Sunday 30 March 2014 – 2.00pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
Aviva Premiership #17
I thought it would be a good idea to write this now, before I drive back to Cumbria. Firstly, I’m still temporarily enraged by today’s game, and secondly, maybe I will calm down by typing it all out.
You go away to Gloucester, bring on a few replacements at 60 minutes, change the players’ mindset from negativity to positivity, and you score four tries. What is the logical next step?
Clearly, in Falconsland, it is to keep faith with a setup and way of playing that has brought eleven successive defeats, despite the fact you are playing against a team that has not won a league game in a few days short of thirteen months.
Did NOBODY among the coaching staff think that perhaps we should go out and attack Worcester today? Did nobody think: “This is a team that has not won a league game in over a year, we scored five tries last week, so maybe we should take the game to them with a fast style and try to rack up the points”?
No. They seem to have thought: “Right, you can score tries and get close to wins by playing attacking rugby, now go out and do it by kicking the ball away at every opportunity.”
Honestly, that first half was absolute rubbish. Neither team seemed interested in even looking for a try, just kicking the ball away and letting the other side come back at them. They seemed to be saving themselves for the second half – perhaps I’ve missed a new rule where points scored in the second half count extra.
Then in the second half, the Falcons put together a lot of possession, but were slow and ponderous. We were driven back in possession again and again.
Worcester were even worse as they couldn’t even get the ball. Their try was completely against the run of play and probably their only real attack of the second half.
When Joel Hodgson came on the predictable happened – we perked up, played with more pace and looked more likely to make breakthroughs. But it was too late. Why not try and play for the whole eighty minutes than just the last twenty minutes? We saw last week that in some cases the game is already lost at sixty minutes – no lessons learned, just the same stubborn rubbish.
Maybe the weather didn’t help – the paradigm for teams in danger of relegation seems to be just play negative rugby every time. Especially if the weather isn’t like the Costa del Sol in peak season. Here’s an idea: negative rugby has brought us twelve successive defeats, and has just seen us beaten by a team who hadn’t won a Premiership game in more than a year. Try something different! If it doesn’t work, then at least we’ll know. If it does, then you’ll get praise for trying something different. Nobody ever got credit for being stubborn when their ideas have not worked for far too long.
I suppose in some ways it is good that we didn’t have a decent crowd in attendance today, as some would probably have been put off rugby and at least the Falcons for life. A big win with attractive rugby, or just an attractive game, could have put a couple of hundred on the Saracens gate, as it is today’s rubbish probably put a few hundred off.
Right, I feel better now after that disjointed rant. See you at London Irish!
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