Is the playing squad up to the job?

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Cagey Tiger
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Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Cagey Tiger » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:13 pm

We have struggled to compete at the top level for quite a few seasons now. We have had Cockers, Mauger and MO'C in charge over that period of time. 3 very different coaches with 3 differing playing styles for the team. There have been many threads criticising all of these coaches and in many threads individual players are assessed for their performance in a particular game. However, the playing squad has never really been the focus of a topic.

Ignoring previous seasons, with my very limited technical knowledge of the game, it seems to me that with the laws as they now are, we have recruited forwards that may have been OK when they were recruited, but are not what is required at this time. As an example, with the tackler having to "come in from behind" after they have made the tackle, teams are often not competing at the breakdown, instead spreading the defence across the field, Rugby League style. In this situation, you need to have some players capable of powering their way over the gain line, frequently.

Watching recent games, we only seem to have Kalamafoni who does this regularly but he doesn't tend to make many metres. Against teams like Sarries (who have had their problems while missing Billy V and others), Munster and Exeter, this isn't enough. It is only after breaking the gain line 3 or more times in quick succession that the defence gets stressed and pulled out of shape. We do not seem to have enough players capable of doing this, nor stopping other teams from doing it. A hefty amount of weight and power is required, which we do not seem to possess.

For the purpose of this topic, I am not interested in how or why we got here. Given the current squad, particularly the forwards, are the players capable of being any more successful than they currently are at present? Are we generally directing criticism at the coaches when there are limitations with the squad that we have that are equally an issue?

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by BFG » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:27 pm

The forwards have had a lot of stick and it is justified but I personally am seeing some green shoots of a possible recovery up front.
A couple more extra quality bodies and injuries like Genge and Bateman returned with more time to gel could well make all the difference in my opinion.
What I find quite puzzling is the fact that folk are surprised that Leicester are struggling, I hoped for better but always knew it possible that it could be a longer road back up the table.
Many thought the Ben Youngs/George Ford axis would cure everything, well sorry to be bah humbug but they are two glory boys, unless it's on a platter they have the go get attitude of a tortoise, yes they are both extremely talented players, but two players who have a history of shying away in difficult circumstances who win lose or draw have shown absolutely no character in my opinion during December, they have disappointed me most in recent matches!

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by jgriffin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:33 pm

TBH BFG I still believe we could've done with retaining at least OW, as 10/12 cover we could've made it worth his while. Forward-wise we have Wells who is chronically under-used IMO as well as BOC/Evans. We also lack a leader - the disappearance of Slater and lack of replacement has told - and I can see MOC getting rid of too many who could be of value (all the previous). If we have Spencer signed for next season, than Spencer/Wells/Barrow seems a good start BUT we need jackals still. You cannot stand off the rucks, and anyway only 2 refs currently seem to be enforcing either the tackle or the gate.
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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by MurphysLaw » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:51 pm

BFG - I agree that some returning props will help, and would have made a difference recently, but you can have the best players in the world looking clueless when playing without a cohesive game-plan. Sort the coaching and structures, and then maybe one or two key signings, others will then perform too.

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Rugbyflanker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:52 pm

Spot on jgriffin! One of BOC/Evans should play every game and id seriously consider Wells at 6. Either way he should be starting too.

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by BFG » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:54 pm

Yes agree jgriffin, I have no doubt that a lock will be sought after, how good will depend on who they can get, available or not I expect they will go after something very good.
There is rumour of Guy Thompson who is very good in my opinion, and another period of development for Will Evans to bulk up can only help all round.
I can understand why Evans has been protected from sides like Munster, Sarries and Exeter, he is not ready for that yet, but hopefully soon, time will tell.
I have been a little underwhelmed by BOC to be honest, that is not a criticism as he is clearly a very good player but just hasn't settled into any type of consistent form and continuity in the side, very unfortunate for him and for his coaches really with illness and injury!
Some time is Leicester's best and only real cure!

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Rugbyflanker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:00 pm

Nonsense about Evans who has already outplayed the likes of Kvesic and Louw and is consistently our top forward for tackles,metres made and turnovers EVERY TIME he plays,i hate people who run with preconceived ideas just because of size! I respect your opiniob and will gladly bow to it if you can give me some evidence please.

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Big Dai » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:03 pm

Cagey Tiger wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:13 pm
We have struggled to compete at the top level for quite a few seasons now. We have had Cockers, Mauger and MO'C in charge over that period of time. 3 very different coaches with 3 differing playing styles for the team. There have been many threads criticising all of these coaches and in many threads individual players are assessed for their performance in a particular game. However, the playing squad has never really been the focus of a topic.

Ignoring previous seasons, with my very limited technical knowledge of the game, it seems to me that with the laws as they now are, we have recruited forwards that may have been OK when they were recruited, but are not what is required at this time. As an example, with the tackler having to "come in from behind" after they have made the tackle, teams are often not competing at the breakdown, instead spreading the defence across the field, Rugby League style. In this situation, you need to have some players capable of powering their way over the gain line, frequently.

Watching recent games, we only seem to have Kalamafoni who does this regularly but he doesn't tend to make many metres. Against teams like Sarries (who have had their problems while missing Billy V and others), Munster and Exeter, this isn't enough. It is only after breaking the gain line 3 or more times in quick succession that the defence gets stressed and pulled out of shape. We do not seem to have enough players capable of doing this, nor stopping other teams from doing it. A hefty amount of weight and power is required, which we do not seem to possess.

For the purpose of this topic, I am not interested in how or why we got here. Given the current squad, particularly the forwards, are the players capable of being any more successful than they currently are at present? Are we generally directing criticism at the coaches when there are limitations with the squad that we have that are equally an issue?
It should be, injuries to one side. I don't think Exeter had many better players than us. They were the better TEAM. When they attacked our line they didn't do it in ones from a static start. They did it in pods of two or three. The new hooker chap, not Logo, was charging forward but support was slow. Our kick chase was slow.

We have the players. Just no cohesion and definitely a lack of leadership. I'm not saying what we have will win anything. But it definitely can be a damn sight better than it is. Plus there's the merry go round effect. We've picked the same back row twice? (According to BT sport).
Talking again of the back row, yesterday we picked bulk and set it to run individually at a brick wall. Not in waves of support, one, two, thee, each picking and driving or binding and pushing on. But we picked three "big units" and set them up as individual runners.
Back, Moody, Corry. Back, Hill, Dallaglio. Back rows that had balance playing behind a second row that could do the "dog".

Slater.... there's a bloke who would have been damned handy (What did we need may for anyway) We need a solid citizen who will stand up and be that leader. Barrow to me has the attitude, if not the experience.

Pick a balanced pack from what we have and drill the proverbial out of it. Make it think as one.

Conclusion? Coaching and mentoring is the start point for change. It's deeper than playing, it's about heart, attitude and leadership too. You can add players, but not haphazardly. They need to fit the mould.

.........but coaching first.
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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Rugbyflanker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:09 pm

In fact i would say Evans is up there with the Currys,Simmonds,Mercer etc but hes been criminally underused. Hes been wasted and if i was him id look for a move,he was being talked about as our openside for RWC2019,hes was picked for a training squad and Eddie Jones even asked for some footage of him.to be sent over! This fascination of size is nonsense,see Wasps! Evans is definitely good enough for this level and we are killing his progress by picking big useless lumps at times,i feel sorry for him!

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by BFG » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:25 pm

Rugbyflanker all I can say is that Kvesic and Louw weren't playing yesterday or last week, or the week before!
Evans has not shown anything like Mercer or Simmonds, he is closer to the Curry's but not up there with them in my opinion!
Just take a good look at Exeter's back row, TTT apart the strength is immense and Sarries similarly, they carry the ball up two men tight.
I can understand MOC saying the traditional fetcher is drifting out of the game, it was plain to see why in yesterday's game, it's almost sealing off and TTT apart Exeter are that strong that they are impossible to hold up.
Against Munster I'm sure the likes of Evans were in contention if fit enough, against Sarries and Exeter it was the correct decision not to throw him in, in my opinion!

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Rugbyflanker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:32 pm

I respect that but disagree,he brings much more than just the breakdown. Even if he doesnt get the turnover he almost always slows quick ball down. Always averages 5m per carry no matter who hes playing against and doesnt run out of gas. Develoment is being completely stunted here and i wouldnt blame him if he moved. Kvesic and Louw are two of the best fetchers in the AP was my point. TtT apart the strength is immense?????

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Clowbeck » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:33 pm

Big Dai wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:03 pm
Conclusion? Coaching and mentoring is the start point for change. It's deeper than playing, it's about heart, attitude and leadership too. You can add players, but not haphazardly. They need to fit the mould.

.........but coaching first.
Agree.

The difference between the Tigers performances we've seen this season and competing for the AP title is not at player level. Take Exeter or Saracens, they each have a culture, a dyed in the wool ethos, an identify that all players have running though them, this is the foundation before tactics or player ability. When these two teams find themselves being outplayed it's the collective ethos that rises up and brings the game back under control.

Leicester miss an ethos, yes I know we had one but it's long gone. A fresh start is required, a DoR with correct board members
and coaching staff supporting that can give rise to this over time. No reason why MOC cant be a part of this.

If seriously challenging for the AP isnt the answer at present, which I dont think it is, then this is reasonable given business priorities, this season can be written off as part of long term rebuilding.

What I cant accept is that the board or MOC seriously consider the Tigers silverware contenders this season, if they do then they dont understand what does and what will make a top 4 domestic / European 'club'.

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Stephen18 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:34 pm

Is suppose with the likes of Evans, Wells, Thacker, worth and any other academy player we can only speculate how good they are or could be, cause tigers seem determined to never give our young players a run of games in the 1st team in favor of players in their late 20’s who show week after week their not at the standard required. Look at the success the likes of Exeter, sarries, sale and in the past harlequins have had by bringing their young players through early and bedding them into the team and the the league.

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by Rugbyflanker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:43 pm

Great post stephen,fully agree!

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Re: Is the playing squad up to the job?

Post by BFG » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:59 pm

Ridiculous regarding the young players and symptomatic of the decline in standards!
The young players should really be pushing the older players.
I can only assume that there is either nothing between them in training or they aren't pushing the incumbents hard enough.
If they were that good then I have little doubt that they would play.
Personally having seen the drubbing off Saints in the A League I don't think any can have much complaint about not being picked!

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