Formerly of this parish

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biffer
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by biffer » Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:33 pm

I seem to remember nine pages of people telling me Lavanini wouldn’t be a liability, that he’d matured etc when we signed him.

kpj tiger
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by kpj tiger » Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:36 pm

biffer wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:33 pm
I seem to remember nine pages of people telling me Lavanini wouldn’t be a liability, that he’d matured etc when we signed him.
He wasn't that bad for us

Robespierre
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by Robespierre » Tue Dec 14, 2021 7:34 am

Here's an article in today's Telegraph on Zack Henry who talks about his time with Leicester and adapting to life in Pau, in the "Rugby Corner" of France.
I'm pleased that he's thriving in Pau, because he's undoubtedly a talented player who needs a club that permits him to play what he sees in front of him, and that wasn't exactly the case at Welford Road.



Zack Henry interview: 'I didn't fit at Leicester Tigers but it has helped me thrive in France'
The English fly-half traded the East Midlands for the Top 14 and, after back-to-back player of the month awards with Pau, is happier for it

By
Charlie Morgan,
SENIOR RUGBY WRITER
14 December 2021 • 7:00am

Last week, Leicester Tigers finally confirmed that they will welcome Handré Pollard from Montpellier as George Ford’s replacement. Meanwhile, one of their former fly-halves is thriving across The Channel.

Around once every three weeks, Zack Henry gets contacted by a player from the Premiership or the Championship and asked for advice on how to approach a French club. The enquiries represent an endorsement of his own experiences.

Henry’s own move back to France, following a difficult yet developmental stint in the East Midlands, is working out nicely. Despite arriving late for pre-season at Pau due to visa issues brought on by Brexit, the 27-year-old won his new club’s player of the month award for both September and October.

“Life is completely different,” says Henry, whose team face Saracens this weekend in the European Challenge Cup.

“The Pyrenees are close by and we are not far from San Sebástian. We’re always doing something cool. I’m very happy. The culture of this team is incredible. Everyone is very open and very smiley. People embrace who they are.”

Before a quadriceps tear stalled him at the start of November, Henry had appeared in eight Top 14 matches. Pau, who also boast Georgia back-rower Beka Gorgadze and Tonga prop Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, sit ninth on league table that is immensely tight. Eleven points separate Castres, occupying the sixth and final play-off spot, and bottom-placed Biarritz.

“Toulouse and Bordeaux are outstanding and they will be battling out at the top,” explains Henry. “Then the rest of the teams are in a relegation scrap, it feels like.”

“The Top 14 as a spectacle this year has been mad,” he adds. “There have been fights, red cards, mad tries. There are internationals everywhere. It’s been crazy.

“I’m down in the south west, in ‘Rugby Corner’, as they call it. When you play Perpignan, you get off the bus and you can hardly see because of the flares. You’re getting booed, shouted at. It’s the same at Clermont. There are marching bands.

“Tigers have one of the best fan bases in England but elsewhere it isn’t like that. Fans aren’t crying, they don’t have paint on their face. They aren’t screaming. You don’t have people parasailing in with the match ball, which is all part of the experience over here.”

Henry has played all 80 minutes of each of Pau’s five victories, at either fly-half or full-back. His most satisfying day came against Stade Français, when he kicked all of his team’s points in an 18-9 triumph over opponents featuring Marcos Kremer and Ngani Laumape. In a self-deprecating post-match interview, Henry jokingly labelled the tense encounter as “an English match”. With weeks to reflect, it clearly meant a lot to him.

“We were playing against mad players and I felt like I controlled the game. Not only did I feel like I deserved to be there, I felt like I could make things happen. It was a big moment.”

Time has also helped him find perspective on a tough year in Tiger country after joining from Nevers in the French second division. For an idea of how raw Henry was, he had never worked with a full-time kicking coach. Instead, at Rouen and Nevers, he relied on YouTube tutorials. Having signed for a coaching set-up that was gradually dismantled and under a chief executive, Simon Cohen, who had left Leicester before Henry reached England, he stepped into an uphill battle.

As one of the mainstays of what history will remember as the start of Steve Borthwick’s rebuild, Henry’s summary is perceptive: “Any organisation that wants to go from where Tigers were to where Tigers are has to go through dark times and brutal periods.”

Between the restart of the Covid-interrupted 2019-20 campaign and the end of 2020-21, he played 26 times for Leicester and amassed 151 points. On the surface, those numbers are admirable. Because, behind the scenes, Henry was being rewired.

“When I was in Pro D2 [with Nevers], it was just ‘play what you see’ at all times,” he explains. “That had its benefits and its negatives. I was such an instinctive player. At Tigers, I found a lot more was decided in the week. At Nevers, nothing was decided in the week. We worked on skills and decision-making and put it into practice at the weekend.

“With Leicester, you would be saying, for example: ‘Right, we’re playing against Quins. They do this, this and this. We’ll put in place a structure’. You’re expected, I guess to stick to that structure.

“You don’t have time to think all this through on the pitch. I would see something [in a game] and something would go off in my head: ‘No, you’ve been told to do that’. You end up not fully backing the decision you are making.

“It’s funny because in France, now, I’m regarded as a ‘controlled’ fly-half. In England, I’m sure I was thought of as pretty loose.”

This regret, expressed with admirable honesty, should not be mistaken for lingering resentment towards Leicester. As Henry says: “I am so proud to have worn the Tigers shirt, but I almost didn’t get to enjoy it because there was so much pressure and stress every week.”

He freely admits that being drilled “to look at the back-field first” has improved his kicking game and aided him in the Top 14. Lasting friendships were forged at Tigers and their success this season has left him “buzzing”.

Henry feels especially delighted for Dan Kelly and Freddie Steward, highlighting how personable figures like Richard Wigglesworth and Ben Youngs will have been influential in the progress of those youngsters. Aled Walters, Leicester’s head of conditioning and charismatic heartbeat, is regarded by Henry as “a one in a million guy” who was invaluable for the mood of the entire squad during lockdown and amid matches played without spectators.

Even when Henry accepted that “the fit wasn’t there” and staying at Tigers for the last year of his contract would constitute “flogging a dead horse” with Freddie Burns due to come in to join Ford, he was treated with respect rather than frozen out. Borthwick brought him on in the dying moments of the Challenge Cup final against Montpellier at Twickenham seven months ago.

“That wasn’t out of pity,” Henry says. “There was one point in it and he said: ‘Bring energy to the backline’.”

When an opportunity arose at Pau, Henry did not hesitate. Years previously, having been overlooked by Harlequins academy, he had headed to Rouen on completion of his undergraduate degree at Bath University.

'I get at least one message a month asking about contacts in France'
That adventure was easier. Besides visa trouble, another inconvenience of Brexit has been the expense of transporting his Shiba Inu, Dexter, back and forth from England. Otherwise, though, life is good.

Henry, whose brother Jake plays at Le Havre, now has the top three tiers of French rugby union as well as the Premiership on his CV. Franck Tournaire, the 49-cap ex-France prop, is another player to have achieved that mightily rare feat. Open-mindedness and resilience have underpinned an intriguing career so far, driving Henry’s path from university third team to two of the most competitive leagues on the planet. He would recommend that others adopt a similar attitude.

“I get at least one message a month from Championship and Premiership players asking about contacts in France,” Henry says. “Not making the academy route was the best thing that ever happened to me because I lost that loyalty to the English rugby system.

“The minute that Pau offer came up, I had no fear or anxiety. It was just: ‘I’m going back over’. I feel half French now, as at home going into shops and restaurants here as I do in London.

“I am not saying that English kids should all bail out to France. I’m saying that not making the academy route can give you life experiences you wouldn’t necessarily get, and you can still get to the top.”
Semper in excreta.

loretta
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by loretta » Tue Dec 14, 2021 9:42 am

Thanks for that Robespierre, a good read and nice to see he doesn't hold a grudge over his time with Tigers. His, off the cuff, flair never really fitted here, which was a a great shame as I was looking forward to seeing it when he arrived. Quite a coincidence too, that the other player compared to him, Franck Tournaire, also did a spell at Tigers.

Also interesting to see his difficulties with working in France, and having his dog, post-Brexit. Having a dog, a Campervan, a taste for European travel, but only British citizenship, I completely sympathise with some of that. That's why my dog now has an EU pet passport :smt026 .
I've got a bad feeling about this.

Robespierre
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by Robespierre » Mon Dec 20, 2021 11:04 am

Telusa Veianu, currently under contract with Stade Français until June 2023, is apparently being considered by Bristol to replace Charles Piutau.
Telusa is highly thought of at SF and is considered one of the best fullbacks in the Top14.
Semper in excreta.

RagingBull
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by RagingBull » Mon Dec 20, 2021 11:36 am

Yeh no on that one.
Just the Ruck making a tweet into a story.

DeadlyDunc
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by DeadlyDunc » Mon Dec 20, 2021 11:38 am

Robespierre wrote:
Mon Dec 20, 2021 11:04 am
Telusa Veianu, currently under contract with Stade Français until June 2023, is apparently being considered by Bristol to replace Charles Piutau.
Telusa is highly thought of at SF and is considered one of the best fullbacks in the Top14.
Didn’t he tweet something along the lines of see you soon to Ellis when his video announcement was posted by Bristol?

Good replacement for Piutau in fairness notwithstanding RBs dismissal of it being reality!

mol2
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by mol2 » Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:05 am

If the rumours are true about Telusa Bristol seem to have a lot of cash to splash out on our ex players. No doubt Piatau's salary would have had a distorting effect on their finances. With the salary cap and reduction in marquee players they will have to spread their cash carefully or become another Sarries!

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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by Cagey Tiger » Tue Dec 21, 2021 2:59 pm

mol2 wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:05 am
If the rumours are true about Telusa Bristol seem to have a lot of cash to splash out on our ex players. No doubt Piatau's salary would have had a distorting effect on their finances. With the salary cap and reduction in marquee players they will have to spread their cash carefully or become another Sarries!
Bristol seem to go for a handful of 'top' players and fill the rest of the squad with average to good club players on commensurate salaries. Without the star names, like at the start of this season, they really struggle. They need the likes of Piatau and Radradra to make the line breaks.

Robespierre
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by Robespierre » Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:24 pm

Jordan Taufua (how Tigers needed him yesterday!) was declared the Top14's most valued player of the Top14 weekend's fixtures with a dominant display for Lyon against Pau.
For those of you who speak French, here's a link talking about "the all-powerful wolf!":
https://www.midi-olympique.fr/2022/01/1 ... 037364.php
Semper in excreta.

MrG2
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by MrG2 » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:14 am

According to BBC podcast, Alex Sanderson reckons Dom Barrow is going for a trial at Sale this week. Wants to get back into the game apparently

Scott1
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by Scott1 » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:16 am

MrG2 wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:14 am
According to BBC podcast, Alex Sanderson reckons Dom Barrow is going for a trial at Sale this week. Wants to get back into the game apparently
Looked a world beater at times,I belive he was at lock with Wells when we beat Chiefs at home. We made such a mess of their lineout and maul that they were kicking for 3 points and that was unheard of from them at that time

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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by Offside » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:23 am

Scott1 wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:16 am
MrG2 wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:14 am
According to BBC podcast, Alex Sanderson reckons Dom Barrow is going for a trial at Sale this week. Wants to get back into the game apparently
Looked a world beater at times,I belive he was at lock with Wells when we beat Chiefs at home. We made such a mess of their lineout and maul that they were kicking for 3 points and that was unheard of from them at that time
If he has developed like Wells has he will be excellent, but it will remain to be seen. He certainly had potential.

tigerburnie
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by tigerburnie » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:57 am

Rumour Sam Vesty may be Saints next head coach with Phil Dowson as DOR.
"If you want entertainment, go to the theatre," says Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill. "Rugby players play the game to win.15/1/21.

LE18
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Re: Formerly of this parish

Post by LE18 » Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:29 pm

Offside wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:23 am
Scott1 wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:16 am
MrG2 wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:14 am
According to BBC podcast, Alex Sanderson reckons Dom Barrow is going for a trial at Sale this week. Wants to get back into the game apparently
Looked a world beater at times,I belive he was at lock with Wells when we beat Chiefs at home. We made such a mess of their lineout and maul that they were kicking for 3 points and that was unheard of from them at that time
If he has developed like Wells has he will be excellent, but it will remain to be seen. He certainly had potential.
He developed a bit of a bad reputation whilst with us, went to Saints if I remember, but didn't get many starts and I don't think his reputation improved.

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