Sunday, 3 November 2013

And it goes on, Tigers Fawkes it up on Bonfire Night

It was bonfire night at Welford Road but there were no fireworks from the home side.  A 23-16 loss was the third straight league defeat to Harlequins at Welford Road; it was also the third straight year this game was played without internationals.  The one game played when both sides were at full strength?  Last year's Premiership Semi Final and a 33-16 victory for the Tigers.

The only side in the history of league rugby to have a better winning run at Welford Road is Saracens with 4, and they could add to it later this year.  All those games have too been played during the internationals.  Maybe PRL should take a look at their fixture lists so that we, the paying spectators, actually get to see the best v the best?

This match really swung on the ten minutes either side of half time when Quins scored 17 unanswered points.  A completely baffling decision to yellow card Julian Salvi, his first ever yellow card in Tigers colours, was the spur.  Personally I don't even think it warranted a penalty.  Salvi is the tackler, he releases gets back to his feet and causes the Quins player to knock on.  He doesn't even touch the ball himself.

But whether it was a penalty or not is immaterial, it was the first penalty inside the 22, practically the first of the whole match from the Tigers, and at no point did Quins rampaging penalty count get dealt with by the same method.  The Cockney's penalty count was an astronomic 16 compared to Tigers' 8.

Yet was they who had a man advantage for for an eighth of the game.  

Don't get me wrong Tigers were terrible.  The half backs again failed to show any nous or play the conditions at all.  The scrum and lineout went well, but it rarely translated to good territory and when it did we were clueless with the ball.  

Tigers don't appear to have any tactics; we just rely on the likes of Manu and Toby Flood to create things, when they are gone we offer nothing in attack at all.  Looking at the stats Hepetema might as well have not been playing.  He got the ball twice, kicked it once, ran for 10 meters the other time beating no defenders before being tackled.  It's not exactly Manu mk2 is it?

But the referee gave Quins a warning, then gave them another warning, then with his dirty deed done just grinned smugly knowing his London bosses would be happy with his "performance".  The game probably would have been a tight penalty fest without the interference, some people will say that made it better for the neutrals but none of us are neutral are we?  

To rub salt in the wounds both Quins tries were not just a bit fishy but reeked like a Friday morning in Grimsby.  

The first was from a ruck which piled up.  Now in my rule book when a ruck is deemed immediately unplayable it is the side in possession which gets the scrum.  But oh no, it was the ref's London friends who gained the put in.  After this stroke of bad luck Tigers seemed to decide fringe defence was optional as Nick "35 grand down the toilet" Easter brushed off Scott Hamilton to score by the posts.  Maybe he gets a try bonus?

The second was a cracking finish by Matt Hopper but rugby has these things on a pitch called lines.  They are painted on the ground and you can use them to see if a line out was straight or a pass was forward.  When Luke Wallace's pass starts on one side of the 22 and finishes on the other side it has gone forward.  Looking at my law book again, I know old hat, it says that a ball is not allowed to be thrown towards the opposition goal line.  We even had a TMO decision!  At Bath last year we lost a game on this, and again we lost a game on this.

Why bother with a TMO if they can't watch the TV in front of them?

The saving grace was the scrum which not only gained us the last minute penalty try but also one of the penalties. Why can we not be so resilient in open play?  It's all well and good blaming a keystone cops refereeing performance but why couldn't we over come that?  You get duff refs, watching the A-League I'm even confident in saying these clowns are the best available, why aren't we good enough to play despite them?

Our multi-phase approach is extremely reliant on referee's given us the penalties we deserve to stop the opposition slowing our ball.  As we find in Europe some refs just won't play the rules and we get stymied.  So why don't we work on a plan B for the fairly often occurrences of this happening?

We now break for the LV Cup which will be a blessed relief for Cockerill and his coaching team.  After a bright start we have faded badly winning only one of our last 5, and that was the decidedly average Treviso at home game.

And the wind cancelled the real fireworks too.  I blame the ref.

You don't win any trophies in November but you can lose them.


  1. "it was also the third straight year this game was played without internationals" - this is why we have squads. Tigers prefer to fill their ranks with journeyman foreigners - Quins rely upon their acadamy.
    "Salvi is the tackler, he releases gets back to his feet and causes the Quins player to knock on" - by the time Salvi has regained his feet a ruck has formed over the ball - Hopper for Quins and Bowden for Tigers. And Salvi clearly knocks the ball back with his right hand.
    "The first was from a ruck which piled up" - A ruck requires the ball to be on the floor else its a maul.
    "Looking at my law book again, I know old hat, it says that a ball is not allowed to be thrown towards the opposition goal line" - As the TV replays clearly showed, the ball was passed backwards.
    "Our multi-phase approach is extremely reliant on referee's given us the penalties we deserve to stop the opposition slowing our ball" - Tigers are masters at slowing opposition ball and have been for years - complaining that other sides can do it to you in return is simply pathetic.

    1. There is a line on the pitch. The ball starts behind it and ends up in front of it.

      Tigers yellow was pen no.2. At that point Quins had given away 9. But we are "past masters" of this apparently. What a load of drivel. Tigers consistently have the lowest penalty count.

      The point was that it is a weakness in our tactics to rely on quick ball from rucks, which its self is reliant on the referee punishing opponents slowing it.

    2. The lateral line is immaterial if the ball is thrown backwards (ie, the ball hasn't been thrown towards the goal line as per the laws). The players running forwards have momentum which is imparted to the ball when thrown. This is basic physics. I suspect you know this as it is widely accepted but are smarting from the loss.
      Since you have changed tack on Salvi's yellow from him being perfectly entitled to do what he did to it only being Tigers second penalty, I take this as meaning you now concede that Salvi was indeed at fault. Ask your self; where had Quins conceeded their 9 penalties - were any of them a couple of metres from their line? Did any of them potentially prevent a try from being scored? (And as an aside, 2 of those 9 penalties were against Wallace who on both occasions, was the second man in over the ball - before a ruck was formed, on his feet, straight onto the ball with the Tigers player holding on.)
      The "past masters" comment was about Tigers much lauded ability to slow down opposition ball, not about conceeding penalties - and I stand by the point I made: Tigers have and indeed continue to successfully slow down opposition ball both legally and illegaly, and to whinge and cry when another team does the same back to you, is frankly pathetic. If you think Tigers gameplan rely on quick ball is a problem then Quins reliance on it is utterly crucial to their gameplan. Its how Saracens beat us time and again.

    3. Are you a complete idiot?

      Salvi did nothing wrong. But lets play a game, its called an imagination. Imagining is when we think things that aren't real, just for fun. Lets imagine that it was a penalty. Then it was only the 2nd penalty Tigers had conceded. Quins had conceded every time Tigers were in their half. Now you can see that if you give away a penalty every time you get within 30 yards you will never let the opposition within 5.

      As for "slowing the ball down" me thinks the she beast doest protest too much. The point, that you keep missing, is that this isn't a criticism of Quins it is of Tigers. You cannot rely on referees to penalise cheats, it is a weakness in tactics and weakness is bad. Do you now get it or are we going to get yet more tripe smeared on the internet?