rugby,Dingwall superb,Collins jet heels used much better and so many more players i haven't mentioned but haven't got time to write at the moment.
Our squad was stuck in our ways from the same way of playing for years under Jim, the youngsters and squad players brought a freshness we needed.
For me without our younger squad being given the chance we wouldn't be top 4, maybe not even top 6.
Just my opinion

Dragonboy
14/06/2019 13:28
And of course we mustn’t forget that we’ve been without Harry Mallinder, James Haskell and Heinrich Broussow for most of the season and these would all have been in the mix for the 23

Saint Stokey
14/06/2019 13:43
plus Symonds

I appreciate that he's a bit of an unknown quantity in GB&G, but he's a dedicated and large centre.

The main thing as CH said, without the injuries, we'd have had the chance of rotating the squad more.

The games where we were forced to play Woody or Heinz at 8 may not have played out like they did. Also, the situations where we were forced to play Furbank at 10, whilst he acquitted himself very well, would we have fared better with someone like Harry?


Fingers crossed that this has been a bit of an extreme season in terms of injuries and next season we can rotate more, keep players refreshed and turn the Gardens into the fortress that it once was.

If we can also get a win against Sarries for once, would also be nice.


However, the blessing has been the injuries resulted in the unearthing of a number of starlets. Try putting together a team sheet and see who you have to leave out...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:06:14:13:54:53 by Saint Stokey.

Deesaint
14/06/2019 14:50
Pre Boyd there was two styles of play
First team seemed constricted, forced with very little ‘ heads up’ rugby
Wandies much more a heads up go from anywhere with guys being able to express themselves on the field
I know it’s simplistic but as my wife tells me I am a very simple person- I’m assured it’s a compliment
Little wonder when Boyd looked at the players a good few of the A team suddenly found themselves making a step up. Their style was more in line with his vision
They have grabbed the opportunity with both hands. - well done to them

I wonder how many of the ‘A’ team such as Stephenson would have made a name for themselves under Boyd

Dragonboy
14/06/2019 15:53
Picking up on Saint Stokey’s post Ive been a Saints fan for 55 years now and I can never remember us ever having an injury situation like we’ve had this year and it has likely been the making and retention of a clutch of our younger players.

With hopefully everyone being fit - World Cup permitting of course - Chris and the coaches are going to have some interesting challenges ahead of them plus of course Matt Proctor and Franks minor to merge in.

Hopefully this will mean that players will no longer be seemingly flogged into the ground as used to be the case.

Rotation is very much the key to success these days. M

Wilson Pickett
14/06/2019 21:12
Excellent topic and post Ted. Tough call but medium term it has definitely helped us as a squad and identity.

maybe another way of looking at it, regardless of injuries Boyd would always have got us top 4 (sorry FleetG, as if I could resist)

30yearsofsaints
14/06/2019 21:24
It's something I fear we're going to have to get used to in the modern game. The collisions are just so immense. I can look back at games early in his career when Matt Dawson played 13 for us at about 12 stone. He'd get killed now.

Chris Froome came off his bike yesterday at 40mph and hit a wall and look at the mess he's in. Rugby players are running into each other for 80 minutes each running at up to 20 mph for an impact speed of 40. I watched most of the saints games this year marvelling that there weren't more injuries.

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