Fexit


By Monkey1
February 7 2017

  Newcastle Falcons kissed goodbye to any hopes of glory in the European Challenge Cup on Friday 13th January with defeat away in Grenoble, but perhaps it died on the very first day, way back in October with a 45 – 0 drubbing by Ospreys. We are also out of the Anglo welsh cup and were able to approach the game against Bath with only entertainment and player development in mind. The big question in a season when our Premiership form is looking better than for many years is do we really care?  

It appears that I don’t care, having arranged to be away so that I missed the home game against Ospreys, and then choosing the Scotland v Ireland game at Murrayfield instead of watching the win over Bath. I would quite enjoy watching a pointless game where we have nothing to lose, nothing to play for except pride, and can just have fun, but not if I have something better to do, which probably explains the low crowds at cup games. Lots of people like myself simply find they have better things to do with their limited leisure time, and until the cup games become more important as part of our season this will always be the case.

 

Most of the nails were hammered into the Challenge Cup coffin on day one when we fielded our usual mix of juniors, less experienced players, and a few more senior heads to hold it all together. This in my own old fashioned opinion is what these cup games are all about, a chance to get the more junior players some game time, assisted by some returning from injury, and enough experienced players so that the juniors will learn in a competitive environment.

 

That theory works just fine as long as the opposition aim for the same values. When the Ospreys team was announced, with from memory 13 of the starting 15 being internationals, it was obvious that this game was lost before it even started. As Jeeves would put it “It’s not the done thing sir.” The next game saw a reversal of fortunes, Falcons spanking Grenoble 50 – 7 at Kingston Park.

 

I never take much enjoyment from such one-sided games, whether we win or lose. Just my personal view I suppose, but these cup games really are more about the taking part that they are about the results. Giving opportunities to players in a genuinely competitive environment is what I see as the main value of these games, and you have to question how much value our players got from either of those one-sided games?

 

I have to be honest, the actual cup competition doesn’t mean much to me, and I am not that bothered about missing games. What I do enjoy however is seeing players who don’t feature in our regular league games, especially our home-grown players for the future. I remember many years ago seeing a young player called Toby Flood make his Falcons debut in just such a game, and having followed his fortunes when he was a sensational player for Morpeth, it was a great pleasure to see him at Kingston Park. You just don’t get that sort of thing happening in league games, the stakes are too high to risk fielding inexperienced players. If those players don’t get experience however, they will never become experienced. Cup games have a tremendous value in this respect.

 

There has been much discussion about the format and value of the cup competitions, especially the insane idea of playing teams who are not in your pool, that is just mad. Among those discussions have been some sound suggestions about alternative approaches to the cup competitions. I would like to think that those in charge will detect the utter lack of interest in the games from clubs, sponsors and supporters, and they will actually do something about it. If they get the format right they could create a very valuable competition, appreciated by everyone, and eminently watchable.

 

There really is potential to organise something special, a genuinely good companion to the Champions Cup rather than what we have now which is very much a side show. There have been some excellent suggestions on the message board about ways to make this work, such as some sort of limit to the number of players allowed who have international experience, or a limit set by number of league appearances. Age limits won’t work, and you don’t want to exclude all senior players as the juniors need them there to learn from, but there must surely be a reasonably workable format which will prevent imbalance such as we saw against Ospreys (A) & Grenoble (H). If the cup games could become genuinely competitive games featuring mainly developing players, then I for one would stop doing other things and would turn up at KP to watch.

pqs: qs:
Fexit
Posted by: FalconsRugby.org.uk (IP Logged)
Date: 07/02/2017 12:35

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Re: Fexit
Posted by: Bedlington Lad (IP Logged)
Date: 07/02/2017 13:37

I would totally endorse this I think this is an excellent article. It encapsulates all mt feelings on the current cup format. I think the Falsons as a club get it right with the balance of players and I look forward to seeing up and coming youngsters, the result is an irrelevance really

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Falcons_Thunder (IP Logged)
Date: 07/02/2017 13:54

I haven't been to a European game for a few years now as we don't take the competition seriously so why should I attend!!. The LV and A-league should be for player development not a European competition. Teams like ospreys, Quinn, Gloucester, brive, blues, bath and stade are taking the competition seriously and are reaping the rewards. I predicted the drumming off ospreys and it might be one of the lowest European games in memory. You've also got the financial side that the competition is part of the EQP percentage payment so teams like the Falcons, Bristol and warriors are using this competition as a cash cow. But with a business head on you can't blame them for using the competition to hit the RFU EQP percentage.

The interesting question would be if we got into the champions cup next season would the club take it for granted and watch teams like Toulon and Munster destroy the Falcons with ease or would we take the competition seriously?

With AW cup and A-league we should be making chick captain and bring him through that way. That's what sarries did with cruiz and itoje and it really has payed off

Re: Fexit
Posted by: pa8 (IP Logged)
Date: 07/02/2017 14:15

Totally agree with the above, I found better things to do for both the Ospreys and Bath cup games.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Leipziger (IP Logged)
Date: 07/02/2017 20:16

Thanks Monkey, interesting stuff. I agree that the Challenge Cup should be taken more seriously. One thing they could do is to give the winner an automatic spot in the Champions Cup, rather than having to go through playoffs with three other teams. Financial rewards would also help.


Quote:
This in my own old fashioned opinion is what these cup games are all about, a chance to get the more junior players some game time, assisted by some returning from injury, and enough experienced players so that the juniors will learn in a competitive environment.
This in my own old fashioned opinion is what these cup games are all about, a chance to get the more junior players some game time, assisted by some returning from injury, and enough experienced players so that the juniors will learn in a competitive environment.

Monkey


I'd say this is more a new-fashioned view - using cup games to give game time to fringe and young players. An old-fashioned view would be to play your best team in every single game to give you the best chance of winning.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
Date: 07/02/2017 21:46

As I said at the time of the drubbing in Wales, there's nothing like a cup run to generate excitement in a club, plus wins breed confidence and a huge amount of momentum builds up. Personally I was really dissappointed that the towel was thrown in almost from the off. The totally pointless (but that's for another thread) Anglo Welsh cup should be for playing fringe players, youngsters and sickness returnees until someone can come up with a domestic competition that gets people's interest.

Ospreys seemed to get a bit of stick for fielding such a strong team at the time, never really understood why, good on them, they were taking the competition seriously.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: alas (IP Logged)
Date: 08/02/2017 11:29

Can't argue with the Falcons concentrating on finishing as high up in the league as possible as they've been stuck in the bottom two for so long. But the drawback of going out of both cups is that the players and supporters have too little rugby. There's a gap of 20 days when the Falcons have no games at all and a gap of 5 weeks between home games.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Falconfan (IP Logged)
Date: 08/02/2017 14:03

If I remember correctly, the Anglo-Welsh cup replaced the old Powergen Cup (for English clubs only). Falcons won this trophy at Twickenham on two glorious occasions (V Harlequins and Sale). My memory is that the rounds of that competition were well llttended and the tournament built a lot of excitement and interest among the Falcons' fans. I wonder if resurrecting that competition at the expense of the Anglo-Welsh might be worth considering?

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Leipziger (IP Logged)
Date: 08/02/2017 14:26

Quote:
Falconfan
If I remember correctly, the Anglo-Welsh cup replaced the old Powergen Cup (for English clubs only). Falcons won this trophy at Twickenham on two glorious occasions (V Harlequins and Sale). My memory is that the rounds of that competition were well llttended and the tournament built a lot of excitement and interest among the Falcons' fans. I wonder if resurrecting that competition at the expense of the Anglo-Welsh might be worth considering?

Bar the safety considerations of having professional players potentially playing against amateurs, there's not much chance of convincing the clubs to abandon a competition that guarantees them two home games in favour of one in which they are not guaranteed any. It's a shame but it's reality.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:02:08:14:27:29 by Leipziger.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
Date: 08/02/2017 16:58

Those two cup wins and even the loss against Wasps a few years before were fantastic days out (or weekend out actually!) and it's a shame the club doesn't try and replicate those cup runs.

Supposedly the Anglo Welsh cup was to help our Welsh friends' finances but I may have taken that wrongly. As for the old Powergen / Tetley Bitter cup, it was a great way of mixing the lower league teams against the big boys. I'm sure one of our cup finals had our way paved by a lower league team beating Wasps in the quarter final.

Whether there is any appetite amongst the elite teams is probably doubtful, but can you imagine Blaydon or Mowden Park getting drawn against an AP side!

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Monkey1 (IP Logged)
Date: 09/02/2017 07:33

Things were very different 12 - 15 years ago. The game had not long been professional and the gulf between the leagues were not so great. As Leipy mentions above, pitting amateurs such as Pertemps Bees against any Premiership side would be ludicrously dangerous.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: dick g (IP Logged)
Date: 09/02/2017 13:48

Quote:
Exiled Falcon
Those two cup wins and even the loss against Wasps a few years before were fantastic days out (or weekend out actually!) and it's a shame the club doesn't try and replicate those cup runs.
Supposedly the Anglo Welsh cup was to help our Welsh friends' finances but I may have taken that wrongly. As for the old Powergen / Tetley Bitter cup, it was a great way of mixing the lower league teams against the big boys. I'm sure one of our cup finals had our way paved by a lower league team beating Wasps in the quarter final.

Whether there is any appetite amongst the elite teams is probably doubtful, but can you imagine Blaydon or Mowden Park getting drawn against an AP side!

It was Solihull who beat Wasps and met us in the semi. We treated them with respect by fielding a full strength side and giving them a right old thumping.

Re: Fexit
Posted by: Exiled Falcon (IP Logged)
Date: 09/02/2017 16:22

You can't give a team more respect than that!

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