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Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: StalyShark (IP Logged)
Date: 11 January, 2019 22:13

It seems as though Will Cliff is out of contract in the summer and given his age (31 in Oct) it’s debatable whether or not he’ll be given a new one. A good servant but we all have a shelf-life sadly. So, that makes me wonder who is going to be Faf’s back up and our first choice 9 when Faf is away at the RWC. Warr seems like the next cab off the rank and then Sturgess who is 4th choice at the moment. I doubt that we’ll go into next season with any of those back up 9s starting the season without Faf.

It seems as though Gloucester’s Ben Vellacott is out of contract in the summer and as he’s behind Heinz and Braley he might be tempted to be Faf’s back up for a few years.

Anyone else know of any 9s who may be looking to move?

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: clutch (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 11:33

Regardless of whether Cliff stays or not, we should be looking at a new 9. I have a lot of time for Cliff but he’s not good enough to be starting a handful of premiership games for a team with top 6 ambitions. He’s great doing what he does, as a specialist to close out tight games. I’d be ok keeping him on that basis. Vellacot is a good shout but not sure how good he is. Gloucester fans not happy with their 9s when I read their ludicrously pessimistic message board.

Faf will prevent us having a quality back up 9. So I think Cliff inevitably may still be the best option. We have to start giving Warr more time though and Quirke soon. Strurgess, from the little I’ve seen, didn’t look up to it. Warr seems to try and play a bit more in the Faf mould, bar the maniac defending, so much easier for the team.

Having said that if we do end up with a monster pack next season and with West’s coaching, maybe Cliff will work well.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: thekeg (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 12:19

My guess is that we will probably renew cliff and bring warr through more. Ideally I’d like us to have a more experienced option with a more attacking mindset to cover Faf, but finding someone of the right quality when they know they will be behind a dominant force such as Faf makes that task difficult. Relying on what we have coming through at 9 and strengthening the front five to give us different ways of winning matches is the more likely option

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: MartWhit (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 12:33

I think Clutch and Keg are spot on. We're spending a lot on Faf, and have priority spending elsewhere also. It would be poor value for money to spend meaningfully on backup 9 when Faf will dominate playing time when available. And Dimes is all about value for money.

FWIW, if Cliff is good enough to close out tight games, he's good enough to start some too. If he'd had the pack playing as it is now, and the stability in the backs outside that we've had recently, I think he'd have slotted in just fine. Unlike Faf, he cant turn around a poor performance from the pack in front, but he also wasnt the real cause of our early season woes. We were being dominated up front and easily pierced in defence. We didnt even look particularly fit (I'm hopi g that was trues, deliberate, and a vehicle to help us to finish the season more strongly ths year).

I do think Cliff will continue to be backup 9. I think Warr will confirm himself as no3, having played a good season of senior rugby. I really like what I see from him. Sturgess is struggling to shift Bradley as starting 9 at Sale FC, and I'm not convinced he'll come through to the senior squad.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: Chris1850 (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 13:07

Quote:
MartWhit

FWIW, if Cliff is good enough to close out tight games, he's good enough to start some too. If he'd had the pack playing as it is now, and the stability in the backs outside that we've had recently, I think he'd have slotted in just fine. Unlike Faf, he cant turn around a poor performance from the pack in front, but he also wasnt the real cause of our early season woes. We were being dominated up front and easily pierced in defence.

I am sorry, but he isnt, not if we want to progress from being bottom half. He is steady, thats all. Sometimes that is what you need for the last 10 minutes to close out a game, and that's fine, However, if Faf is missing for a significant part of a season, we need someone better to start for those games.

Dont forget that he hardly covered himself in glory with Brizz in the Championship. Their supporters were pretty critical of him at the time and that was playing behind a dominant pack at that level.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: clutch (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 14:29

I think Cliff was the principle reason we struggled at the start ball in hand. The pack struggled but we created opportunities and his slowness and lack of ability to make the right decision was a real issue. Having said that having the West pack and a consistent 10/12/13 would have obviously made a difference. Maybe I’m being a tad harsh. Would like to see him play with the current team as it is.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: tbird (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 17:58

Quote:
MartWhit

FWIW, if Cliff is good enough to close out tight games, he's good enough to start some too. If he'd had the pack playing as it is now , and the stability in the backs outside that we've had recently, I think he'd have slotted in just fine.

Look how it worked out for Wiggy after he moved to Sarries. Many were critical of his slow ball here.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: StalyShark (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 21:40

Ideally I think we’d like someone towards the end of their career, eg an Albie Matthewson type who is a class above Cliff, would be fine playing 10-20 minutes a game and the reverse when Faf is away. This leaves the likes of Warr and Quirke (I also think Sturgess’ time is numbered unless he really kicks on) more time to develop, potential on loan to a championship team next year.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: M5 Shark (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2019 22:48

If we qualify for Champions Cup, and if we see ourselves as top 4 contenders (& have a strong squad), surely we'll want to rest Faf for some of the "easier" premiership games.

We need top class players in the starting XV, as well as the bench and fringed

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: PoyntonShark (IP Logged)
Date: 13 January, 2019 04:32

I don't think we are at the stage yet where top class players come to us to not be first choice. Dimes will not, quite rightly IMHO, throw money at someone, anyone just to get them to come. I would like to see Cliff get proper run with an improved pack and more settled back line (actually I would just like to see a more settled back line), but I don't think it will happen, when fit Faf will play most of game. I think Dimes more likely to trust in Cliff to fill in, or Staly's elder statesman, still class but doesn't necessarily want to play every game. One of the young guns needs to be ready to step up before end of next season.



Unhappiness, where's when I was young
And we didn't give a damn
'Cause we were raised
To see life as a fun and take it if we can

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: StalyShark (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2019 21:35

Vellacott to Wasps allegedly:

[www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk]

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: 45jumper (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 00:24

I think we'll be just fine as we are. Cliff is solid enough and Warr seems to be a massive prospect. Sturgess was also highly rated but seems to have stalled a bit, unfortunately.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: ale shark (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 08:12

Quote:
45jumper
I think we'll be just fine as we are. Cliff is solid enough and Warr seems to be a massive prospect. Sturgess was also highly rated but seems to have stalled a bit, unfortunately.

We lost pretty much every game that Cliff started, we were bottom of the league when Faf came back. We are far from “fine as we are” unless you’re after a season in the Championship. Yes, there were others missing but if Faf picks up a long-term injury we’re absolutely screwed.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: WillC (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 09:12

Quote:
aleshark
Quote:
45jumper
I think we'll be just fine as we are. Cliff is solid enough and Warr seems to be a massive prospect. Sturgess was also highly rated but seems to have stalled a bit, unfortunately.

We lost pretty much every game that Cliff started, we were bottom of the league when Faf came back. We are far from “fine as we are” unless you’re after a season in the Championship. Yes, there were others missing but if Faf picks up a long-term injury we’re absolutely screwed.

we started the season with lots of 1st choice players not available - seems a bit harsh to put that mainly on Cliff!!

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: clutch (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 09:16

I think with a monster pack we’d be fine with Cliff. As discussed it’s difficult to get someone of the required quality who is happy to sit on the bench and play 5 mins a game.

Last season cliff did well in the 5 min roles and also played well when he started, albeit in the lesser competitions.

This season I think he’s been poor, but with majority of players fit, and half of SA in the front 5 we should be ok.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: ale shark (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 09:30

Quote:
WillC
we started the season with lots of 1st choice players not available - seems a bit harsh to put that mainly on Cliff!!

Yeah, it's a bit harsh but my point is he's not adequate back-up should Faf be unavailable for selection. 3rd choice/bench is fine, not starting +30% of games.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: ageinghoody (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 09:54

Quote:
ale shark
...
We lost pretty much every game that Cliff started,..

I haven't checked but didn't the likes of Jono Ross, Sam James and Ross Harrison also start most of those games?

You might as well pick one of those to blame.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: ale shark (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 10:20

Not really, they're all playing in a team that's now winning, enhanced by a significantly better 9.

Not having a pop at Cliff, he's served us well, he’s made over 150 appearances for us, he's just not good enough to be starting in a team that has hopes to finish any higher than 10th. I’m just pointing out that we are not fine how we are in this department.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: NorthernMaori (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 10:26

I get what ale shark is saying. Cliff is a good club player; but is not a starting scrum half for a top 4 side.

However, I think he is a good backup and will be next season. Retaining him as experience, allowing Warr and Sturgess time to progress would be the best way forward. You can't lay blame at his door for the poor start to the season; and if Faf did get a long term injury he probably wouldn't become the starter. In the likelihood of this happening then odds are we would find the cash somewhere to get in a medical joker from somewhere who could be the starter whilst Faf recovered.

Alternatively, a dominant pack can give a scrum half an easier ride, meaning that less pressure is on their shoulders to be the spark a la Faf.

Re: Back up 9 (s) for 2019-20
Posted by: thekeg (IP Logged)
Date: 24 January, 2019 11:13

Clearly there is a quality gap between de Klerk and cliff, but I think the additional problem is they have a completely different playing style. That can work quite well if cliff comes on for 10 mins to close a game down, but to suddenly have him playing 80 mins for a month is quite disruptive to the game plan we normally have. I think we need another option more in line with faf’s more attack minded approach. It might be that warr can offer that, so we give him chance to develop.

Equally I do think it’s unfair to blame cliff for the early season issues. The front 5 didn’t perform that well early on, they have been much better since west arrived, plus plenty of other injuries

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