A. Cockerill’s subs strategy stupefies supporters
Ed Slater and Geordan Murphy were both left on the bench for the whole game. This just baffles me. These are two guys who can change the shape of a game; particularly Murphy who comes into his own in the international periods supporting the younger players. We saw that away to Saracens last year, his tactical kicking would have been a tremendous crutch for Ford and his calming presence at the back and under the high ball might have given the backs the confidence to play more.
He is the Club Captain; if he is fit he must play in such a match, if he is injured why is he even on the bench? Slater’s case is slightly different as he was behind two players playing very well, but he put in a near as damn it Man of the Match performance against the Maori and could have come on in the backrow if Deacon and Kitchener were deemed to be playing that well.
B. Away kits are becoming a laughing stock
Why can Tigers quite happily play in their home kit against the black kit of Toulouse and the Maori then 12 days later have to wear their change strip for the visit to Wasps? Equally South Africa’s dark green has never necessitated a change of colour when facing the All Blacks. This frivolous use of away kits is damaging to the brand of the Premiership, the casual man of Wigston switching on wants to see The Stripes as do the floating supporters of other sides. The clash of Cherry ‘n’ White versus Blue, Black and White is evocative of the great games of the past as is the black of Wasps versus the Green, Scarlet and White of Leicester. Worse than merely weakening the appeal of the matches they sometimes cause more problems than they solve. You watch Tigers face Bath at the Wreck later this year, the “clash” of blue and green will mean that Tigers will wear their away kit, which is also blue! Save the away kit for genuine clashes such as London Irish and Northampton.
C. Davy shows why ex-players don’t make good referees.
This might sound obvious but good referees make good elite referees, good elite players do not. The RFU seems to have become obsessed with recently retired players taking up the whistle and fast tracking them to the elite panel because they “know the game”. Surely the universal scorn in which Sean Davy is held puts paid to that notion? Davy played in the top tier for his local side Bedford yet shows no empathy for the game at all and in many cases shows less knowledge than the referees who have never played the game. You don’t have to be a carpenter to know a chair has one leg shorter than another. Like teams referees should be promoted and relegated on merit, encouraging former players into officiating is positive as increasing the pool at the bottom is always good but fast tracking them ahead of other, better, referees is hardly a recipe for a strong corps of competent referees.