Future captaincy

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Future captaincy

Post by mightymouse » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:56 am

With all due respect to Tom Youngs who I believe is playing better rugby now than I have seen for years, I started wondering about future leadership in the club.
There is no doubt we look in a lot better shape than we have for some time. For several years we looked rudderless, weak and dare I say a bunch of disjointed players looking to throw the towel in!
But all organisations start with the top who then look to build a culture fromThe bottom. I think there can be little doubt that we have finally got the right man in Steve Borthwick, and everything he is putting in place looks right too. It helps of course that recruitment looks better already( whether or not that was all his doing I don’t know). Of course the continuous growth of younger players and being prepared to play them is another massive factor and to be fair I think we have to give credit to Geordan Murphy starting that process and sadly for him never lasting long enough to see the benefits.
Tom over recent years had a hang dog look about him who seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders and it appeared to adversely affect his game. Now some of that weight is lifted and perhaps some of the burden shared in terms of leadership, not least from his boss I think it has put him back in a position to play with confidence and make a reasonable fist of captaincy at last.
However having said all that I think that it is obvious that he is unlikely to keep this going for much longer and I suspect the recent enforced lay off has given him time to reflect on his desire to return to the sod in a more permanent way, sooner rather than later.
Now in Hooker terms I would say with Clare, Kerr and our bearded Georgian friend we are already quite well covered in that direction and if memory serves me correctly we have an Argentinian lined up for next year so I think that signals his point of departure to great fanfares for what hopes to be a large and adoring crowd by then.
Therefore that leaves .. captaincy. I am interested what direction people think we should go in and why?
We could go with an English international, like his brother or Ford. Alternatively a seasoned foreign pro like Taufua, or Liedenburg. Then there is case for a younger man with Tigers DNA.
For me I currently think we should go with Harry Wells. I think he has really come on as a player and I think he is worth his place in the team . He has been brought up in tough times but understands the history of this club but also hopefully has seen that those past laurels are not to be rested upon and indeed new goals and new DNA even has to be created in a team environment that can only be forged in driving through adversity into a “never give in mentality “.
I see it in Exeter every time I watch them play and it reminds of what I witnessed here for 30 or more years. We are here to win and quite frankly we don’t give a damn what you think!
I see signs of leadership in Harry Wells and maybe he will be made of the right stuff to take this role on. I think it is going to be a very tough job in the next 3 or 4 years and I would like to think he is up to it.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by RagingBull » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:06 am

Personally between Liebenberg or Reffell for me.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by Tiglon » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:12 am

I wouldn't be surprised if Tom Youngs has another season in him after this - remember he didn't start playing regular first team rugby until later than most due to his position change, so he may go on longer than some expect. Unless Montoya does arrive, we will be in desperate need of a new starting hooker when Youngs does depart - Clare, Kerr and Mamukashvili look like squad players to me.

Most of the younger players GM brought into the 1st team have been hastily discarded by SB, but whoever is responsible for the academy the last few years has clearly been doing a good job. We have a handful of players coming through now who look like potential future internationals and it's been a very long time since we could say that! Who was the last international to come through the Tigers academy? Manu??

As for next captain...

Is Ford around enough? He's certainly got the experience and stature required.

Taufua probably won't be here long enough.

Wells might be a good shout, but is he always going to be in the XV? Maybe, maybe not.

Do you need to have just one captain for the whole season? The topic of captaincy is often overplayed, you need more than one leader and the question of who you give a title to is perhaps not all important.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by kpj tiger » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:21 am

Ford is the obvious candidate but he will be away a lot with England, Wells could be a great candidate as a club captain like Yeandle at Chiefs.

Personally I would like to see it go to Reffell or Leibenburg, both have previous captaincy experience and both lead by example.

EDIT, if they keep progressing Martin or Ilione are also future captaincy material

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by RunTigerRun » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:48 am

Liebenberg long term for me also.

Has experience captaining SA U20s, and easy to forget that at only 24/25 he has a lot of experience already in him. He seems to be almost a cert in the team based on his performances and seems to have quite a levelled head on young shoulders.

Wouldn’t mind a transitions captain approach next season with someone like Ford or Wiggy (if he’s still a player not coach by then) helping Liebenberg or someone into a full captain role.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by TA30 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:04 pm

What is great about this conversation is that there are a number of players showing the grit we associate with the greatest tigers players. Long may this continue and credit to the club for getting rid of the players who were just here for the pay cheque, bringing back those like Green and Clare who love the club, credit to the academy squad for showing up in training and putting pressure on the international names and credit to the coaches for picking the young ones for important matches reinforcing that their hard work brings rewards.

To maintain that club ethos I would favour an academy product like Wells (or Martin or Henderson in the future). Ideally a forward too for me, as they are closer to the action & ref. Reffell I would err against just because the breakdown is a lottery and would not want a ref's interpretation of it to impact on the 7 in his role as captain.

Liebenburg is otherwise the standout, he has shown that grit every time he played for us and has a presence on the pitch. Think Taute also plays a massive role in this team and is a bit of a Brad Barritt figure for us.

I hope TY plays on next year as Club Captain, he is the embodiment of what is great about the club and it's fantastic players are stepping up to share his mindset. We will still lose games this season, but what is refreshing is that we are now making the opposition scrap for everything.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by Wayne Richardson Fan Club » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:57 pm

Taufua has a fair bit of experience, might be a carrot to dangle to get him to stay...
I think it's best to have a skipper who is around for the majority of games.
To win is not as important as playing with style!

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by brooksey845 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:02 pm

I think Wells is an astute choice as Captain club man who has been through thick and thin. Reffell Handro are also choices but Wells I doubt would go away to international call ups and would be here the whole time.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by wormus » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:38 pm

I too hope that Tom Youngs stays and plays next season as "Club" Captain and I believe Harry Wells ( or Henry Wells as the BBC called him this morning!) would make a good future "Club" Captain.
This would then allow there to be a "Match" Captain when times allow as players are rested.
I too hope we can retain Reffell and others but yesterdays performance from the Academy players was exceptional with Freddie Steward, Jack Van Poortvliet, George Martin and Cameron Henderson and others the future looks good, thanks to those past Academy Managers. :smt023

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by LE18 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:28 pm

When I last spoke to Tom in Oct/Nov, he told me he had 2 more years left on his contract.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by CrumblingTerrace » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:30 pm

It's a difficult thing to judge because the captaincy is so much about character and we only see a slither of that on the pitch.

Ford is often described as being influential and inspiring because of his dedication, professionalism and work ethic. When he's with us, it's hard to look past him.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by Hot_Charlie » Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:53 am

It’ll be Ford. Yes, he’s away a lot, but then so was Johnno etc in their prime. He appears to be the natural, big game leader in the group.

It’ll just be someone else when he isn’t available. Borthwick is ensuring - just like Eddie - he has plenty of “leaders” in his squad.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by mol2 » Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:20 am

For me whoever is th next captain they should be a dead certain starter so we don't have the awkward citiuation where a plyer's form doesn't really merit a starting berth.

I'm not sure Wells is a dead cert starter.
Taufua looks to be captaincy material- when he is on the pitch he is always talking to the other players. However he has been a bit injury prone and there is a lot of competition in the back row.
Ford - a big ask given his England duties but under no pressure for his place.
Not sure Liebenberg is captaincy material and like the others there is a battle for back row berths.

Never been an advocate of front rows captaining sides - they are generally tied up in the scrums and breakdowns so it is hard for them to see what's going on behind them. Sean Fitzpatrick being an exception. (To an extent this applies to the locks but not so much other than at scrum times, when they get a better view than most of front row shenannigans so that's swings and roundabouts).
Wings and full back are too far away from much of the play to be in the ref's ear.

Whist I have previously criticised OTY's form and his captaincy to the point where I felt he should not be a starter, let alone captain, the arival of Borthwick has transformed him in terms of form and the way he interacts with the ref. He now seems to know what is expected of him and the players and also seems to have developed a positive relationship with the refs rather than quite simply annoying them. So wouldn't change that unless he is retiring or loses form.

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by mightymouse » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:30 pm

Peter Wheeler, Colin Deans, Jim Aitkin, Kieth Wood, John Pullin, Raphael Ibanez, David Sole all made decent front row captains to name a few (all but two Hookers, and no tightheads in that list interestingly!)
and of course from the second row you could argue the greatest of all captains come from that engine room
Johnson, Beaumont, Eales, Meads, McBride

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Re: Future captaincy

Post by JP14 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:37 pm

Of course there are examples of props being more than capable captains, Jefferson Poirot and Phil Vickery spring to mind, I really wanted Cole as captain to work but I didn’t unfortunately.
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