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Season 21 Predictions

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Bluesman11 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20 Feb 2021 at 11:38
With squads announced, pre season underway and the season now actually looking v likely to start in a couple of weeks, I think we can actually start to talk about rugby again. So starting the annual predictions thread. I don't want any moaning about the season structure, money, covid etc., let's just have a normal discussion about rugby! 

One thing that will be interesting is how much home advantage plays a part. This has certainly been a major factor for Bedford for a long time, with our home form always being significantly better than away. We've seen in other sports that home advantage has basically disappeared. I still think there will be an element; e.g. I suspect most teams will try to do Pirates as a day trip rather than overnight which will make that a trickier away game.

Anyway, my 2 pennies worth:

Top 2

I expect these teams will comfortably beat all teams below them.

1. Saracens - No surprises here. Might've been vulnerable during 6 nations, but by pure coincidence they play Pirates first up who haven't played a single pre season game, then Jersey who will also be v undercooked then a bye. Suspect they will go full guns against Ealing for the practice final mid season
2. Ealing - Will comfortably win other 9 games and could push Sarries

Middle Teams

I expect these teams to have close games against each other and generally beat the teams I'm putting in bottom 4. Could finish in any order

3. Doncaster - Have signed some good players. Have had a full pre season. Have v kind fixture list with extra home game and play all other "middle teams" at home. Should be strong
4. Jersey - On paper, I think their squad is the best of the rest. Depends how well they cope with the day trips from Jersey, as they do have 7 away games and this may cause them to finish lower. However, they do have the teams I'm putting at 5th and 6th at home.
5. Coventry - Still have a decent squad
6. Pirates - Have retained the majority of last year's squad, so should have some stability. No pre season so may take a couple of games to get up to speed
7. Bedford - Perhaps the biggest unknown. A lot depends on the quality of the Saints players and keeping our key players fit. Could see us pushing closer to 3rd, but could also see us being considered in the bottom group. Will learn a lot in our opening game against Cov. Tricky fixture list with most far/middle teams away and local/bottom teams at home

Bottom 4

I expect these teams to have close games against each other and generally lose to teams above. However, they are capable of springing a couple of surprises against the full time teams. Again, could finish any order.

8. Richmond - Have hoovered up some of the best local talent in Nat 1. Great coach who always gets the best out of his players and knows how to grind out close wins
9. Nottingham - Just looked through their squad and they do have some decent players in the forwards that I think will help them grind a few wins
10. Ampthill - Basing this on the squad announced for our game today. It looks like they've lost a lot of their experienced players and have a lot of young, untested players at this level. Will have a better idea after the pre season games (and may revise after they beat us yet again...) 
11. Hartpury - Have no idea what their squad looks like so may well be underestimating them. As ever, depends on the quality of Glos players available to them so they may well finish a few positions higher

FWIW I’d have put Scottish about 8th if they’d joined the fun.




Edited by Bluesman11 - 20 Feb 2021 at 16:25
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Thatbloke View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thatbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2021 at 16:04
Bluesman 11 - just a slight anomaly with your reckoning. 11 team league means 5 at home, 5 away for each team. When looking at the fixtures I think you may have included "Bye" as a team?!! 😂😂😂 Good effort though and difficult to disagree with your assessments
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bluesman11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2021 at 16:20
Originally posted by Thatbloke Thatbloke wrote:

Bluesman 11 - just a slight anomaly with your reckoning. 11 team league means 5 at home, 5 away for each team. When looking at the fixtures I think you may have included "Bye" as a team?!! 😂😂😂 Good effort though and difficult to disagree with your assessments

Jersey are playing 7 away and 3 at home due to current travel restrictions. This means Doncaster and Richmond have 6 home games and 4 away as their Jersey “away” games are being played at home.


Edited by Bluesman11 - 20 Feb 2021 at 16:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thatbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2021 at 16:39
Ah right - forgotten there's been some 'switches'! I stand corrected
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote corporalcarrot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2021 at 19:52
Top man B11 forums are made for threads like this one. I predict:
  • Jersey will beat Pirates next Saturday in Penzance but my mate will still get a bottle of Liberation Ale if I can get one of the players from St Ouen to take it in his kit bag.
  • Sarries will lose at least one of their two opening fixtures against Pirates and Jersey but still finish top.
  • Pirates or Ealing to take second place but nothing in it. 
  • Nick Selway will be top try scorer for the Students with four tries.
  • I will see at least one away match from the touchline this season and Jersey will win it.
  • Sarries with all their stars available will beat either Pirates or Ealing by an aggregate cricket score in the play-offs.

Dont kick it. Pick it up and GO FORWARD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stalwart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2021 at 10:57
It's a massive ask for Pirates to beat Sarries in the first game having had zero pre-season games, while Sarries have had a few warm ups. This really makes the whole thing a bit of a fiasco IMO. With each team only playing the others once, and home advantage completely random, it's a lottery. No relegation from the Prem has been justified because of Covid, fair enough; but the Championship season has been decimated before it starts, so there should be no promotion. If a few games are not played because of Covid (quite likely) how will the powers that be justify it all?

Edit: Just spotted Pirates have a game against Jersey on Saturday - might help a bit!


Edited by Stalwart - 21 Feb 2021 at 11:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bluesman11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2021 at 11:13
I’m assuming one of the reasons for the blank weekends is for any potential covid rearrangements, because we shouldn’t have any postponed for weather and in a 10 game season there is probably no need for 3 blanks for welfare. Add that to each team having a bye week and I wouldn’t be surprised if fixtures get shuffled at late notice sometimes (if the rfu are organised enough...)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2021 at 13:52
Originally posted by Bluesman11 Bluesman11 wrote:

I’m assuming one of the reasons for the blank weekends is for any potential covid rearrangements, because we shouldn’t have any postponed for weather and in a 10 game season there is probably no need for 3 blanks for welfare. Add that to each team having a bye week and I wouldn’t be surprised if fixtures get shuffled at late notice sometimes (if the rfu are organised enough...)


Last season the RL managed to change fixtures at very little notice when coved forced them to.

Surely the 'superior games' RFU will be able to manage the same
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2021 at 13:53
Originally posted by Stalwart Stalwart wrote:

It's a massive ask for Pirates to beat Sarries in the first game having had zero pre-season games, while Sarries have had a few warm ups. This really makes the whole thing a bit of a fiasco IMO. With each team only playing the others once, and home advantage completely random, it's a lottery. No relegation from the Prem has been justified because of Covid, fair enough; but the Championship season has been decimated before it starts, so there should be no promotion. If a few games are not played because of Covid (quite likely) how will the powers that be justify it all?

Edit: Just spotted Pirates have a game against Jersey on Saturday - might help a bit!



I'm with you on no promotion - unfortunately The Premiership have made it blatantly clear they want Sarries back for next season whatever happens.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gerg_861 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2021 at 16:19

Okay, I think I can follow the rules for this thread:

1. Sarries - I think that Sarries will take first. I honestly have been really unimpressed by their squad without the internationals. I think that they miss Richard Wigglesworth much more than they expected to. They'll field the internationals against the professional sides, but I would be in no way surprised if they put out a weak side and got surprise pipped by one of the 'weaker' teams or in a nasty weather game. I predict that they win 9 games and make the play off.

2. Ealing - With 9 preseason games against Premiership or Championship sides under their belts, I don't think that Ealing will come out underbaked like they did last year against a very creditable and well coached Pirates side. They might be a little vulnerable in the front row after losing a lot of quality players last year, and I've found their scrum to not be the dominant force this year in preseason that I might have hoped. The line out is working very well, and the 9/10 axis is looking good. An average performance form Ealing should beat an average performance from any other team bar Saracens, but I've seen them look past teams before, and Ben Ward tends to get too cute with selections sometimes. I predict that they win 8 games and make the play off.

3. Coventry - I was impressed by the way they pushed Sarries, and I think that they have kept together a good core of their squad, and have a decent squad size as well (I counted 35). Continuity will count for a lot this year, as there isn't time to 'find' form. I predict 6 wins.

4. Pirates - They laid good foundations last year, although losing some players as short term cover will hurt. They appear to have 32 players on the squad at the moment, not counting Captain Benbow. I worry that coaching turnover might stop them from achieving the highs that they did last year. I predict 6 wins here, but with less BPs than Coventry.

5. Donny - The 3 game pre-season will help them hit the ground running, so I think that they hoover up a win or two early on that they might not otherwise achieve. Sam Olver's kicking will help in that department as well - the tiny lad doesn't seem to miss. Sad not to see Colin on the squad anymore, his gray hair and beard always made me feel like maybe I could try a run out. I predict 6 wins.

6. Jersey - I think that the islanders will be impacted this year by having less home games, even if the squad on paper is looking relatively strong, especially up front (surprise). I wonder how they'll do at 10 after having a few good ones leave over the past couple of years. I predict 5 wins, with a couple of bonus point heartbreakers lost at the death.

7. Bedford - I don't like to put them this far down, but I really don't know much about this squad, and I worry that they'll have trouble gelling and forming a consistent identity. Also, I'm seeing from todays' roadmap that they are unlikely to have fans until May at the earliest, making Goldington Road and the slope less of a deterent than usual. I predict 5 wins, but less bonus points than Jersey.

8. Richmond - Loss of funding will hurt Richmond less than any other club, and I think that they've hoovered up a lot of quality players who want to have Rugby and a day job in the London area (Bluesman11 spot on here). They also can absorb a lot of injuries with a large squad, though the shortened season makes that less important. I predict 4 wins, with several BPs for tight losses.

9. Hartpury - No A league this year, so I think Gloucester will give them lots of loanees to get game time, which should help them win a few matches, though they won't be cohesive enough to come above the other teams higher on the list. I predict 3 wins, but with some BPs.

10. Nottingham - They've a very thin squad, and moving to semi-pro may hurt morale. We'll see how they do on the loanee front, but if they have to make up numbers with too many Nottingham Trent players, then we could see cricket scores. Lack of pre-season won't help. Ealing seem to trip up against them at Lady Bay, so I can perversely see them sneaking a win in that match, and still only getting 3 wins on the season. I predict 3 wins.

11. Ampthill - They seemed to play well with an extraman against Blue, but were getting battered before that. By the same logic as Richmond, they shouldn’t be as affected by lack of funding, but I just have a bad feeling about them this year, and I’m punishing them for having their squad list locked away behind a password for some reason. I predict 2 wins.

 

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