A proper local derby

Gallagher Premiership                    Round 5…The Main Course

Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers

Franklin Gardens 3pm 30th Nov

Referee   Mathew Carley

Saints

Furbank..Collins..Proctor Hutchinson..Naiyaravoro Biggar..Reinach..Waller cc Haywood..Franks..Moon..Lawes Wood..Ludlam..Harrison cc

Replacements

van Vouren..van Wyk..Painter Ratuniyarawa..Gibson..Mitchell Dingwall..Tuala

Tigers

Worth..May..Tuilagi..Taute Holmes..Ford..Youngs B..Genge Youngs T..Cole..Lavanini..Green Wells..Thompson..Kalamafoni

Replacements

Kerr..Gigena..Leatigaga..Lewis Coghlan..White..Reid..Forsyth Continue reading “A proper local derby”

Premiership round 5 team news

Sarries

15 Elliot Daly (1)

14 Sean Maitland (67)

13 Duncan Taylor (119)

12 Brad Barritt © (248)

11 Alex Lewington (36)

10 Owen Farrell (193)

9 Richard Wigglesworth (236)

1 Mako Vunipola (161)

2 Jamie George (220)

3 Titi Lamositele (81)

4 Will Skelton (68)

5 George Kruis (179)

6 Maro Itoje (113)

7 Jackson Wray (233)

8 Billy Vunipola (104)

Replacements

16 Jack Singleton (3)

17 Richard Barrington (178)

18 Vincent Koch (69)

19 Nick Isiekwe (73)

20 Ben Earl (48)

21 Ben Spencer (162)

22 Manu Vunipola (12)

23 Nick Tompkins (111)

Bath

15. Tom Homer

14. Semesa Rokoduguni

13. Max Wright

12. Jamie Roberts

11. Ruaridh McConnochie

10. Rhys Priestland

9. Will Chudley

1. Beno Obano

2. Tom Dunn

3. Will Stuart

4. Josh McNally

5. Elliott Stooke

6. Josh Bayliss

7. Sam Underhill

8. Francois Louw (c)

Replacements

16. Jack Walker

17. Lewis Boyce

18. Christian Judge

19. Matt Garvey

20. Rhys Davies

21. Chris Cook

22. Freddie Burns

23. Gabe Hamer-Webb

Are the Chiefs evolving from multi digited swamp dwellers ready to conquer Europe?

An interesting piece from the DT on how Exeter have evolved their game to compete more effectively in Europe. It seems Hogg was signed as much for his boot as his counter attacking running game. Is Baxter learning from Eddie the virtue of flexibility and that territory can sometimes be every bit as important as possession? It’s early days yet but still pleasing that Chiefs look ready to have a proper crack at Europe. Will Baxter ‘get it done’ before BOJO? My money is on the Devon farmer….

The article by Ben Coles –
Premiership pace-setters throughout the last five years, Exeter Chiefs have struggled to successfully compete in the Champions Cup during that same period.

Their template has been predictable but incredibly tough for domestic rivals to stop, with Exeter dominating the kicking game and territory while grinding opponents down through the size of their pack. It’s a rugby tale as old as time.

Putting that plan into action in Europe has proven difficult, however, there have been signs in Exeter’s opening wins over La Rochelle and Glasgow Warriors suggesting that they are now able to successfully implement that style in Europe.

Below are figures illustrating how many kicks from hand Exeter made in their first two Champions Cup matches last season, compared to this season.

Rather than needing to dig themselves out of a hole to make the quarter-finals, as was the case last season, Exeter are now one of the front-runners.

Putting pressure back onto the opposition was something we saw Exeter do brilliantly in the second half against Glasgow, when Nic White, Joe Simmonds and Henry Slade pinned the Scottish side back into their 22.

Glasgow could not escape, made errors, and gave up penalties and points. Kicking away possession also worked in La Rochelle, limiting Exeter to only eight turnovers conceded, compared to the Top 14 side total of 17.

The lineout has also been sharper. Exeter won only 20 of their 29 lineouts in those first two games against Munster and Castres last season, a return of 69 percent. Against La Rochelle and Glasgow this season, that number leapt to 18 out of 20, or 90 percent.

Improved set-piece performances and better control of the territory suggest that Exeter have cracked how to win in the Champions Cup.

Oh dear!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/50479078

is reporting that Sarries got a slap across the knuckles & and their tuck money confiscated for not turning up for the AP sponsors.

Do they have a “don’t want to play your game” mentality?

Thursday Thread – all quiet on the western front

It would appear Sarries decision not to appeal has had the desired effect. It is very quiet in the world of rugby this week.

Muck Clearly has put out a few nonsense pieces as per and Charlie Morgan a decent piece on Slade’s mastery of the intercept, but apart from that we’ve just had the news that Dave Rennie has been hired by Rugby Australia and Jamie Joseph has extended his stay in Japan.

Pivac has released his first Wales squad, just how significant this is can be deabted. I personally think this would be the squad were he playing a big game at the weekend and not the Barbarians. My thinking being it is too good an opportunity to get the group together prior to the 6Ns not to be.

In other news McCall has reiterated his and Sarries’ support for their intl players. Doubt he felt it necessary, but he was asked the question.

I posted this on the other thread, but for anyone who hasn’t seen it we can always rely on Marler for some entertainment.

Eddie’s Book and Other things

So Eddie has released a book and to boost sales he has made a few comments which have had the desired effect.

Like the chicks in a nest he has chucked out a few small morsels and the press have been trampling over each other to swallow them down.

I know this is most likely driven by his publishers to maximise sales, but the timing doesn’t sit right with me. The events are too recent and whilst still in the job I think anything related to actually being in the England job should be an addendum until such time he is no longer under the employ of the RFU.

He has been quite canny in that nothing he has said has been particularly controversial, but the timing is wrong.

So what has he said?

With the benefit of hindsight he would have done things differently for the RWC Final.

Well they lost, so I do not see why there is such a hullabaloo about this, it would be disingenuous to anyone who watched the game to suggest otherwise.

However, again, the timing is wrong and is for book sales and I do not agree with that.

He wishes he would have embraced the diversity in the squad earlier, making note of the more subtle differences outside of race and religion.

I have no issue with this at all, if anything I think it shows a mature insight into the vagaries of coaching England that previous coaches haven’t considered.

I certainly look at how united this RWC squad were and think he got something right there.

He was asked about potential impacts of the Sarries sanctions on the England team. He upset some Sarries fans with his response, but again here I think he was just expressing genuine concerns and more stating that him and his team would need to be mindful of them.

He has also been asked about Scotland and if you ignore the clickbait headline he actually makes some astute, reasonable and sensible observations.

A reference to Japan is not a slur after this RWC and certainly not from on of their biggest advocates.

In other news, Tipuric is strongly linked to Bristol for a whopping 500k a year contract.

Big numbers like this will now always come with raised eyebrows, but if you look at that Bristol squad there are a significant number of players who would be on relatively lower salaries.

It would be interesting if Lam thinks one big signing over a few medium signings is the best way for them, but he is a smart cookie, so if it happens you’d have to think it was a fit for his plan.

Some rumours flying about that some of the current Sarries squad are leaving, whether as part of the fall out from salary-gate or not, every move they make will be scrutinised to the nth degree.

Names I’ve heard are Rhodes, Wiggles and Lewington.

The only real surprise there for me would be Rhodes, but maybe they are happy with their back row stocks and academy products in that area.

Sarries won’t appeal

So, after a whole bunch of noise it seems Salaries won’t be appealing their fine and points deduction after all.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/17/saracens-drop-appeal-fine-points-penalty-salary-cap-breach?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

I know that might well upset our many good friends on here who are Sarries fans, and I’m sorry for you fellas, but has seemed pretty clear from the word go that you guys were banged to rights.