Championship side
Posted by: Innings (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 00:26

It now seems clear that Sarries will be able to field a Championship side containing at least seven or eight current internationals, mostly Lions or current RWC winners, including the entire front row. I presume, and hope, that someone will be thinking about player safety when team selection is being planned. Most Championship players are semi-professionals wholly unused to meeting what Sarries could put out against them. The Sarries players have to demonstrate readiness for internationals and cannot be expected to do a cameo like Jerry Collins at Barnstaple. I want to watch rugby, not serious injury.


Points win matches: tries win hearts and minds.

Re: Championship side
Posted by: Duncan96 (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 10:47

Since funding has been cut to Championship sides and more of them are forced to become semi pro this is going to be a bigger and bigger issue to ad to the question: can rugby really afford each year to financially cripple one team from the Premiership by making them play a year in the Championship?

Re: Championship side
Posted by: GazzaFez (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 11:38

I agree. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that ring-fencing the Premiership will (has) become necessary and more to the point inevitable. In happier times I thought promotion and relegation really added spice to the competition, along with joy and jubilation for the promoted side. It wasn't the end of the world for the relegated side either, but sadly those days are over.

The obvious problem is that there are on the face of it thirteen vaguely viable teams. So what to do? A brutal cull of one of those teams at the end of the nominated season to keep it at 12, or allow a fourteenth team to come up and make up the numbers, but who would that be? Just allow the championship to fight it out and let the fourteenth team be promoted via the league? But what about ground capacity, financial security etc etc.

One other option of course, but rarely mentioned is to have a 13 team Premiership. One team would simply have a rest weekend each round. If player welfare was taken as seriously as they would have you believe, this would be welcomed. However, commercially this isn't an attractive option; idle teams make no money.

My choice would be for a 14 team Premiership whilst relaxing the eligibility rules, which may be forced upon us anyway if teams continue to struggle financially, perhaps forcing some to downsize.

Re: Championship side
Posted by: GazzaFez (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 11:55

Innings - apologies, I realise I've gone off at a complete tangent to the OP, more in response to Duncan's post.

Yes I agree that is a very valid point and something I mentioned when we were first docked 35 points. A full strength Saracens team Vs bottom of the league Championship team does raise some fairly serious safety concerns to me. Hopefully pragmatic team selections would avoid that kind of situation in the first place.

Re: Championship side
Posted by: nedrichards (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 15:15

On a similar note, I was just working out the "best case" team that could face Leinster, since it felt that we'd lost so many who played them last year.

From Wikipedia, the 2019 final team:
2019 final

FB 15 England Alex Goode
RW 14 Wales Liam Williams
OC 13 England Alex Lozowski
IC 12 England Brad Barritt (c)
LW 11 Scotland Sean Maitland
FH 10 England Owen Farrell
SH 9 England Ben Spencer Substituted off 55'
N8 8 England Billy Vunipola Substituted off 74'
OF 7 England Jackson Wray
BF 6 England Maro Itoje Temporarily suspended from 29' to 39' 29' to 39'
RL 5 England George Kruis
LL 4 Australia Will Skelton Substituted off 61'
TP 3 United States Titi Lamositele Substituted off 29'
HK 2 England Jamie George
LP 1 England Mako Vunipola Substituted off 29'
HK 16 England Joe Gray
PR 17 England Richard Barrington Substituted in 29'
PR 18 South Africa Vincent Koch Substituted in 29'
LK 19 England Nick Isiekwe Substituted in 61'
FL 20 South Africa Schalk Burger Substituted in 74'
SH 21 England Richard Wigglesworth Substituted in 55'
CE 22 Wales Nick Tompkins
WG 23 England David Strettle

And my theoretical 2020 Quarter-Final team, squad from the sticky on this board:

2020 qf

15 Alex Goode
14 Elliot Daly
13 Duncan Taylor
12 Brad Barritt
11 Sean Maitland
10 Owen Farrell
9 Richard Wigglesworth
8 Billy Vunipola
7 Jackson Wray
6 Mike Rhodes
5 Maro Itoje
4 Joel Kpoku
3 Vincent Kock
2 Jamie George
1 Mako Vunipola

16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Ralph Adams-Hale
18 Juan Figallo
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Callum Clarke
21 Aled Davies
22 Manu Vunipola
23 Alex Lewington

There's no way that team will play in the championship (as a starter wiggy and brad won't) but that would be actively dangerous, for the same reasons they removed the old open cup competition. Whilst we've clearly lost a lot of power vs 2019 (and I do think we'll lose to Leinster, they looked a cut above before all this happened). But that's a team that can compete.

Re: Championship side
Posted by: TV (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 16:18

I thought George Kruis was still available?

Re: Championship side
Posted by: nedrichards (IP Logged)
Date: 18 July, 2020 21:39

TV: you may be right! The Japanese league doesn't start until quite late. That obviously makes a big difference to the team.

Re: Championship side
Posted by: Gryff (IP Logged)
Date: 19 July, 2020 11:10

George Kruis said in Rugby Paper today Japan doesn’t start until November but it looks unlikely he’ll be able to play in Europe unfortunately

Re: Championship side
Posted by: The Bard (IP Logged)
Date: 19 July, 2020 12:13

Chippy definitely won’t be playing, will either be the new lad from Jersey or Ibuanokpe

Re: Championship side
Posted by: AlanE (IP Logged)
Date: 20 July, 2020 07:40

The Bard
Chippy definitely won’t be playing, will either be the new lad from Jersey or Ibuanokpe

No Vincent Koch?

I was 17 miles from Graybridge before I was caught by the school leopard

Re: Championship side
Posted by: Larraldo (IP Logged)
Date: 20 July, 2020 08:43

I agree Innings. Ideally our internationals will only be deployed against the 4 or 5 full time pro teams such as Ealing and Pirates (I think) and also when those players need some game time. Unfortunately those two circumstances are not likely to coincide too often and we may have Billy ploughing into players not conditioned to take it. However, there are some tough old lumps in the Championship and scrummaging is perhaps it's area of strength, which may mitigate the difference in quality in the first half of matches. But if Sarries play at Premiership pace from the off, the scrums and collisions in the 2nd half may well be a danger to players from Richmond, Lon Scots, etc.

Re: Championship side
Posted by: nedrichards (IP Logged)
Date: 20 July, 2020 10:16

AlanE: I had Vincent starting in my theoretical "best" team, I think The Bard was saying that Chippy wouldn't be available on the bench which is fair enough, I've liked the look of Ibuanokpe but the idea of him scrummaging under pressure at the Aviva did give me pause. As Larraldo says, a year in the championship will likely be really good experience for the young group of front rowers, I expect them to (have to) get better quickly!

Re: Championship side
Posted by: Barty II (IP Logged)
Date: 20 July, 2020 10:55

During the six nations, if those established internationals toddle off for a bit it looks like we could still put out a side that's something along the lines of:

1. Barrington
2. Woolstencroft
3. Koch
4. Joel Kpoku
5. Swinson
6. Clark
7. Reffell
8. Wray
9. Davies
10. Manu Vunipola
11. Lewington
12. Sloan
13. Socino
14. Segun
15. Hooley
16. Pifeleti
17. Mawi / Adams-Hale (when fit)
18. Clarey/Ibuanokpe
19. Hunter-Hill
20. Venter/Christie
21. Whiteley
22. Morris
23. Crossdale

During this Premiership season we've won matches against some decent top flight teams with a similar side so I think we're pretty well placed even if we get the most handicapped scenario playing the likes of Ealing/Pirates during that window

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