Monday 6 May 2013 – 3.15pm
RFU Championship semi-final 1st leg
Well, that wasn’t in the script was it? After 21 wins in the regular season, we’ve been beaten in the first leg of the playoff semi-finals by a team that finished 31 points below us in the table. But them’s the rules, and we have to dust ourselves off and get a six-point win or better on Sunday to keep alive hopes of getting back into the Premiership at the first attempt.
It was a frustrating afternoon as the Falcons were so often their own worst enemies, with poor tackling and silly decisions contributing to Leeds’ tries, and the fact is that we weren’t good enough and must improve because the Cardigans are a decent side with Premiership ambitions of their own.
It’s certainly going to be interesting at KP and there will no doubt be a sizeable and vocal away crowd as the Falcons provided at Headingley yesterday. But despite a poor performance, a five-point deficit is not the worst result in the world. The league table, and indeed the home match against Leeds back in September, show that we should be more than capable of putting more than six points on our northern cousins.
I am a little concerned as most people, but confident.
Some things need to be changed though. Oliver Tomaszczyk really seems to be struggling for fitness so chuck on Scott Wilson who has shown himself to already be more than competent at this level, and if his exams permit, why now throw in Zach Kibirige too? We really need some pace and unpredictability in the backs and he’s just the lad to provide it and Noah Cato seems to have gone off the boil a bit.
I don’t think Tane Tu’ipulotu was great on his comeback from injury, he didn’t seem to do a lot in attack and his lack of a tackle attempt contributed to the 22 break that resulted in Leeds’ first try. Not that he was the only guilty one on that count.
As for the scrum-half situation, well, a lot of people seem to have made up their minds on that. I’d be happy to see Hodgson there if none of Lawson, Pasqualin or even Pilgrim can play. Warren Fury doesn’t have enough speed for me, and his box kicks rarely get to a spot from where we can build, though people not chasing them does not help.
I imagine Uncle Semore had a frank chat with Dean Richards this morning but I still have faith that we’ll pull it off on Sunday, and then in the finals against either Bedford or Nottingham.
If nothing else, the B&I Cup Final is not going to be much of a fun night if we are no longer in with a shout of promotion.
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