Monday, 11 June 2012

Overlooked or over hyped?

With the news of Nick Abendanon getting a call up for England, well deserved I think as a Bath fan, but are there other players who deserve a shout at international level.

Do fans believe in players for their ability or because of the club they support?

Ultimately I'm a rugby fan as well as being a Bath Rugby fan, I believe if a player is talented and of a high enough calibre then they deserve an international call up. I personally want to see my nation do the best they possibly can and know potentially can do. Regardless of which club they play for, sadly at times this is not the case for all supporters who wish to see the inclusion of only their own team players. At times followers of club teams struggle to look past their own club for top players. An example of this comes in the form of a handful of Tiger's fans that through the entirety of the England v South Africa first test continually had jibes at Owen Farrell, picking up on any error he made and calling for him to be replaced by Flood. Toby Flood who has not played for 6-8weeks, in fairness he is a quality player but not totally match fit I'd prefer to see Farrell on the pitch to start than Flood for the better of England. The one thing a supporter of any sport should do, is support their nation and wish for nothing but the best from the players as part a team, or is that an over ambitious thought?

All fans believe their club has an abundance of top class players and we Bath fans are no different. Is this true or are we looking through Blue, Black and White tinted glasses?Are Bath rugby players being overlooked because of last season's club performance or in honesty are they just not as good as we believe?

Abendanon has been called up due to Brown's unfortunate injury and I'm really happy to see him there joining the rest of the England squad. Other players I believe deserve inclusion in national rugby are Banahan, Biggs and Caldwell.

Matt Banahan we all know is a big powerful and fast player but in all of his England performances he has only been used in that dimension. There are a lot more strings to his bow but he hasn't been allowed to show this on an international level. Banahan has an ability to run good angles and release some good offloads, not to mention his support running which has improved hugely from his England inclusion.

Tom Biggs has had a superb season and demonstrated his many varying skills as a winger. Potentially one of the best finishers with lightning pace. However due to his size the doubters feel he is too small but how many times have we seen him track back and put in some monumental tackles?A player who so rarely suffers injuries, even when Delon Armitage attempted to decapitate him. Biggs has shown on so many occasions this season how his support play has led to him running in tries or helping with a well timed offload to release another player. The biggest confusion to his omission to the English squad is that Stuart Lancaster was the man who brought him to the forefront and saw the talent he displayed, so Lancaster is very aware of Biggs yet still no call up.

Possibly one of Bath's best signings this season surely goes to Ryan Caldwell. Caldwell has displayed power and passion in the Bath shirt since his arrival. Game after game Caldwell has shown why he is potentially one of the best second row players in the Premiership. The problem Caldwell is struggling with is (luckily for Bath) he plays abroad and not in his native Ireland. England are starting to build from scratch by including young players to help build for 2015 Rugby World Cup, and looking at the Irish squad perhaps it's time the followed suit and Caldwell would be a very good place to start.

Yes we all rate our players highly its part and parcel of supporting any team but in fairness these players deserve their chance to shine!!


  1. Good blog.
    Firstly, I feel sorry for Brown, not the most popular of characters in the prem, but he showed some real class last weekend.

    Agree it's not easy to judge the merits of our players in isolation. We Bath fans in the most look at our team every week and say with one eye open: "that looks a winning team" hence our frustrations when we lose and end up mid table.
    So unless I (or you) can spend as much time as Lancaster watching all players, we will always wonder why players get missed.
    Having said that, Lancaster's involvement with the Saxons will have exposed him to Bendy's talents, and he (Abendanon) has had great success with them when playing with tries and MOM awards, so I can only assume that he gets partly tainted by playing for a team that is either poor quality or is underperfroming, depending on whether you are a Rec Head or not!
    Footnote: Can't see Abendanon playing on Saturday

    1. A valid point!! We only scrutinise our own players as they are the ones we pay to see.
      I am still a firm believer that Biggs is due a call up though. We all watch the highlights and as many televised fixtures as possible and feel potentially one of the strongest all round wingers in the prem, I'm sure his day will come.
      Bendy was fantastic for the Saxons and I'm sure Lancaster has kept an eye on him fir possible call up. I to can't see him starting Saturday but would be nice to see him get a possible run out.