Saturday 25 February 2012 – 3.00pm
Welford Road, Leicester
Aviva Premiership #15
There have been many signs this weekend, from an incident in Leicester Square on Friday night to a mention of bedblockers (the term, a rather offensive one in my opinion, that some Tiggers fans use for the Falcons) later in the evening.
I’ll try anything to be optimistic pre-match. It didn’t work though.
With Wasps getting nothing from their game at Sale on Friday night, despite scoring 34 points, and the Falcons having perhaps their best chance in years to win at Well-quiet Road, spirits were high among the away fans pre-match.
After all, our boys are (or at least should be) full of confidence and continued desire to impress the new gaffers, and Leicester are struggling to maintain their playoff position. Then there were the six Tiggers on England duties.
Most were still in a good mood after our 42-15 defeat, and why not? I’ve seen far worse defeats in the East Midlands over the years.
Of course there was still the England game to come, for those who had time to stay in the ground and watch the game ‘as live’. I don’t know why Leicester don’t move their kick-offs around internationals. The clash may not be the reason for there being fewer tickets sold for yesterday’s game than the LV= Cup game earlier this month, but if not then Leicester would seem to have a bit of a problem.
Anyway, to on-pitch matters. The Falcons started brightly but Leicester scored their customary early penalty, which may well have been spot-on but it was given for not rolling away, something the Tiggers got away with a few times in the following minutes.
Yesterday was always going to be a big test for the new Falcons.
It doesn’t help when the referee has a bit of a shocker. James Fitzpatrick’s yellow card for a trip was probably right, and stupid since it was in Leicester’s half, but minutes later referee Greg Garner took a good few seconds to realise he should give us a penalty for a punch by a home player. No card though.
The first try of the second half was a write-off. A Leicester maul in our 22 didn’t move for about 20 seconds, and as soon as it did – penalty to the Tigers. The resulting lineout and maul yielded an advantage that followed Leicester from one side of the pitch to the other and back again – too long.
Still, can’t blame the referee for the defensive mix-up that allowed Billy Twelveminutes to score in the first half, and as I say Leicester are a very good team that would probably still have won yesterday as it was.
Again though the Falcons played until the end, scoring a couple of second-half tries. If we hadn’t conceded so many beforehand, then things might have been different.
We had some good performances, notably from Will Welch and the returning Andrew van der Heijden. People who know me will not be surprised at the player I thought had an absolute shocker (again), but no point naming that player here.
Perhaps the biggest worry will be how poor our scrum was. Leicester regularly pushed our pack back several yards, allowing themselves a good attacking platform. Leicester’s strength has always been built on solid forwards, and that shows no signs of changing.
While we could have been hopeful of a win yesterday, a six-try defeat is not necessarily cause for despondency.
I don’t understand some people having a massive go at the team for yesterday’s loss. This wasn’t Nailsea 4ths we were playing, but a side full of top-class players. We were always going to lose games in the run-in, the important thing now is to respond and beat Harlequins on Friday.
There is still a lot of rugby to play in the coming two months. The fat lady isn’t even out of bed yet.
(Follow TheSouthStandChoir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)