New Courage Leagues

New Courage Leagues

Post by R McDuf » Thu, 20 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

Would love to know your thoughts,

RM

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Gibbo » Thu, 20 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Much as I would like to see Bath competing I think it will involve the top two
form  last season with newcomers Bedford being a good outside bet . Mind you I
had Wasps as back to back winners last season.

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Simon Fussel » Thu, 20 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
>Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

>Would love to know your thoughts,

>RM

I suppose it would be helpful if we knew what the league format was actually
going to be this season.
Assuming that it will be the expanded Allied Dunbar ,I think it will be a
lot closer this year.  Bath should be up there after last seasons disaster,
( 3rd and European champions ).  Newcastle still look like being a strong
side even though they let Lam go.  Saracens have a lot to do to get over two
key losses in fly half and centre but apparently have made some big SH
signings today .  If Gloucester can find some away form then they too could
be challenging at the end.  Then of course there is always Leicester.  But I
think if Bath can sort out their second row and fly half positions early on
they will top the table.
Regards
Simon.

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Bryan R » Thu, 20 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>Assuming that it will be the expanded Allied Dunbar ,I think it will be a
>lot closer this year.  Bath should be up there after last seasons disaster,
>( 3rd and European champions ).  Newcastle still look like being a strong
>side even though they let Lam go.

Newcaslte won't do much this year, even with the signing of Bok Hurter
at tighthead. Pat Lam is a HUGE loss, and Alan Tait has gone back to
Scotland, leaving a big hole in the centers as well. Will Rob Andrew
play flyhalf, or will he hand over the no10 to Jonny Wilkinson? No,
Newcastle won't be up there this year.

Quote:
> Saracens have a lot to do to get over two
>key losses in fly half and centre but apparently have made some big SH
>signings today .  

New singings? Lynagh was a good flyhalf, but don't underestimate
French flyhalf Alain Penaud. He's won something like 30 caps, and he's
not over the hill yet. Sella was good too, but they still have Ryan
Constable (who will probably be on the wing again) and new South
African signing Jeremy Thomson, who went on a couple Bok tours in the
past and is no slouch either. Saracens should be a force this year.
They also signed former Wallaby Troy Coker in the offseason, and while
he won't start ahead of Johns, Grewcock, or Diprose, he should make an
impact off the bench.

Quote:
>If Gloucester can find some away form then they too could
>be challenging at the end.  

Should be an excellent side this year, especially with the front row
of new signing Mike Worsley, Phil Greening and Phil Vickery. This
could be the England front row of the future. Indeed, the tight 5
(with Sims and Fidler) could be the best in the league. Ojomoh is back
on form, as is Scott Benton, and former All Black Simon Mannix should
provide some flair from the no10 jersey in place of slumping
Mapletoft. Tombs and Fanolua can only improve over last years
excellent form, and the back three of Saint-Andre, Johnson and Catling
are underrated. A very good side to be sure.

Quote:
>Then of course there is always Leicester.  

My pick this year. Too many excellent players both in the 1st XV and
on the bench not to compete. Two new Canadian signings utility back
David Lougheed and prop Harry Toews should do very well. Stimpson
should be raring to go as he is trying to win back the England #15
jersey, and Patrick Howard should add plenty of offense in the centers
with Greenwood. A very good team.

Quote:
>But I
>think if Bath can sort out their second row and fly half positions early on
>they will top the table.

I'm thinking that Eric Peters might be slotted in the second row with
either Haag or Sturnham, to make room for Lyle, Nathan Thomas, and
Russell Earnshaw in the back row. Nigel Redman might make an impact as
well, old as he is. Catt will probably be at the helm again, but don't
be surprised to see Jon Preston in the no10 jersey and Catt in the
centers to make room for Andy Nicol at scrumhalf. Bath certainly has a
lot of options in the backline, that's for sure, especially with Irish
signing Kevin Maggs, who I'd like to see partner Guscott in the
centers. I pick them to come in second next to Leicester.

Here's my top 5 teams:

Leicester
Bath
Saracens
Gloucester
Northampton (they've got Lam now)

Bryan Ray

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Pete » Thu, 20 Aug 1998 04:00:00


writes
Quote:
>Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
>Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

>Would love to know your thoughts,

>RM

We not sure we are going to have a league this year, the fixtures have
not been settled so far.
What a carry-on, unbelievable!
Are, what the heck, I'd say Bath stand a good chance but have a sneaking
feeling The Saints (Northampton) may go marching in this year after
several years of underachievement.
--
Peter
 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Ben Cle » Thu, 20 Aug 1998 04:00:00


<<sorry no idea who the first quoted person is, wasn't in the follow-up)

Quote:
>>Assuming that it will be the expanded Allied Dunbar ,I think it will be a
>>lot closer this year.  Bath should be up there after last seasons disaster,
>>( 3rd and European champions ).  Newcastle still look like being a strong
>>side even though they let Lam go.

>Newcaslte won't do much this year, even with the signing of Bok Hurter
>at tighthead. Pat Lam is a HUGE loss, and Alan Tait has gone back to
>Scotland, leaving a big hole in the centers as well. Will Rob Andrew
>play flyhalf, or will he hand over the no10 to Jonny Wilkinson? No,
>Newcastle won't be up there this year.

Now I wasn't convinced last year that Newcastle had what it took to step up
a division and win, but they did. So I think you'd have to foolish to
underestimate them this year. Sure Lam is a huge loss; but Ryan, Arnold and
Walton don't lack for muscle and Newcastle don't seem interested in flair.
Tait leaving a big hole? By the end of the year he wasn't first choice.
Wilkinson certainly has more experience and track record at centre than at
flyhalf. Rob Andrew has set up a limited gameplan, and it will once again
be hard to stop (though I do hope some people manage to do that this year.)
If Ryan, Armstrong and Andrew stay healthy, and with Weir and Archer in the
second row, and the power of their backrow then they'll have the know how
and the drive to batter their way through a lot of teams. Not pretty, but
certainly effective. A new prop is about the wisest signing, since the
thing that looked worst for them last year was the way their front-row
struggled in the tight.

Quote:
>> Saracens have a lot to do to get over two
>>key losses in fly half and centre but apparently have made some big SH
>>signings today .  

>New singings? Lynagh was a good flyhalf, but don't underestimate
>French flyhalf Alain Penaud. He's won something like 30 caps, and he's
>not over the hill yet. Sella was good too, but they still have Ryan
>Constable (who will probably be on the wing again) and new South
>African signing Jeremy Thomson, who went on a couple Bok tours in the
>past and is no slouch either. Saracens should be a force this year.
>They also signed former Wallaby Troy Coker in the offseason, and while
>he won't start ahead of Johns, Grewcock, or Diprose, he should make an
>impact off the bench.

New signings or not, midfield is definitely the area that starts the year
at Saracens with a question mark. Penaud at his best is good, but Lynagh
was so consistent that he's bound to be missed (and he's also a infinitely
better goal-kicker than anybody they have right now). Coker is a great
addition to an already formidable pack.

With Pienaar's leadership, and Noddy and Big Ears' money, it's hard not see
Saracens putting together a good year again. However with the potential of
even more tight games this year, it will be interesting to see how much
Sella and especially Lynagh are missed.

Quote:
>>If Gloucester can find some away form then they too could
>>be challenging at the end.  

>Should be an excellent side this year, especially with the front row
>of new signing Mike Worsley, Phil Greening and Phil Vickery. This
>could be the England front row of the future. Indeed, the tight 5
>(with Sims and Fidler) could be the best in the league. Ojomoh is back
>on form, as is Scott Benton, and former All Black Simon Mannix should
>provide some flair from the no10 jersey in place of slumping
>Mapletoft. Tombs and Fanolua can only improve over last years
>excellent form, and the back three of Saint-Andre, Johnson and Catling
>are underrated. A very good side to be sure.

It would be nice if a side which still has a few English players in it
could put together a real challenge this year. But I'm not sure Gloucester
quite believe in themselves enough to pull it off yet. Still I think the
Gloucester boys will be some of the few to have returned from the
disgraceful tour of the Southern Hemisphere with real benefits gained.

If history suggests anything with Ojomoh, it is that his top form will be
temporary, just lasting up until he decides he can rest of his laurels.

Not sure I agree that Tombs and Fanolua can only get better -- given how
good they were it seems quite likely that regression to the mean could
occur.

Quote:
>>Then of course there is always Leicester.  

>My pick this year. Too many excellent players both in the 1st XV and
>on the bench not to compete. Two new Canadian signings utility back
>David Lougheed and prop Harry Toews should do very well. Stimpson
>should be raring to go as he is trying to win back the England #15
>jersey, and Patrick Howard should add plenty of offense in the centers
>with Greenwood. A very good team.

Leicester as your pick of the year? Those noted Tigerphobes among us could
never go along with that. The big question for me is whether Leicester can
discover who has been ***ping their international class backrow forwards
(like Miller and Corry) and replacing them clones who have about half the
talent and quarter of the desire? [My bet is that it's Deano, angling a way
to make a return...]

Leicester's problem is likely to be their outside backs again -- not that
Stransky seems to trust them enough to give them the ball. Still there are
worse things in world than having your attacking play revolve around
Greenwood and Back.

Are we sure that Leicester haven't bought Howard to alternate with Healey
at scrumhalf? Any ideas where Healey will be playing, at least for the
first week?

It will be interesting to see what sort of shape Richards is able to drum
the Leicester pack into, if the Tigers are going to win things then the
boys up front have got to get back to dominating (much harder to do with
all these imported guys to line up against.)

Quote:
>>But I
>>think if Bath can sort out their second row and fly half positions early on
>>they will top the table.

>I'm thinking that Eric Peters might be slotted in the second row with
>either Haag or Sturnham, to make room for Lyle, Nathan Thomas, and
>Russell Earnshaw in the back row. Nigel Redman might make an impact as
>well, old as he is. Catt will probably be at the helm again, but don't
>be surprised to see Jon Preston in the no10 jersey and Catt in the
>centers to make room for Andy Nicol at scrumhalf. Bath certainly has a
>lot of options in the backline, that's for sure, especially with Irish
>signing Kevin Maggs, who I'd like to see partner Guscott in the
>centers. I pick them to come in second next to Leicester.

With Richard Webster named captain I hear, it's hard to see how they could
intend to leave him out consistenly. Lyle is a better bet in second row
than Peters (!), and Sturnham wont be overly HP if he's consigned to the
engine room I would bet. I wonder if Bath have been on the phone to Ian
Jones yet?

Still even with all the options, the balance of the backrow looks like it
will be problem yet again, hopefully either Earnshaw or Thomas will
eventually develop into a top class openside -- you'd think Robinson would
have some idea how to coach that at least!

There wont be any trouble accommodating Preston, either Nichol or Catt will
be injured and he can step in there, or Guscott or DeGlanville will get
hurt and Catt will slide across. I was a little surprised they manage to
sign up Preston (who I would have thought had a decent shot at the All
Black RWC squad), my money would have been on Simon Culhane.

Glad to see Jim Fallon back, hopefully he'll be fully fit and can get back
to his best. More puzzling to me than the players Bath have been
desparately trying to sign are the ones they let go or lost -- no not the
Argentine boys (who for all their class clearly weren't working out), but
Ewens and Lofthouse.

My worry with Bath is that they may still not have a clear idea about what
they are aiming for. Contrast their situation with Newcastle, where Andrew
identified what he wanted first and then went out got the players to fill
that, it seems to me like Bath are still shopping for the best names they
can get.

Still looks like it should be an interesting season, if they actually play
it -- two weeks left for the game in England to rip itself apart...

      Cheers,

                  Ben

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

University of Oregon            | http://SportToday.org/~benc
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Tony Elso » Fri, 21 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
> Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

> Would love to know your thoughts,

> RM

The Queens or the ***cats.  The Crusade Busters may be worth a look and
also the Plugs and Sparrows.  Rank outsiders would have to be the Bumble
Bees.

--

Tony Elson
__________________________________________________
I dreamt of being a geographer, but I found the
subject too complex.  So I switched to physics

A. Einstein

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by MG » Fri, 21 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:


> > Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
> > Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

> > Would love to know your thoughts,

> > RM

> The Queens or the ***cats.  The Crusade Busters may be worth a look and
> also the Plugs and Sparrows.  Rank outsiders would have to be the Bumble
> Bees.

I think you're confused.  It's S12 teams that have stupid names.

--
Mike Gooding

 "You're pretty brave in ***space, flameboy"
 "Step inside"

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Booni » Fri, 21 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
> Saracens should be a force this year.
>They also signed former Wallaby Troy Coker in the offseason, and while
>he won't start ahead of Johns, Grewcock, or Diprose, he should make an
>impact off the bench.

Coker will get a start at first 'cos Danny boy's still on a
suspension........

Boonie -                       (Please remove FEZ when replying)
Darts,Beer,Saracens Fez Boys - The 'Official' Website now at;
http://www.boonie.demon.co.uk (at version (0.1.3) 22/ 7/98)

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by MG » Fri, 21 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:



> > > Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
> > > Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

> > > Would love to know your thoughts,

> > > RM

> > The Queens or the ***cats.  The Crusade Busters may be worth a look and
> > also the Plugs and Sparrows.  Rank outsiders would have to be the Bumble
> > Bees.

> I think you're confused.  It's S12 teams that have stupid names.

 Blast.  Made a fool of myself *again*.  I back the Tractors.

--
Mike Gooding

 "You're pretty brave in ***space, flameboy"
 "Step inside"

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Howar » Fri, 21 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Now that Bath won't be concentrating on the Heineken Cup I am
confident that we will be up there at the top of the league come
May.

I think Newcastle will be fighting for it too, Saracens will
really miss Selles and Lynagh and will not be a threat. As
an outside shot if Richmond can show more consistency then
they will be up there too.

For the drop? West Hartlepool and London Scottish.

Rec Head.

Quote:

>Any ideas as to who will win the league in England this year ?
>Do you think it will be a two horse race again or are Bath back in trim ?

>Would love to know your thoughts,

>RM

 
 
 

New Courage Leagues

Post by Nic Watso » Sat, 22 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>Coker will get a start at first 'cos Danny boy's still on a
>suspension........

The suspension has been served. Two weeks at the end of last season and as
the English season officialy started on 15th Aug he has served two weeks
this season.

Bullshit isn't it. Missed a couple of friendlies.

Quote:

>Boonie -                       (Please remove FEZ when replying)
>Darts,Beer,Saracens Fez Boys - The 'Official' Website now at;
>http://www.boonie.demon.co.uk (at version (0.1.3) 22/ 7/98)