So what I want to talk about is less the individuals on the bench but the structure of who we have on our bench - what skills, positions and also how this will work with the limited amount of interchanges. Only 8 interchanges has made a big difference to the benches over the last couple of years and was one of the reasons the Dogs for example struggled last year.
I start by saying we need 2 props on the bench
Interchanges 1 and 2 = Prop 1 - On at 25 mins replacing starting prop and then back off for same at 60 minutes
Interchnages 3 and 4 = Prop 2 - On at 25 mins replacing starting prop and then back off for same at 60 minutes
So that is half your interchanges gone
Reserve 3 and 4 have up to 4 interchanges to themselves but 1 must be saved for a last couple of minutes injury
so that reduces it to 3. This means that both players can’t come on and off
Interchange 5- Saved for Injury
Interchange 6 - Bench 3 coming on
Interchange 7- Bench 4 coming on
Interchange 8 - Injury during match or player 3/4 coming off
This means your 4th bench player either comes on and stays on or only plays the last 5-10 minutes
Most teams in 2017 used their 4th playing sparingly unless they had an injury.
Bench 3 and 4
Option 1 - Means your hooker/half might play 10-15 minutes max unless injury
1 Backrower who can play outside backs in case of injury -
Option 2 - Leaves your best backrowers on the bench and no back up for
1 backrower/middle forward - to play lock off the bench
1 backrower/ outside back - in case of injury
In 2017 we went with option 1 because we didnt have an 80 minute hooker. However even with this option 2 doesen’t give you much extra because they will generally play 10 mins.
What this means is when looking at the bench the key part is can your 4th bench player fill the gaps in case of injury because without injuries they don’t really matter
Options for Tigers 2018
Prop 1- Twal
Prop 2 - Grant
Backrower/ Middle- Sue, Esienhuth,
Backrower/ Outside back - Lawrence, Chee-Kam, Masters,
Hooker/Half- McIllwrick, Marshall
Personally I see our starting backrow being Eisenhuth, ET, McQueen.
Given that I think our bench will probably want Sue as the 3rd middle/ backrower with Mcqueen able to move into the outside backs meaning Marshall is prob the best option given his versatility
However the other option is that ET starts at hooker and then Liddle comes on at 20 minutes which would mean having another backrower on the bench such as Lawrence.
So I see our full strength bench as either
Twal, Grant, Sue, Marshall
Twal, Grant, Lawrence, Liddle (with ET starting hooker)