Is it all as bad as it looks?


By Saint Ted
September 9 2020

I was going to do this after the Tigers match, but things, on the face of it, are going from bad to worse, so I thought I'd take a look at is it all as bad as it seems, the results say it is, ultimately that's what matters.

We're 6 games into the restarted season, having only won one game things don't look great, but lets take a look at things and where it's possibly gone wrong.

 

I should probably start by saying these are simply my opinions, but I will throw a couple of facts in.

 

First off, splitting the squad into two teams failed, I think Boyd has even said as much, I personally feel this is what has caused the massive down turn, along with a couple of other things.

 

Splitting the squad has ended up meaning we have two teams that were not even close to full strength, it's also meant that the percieved first XV have barely trained together, this showed in the Exeter match, this game did show some improvements, but it looked like a team that just weren't functioning as one, this is sort of true, I'm guessing the week before was probably the first time they had trained together since the return as the initial plan was for two seperate teams.

 

Defence, this isn't great at the minute, actually it's almost non-existent, this sudden fall of a cliff has direct corollation with Alan Dickens leaving.  I'm not for one second blaming Ian Vass for the current form, he's come in and we got hit with Covid then on resumption of training had a few weeks of minimal/no conact training with a squad that was training in small groups followed by the two team split.  Implementing any new systems over this period would have been difficult, this is showing, maybe they need to bring everything down to it's simplist form, get the basics correct and worry about any new systems in the break between the end of this season and the start of next.

 

How  much did positive Covid infections hurt us?  It looks like as a team we had more covid infections than the other teams, every week bar one we had a player test positive.  I know some of these were false positives, but that doesn't change the fact that the player and those he had close meaingful contact with had to isolate.  Did this have a big impact on training, we only know for sure who one of the players was, we don't know about the others, were these in key roles?  Who knows, but if they were senior team members, it would have had made a difference.  We also don't know how many players couldn't participate in training through contact with the player who tested positive.

 

Where has the attack gone?  I just don't think we have any cohesion, this in my view is down to the amount of rotation, we have used every non-injured player plus five senior academy players in the last six matches.  In the long run, this will probably help, short term we've missed out on top four this season.  Is missing top four this season the worst thing in the world?  Normally I would say it is pretty bad, but this season and leading into the next it could be a blessing in disguise.  It's already a very short turn around, two additional weeks could help for next season, start implementing the new systems and go from there.  It doesn't look like next season will include too many, if any mid week matches with the reduced European cup matches and no Premiership Cup, so we can go back to having a first XV again and bring in the fringe players as and when required.

 

Sunday against Tigers will be key for me to see where we really are playing with a first XV, the Bristol match was never going to end well, after the first 20 minutes or so when we started to play the guys did pretty well considering the quality of the opposition, if we could execute better when in the red zone, things would have been different, the final score line, lets not forget most of those points were scored when we were donw to 14 men and had taken off most of the 'big names'.  

So far as I can make out, the only player limited by minutes plyed this week is Piers Francis, he can start the game but must come off before the 65th minute, the following are all unavailable through injury...

Nick Auterac
Tom Collins
Ahsee Tuala
Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi
Tom Wood
Harry Mallinder
Alex Coles
Alex Waller
Connor Tupai
Ollie Sleightholme

Loosehead prop is an issue, given the turnaround, we will more than likely have to look to the academy 

 

Anyway, these are my thoughts.  Plus we needed an article to keep the board going!

pqs: qs:
Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Marching On (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 09:59

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Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: LeicesterSaint (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 10:29

No

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Duckonstilts (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 10:48

Out issues seem to be what we have lost rather than what we currently have.

We are short of experience and leadership.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: smitferbrainz (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 10:51

A good read and a well written piece. Some food for thought there. Reference one or two of your points which, in my opinion are telling.

“Defence, this isn't great at the minute, actually it's almost non-existent, this sudden fall of a cliff......”.
There has to be some accountability here and whilst Dickens leaving and Covid must have had some effect I do think that Ian Vas’s should, at least, be ensuring that our defence is not non existent. You are correct to see it appears non existent and that’s just not acceptable. Other teams have had the Covid absence and the limited contact training to cope with but they seem to be doing okay. Defence, to me is about being difficult to beat, and we’re not. If you’re difficult to beat you’re always in the game and, at present, we rarely are.

Covid. To be honest I’d not considered the possible impacts on positive tests and you could be quite right in your assessment of the ramifications of them and how they have negatively impacted the whole set up. Well made points, however were now six games into the restart so any negative impacts should be wearing off now. As an aside we are picking up a lot of injuries right now, bad luck?

Attack - very complicated issue for me and this is where philosophy and DoR come to the forefront. The DoR’s philosophy is about mobility, quick plays, offloading, stretching the field and skills. All the things we are not demonstrating at the moment. We are “wowing” at some of these things earlier in the season, where has all that gone? Covid taken it away? Other squads seem to be doing it okay. Is the philosophy not right for the league? If one team try things differently then early on it could work (early this season). There’s a clue why the eleven others do things differently. As in Jim’s time when we were overly set piece/ pack dominated we got worked out, countered and regularly beaten. The same is happening now. Compare our 2011/12/13 pack with the one(s) we put out right now. The two concepts (Jim’s and Chris Boyd’s) are almost polar opposites and both appear (on the evidence of now) not to be working. We need the best from each “style” but we don’t have the personnel to do it unfortunately.

This weekend v Tigers. They’ve been playing better, we’re getting worse, no crowd will help here, it will help level things. Sorry but at the moment I can’t see a win here. We’re in a free fall, difficult to stop them, as confidence is shot. I’d say we’re looking at a 8th/ 9th place finish right now.

Watch words as far as I’m concerned - be difficult to beat to start with and more expansive as you can. You can’t win games that have gone already because you can’t defend. Skills - the fundamentals shouldn’t be as demonstrably bad as they are right now. This is coaching and application. Sorry but poor skills game after game after game goes to the unacceptable. One off games with poor skills? It happens to most teams. Game after game? Someone needs to ask the questions, challenge the players, challenge the coaches and the DoR. Does any of that actually happen?

Good article.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: TringSaint (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 11:31

I was thinking about our performances last night and was wondering if we had effectively resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not going to be able to mount a serious challenge with these remaining games, hence with no threat of relegation we are basically blooding as many players as possible.

Given that we will roll into the 20/21 season almost immediately and that will have the new AI model, remainder of 2020 6N, Euro cup games, 2021 6N all thrown in, plus the Lions/ summer tour to boot, players will get severely tested.

Those with a banging first 15 will start well but fatigue will come in to play as will international call ups and injuries, so those with small squads face the prospect of being threadbare come the new year.

If this is the case then maybe, just maybe, by playing every player we have in a rotation model and giving them good game time will pay dividends.

Perhaps this is Boyd’s sucker punch to the prem?? If not, however, then we are screwed!!

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Walks11 (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 12:03

“Watch words as far as I’m concerned - be difficult to beat to start with and more expansive as you can. You can’t win games that have gone already because you can’t defend. Skills - the fundamentals shouldn’t be as demonstrably bad as they are right now. This is coaching and application. Sorry but poor skills game after game after game goes to the unacceptable. One off games with poor skills? It happens to most teams. Game after game? Someone needs to ask the questions, challenge the players, challenge the coaches and the DoR. Does any of that actually happen? “

I would disagree this is a coaching issue in terms of unforced errors which most seem to be. Catching a high ball under no pressure, dropping a pass, passing poorly, one on one tackles, all skills that really should be ingrained to any professional player without any intervention from the coaching team. At 55 years old and not having played for over 10 years I would be extremely disappointed if I made those errors now let alone when I was still playing at the level I was. It comes down to concentration and that has got be with the individual. Pristine conditions, brand new balls that are better to handle than they have ever been, no excuse really, players concerned need to have a long hard look at themselves... agree with the rest though.. and good post Ted 👍

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: oldtoastersaint (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 12:03

I haven't posted for some considerable time but still follow the fortunes, lately the misfortunes of the Saints from afar, last night actually from Radio Bristol, since Radio Northampton seemed to be covering round ball online.

Amid all the comments about running two equal strength teams no-one seems to have picked up on the fact that by doing so we are gifting the opposition more than the usual time to work out our individual strengths and weaknesses.

The policy might have worked out over a complete season of matches equally compressed but in the current situation was always a risk,probably calculated on points already gained.

Even if things go badly next year remember that while we are building from the academy for the long term Bristol Saracens et al are contracted to pay their megastars big bucks.

That situation should be sorted by the salary cap regulations in our favour eventually.Unfortunately the current regulations are hampered by the marquee rule which should be scrapped forthwith.

I have in the past suggested a more progressive form for the salary cap, the loyalty cap, which sought to resolve the present constrictive effect on player development.Witness the regret able departure of Strachan this year. As academy players progress their wages naturally rise exponentially in their first few years yet the present cap has no allowance for this.

In the loyalty cap, the cap so to say is on the players head, and follows him for his entire career. The proportion of a players salary that goes towards the total cap, starts at 100% and reduces each year by a nominal amount, say 10%, allowing for a wage increase up to that amount annually. Should the player be enticed by another club he returns to a 100% contribution.

There would probably need to be a taper on the reduction of contribution over a career but II suggest this would increase loyalty whilst not illegally restricting transfer opportunities.


Hopefully this will start a conversation with those in power as the basis of a persuasive restraint to those wishing to circumvent the current unworkable cap.

All the best OTS

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: LeicesterSaint (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 12:10

I think so, clearly you don't want to develop a losing mentality or have players lose confidence but it will be beneficial to blood new players and combos. Boyd said post match the only way you can tell if players are ready for the step up is to play them, some will show you they are, others will show you they're not. If they're looking OK and really committed in matches where we're under the pump they should look great in a more senior team playing well - that's the theory anyway!

Although he couldn't have much of a positive impact on the game I thought Freeman looked pretty tidy last night under a lot of pressure.

Only time will tell whether those smaller squads with individuals playing more minutes will hold up for the rest of this season and into next season and there is always an element of luck around injuries and suspensions but my bet would be that at least some of them struggle, hence I think Exeter will walk this season. They're likely to secure home semi very shortly so can rest some albeit they're, let's face it, likely to be still competing in the Champions Cup after next weekend too.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: bitsandbobs (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 12:16

My concerns is that the current Covid situation is masking the fact that the rot set in much earlier and in turn means they are not addressing or have not identified the true causes of the current poor performances. Since Saints beat Lyon on 18th Jan we have played 11 league fixtures winning just 2 against Worcester and London Irish.

I haven't seen any attempt to address the deficiencies in the set piece since last season, and along with the current breakdown performances, it feels that if any aspect of the game is not believed to be integral to our supposed style of pay, it isn't afforded the respect it deserves.

We are missing leadership on the pitch.

There are questions to be answered around our recruitment and the resigning of some members of the existing squad especially if it hampers our squad investment going forward.

While we slip back others have progressed, I'll still watch and support, and like many others have seen worse, but I have serious concerns about the season to come, if a number of the issues raised by many are not addressed.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Duckonstilts (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 13:29

We may well be paying up to the new reduced cap, but with the value of the players that retired last season we are not at the level we were. Otherwise i have no idea where the money is going? :-)

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: ajack (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 13:49

We have a squad that is not performing and no room in the cap to improve it. We have coaches that have all just signed up for new contracts that are not performing. We are going backwards at a rate of knots, nothing I can think of has moved forward this season, many things have moved backwards, both in terms of the squad and playing.

Things are much worse than they currently look.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: smitferbrainz (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 13:54

“I would disagree this is a coaching issue in terms of unforced errors which most seem to be. Catching a high ball under no pressure, dropping a pass, passing poorly, one on one tackles, all skills that really should be ingrained to any professional player without any intervention from the coaching team.”

You may have noticed that in my post I referred to a coaching and application issue. This is exactly what I meant. Dropping a pass, passing poorly, the skills that should be ingrained are examples of how are players are not applying skills. The application of them, you are right, shouldn’t need coaching intervention. These things may speak about more than the coaching.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: andysaint (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 15:54

For me this is what we will have for the next season or two. The players are signed up, the coaches are signed up. Do we have the funds to make changes? I doubt it. I think we have a good first 15 (although I have big reservations about the front row). Our squad depth is not where we need it to be yet; I think some of the youngsters have a good future but they will take another season or two to come good. We also have some clear squad players who are not good enough for significant first 15 rugby but due to a lack of bodies for one reason or another they are enjoying a significant run in the side. Over the course of the season I would like to think we have a 6th place side. The first 15 I think could sneak 4th behind Exeter Bristol and Sale but that would mean them staying fit and playing a significant amount which is unrealistic.

I do have concerns about Boyd even dating back to the Horne match at Twickers. I think we should have won that and won well but we played the conditions terribly and Boyd seemed to not want to change the tactics to suit. I don’t think he ‘gets’ this league I don’t like his philosophy about the scrum and I think we are playing games which players are not capable of playing. I want to see a different philosophy and I want to see a forwards coach, coach the forwards on how to play rugby in this league.

If the coaching set up are capable of changing how we go about these games and can get some confidence and skills back then it is not as bad as it looks. If they can’t (and I have seen very little sign of it so far) it is as bad as it looks.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Hollywood JK (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 18:38

In a word ‘YES’

How can you ask this question when we are on our worst home run since 2004!

All very well mentioning Covid-19, but if you look at it the wheels were coming off before lockdown.

Dorian West always used to say we want to dominate up front with our pack!! When was the last time we dominated a top six side in the set piece????

Chris Boyd has massively underestimated the physicality of the premiership, and for me needs to acknowledge he’s got this wrong!!

That comes to my real concern, I don’t think our coaches and squad are anywhere near good enough, and I don’t believe we have the knowledge of finances to bring in the right people.

My other gripe is I keep hearing developing and building for the future! The board has been saying this for 20 years. When are we going to have a team for the now????

If we are spending up to the salary cap, then compared to Chiefs, Wasps, Sales and Bristol, we have a lot of players being over paid. How can anyone say they are giving good value???

It’s the same old for me, and long problem with the Saints. From the board, coaches and players, there is zero accountability!!!

Something has to change soon!

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: andysaint (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 19:20

Perhaps they should start by appointing someone like Hartley to the board. Perhaps it needs someone with very recent player experience to guide them in the right direction.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Sans Culottes (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 19:28

For me this quote from above summarises the challenges the team have created for themselves in many matches this season

"- be difficult to beat to start with and more expansive as you can. You can’t win games that have gone already because you can’t defend'

Failure to defend properly early on, and a lack of on field leadership are two aspects of our game that need fixing asap.

The point has been made elsewhere, but merits repeating, how does the captain / ( other member of the leadership group) let the ref get away with not binning a Bristol player when they had that succession of penalties against them?

I saw no one on the refs ear. No one. Basic stuff that Johnson , Dawson, Robshaw, AWJ, and many others do every week.

We need to be street wise,



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:09:09:19:36:13 by Sans Culottes.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Hymenoptera (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 19:51

Quote:
andysaint
Over the course of the season I would like to think we have a 6th place side. The first 15 I think could sneak 4th behind Exeter Bristol and Sale but that would mean them staying fit and playing a significant amount which is unrealistic
In your dreams Andy... Bath, Glouc and Wasps are all better sides, then throw in Sarries.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Aberavon Wizard (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 20:29

I agree with vast majority of points made by Ted but I would like to emphasise the lack of leadership at the club. This goes beyond the dressing room and flows up to the boardroom.

So lets start with the obvious. I have lost count of the 'captains' over the last few years - Dylan, Alex W, Woody, Dicko, Foden, Harrison, Courtney, Ludlam etc. Not all of these proved to be good at the job, its not just a question of leading the team out or dealing with the referee. A successful team needs leaders all over the pitch - a dominant voice in the front row, a lock calling the line out, a big personality in the back row, an irritating scrum half, a controlling outside half plus a back with experience and authority to lead numbers eleven to fifteen.

Too many players seem quiet at the moment. Obviously we are not at the games but from TV at least I don't get the sense of anyone getting a grip of things on the field; players seem rather robotic in what they do unable to react to changing situations during the game. Part of the problem here is youth and their comparative lack of experience - just as an example put Hutch, Furbank, Dingwall, Collins and Mallinder in the back line and where is that leadership ? Players like Mikey and Courtney are great because they just get on with their job but we need that extra leadership dimension from other players and ( at the moment ) I just don't see it.

Leaving the players alone for a while, do we have a set of coaches who can really 'kick butt' ? Clearly I don't know because very few of us get the chance to see what goes on in training. Chris Boyd is a very different character to some other coaches, certainly more Baxter than Cockerill or Diamond.

When Keith Barwell was at the helm he left nobody in any doubt as to the direction he wanted the club to go and by all accounts was never afraid of going straight into the deessing room to vent his views. Tony Hewitt was the safe pair of hands who never said too much in public and Jon White has continued in a similar vein. I accept of course the work they do behind the scenes much of which goes unreported but the club was once again found itself in a rut albeit not all down to its own fault.

In short the Club seems to have lost its way and appears to require someone to get a grip of what goes on both on and off the field albeit in these difficult times.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Saint Ted (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 20:38

When I published, I knew I’d forgotten to put something in, it was about leadership, predominantly on the field, for the life of me, I can’t see who’s leading the team or who the possible leaders can be, we seem to have a team of quiet players

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Helmet and sack (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 20:55

Interesting points made here. I'd like to add one regarding the two team approach. One of my key beliefs is that a coach should always pick on form and that the squad competition drives standards. By using a two squad system, you are effectively reducing the level of competition as you are more or less guaranteeing everyone a game every other game.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: ajack (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:02

[quote Helmet and sack]Interesting points made here. I'd like to add one regarding the two team approach. One of my key beliefs is that a coach should always pick on form and that the squad competition drives standards. By using a two squad system, you are effectively reducing the level of competition as you are more or less guaranteeing everyone a game every other game.[/quote

With the current restrictions and number of games you cannot select on form. You pretty much have to have a first and second team or split the side with the odd tweak and movement to and from the bench.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Hymenoptera (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:03

Conversely your guaranteeing some players an opportunity to showcase themselves that perhaps wouldn't get the shot..mix that with 6 months off they should be like ravenous dogs.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Helmet and sack (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:14

True enough, it's not a perfect suggestion but there could still be some truth in it. Other teams' selections have been less telegraphed game to game and yielded better results (I'll not suggest that's the only reason for our poor form). Watching us continue our telegraphed pick and drive towards the line before spewing up the ball in the red zone was as predictable as anything this year. Surely we have practised some drills for that scenario that don't rely on a simple pick and drive.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: charlieemeriau (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:22

A lot of intersting points being made.
I do feel that apart from the game against Chiefs we have lacked front foot ball, I would like to see a reinforced pack, with Ribbans and Lawes in the second row, and playing ludlam, Teimana and Adendorff in the back row (for me Addendorff has been one of the only positive since the season restarted), if we need to change anything in those 5 would like to see Isiekwe come on.
add to this, If we could get someone at fb that can deal with the high ball then we might be in with a chance to win.

I hope some of the youngsters will benefit from the experience, however we have players that I feel are not at the level Lewis Bean and Api (everytime Api gets the ball, I wonder how long it will take before he knocks it on).

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Hymenoptera (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:23

Who knows...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:09:09:21:25:38 by Hymenoptera.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Aberavon Wizard (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:24

Ajack

I think there is another way here and that is to rotate maybe 5-6 players each game which always gives some continuity from match to match. Pat Lam seems to favour this approach in effect splitting your resources into five key groups with three starting, one on the bench and one rested each game.

All a bit late now !

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Helmet and sack (IP Logged)
Date: 09/09/2020 21:55

Quote:
Aberavon Wizard
Ajack
I think there is another way here and that is to rotate maybe 5-6 players each game which always gives some continuity from match to match. Pat Lam seems to favour this approach in effect splitting your resources into five key groups with three starting, one on the bench and one rested each game.

All a bit late now !

This approach ticks my boxes. Some continuity would have been good. It never really works in football when a new and totally different squad is produced regularly for cup games etc.

Adendorf is our first choice #8 now surely. Get lawes in the second row with ribbans or moon. Kind of wish Isiekwe was really ours. He's the real deal. 80 mins of graft and ballast with some other @#$%& in there too.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Brackleysaint (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 07:21

Quote:
Helmet and sack
Quote:
Aberavon Wizard
Ajack
I think there is another way here and that is to rotate maybe 5-6 players each game which always gives some continuity from match to match. Pat Lam seems to favour this approach in effect splitting your resources into five key groups with three starting, one on the bench and one rested each game.

All a bit late now !

This approach ticks my boxes. Some continuity would have been good. It never really works in football when a new and totally different squad is produced regularly for cup games etc.

Adendorf is our first choice #8 now surely. Get lawes in the second row with ribbans or moon. Kind of wish Isiekwe was really ours. He's the real deal. 80 mins of graft and ballast with some other @#$%& in there too.

As you say, Isiekwe is not one of ours but he looks the most disappointed to put it politely at the end of the matches.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: smitferbrainz (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 09:53

Quote:
Brackleysaint
Quote:
Helmet and sack
Quote:
Aberavon Wizard
Ajack
I think there is another way here and that is to rotate maybe 5-6 players each game which always gives some continuity from match to match. Pat Lam seems to favour this approach in effect splitting your resources into five key groups with three starting, one on the bench and one rested each game.

All a bit late now !

This approach ticks my boxes. Some continuity would have been good. It never really works in football when a new and totally different squad is produced regularly for cup games etc.

Adendorf is our first choice #8 now surely. Get lawes in the second row with ribbans or moon. Kind of wish Isiekwe was really ours. He's the real deal. 80 mins of graft and ballast with some other @#$%& in there too.

As you say, Isiekwe is not one of ours but he looks the most disappointed to put it politely at the end of the matches.

Says a lot......the Isiekwe bit. Speaks volumes about him.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: ajack (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 09:55

Quote:
smitferbrainz
Quote:
Brackleysaint
Quote:
Helmet and sack
Quote:
Aberavon Wizard
Ajack
I think there is another way here and that is to rotate maybe 5-6 players each game which always gives some continuity from match to match. Pat Lam seems to favour this approach in effect splitting your resources into five key groups with three starting, one on the bench and one rested each game.

All a bit late now !

This approach ticks my boxes. Some continuity would have been good. It never really works in football when a new and totally different squad is produced regularly for cup games etc.

Adendorf is our first choice #8 now surely. Get lawes in the second row with ribbans or moon. Kind of wish Isiekwe was really ours. He's the real deal. 80 mins of graft and ballast with some other @#$%& in there too.

As you say, Isiekwe is not one of ours but he looks the most disappointed to put it politely at the end of the matches.

Says a lot......the Isiekwe bit. Speaks volumes about him.

It probably says more about us to be honest.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: smitferbrainz (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 10:02

Quote:
ajack
Quote:
smitferbrainz
Quote:
Brackleysaint
Quote:
Helmet and sack
Quote:
Aberavon Wizard
Ajack
I think there is another way here and that is to rotate maybe 5-6 players each game which always gives some continuity from match to match. Pat Lam seems to favour this approach in effect splitting your resources into five key groups with three starting, one on the bench and one rested each game.

All a bit late now !

This approach ticks my boxes. Some continuity would have been good. It never really works in football when a new and totally different squad is produced regularly for cup games etc.

Adendorf is our first choice #8 now surely. Get lawes in the second row with ribbans or moon. Kind of wish Isiekwe was really ours. He's the real deal. 80 mins of graft and ballast with some other @#$%& in there too.

As you say, Isiekwe is not one of ours but he looks the most disappointed to put it politely at the end of the matches.

Says a lot......the Isiekwe bit. Speaks volumes about him.

It probably says more about us to be honest.

It’s funny you say that. I was going to add that bit to my post, but decided against it for some reason. If you look at my last comment in the expectations thread I allude to it. I kinda put it there instead, but you’re totally right.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Saint Maul (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 13:35

So it wasn't just me who caught Isiekwe's facial expression when he came of the field and looked at Saints players as he was approaching the Saints bench area.

Easy to read too much into things and his mind could easily have been somewhere else entirely.

But it looked to me like someone who was approaching a group of people he was disappointed with, even hacked off with rather than brothers in arms.

Sarries have nothing to play for but their 2nd team fought tooth and nail at Sale last night. When Dom Morris did the massive hit on James in the dying seconds that led to their losing bonus point I compared it to the commitment and work-rate of Saints players. Frankly the work-rate and commitment in far too many games is not good enough and has been highlighted by commentators in different games since the re-start. Exeter we seemed a lot more committed but against Bristol we reverted sadly.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Boris197 (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 16:29

One other significant factor I believe contributing to the reduced level of performances since Covid is the absence of Cobus the best Saints player of last and the early part of this season .His attacking qualities were obvious but his defensive qualities were equally good and his ability to cover back saved a number of certain tries and were probably the difference between 5 and 0 points in several instances. There is also the psychological boost that his attacking and defensive efforts provided . Games are often won by small margins and his contribution was often critical.
This leads to an underlying problem that Saints have been unable to hold on to their talisman players. Prior to Cobus it was Picamoles and before that Manoa. Few teams could maintain the same level of performance following the loss of their best player.

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Dragonboy (IP Logged)
Date: 10/09/2020 20:26

[quote Saint Maul]So it wasn't just me who caught Isiekwe's facial expression when he came of the field and looked at Saints players as he was approaching the Saints bench area.

Easy to read too much into things and his mind could easily have been somewhere else entirely.

But it looked to me like someone who was approaching a group of people he was disappointed with, even hacked off with rather than brothers in arms.

Plus he just isn’t used to losing

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: Saint Maul (IP Logged)
Date: 13/09/2020 11:43

Leadership is a great point. The successful teams invariably have driven and inspiring leaders:

Saints c.2000: the difference Lam made
Saints golden era: Dylan
Tigers golden period: Johnson
Wasps golden period: Dallaglio
Sarries recently: Farrell and Barrett

It's not just one leader. There is often a spine of leadership beyond the captain in successful teams. But you get the point.

Internationally - World Cups
95: Pienaar
99: Eales
03: Johnson
07: Smit
11: McCaw
15: McCaw
19: Kolisi

Whilst it's only one piece of the jigsaw, we need that leader to build standards and desire around. It's the little clues like the way we allow try scorers to run round to score nearer the posts when teams like Sarries and Exeter always do everything to stop this. The leaders above would have not accepted that. Small details like that when combined make the title winning teams. I admire Exeter because they get these small details spot on

Re: Is it all as bad as it looks?
Posted by: OldMarovian (IP Logged)
Date: 13/09/2020 12:30

Quote:
smitferbrainz
Says a lot......the Isiekwe bit. Speaks volumes about him.

It does. It says he's used to playing in a team where you leave it all out on the field. You don't wonder aimlessly to guard, or trundle about the field from breakdown to breakdown when quick support is needed to make them quick. I suspect it's a culture shock to see such a lack of professionalism from many of his team mates. Address that and you'll have taken a huge step in making Saints the club they could be as you have quality players in most positions and the age demographic of the squad is incredibly encouraging for your future.

I feel for Boyd. He seems on the wrong side of the A & B team V mixed team decision that most clubs made but fair play to him for choosing and continuing to back that call. Maybe it will pay dividends next season? Just having a quick look your signings for the past few seasons it feels a lot like you may be over-paying for the players you have as a few big names aside the players you're recruting tend to be from the Championship or those surplus to other teams requirments. Nothing wrong with that if you find players who suit the team and ofc you promoted a huge bunch of Academy players.

I doesn't look like you can match Bristol in Marquee terms spend but in cap you have quite a few "top" players who seem poor value. Either of the Franks brothers? Proctor (suggested in TRP to be on over £350K) That's almost certainly £1M+ of cap right there. Naiyaravoro also suggested to be on huge money and wing always seems an odd place to spend heavily.

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