Lions in SA

Kype King

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Kicking is a big part of the game and a squad selection is based on compromise, but I also believe Slade will miss.
I don't know the premiership very well but among all the 6N and European Cup I've seen over the last 2 years, he's IMO by far the best UK center.

What is funny is that for once I see some interest in having scrum halves kicking, which albeit Laidlaw, has always been seen as a french oddity. That helps having center who are not necesseraly kickers.
Should have picked Ben Spencer then. His place kicking for Bath has been excellent this season (as has his box kicking) and IMO he’s the best scrum half in England, if not the British Isles. I’d have loved to have his quality of pass back in the days when I was playing 10!
 

billy fish

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Great game for Sam Simmonds yesterday . It was his all round game that impressed not just the hat trick that gave him the premiership try scoring record.
 

ozzyian

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Great game for Sam Simmonds yesterday . It was his all round game that impressed not just the hat trick that gave him the premiership try scoring record.
Amazing streak of form to go with his class. He's the biggest argument in English rugby against Eddie. Big question for Gatland isn't it? you'd have to have him favourite to start the Saturday games on this form.
 

Handel

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Amazing streak of form to go with his class. He's the biggest argument in English rugby against Eddie. Big question for Gatland isn't it? you'd have to have him favourite to start the Saturday games on this form.
What would help here would be for billy fish to fill us in on how he is used by Exeter. I look at the team sheet and see that they put two very large players in the backrow with him, very often Skinner or Ewers at 6 and Vermuelen at 7, but I don't know how they then operate. If Exeter see that as the way to play him it translates for the Lions as Beirne or Lawes at 6 and Faletau at 7. And what Tipuric and Watson are doing in the squad I am not clear.
 

salarchaser

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What would help here would be for billy fish to fill us in on how he is used by Exeter. I look at the team sheet and see that they put two very large players in the backrow with him, very often Skinner or Ewers at 6 and Vermuelen at 7, but I don't know how they then operate. If Exeter see that as the way to play him it translates for the Lions as Beirne or Lawes at 6 and Faletau at 7. And what Tipuric and Watson are doing in the squad I am not clear.
Dont think Gatland will look any further than Falatau as his test 8. He's never played Falatau other than 8 even when we had big ball carrying 8s available and the opportunity to play him at 6.
He's said its footwork in the 8 that will beat the boks. Simmonds at 6 and Tipuric at 7?
If we look to meet fire with fire, I think the boks will be better at it than us.
The irony is we could end up fielding a ball playing back row with battering ram centres.
Whichever way it goes, Gats will have a plan and the courage of his convictions.
 

Handel

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Dont think Gatland will look any further than Falatau as his test 8. He's never played Falatau other than 8 even when we had big ball carrying 8s available and the opportunity to play him at 6.
He's said its footwork in the 8 that will beat the boks. Simmonds at 6 and Tipuric at 7?
If we look to meet fire with fire, I think the boks will be better at it than us.
The irony is we could end up fielding a ball playing back row with battering ram centres.
Whichever way it goes, Gats will have a plan and the courage of his convictions.
Don't think Simmonds has ever played 6 and he isn't one. But I don't watch enough of Exeter to understand how their pack works, I just know that apart from Simmonds it is huge.
 
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salarchaser

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Don't think Simmonds has ever played 6 and he isn't one. But I don't watch enough of Exeter to understand how their pack works, I just now that apart from Simmonds it is huge.
Yet you suggest Taulupe as a 7. He's not a 6, let alone a 7.
Having seen him play, I'm confident Simmonds is more likely to make a 6 than Falatau is a 7.

An interesting selection dilemma. Makes it all the more interesting that Navidi didnt make the tour given he can play 6, 7 or 8.

Will the lions go for BIG ball carriers or those more fleet of foot?

As I said, Im sure Gats has a plan.....
 

Handel

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Yet you suggest Taulupe as a 7. He's not a 6, let alone a 7.
Having seen him play, I'm confident Simmonds is more likely to make a 6 than Falatau is a 7.

An interesting selection dilemma. Makes it all the more interesting that Navidi didnt make the tour given he can play 6, 7 or 8.

Will the lions go for BIG ball carriers or those more fleet of foot?

As I said, Im sure Gats has a plan.....
Faletau has been playing 6 for Bath this season with Mercer at 8.

But the real point is Simmonds isn't what we would think of as an 8. He plays 8 the way the Exeter pack is set up with a very large 6 and a 7 who isn't a 7 the way we think of them. Could Faletau do what Vermeulen does for Exeter? For sure. I think one of the reasons other sides struggle with Exeter is they do things differently.
 

ozzyian

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What would help here would be for billy fish to fill us in on how he is used by Exeter. I look at the team sheet and see that they put two very large players in the backrow with him, very often Skinner or Ewers at 6 and Vermuelen at 7, but I don't know how they then operate. If Exeter see that as the way to play him it translates for the Lions as Beirne or Lawes at 6 and Faletau at 7. And what Tipuric and Watson are doing in the squad I am not clear.

Yes, I would interested in this too. What I would say is that when Gatland coached Wales you would see Navidi and occasionally Tipuric appear out of position receiving ball out in the centres, I suppose the theory of this is to try and get your big ball carriers a bit of time on the ball (if they are good enough) instead of the standard 3 second donkey work, Pivac has continued this I notice.

I would be amazed (given the try count) if Simmons isn't being given big opportunities to stretch his legs - why wouldn't you. If you wanted some clever ball carrying in the traffic you'd go with Watson (plus the excellent pilfering and slowing) if you wanted clever ball carrying on the fringes and beyond you'd think Skinner. Or maybe that's too simple.

Does anyone see Gatland picking a guy who has not played Int rugby and putting him into the Sat side?? Not sure I do. What a middle finger to EJ that would be. I see him as a conservative Lions coach, overly timid and a player of the percentages. Not what I want to see as a coach of the best players in these islands.
 
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ozzyian

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Dont think Gatland will look any further than Falatau as his test 8. He's never played Falatau other than 8 even when we had big ball carrying 8s available and the opportunity to play him at 6.
He's said its footwork in the 8 that will beat the boks. Simmonds at 6 and Tipuric at 7?
If we look to meet fire with fire, I think the boks will be better at it than us.
The irony is we could end up fielding a ball playing back row with battering ram centres.
Whichever way it goes, Gats will have a plan and the courage of his convictions.

Tend to agree with your next post regarding Navidi, he must have been mighty close. If Gatland has any balls it's Watson at 7 - if he doesn't it's Tipuric. I'm expecting Tipuric tbh :)
 

salarchaser

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Faletau has been playing 6 for Bath this season with Mercer at 8.
Ah, ok, missed that. Fair shout.

Still a big difference between 6 and 7. More so than 6 and 8.
Think Simmonds has a great chance of making the Saturday 23 if not the starting 15.
A back row of Simmonds, Falatau and Tippuric would put huge pressure on the front 5's workload.
Not sure how the back row balance will be found to be honest.
 

ozzyian

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;) Maybe the left-field masterplan is to have SS as a centre, he's burned most of them off this year...?
Like the other famous Sam (Burgess) who was an 8 playing centre or was that a centre playing 8? or was he a leaguey no good at either but drafted in to fix a problem Lancaster didn't understand and had less idea of how to fix :) - to the amusement of many (self included, I am ashamed to say)
 

seeking

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Like the other famous Sam (Burgess) who was an 8 playing centre or was that a centre playing 8? or was he a leaguey no good at either but drafted in to fix a problem Lancaster didn't understand and had less idea of how to fix :) - to the amusement of many (self included, I am ashamed to say)

Sure, but if he'd've stayed on the pitch rather than being hoicked England IMO would have progressed to the RWC next stage rather than blow it and let Wales in...

not that it grates or owt...
 

Handel

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Anyone else watch the European final yesterday? I had to watch it on Channel 4 so the usual mindless drivel from the commentators but very interesting to watch an all French game. The discipline was terrible and would suggest the players are used to getting away with a lot. The referee did well to keep as many on the pitch as he did.

La Rochelle were let down by their goalkicker. He missed a lot of kicks and his technique is poor. It reminded me of the debate we had about goal kicking for the Lions. Goal kicks win matches.

And what was going on with Kolbe's disallowed try? I have never seen such celebrations when the supposed scorer was almost completely in touch. Quite bizarre.
 

pfeul

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Anyone else watch the European final yesterday? I had to watch it on Channel 4 so the usual mindless drivel from the commentators but very interesting to watch an all French game. The discipline was terrible and would suggest the players are used to getting away with a lot. The referee did well to keep as many on the pitch as he did.

La Rochelle were let down by their goalkicker. He missed a lot of kicks and his technique is poor. It reminded me of the debate we had about goal kicking for the Lions. Goal kicks win matches.

And what was going on with Kolbe's disallowed try? I have never seen such celebrations when the supposed scorer was almost completely in touch. Quite bizarre.
I did Handel and for sure that was not a great advertisement for the top 14.

Just some few comment that might explain the poor game quality. Toulouse has been decimated with Injuries (especially in the backrow and at #11, #13 and #14. For instance the #13 try scorer was an argentinian medical joker I've never seen playing this year) and lost Marchand who's also an important player.

I was rather surprised by the poor discipline. Usually these teams are not so much during the french championship because the of referring laxity (usually explained by the very high pressure of the top 14 club president on the ref shoulders), but they rank up in European Cup and adapt to the refeering. I rate Pearce a lot but it seemed to me that this final was too much. His decision were ok regarding dangerous tackles (although Ahki should have deserved a yellow card). But he should have yellow binned one player on every side quickly during the first 20 minutes for not complying with his referring and cumulative indiscipline. That's what Carley did with La Rochelle against Leinster with good success to manage the game and make it more lively.
Pearce gawe away during the last 20 minutes reffering the rucks, everyone of them was looking to a diving contest.

I was not surprised the game plan of La Rochelle was to try to bully the Toulouse front and target Dupont (who by the way worked as a third row and finished with sixteen tackles).
It is possible we'll see this both teams playing against each other during the french chamionship final. I can almost guarantee it will be even more violent...

Goal kicks win games and I was surprised O'gara did not replace West, who had several wrong decisions, by Plisson who's better at kicking and who's a good defender too.

That was also the last European game of Kaino who's an incredible player. At 38 he's still among the best and he's a real humble man
 

Handel

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I did Handel and for sure that was not a great advertisement for the top 14.

Just some few comment that might explain the poor game quality. Toulouse has been decimated with Injuries (especially in the backrow and at #11, #13 and #14. For instance the #13 try scorer was an argentinian medical joker I've never seen playing this year) and lost Marchand who's also an important player.

I was rather surprised by the poor discipline. Usually these teams are not so much during the french championship because the of referring laxity (usually explained by the very high pressure of the top 14 club president on the ref shoulders), but they rank up in European Cup and adapt to the refeering. I rate Pearce a lot but it seemed to me that this final was too much. His decision were ok regarding dangerous tackles (although Ahki should have deserved a yellow card). But he should have yellow binned one player on every side quickly during the first 20 minutes for not complying with his referring and cumulative indiscipline. That's what Carley did with La Rochelle against Leinster with good success to manage the game and make it more lively.
Pearce gawe away during the last 20 minutes reffering the rucks, everyone of them was looking to a diving contest.

I was not surprised the game plan of La Rochelle was to try to bully the Toulouse front and target Dupont (who by the way worked as a third row and finished with sixteen tackles).
It is possible we'll see this both teams playing against each other during the french chamionship final. I can almost guarantee it will be even more violent...

Goal kicks win games and I was surprised O'gara did not replace West, who had several wrong decisions, by Plisson who's better at kicking and who's a good defender too.

That was also the last European game of Kaino who's an incredible player. At 38 he's still among the best and he's a real humble man
I knew you must have watched it!

I agree about the refereeing. Carley is much more hard nosed than Pearce and doesn't care what other people think. He would certainly have had two in the bin after 20 minutes. Pearce is number 2 in England after Barnes and an established international referee and feels more pressure to make a game of it. There should certainly have been another card for a high tackle, some would say it should have been red as well. You may have heard Pearce say in the first half "I am having to do too much refereeing" which meant two much illegal play. He went about it the wrong way. Carley was one of the assistant referees.

Was Plisson available? I hadn't realised he played for La Rochelle. I am surprised he didn't start. West's kicks all do different things in the air. I don't believe he knows where they are going.

I met Kaino in New Zealand in 2017. My wife and I were on a boat trip and he and his wife and child were on the same trip. All the New Zealanders were getting his autograph which he was happy to do. On the pitch on Saturday he looked small compared with some of the other forwards. He is actually a very big man.
 

pfeul

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I knew you must have watched it!

I agree about the refereeing. Carley is much more hard nosed than Pearce and doesn't care what other people think. He would certainly have had two in the bin after 20 minutes. Pearce is number 2 in England after Barnes and an established international referee and feels more pressure to make a game of it. There should certainly have been another card for a high tackle, some would say it should have been red as well. You may have heard Pearce say in the first half "I am having to do too much refereeing" which meant two much illegal play. He went about it the wrong way. Carley was one of the assistant referees.

Was Plisson available? I hadn't realised he played for La Rochelle. I am surprised he didn't start. West's kicks all do different things in the air. I don't believe he knows where they are going.

I met Kaino in New Zealand in 2017. My wife and I were on a boat trip and he and his wife and child were on the same trip. All the New Zealanders were getting his autograph which he was happy to do. On the pitch on Saturday he looked small compared with some of the other forwards. He is actually a very big man.
Yes Plisson was sitting on the bench.
He left Stade Français a year and a half ago, but was injured twice in the last few months. I rate him much more than West who's never been reliable. For instance, his last small kick at the 79 minute was a mistake whilst la Rochelle front men were dominant in the last minutes. This added to its 3/6 success and of course the Bothia high tackle on Medard cost them the game.
 
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