Aviva Premiership Half Term Reports - add your team
Aviva Premiership Half Term Reports - add your team
We're at exactly the halfway stage of the Prem season, since most of us presumably don't have time to watch every game, this is a thread to both report on your own team and get fans' insights into other teams, as well as disagree and argue with each other of course.
Saracens and Wasps clearly way out in front, then clear water before the rest - I doubt many would disagree that, the table ertainly doesn't. At the bottom, Bristol looked locked on for relegation until a change of fortune in the last few weeks - I have to be honest I haven't seen much of them but from what I've read here and elsewhere it sounds like they are picking up as Worcester are getting worse, Bristol's win in the bottom of the table clash the other day could turn out to be the start of an interesting battle. Sale are also in the running at the bottom but Olyy is on record saying he isn't worried so that's OK.
Bath's Half Term Report
If you'd offered me third at halfway on the fist day of the season I'd have bitten your arm off. Even more so if you'd also told me the number of injuries we'd have early season. Every week I think we don't look that good, and we're bound to come unstuck against a top team but we keep winning games and top teams keep not really playing well against us. As ever in sport, eventually you have to start putting that down to an effective gameplan even if we aren't pulling up trees. Todd Blackadder has got the players playing for each other (cliche alert) after bringing together a horrendously divided dressing room, the exciting back play of Mike Ford's peak era is not there by any stretch but there is a pragmatism and defensive solidity which is a great base to build on. Hopefully in the second half of the season with some top class players coming back from injury and other new signings starting to gel, some more flair can be added to that. I don't see us challenging Wasps and Sarries just yet, but reasonably confident of an away playoff which would be an excellent season in the circumstances and something to build on next year.
Rokoduguni - as ever
Fotoali'i - a brilliant signing, Northampton must be kicking themselves for playing him behind whiny mediocrity Lee Dickson for so long
Tapuai - maybe early to tell but has looked fantastic and should improve as he grows into the combinations with Ford and JJ
Zach Mercer - brilliant season from the academy lad, stepping up to the plate when injuries gave him an opportunity to make a name for himself
Garvey - on field captain and always a tough, give-it-your-all blindside.
Ford - a little bit, judged by his own standards rather than actually playing badly. The gameplan and speculation about him leaving can't help
Louw - has looked off the pace in his couple of games since coming back, but harsh to judge him on that, I'm sure he'll be back to his best soon
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28-12-16 08:27 PM
Half term report Northampton Saints
Currently sitting 7th in the table is a fair reflection for a team of top players playing in a disjointed team with some extremely poor coaching and game plan. For a team that still consists of the majority of players who won the premiership, we lack passion, skill and that killer edge.
The main issue seems to be the coaching disconnect to the players. While no one knows exactly what is going on, ex player and professional Victor Matfield has stated there are major coaching issues at the saints. We all saw the strange exit of Alex King in unknown circumstances.
King Louis, dragging our team forward the way Manoa used to.
Tom Wood. Should have been captain for the last few years , he's back to his best.
Nic Groom, the only exciting back who Jim picks at the moment.
The coaching, our attack looks like it's from an under 9s team.
Jim Malinder, with little or no game plan his team selection has been very poor as well.
Dickson, Myler, pisi x 2, Burrell and Foden. All our backs have been terrible, this possible points towards a coaching issue rather than that many players playing so badly.
This is my signature. I really should change it.
Huge progress on from last season. We finally look like the structure and style that Dean has been pushing for is coming together and players are enjoying the system.
Joel Hodgson has been a breath of fresh air at 10.
The pack is becoming very physical and even the scrum is improving nicely.
Things to work on:
We badly need a reliable kicker. We lost to wasps by four points and we missed 2 fairly easy kicks.
We are dominating a lot of possession and territory yet we are very inefficient at converting that into points. Something we badly need to work on.
All in all....very positive...and fans are very excited about where we are heading...
We just need to keep our squad together and not let the bigger clubs come tempting away our players ie Wasps & Marcus Watson.
One to forget.
Inconsistent and don't see it changing really.
"Can I borrow a feelin'?
Could you lend me a jar of love?
Hurtin' hearts need some healin',
Take my hand with your glove of love."
President of the Sunwolves appreciation group.
Par for the course really - consistently inconsistent. Our home form has been good but we've suffered some very embarrassing defeats on the road.
Kingston and Mapletoft were uninspiring appointments that showed a real lack of ambition from the club. That's been matched by very average signings so our mid-table position is no surprise.
Kyle Sinckler - definitely maturing and becoming increasingly influential
James Chisholm - really making a breakthrough at long last. His performances earlier in the season meant Clifford wasn't really missed.
Joe Marchant - still a touch green, but his class is easy to see. Has made the 13 shirt his own and will be a key player for us moving forward
Danny Care - I've always been a fan of Care's but he's been consistently poor this season and simply shouldn't be captain.
Jamie Roberts - not the player we thought we were getting. Well past his best and if Harry Sloan or George Lowe were fit he'd be lucky to stay in the side.
Signings - while other clubs are signing quality, international players we are signing average squad fillers on some bizarre 'Moneyball' type theory which clearly isn't working. Catrikalis and Bothma could be OK, but when Sale are being linked with players of Ford's calibre, for example, it hurts to be a Quins fan.
Overall, I think 6th is about the best we can hope for and if we do achieve that, I'd argue that we'll owe a good bit of that to other teams around us being equally poor ...
What are you all on about, the season doesn't start for another 9 months
Massively inconsistent is the only way to describe it and, although I would like to think we are better than our placing suggests, the league table doesn't lie.
Some fine performances, some awful performances (often in the same game) and entirely too many close games lost or drawn (9 bonus points for a team in 9th place!).
We appear to have found a style that works with the strong running forward play but the backs still lack creativity in multi-phase play.
Lots of injuries but that's not unique to Gloucester and having only one fullback in the squad seems foolish.
Matt Scott - has been a superb signing with an eye for the line. Beyond me why he wasn't in the Scotland AI squad.
Tom Savage - almost ever present, has a massive work rate. Will benefit from Thrush's (long awaited) return.
Greig Laidlaw - the odd suspect captaincy decision aside, has been superb this year. He will be sorely missed.
Willie Heinz - 1.5 seasons in and still not performing. Passing is cumbersome and inaccurate, his kicking is terrible and far too frequent, despite some improvement in recent games.
David Halaifonua - a winger that doesn't score or create tries and is prone to doing stupid things at crucial moments - no idea why he is near the squad let alone in it.
Laurie Fisher - been here a while now and it is difficult to see any progression in the team. The direct running style of recent weeks seems to have been stumbled upon rather than planned and, as referenced above, multi-phase play is utterly bereft of ideas (arguably Tim Taylor is responsible for this but it's under Fisher's watch). Seems that the plan for the backs is ship the ball along the line and wait for someone to do something brilliant. If Gloucester were to make an organisational change, he would be my pick. We might also be able to do without some of the 22 back room staff.
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