Wonder kids

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Jacko27
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Wonder kids

Post by Jacko27 » Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:11 am

"Ruck" has produced an item on 5 English rugby players of the last decade or so who never quite fulfilled their stellar early potential. 3 of the 5 played for Tigers. If you haven't read the article can you guess the identity of the three? All 5 were backs by the way.

Jimmy Skitz
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Jimmy Skitz » Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:52 pm

care to name the players?

WhitecapTiger
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by WhitecapTiger » Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:24 pm

1. Mat Tait
2. Olly Barkley
3. James Simpson-Daniel
4. Ollie Smith
5. Anthony Allen

Curiosity got the better of me, I wish it hadn't. I'd post a link but it's such a garbage article, dredging up carp to fill space, 5 pages to click through with very little substance against each player.

IMHO of course.
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ABClub
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by ABClub » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:03 pm

Ruck really is sports journalism at it's laziness.

Tait, Allen and JSD are all players who's early form got completely derailed by injury that stopped their progression. Tait and Allen returned different players and very good Premiership ones at that. JSD had spells of being sublime then got injured just as the recall beckoned. All were unlucky more than unfulfilled.

If you're including players who had bad luck with injuries in an unfilled for England discussion then Tom Rees and Harry Ellis would come in above all 3 of those guys for me. Potentially James Forrester as well. Trevor Woodman too in fact. He won the same number of caps as Tim Payne, that's a whole argument for Woodman's inclusion on it's own.. Richard Blaze got injured at a time when England were crying out for a lock like him as well.

Smith had an outstanding first 8 years of his career then struggled after the Lions tour and his father sadly passing.

Barkley was a brilliant club 10/12 who just lacked the physicality to play centre at international level or the playmaking for fly-half at that level. During his first stint with Bath he was sublime at times but I wouldn't put him in the unfulfilled for England bracket.

Cipriani as the player he was pre leg break would top the unfulfilled list for me. Before that injury he was quicker than most international wingers had a big kicking game and was developing his play making really well. Post leg break he evolved into a very different fly-half, still a very good one but not the player he might have been. Some of his early performances at fullback and then fly-half for Wasps showed outrageous talent.

ads
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by ads » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:04 pm

Ollie Smith was great!

TigerFeetSteve
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by TigerFeetSteve » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:40 pm

Tait I get, he got thrown in to internationals too soon and the replayworthiness of that tackle, he was quality for Tigers though, a victim of being a little too versatile to get back into the England mix but while his best wasn't seen in Internationals that was more because he didn't play internationals when at his peak.

Barkley, think too many people wanted him to be another Wilkinson, I actually think he pretty much reached his potential, just others wanted him to be more than he was.

JSD lets face it injuries did him over, after injuries he was good but had just lost the exceptional edge, another quality player.

Ollie Smith... so much for last decade... think he deserved an England shot (I would have had him in above the likes of Tait & Noon, as said before was too early for Tait)

Allen never got given a run for England but a true club legend. Think he reached his potential too...


That is a poor bit of journalism, got to say dig a bit deeper than players who toed the line between top draw club players and the odd cap here and there.

There are LOADS of players who had "more potential" had all sorts of pundits watching U18's as youngsters but barely made a dent at club rugby as they didn't have the inner steel to progress. All of those 5 at least got to play for their country. There's a lot of professional players who never got that chance.
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Jacko27
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Jacko27 » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:57 pm

Agree with much of the above - the original article is clickbait journalism of course designed to draw us in and then padded out to wrap round loads of adverts. My irritable reaction is to read it ( because I'm interested) but strenuously avoid looking at the ads! However the basic premise of choosing 5 players who never quite fulfilled their early potential is an interesting one, I think, but perhaps the unasked question of why no forwards were included is more interesting. Is it because forwards' development is more of a slow burn?

Hot_Charlie
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Hot_Charlie » Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:12 pm

Sadly for Ollie Smith he had to fight past Greenwood and Tindall when he first emerged, and by the time he was at the peak of his game Clive Woodward has moved on and subsequent England managements chose not to select him. What could have been was demonstrated by SCW selecting him as BOD’s understudy for the ‘05 Lions tour.

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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Cardiff Tig » Wed Oct 21, 2020 9:51 pm

I'd argue Varndell never reached his potential in an England shirt. Could have been as good as May.

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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Traveller » Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:17 pm

ABClub wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:03 pm
Ruck really is sports journalism at it's laziness.

Tait, Allen and JSD are all players who's early form got completely derailed by injury that stopped their progression. Tait and Allen returned different players and very good Premiership ones at that. JSD had spells of being sublime then got injured just as the recall beckoned. All were unlucky more than unfulfilled.

If you're including players who had bad luck with injuries in an unfilled for England discussion then Tom Rees and Harry Ellis would come in above all 3 of those guys for me. Potentially James Forrester as well. Trevor Woodman too in fact. He won the same number of caps as Tim Payne, that's a whole argument for Woodman's inclusion on it's own.. Richard Blaze got injured at a time when England were crying out for a lock like him as well.

Smith had an outstanding first 8 years of his career then struggled after the Lions tour and his father sadly passing.

Barkley was a brilliant club 10/12 who just lacked the physicality to play centre at international level or the playmaking for fly-half at that level. During his first stint with Bath he was sublime at times but I wouldn't put him in the unfulfilled for England bracket.

Cipriani as the player he was pre leg break would top the unfulfilled list for me. Before that injury he was quicker than most international wingers had a big kicking game and was developing his play making really well. Post leg break he evolved into a very different fly-half, still a very good one but not the player he might have been. Some of his early performances at fullback and then fly-half for Wasps showed outrageous talent.
Interesting commentary about Cipriani. I've never been a Danny cheerleader - but I think you're right. He burst on to the scene as an extraordinary talent. But post leg break he'd lost that 5% which makes all the difference at the very top level. But insufficient attention is given to the leg break when referencing Cipriani's career.

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Re: Wonder kids

Post by mol2 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:38 am

Not sure the leg break was the undoing of Cipriani.
He had talent but was more in the category I would label as "Flash" - some brilliant things but overall his game had other weaknesses and defficincies that were always going to be exposed at the top level.

Harry Ellis was the prime example of a player who had already begun to fulfil his potential - established as an International player and, had it not been for his failure to recover from his knee injury, would have remained an England player for a long time.
It was sad to see him after he came back throwing passes when there were gaps ahead that pre injury he would have run through and said goodbye to the chasers. Not sure what was worst - seeing the shadow of his former self taken on the Lions tour or the way he was criticised for running the ball with England (when the real problem was England's back row and quite a few of the backs were so slow and making negligible effort in terms of running support lines)

Some of the other players mentioned were promising rather than outrageously talented as youngsters but perhaps had their reputations over inflated by the press of that era who assumed all players Bath and Wasps must be wonderful. A heavy burden for some like Cipriani to carry.

Leicestertinytiger
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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Leicestertinytiger » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:46 am

For me has to be Tom Rees. I know England have loads of backrow options nowadays but back then when he was around we were desperate for an openside. No doubt if he’d remained fit, he’d have been England captain and stalwart of the side for many years. He was a quality player.

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Re: Wonder kids

Post by kk20gb30 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:50 am

When attempting to analyse or discuss unfulfilled potential a balance has to be made against unrealistic expectation or the (ever increasing) tendency to over hype talent early doors.On these particular shores also, the media have the seemingly unending habit of building them up only to shoot them down - great one minute , terrible the next ; add to these factors a sprinkling of injury and/or loss of form or hunger and the classic failure to live upto expectation article is already being proofread and prepped for publication.Sad , but inevitable - irrespective of the actual career (and on many occasions , the truth).

In passing , only have the fondest of memories for Mat Tait. The man was a genuine talent with a career interrupted at critical times through injury ( without which , who knows what we would have been heralding) - but these were overcome and adapted to.Like a fine wine he matured and got better with age.Thanks again Mat , have a happy retirement.

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Re: Wonder kids

Post by mol2 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:43 am

Tait had a good career interrrupted at times by injuries however played for England, played for us for a long time. I would be loathed to call that unfulfilled potential when it included an appearance in a world cup final.

People who don't know think of him as if he was a failure because England picked him too soon and he got dumped on his backside by Henson. Physically I think he was a better full back than centre and as a teenager that was certainly the situation when he was first picked by England. However we saw him play times at Welford Road and unfulfilled potential is not something I would argue the case for.

Forrester of Gloucester would have been a player I would have liked to see develop - a sort of Tom Croft but at no8 - way more gas than his contemporary back rows, again injury curtailed his career so we will never know just how good he might have been. Not in the failure category for me.

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Re: Wonder kids

Post by Ian Cant » Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:12 pm

Ollie Smith was one of our best centres: ran great lines and would be fast to support whoever made a line break. He got badly injured and also, like it has been said, his father passed away. Met Ollie a few times at kids‘ tournaments and he’d often come and pass on skills to the children and sign autographs.
Great player, great bloke and in my mind Great Tiger.
Agree with the other comments, Anthony Allen was superb especially alongside Manu and Floody. Incredible in defence and attack .
Tait, just unlucky again with injuries but he was brilliant for Tigers and defensive work at full back was terrific.
And of course I’m totally biased towards Tigers’ players.

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