Optimist Performance

I kicked off my City AM blogs this month by asking some questions about Leicester, Bristol and Danny Cipriani and, all in all, my questions and statements are all pretty much ringing true.

Leicester are struggling a bit, Pat Lam’s Bristol could easily finish top half of the table and I’m still flummoxed by the ‘Cipriani Affair’. Danny featured in this article and my next and I just don’t understand the rationale for leaving him out of the England squad if, as Eddie Jones has said, the decision is based purely on the rugby.

All I can say is, Jones must be extremely confident in his back three options – especially at 15 – if he’s happy to overlook Cipriani in addition to the perpetual and baffling snub of Alex Goode, who continues to shine in arguably the best team in the division.

Where do you stand on the tackle law?

A little later in the month refereeing, and one decision in particular, prompted many of us to reflect on the laws, and mainly the tackle. One flash point came in Wasps’ win against Leicester where referee Ian Tempest went by the letter of the law and gave a red card for a high and dangerous tackle.

The tackler was taller than the player he was tackling, who was himself stooping. It was one of those where if Tempest had given a yellow nobody would have complained. On the other hand, the whole point of bringing in the new laws has been to safeguard player welfare in an area of the game that has been responsible for a lot of concussions. And you have to say that the instances of concussions are probably going down. It’s a hot topic of debate – let me know what you think on twitter @olliephillips11.

More to Marler retirement than we think?

The important issue of player welfare played into my final piece of September, which was a reflection on the international retirement of a great prop and a great bloke, Joe Marler.

I was forced to retire through injury [link to that blog] and walking away from any part of the game is daunting. I tip my hat to Joe for making a strong decision and wanting to spend more time with his family. You certainly don’t get that time back, as I’m find myself with a daughter and a busy day job. But I do think that the timing is strange a year out from a World Cup and there’s a nagging sense in the back of my mind that perhaps the England camp and team culture isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Only time, and results, will tell.