LI Vs. Bath, a preview

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LI Vs. Bath, a preview

by Loobs on Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:48 pm

London Irish Vs. Bath Preview


Ah, Rob Andrew. Don’t you just love him? Getting the England team announced over a week early, so that people writing previews can discount those players on England duty from our observations. No doubt we will be made to look complete idiots as the England players ramble out for a stroll around the park at the weekend. It will at least give us supporters an insight to how much influence the Squeaky one brings to bear in his new job. Will the clubs take a blind bit of notice? Will it rob us of the Casey V Grewcock battle of the locks? Let’s hope not. For all of Grewcock’s failings, perceived or otherwise, if he were in your squad, how far down the weekend’s team sheet would you go before writing his name in?

The Premiership teams have had a two week holiday from competitive games with the 6 Nations getting off to a flying start, with only England and France now being contenders for the Grand Slam. Sunday 11th March could be the crucial game of that tournament.

London Irish have, as usual, had no player involvement in the main fixtures, with just Catt and Geraghty involved with the England A set-up. Mike captained the team against Ireland and did a good enough job to have several pundits calling for him to get the nod for the Senior Team. Both should be in action at the Madejski on Saturday. With the announcement of the Fluteymeister departing for pastures new, there is an element of the supporters who are questioning whether he will be committed to the cause (or will it be the Causeway) for the rest of the season. Shane has, with his great performances become the incumbent no. 10 with the bauld Baz providing sterling back-up. Barry has looked pretty sharp when he has appeared of late. My view is that it is essential that Catt starts at 12 to give the Irish back line the momentum needed to break through what will be a dogged Bath defence. Lining up at 10 for Bath will be a relatively unknown fly half, Olly Barkley. I’m looking forward to seeing how he and Shane trade off each other.

The last game London Irish played was away at Saracens, where according to popular lore, the Exiles squad had sent some of the players on holiday a day early.

The previous 5 meetings of the clubs have resulted in 2 wins each and a draw. Honours even then. Both clubs are having mixed seasons resulting in low mid-tableness with Bath 4 points ahead of Irish on 30 points and in 6th place at this stage of the season. Bath’s last 2 games were away and then home to Harlequins with the home team being the victor on both occasions, The Stoop producing a 6-3 result, with the reverse fixture providing a veritable scorefest, ending in a 31 points to 23 victory for the boys in Black and Blue.

London Irish on the other hand have beaten Leicester at home and suffered losses at Gloucester and Saracens away. The last home League win was when Irish gave Northampton a right going over in a 40-5 victory back in November.

For us supporters of the Premiership, it will be good to get a game under our belts out in the fresh air as opposed to watching games on the box. For the team managers and coaches, it should have been a chance to get the injured fit or at least battle ready. Overall, both teams should have their first choice teams on display. Beefy will have run off his breakfast from a week or so ago. Apparently he hasn’t been allowed to eat anything at all since, such was the effect of Black Pudding on his Body Mass Index!

Despite the poor weather forecast at the weekend, I am forecasting a tight start to the game, with kickers trading penalties in a low scoring first half. Lots of sideways movement with a late opening up of play with just a deciding try between the teams. Which way will it go? Too tight to call in these games where late scores to break hearts are the order of the day. On the other hand, either team could just have a blinder and be out of sight by half time. Unlikely I feel. For London Irish, this game really is a must win to keep hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup alive for next season.

We have Rip the Calico in the Cowshed for pre and post match Ceol agus Craic. See you there!
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by dom_pedro on Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:19 pm

"Late scores break hearts" - indeed they have!

With Ashton naming the squad, will Bath be without Mears and Grewcock?

Thanks for the preview.
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by Loobs on Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:29 pm

The problem is that England don't have call on the players and as the International players spend a lot of time away in a season, the likelihood is that they will be playing if fit.
Last edited by Loobs on Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by dom_pedro on Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:25 pm

This should get the blood pumping and maybe the tears rolling.

http://www.london-irish.co.uk/media.php?v=4&c=5 - not one to enjoy though.
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by AlecW on Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:36 am

Did you HAVE to do that, Pedro?

:(
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by PeterS on Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:23 pm

Straight out of the "How not to behave in the last minute when you've just snatched the lead back" textbook. So many teams do it. It could break a coach's heart. Doesn't do much for the supporters either. :cry:
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by gabriel on Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:21 pm

Was that Mr Catt in the last scene? He didin't look pleased. Strange, since he was in a Bath jersey.
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by Mrs Chicken on Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:51 pm

Yes, but why would anyone look pleased to be wearing a Bath jersey? The players are only doing it because they've had one of those memory wipes as happened to Tommy Lee Jones at the end of "Men in Black". Occasionally the effects wear off, and the players suddenly notice they're standing on a pitch in a horrible blue and black strip. As the realisation begins to dawn that they're playing for Bath, the classic look of dismay that one sees so often on the faces of these poor creatures is momentarily visible before the memory loss reasserts itself and they carry on without any real awareness of what they're doing.

It's commonly known as "Stepford Players" syndrome, and you get it at Leicester as well.
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by PGT on Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:56 am

I've said it before on here, 'the night Elvis came to town' was the day before we went on holiday. As we had an early check-in what a nice idea thought we to go to Bath (from Essex) and then to Gatwick, suffice it was a long quiet drive to the airport!
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by Loobs on Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:49 am

That game was on the telly, I saw the second half at Sunbury once I had finished patching up the wounded. Great excitement as it looked like Irish were going to sneak it, then a total crash.

Although not quite as long a journey home, it was subdued nonetheless.
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by colin_m on Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:57 am

That was the game that capped my experiences of Bath supporters, thus relegating them to the rank of rudest fans in rugby - all that noise and abuse.

A year or two before, I was minded to inflict physical violence after some "wag" was making cracks about An Gorta Mor.
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by dom_pedro on Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:10 pm

Aye, and I remember that game very well. Wasn't impressed with the some of the supporters in the Blackthorn stand (I think I was just out of shot for that try) and then it was topped off with my Bath supporting friends jumping up and down about 6 inches from my face shouting "Yeeeeahhhhhh, ha ha haaaaa".

I'll try and add a try from a happy LI v Bath match to the videos area.
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by Ensian on Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:17 pm

Forecast now looks good & Bazza is a Saint!
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by dom_pedro on Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:26 pm

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by Loobs on Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:28 pm

That was a Bath game in reverse. Totally the wrong way round, didn't the players read the script? It is SUPPOSED to be, no score for 20 minutes at least, one score in the first half. THEN a couple or three in the second half, preferably late on to send one set of supporters home thinking, if only.

Instead we had Irish out of the tunnel all fired up and playing some flowing rugby, Bob actually staying on his feet for that few extra crucial seconds to enable the support play to get to him. One of these instances led to the try from Topsy (or Dropsy Ono as he is now known). Apart from that try, under the post much to the annoyance of the Reading supporters, Topsy didn't have a great game. Bish needs to show him how to nail the defender catching the high ball and pronto.

The two knock-ons aside, I thought Tonga had a storming game and would have been a candidate for MOTM on another day. His tackle count and work in the loose was pretty damned good.

I didn't see what triggered the Geezer fight, but he took a fair few schlaps and still stayed standing and staring. Murph had the better game of the 8s yesterday. Kennedy had ongoing battles with Borthwick and Stevens but seemed to hold his own. He may not be the enforcer that Irish need, but at elast he doesn't take all the cheap shots lying down.

Was it really Barnes in the middle? His officiating of the line out and the breakdown was very poor.

Borthwick, Grewcock and Stephens never far from trouble, although I thought Grewcock was the quietest of the trio.

Still, a leapfrog to get a push on up the table is no bad thing.
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by PeterS on Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:51 pm

Don't much feel in the mood to criticise anybody but I'm beginning to get a little frustrated with the way Sailosi T. always, like EVERY TIME, takes the ball into contact. It's as if he thinks that he's the only LI player on the field. :roll:

Didn't think Barnes was that bad but I do believe that he was ill-served by his touch judges who didn't alert him to infringements that were not in his line of sight.

As for dear old Caimh, I'm sure I heard him refer to player X who had just gone onto the field as a "substitute for Sale". :lol:
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