Despite the Tigers experiencing a honeymoon period when the Australian first arrived at Welford Road in February 2018, their pack has been toothless for much of 2019 and is a far cry from the Leicester teams of old that seemed to entirely make up the England forwards.
As a consequence of their latest poor start to a Gallagher Premiership campaign, where they are spared from being bottom by Saracens’ salary cap points deduction, fans feel this move was necessary, although nothing has yet been confirmed by Leicester.
Head coach Geordan Murphy has also been under pressure in recent weeks as a massive overhaul is expected, but many feel the departure of Bakewell opens the door to England forwards coach Steve Borthwick arriving in the Midlands at some point between now and the end of the Six Nations.
This could only be the beginning of the alterations, though, as a number of players’ contracts are set to expire at the end of the season.
Sad but inevitable and necessary. Seemed like a nice guy however another dreadful appointment by our esteemed BoD in the first place.
— Alex (@Alex_Barston) December 10, 2019
Four players that were with England at the World Cup – Jonny May, George Ford, Ellis Genge and Ben Youngs – all have contracts that expire in a few months. As a result, there is much debate among fans as to who should stay or go.
I’d let Youngs go. The other 3 I’d like to keep I think we’ll keep none of them.
— War Giant Coaching ? (@wargiantcoach) December 5, 2019
Genge seems to be the priority for many fans, as is Ford who played a major part in the Tigers’ survival last season.
However, players like May and Youngs are perhaps seen as surplus to requirements to some fans who feel the priority must be strengthening the pack.
May. Ford. Genge.
Can't remember the last time Youngs had a good game for Tigers. Both of them in fact
— J (@taylor_jay123) December 5, 2019
As good as May has been for Leicester and England over the past year, it is pointless having such a potent man out wide when the forwards are so sterile. Unless many players are willing to take a pay cut, there may be some high-profile victims of this cull.
Ford (almost solely kept us up last season) and Genge (our only reliable source of gainline advantage) need to be retained.
May will be a bonus if we can keep, but there are decent wingers in the squad if we can't.
Youngs. Well. Youngs. Erm…
— Ben Wightman (@BTWightman) December 5, 2019
— Robert Turpie (@bobturpie) December 5, 2019
Even with a 22-point lead ahead of Saracens, there is not a huge amount of confidence that Leicester will be able to stave off the reigning English and European champions and avoid falling into twelfth and last place.
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