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Topic-icon Early Season Form Discussion - 2011/12

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9 years 4 months ago #1641

Bit of an over-reaction here IMO. Last year we drastically improved our success rate at home and away, and came in at the end with a better points tally than we have had in a while. We lost the game on Saturday through a combination of bad luck, players not performing, sickness in the camp, injuries and some (with hindsight) bad calls on subs.  The entirety of the blame doesn't rest on Eric's shoulders.
In defence of the subs... We have a limited squad, maybe EE is trying to make sure that they are all up to speed? I appreciate that the match at the weekend was probably not the time to do it.
In terms of our squad. We have some quality young players in the squad, and with the success of the U-20's we will hopefully start developing more.


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9 years 4 months ago #1643

How does this work exactly? I make it that we already have 7 "foreign" players - 3 internationals: Henry (Samoa), Vainkolo (Tonga) and George (NZ 7s);and 4 players that could become Irish qualified: Ah You, Rogers, Reynecke, and Nikora.


Ray was capped by Samoa during their RWC warm-up matches. But because he was IQ at the time he's ok for this season, but will be NIQ next year. Miah will be IQ after this season.


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9 years 4 months ago #1645

Kinda like a swap so! :)


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9 years 4 months ago #1646

Nikora might get a look in at the training squad for the summer tour next year !!
With ROG retiring after the 6 nations that is.

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9 years 4 months ago #1650

Like everyone else Eric is going to make mistakes. But after watching 7 years of Bradley's mistakes I'm not going to complain (too much, I will complain a bit) about giving away soft results such as last weeks.

Clover, you've got some good points, but I don't think everything is as bleak as you've made out. We have improved, maybe not to the extent you're happy with, but improvement is there. How many 60+ point losses have we posted under Elwood? We're competitive in 100% of our games now, we're giving ourselves chances to win that in previous years didn't even exist. A loss is a loss is a loss, except when it's a bonus point loss and we improved on that massively over the last 18 months.  The next step in our development is to turn the tight losses into wins, and the games against Treviso and Scarlets were just that. We gave Bradley 7 years, I think we can afford to give Eric more than one and a bit seasons.

And look at everything off the pitch. We have a new stand, a major sponsorship deal, a much more in-your-face attitude coming from all quarters of the branch. I could be wrong, but I firmly believe Brads was holding us back from that and Eric is really pushing it forward.

As for the players brought in, he can only sign players who want to sign for us. It's his job to make us more appealing, and he's on the righ track I think. You mentioned how many signings were ones for the future, but we already had those in Fanning and Monahan, for example, and Eric decided that Jarvis and Loxton were better for us in the long run. He's got a bit of a ruthless streak when he wants.


I did mention our away results from last season, I also mentioned why they were not as bad as previous years and that is purely down to the defence coach, certainly not Eric. There is really nothing wrong with who he brought in, guys for the future but no real experienced heads, guys we need, guys that can control a game on the pitch when things need to be changed. We barely beat the Dragons at home, same with the Scarlets and we beat Treviso, if any of these teams had their internationals playing we would not have won.
When Fanning arrived he was a prospect, but you could see the confidence draining from him when ever he took the pitch, he started his Conn stint with gutso he ended it wimply what ever skills and confidence he had, seemed to have been trained out of him by the time he left.
The new stand, the H Cup, the Mazda deal are nothing to do with EE, they are to do with the IRFU giving us three years to prove ourselves and a nice cash injection from our countries wonderful leaders. The coaches are there, if they were left coach on there own, we might see a difference, why did Billy leave, ask him.

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9 years 4 months ago #1651

Nikora might get a look in at the training squad for the summer tour next year !!
With ROG retiring after the 6 nations that is.


Sexton, Ihumph, Keatley, Steenson, Staunton, Madigan

I think not

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9 years 4 months ago #1654

I did mention our away results from last season, I also mentioned why they were not as bad as previous years and that is purely down to the defence coach, certainly not Eric. There is really nothing wrong with who he brought in, guys for the future but no real experienced heads, guys we need, guys that can control a game on the pitch when things need to be changed. We barely beat the Dragons at home, same with the Scarlets and we beat Treviso, if any of these teams had their internationals playing we would not have won.
When Fanning arrived he was a prospect, but you could see the confidence draining from him when ever he took the pitch, he started his Conn stint with gutso he ended it wimply what ever skills and confidence he had, seemed to have been trained out of him by the time he left.
The new stand, the H Cup, the Mazda deal are nothing to do with EE, they are to do with the IRFU giving us three years to prove ourselves and a nice cash injection from our countries wonderful leaders. The coaches are there, if they were left coach on there own, we might see a difference, why did Billy leave, ask him.


I don't know Billy, so I can't ask him. You seem to be suggesting you know something juicy, if you do I'd like to hear it.

I think it's a bit too comfy that you can put all the positives down to everyone but Eric, but all the negatives seem to have his signature on them. That's hardly fair. Surely if Fanning had his game trained out of him that's down in part to Billy, no?

We're a new team who hardly know each other, we should be proud of the points we got against the teams we beat with such little time together.

I think you're being overly harsh.


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9 years 4 months ago #1656

Good points Clan Clover, I don't know the inner workings of Conancht Rugby but its important the questions are asked. Bradley can't be used as a benchmark as after the first couple of seasons the results were in general a disgrace (papered over by the odd good win at home and a decent run in the 2nd half of his final season) and the fact that Eric has probably done more for Connacht Rugby than any other individual (at least in the last 2/3 decades has to be put to one side too). I'd agree that last year was nothing to celebrate, it was a step forward in terms of competitiveness but ultimately it was a frustrating season with a number of winnable games slipping away.

The season so far has been mixed, results have been mixed, performances even more so, the 3 games I've seen have left me extremely worried. We edged past Dragons and Llanelli who as pointed out would have won with their internationals but the manner of the performances was more worrying, we were a distant 2nd best against two fairly average sides at home for 50+ minutes of each game. Last Saturday was extremely demoralising, I'd like to think we'll learn from it but it really was a case of same old story with some of our more experienced players not really delivering or showing the required leadership. Decision making, needless mistakes and poor discipline were as bad as ever last Saturday.

Among the positives are that Griffen and O'Halloran have shown encouraging signs and thats ultimately the way forward, try to get a home grown basis to the team so we won't have to go through this process on half a squad in and out the door every 2/3 years and we'll get lads playing for whom the jersey is everything.

The fighting spirit in the squad has remained good and at least shows everyone seems to be pulling in the one direction to date anyway but that alone won't be enough to win us games. We have had a big turnover of players and the losses of the likes of Cronin, Hagan, Keatley and Carr is huge to any side. Add in Ta'auso, Willis, Nathan, McComish, O'Loughlin etc. and thats a good proportion of our squad. The bottom line is that in general the replacements for these lads aren't good enough (in particular in the front row where Brett Wilkinson's recent form is another worry), or might only become serious options later in the season or into next season. However, looking at some of the more experienced signings, some have really yet to show they can perform at this level.

I think we'll have to judge at the end of the season, its going to be a tough season for the squad.  The points total so far is a bit dissapointing, although Saturday probably colours my vision on that, Cardiff is a big game now, if we fail to win there, we are unlikely to win in Ravenhill, by the time the HC rolls into town we could be as low as 10/11th with a lot of the bottom half of the table teams picking up some unexpected points lately.

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9 years 4 months ago #1658

lads, ye are getting carried away with yourselves here. you overreacted when u won the few games and now ye are overreacting to saturdays loss. you lost an entire team over the summer and had to replace them with v limited resources. a lot of the players brought in are young and inexperienced and wil take time to learn, particularly on the road.they found themselvs in a very unusual position at half time and panicked when the inevitable fightback came. the scrum is a problem but a lot of teams are struggling with their scrum so ye r not alone there, i think maguire is a great prospect and poss shud be ahead of rodgers in the pecking order, in fact it wud make sense to start ah you or rodgers and always have maguire on bench until he has enuf experience to start 20/30 every week will bring him on no end. at out half i like jarvis and would stick with him as i think he has what it takes. in holleran griffin, tuohy and mcrea you have four very  talented players. the pack lacks a bit of leadership now that george is out but all in all there is the nucleus of a decent team there. your home games are key and its important that u keep winning them, the margin doesnt matter as long as u win. the crowd have a huge part to play here. u have to control ure expextations and realise that places like the rds are not easy to get a result. i am a limerick man living in connacht and a munster fan with more than apassing interest in connacht. our scrum was destroyed at the weekend also and we were beaten at home. we dont take that lightly but our expectations are based on years of winning both home and away. i remember a time when we didnt expect to win on the road so dont despair. the connacht spirit will be built on local players backboning a team supported by a large support base who understand their rugby and are patient in their expectations. i have enjoyed my visits to the sportsground and hope to make next game. keep up the good work. by the way, lay off elwood, hes one of your own

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9 years 4 months ago #1660

I don't know Billy, so I can't ask him. You seem to be suggesting you know something juicy, if you do I'd like to hear it.

I think it's a bit too comfy that you can put all the positives down to everyone but Eric, but all the negatives seem to have his signature on them. That's hardly fair. Surely if Fanning had his game trained out of him that's down in part to Billy, no?

We're a new team who hardly know each other, we should be proud of the points we got against the teams we beat with such little time together.

I think you're being overly harsh.


The reason I put all the postives down to someone else, is because Eric has been doing the job for years in tandem with Brads and we saw no improvement, but as soon as we get a new backs coach and a defence coach we see improvements. We have lost good players, a good young player is now plying his trade with Munster, why because the management did not see eye to eye with him. Also McComish is a huge loss, more so then Keats, the hardly know each other thing, does not wash, they train everday together. I could be seen as overly harsh granted, but you see I don't have rose tinted glasses, I don't see any positives in defeat. If Connacht are to succeed and bear in mind we were given three years, two of which are left then cronyism has to stop in respect to the greater good which is the survival of Connacht as a professional rugby team. There is nothing worse then losing knowing you could have won but also victory is not sweet if its barely achieved due bad performance. Nothing tastes better then victory achieved with control, skill and tactics. These young guys want to win, they have successful backgrounds but lack experience, the older guys have the experience but not the winning mentality ingrained in them and that is from years of suffering defeats that is why on Saturday when the push from Leinster came on they collasped.
@timmyd.  A couple of points, winning margins do matter and they matter a lot, you must prevent your opposition from getting bonus points, you must create a perception that coming to the sportsground is hard for visiting teams and the likely hood of a visiting team walking away with points is minimal, the way it is now anyone that comes thinks they can walk away with four points, a hard fought four points but never the less four points. As for laying of Elwood because he is one of our own, I would not care if he was my dad, if he was not up to the job I would tell him. Its not about individuals its about the team the brand, it needs to be protected, he was a great player for us a great spokesman and is a great figurehead, what he is not is a good coach. And if he left the coaching and the game decisions to his three appointed personnell I think we may see a difference.

Yes I am been harsh, but you must be harsh to achieve goals, no point setting them knowing you lack the skill to achieve them, even worse thinking you have the skill and miss them by a mile. Its not about individuals its about the team and what is good for the team.

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9 years 4 months ago #1663

Clan, I'll admit I was worried when Eric took over for precisely the reasons you state. His association with Bradleys regime did taint him, there's no doubt.

But after listening to his interviews when he was announced as the new coach I was relieved a bit, because he sounded passionate about turning Connacht around. I don't think it's spin, I honestly believe he's saying more or less all the right things and I think he is bringing a new level of professionalism. Not every time, but much more often that not, I think.

I don't think it's cronyism that he got the job. He was always the front runner, yes, but that was more down to budget than anything else. We were never going to be able to afford someone like Jake White.

If Eric isn't good enough then he won't be there long. But I think we need to give him time.

By the way, it's good to see a new face. Welcome to the board.


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9 years 4 months ago #1664

Last year was an improvement over the year before, and this year has been an improvement so far. With the massive changes in personnel I think it will take a bit of time for them to settle in, and the game in Leinster, with so many injuries and positional changes hardly can be used to prove a point.
You are intimating some personality clashes in the camp, and really you don't have much to back it up, unless you are witness to them yourself or were told about it by someone involved. Either way you are only presenting one side of these things and it suits your argument to do so. I hope you understand that that would make some people (myself included) wary of taking you at face value.

I like to echo what ummm is saying though. It's great to a "Devil's Advocate" to ask these kinds of questions. I hope you're wrong as we all know how entrenched the Connacht management can be!


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9 years 4 months ago #1666

Things weren't a disaster prior to the Leinster defeat IMO, we got points in all previous games and a last minute drop goal denied us a point at the RDS (but the second half was painful as we could have taken 4 points).  I would be happy to finish mid table, we do have a small squad and not very experienced.  The league is more open than previous years, all i can ask for is an improvement on the table year on year.

This 'brand' stuff is nonsense unless the team does well.  People come to see winning (and ideally exciting) rugby, I think we all want the same thing... so...

Come on Connacht!!!

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9 years 4 months ago #1667

A couple of years ago, during the Bradely era, Gerry Kelly was interviewed on knockon.ie and said the following

We aren’t as highly [funded] as other provinces. We are not complaining about that but it means that everyone has to work that bit harder both on and off the field to try and get us to improve.


I was livid when I read that. We should have been complaining. We should have been an irritating piece of dirt in the IRFU's eye non-stop.

The change in coach, the PGB, improved sponsorship and everything else that has come with it has been directly because we did start kicking up a fuss. I don't know who finally decided to do that, and I applaud Gerry for changing his tune, but I believe it's no coincidence that it came after appointing Eric as coach.


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9 years 4 months ago #1673

Nikora might get a look in at the training squad for the summer tour next year !!
With ROG retiring after the 6 nations that is.

Sexton, Ihumph, Keatley, Steenson, Staunton, Madigan

I think not


Well you can definately scratch Ihumph and Staunton, and Steenson too unless he goes back to Ulster/Ireland or even moves to Leicester/Quins or other major Premiership side. Steenson is currently backup to an Argentinian at Exeter so it may happen...

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9 years 4 months ago #1674

Paddy Jackson, anyone? Young and improving. Not a player for right now, but a couple of years down the line I can see him getting ahead of iHumph.


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