After a mauling like yesterday's, it's all too easy to start talking about physicality and character, thereby suggesting that those who started were lacking in both. I remember Matt said something not dissimilar at the end of last season and, yet, here we are.Get the impression that Tom Parkes will be the main man in the centre of defence next season. Physicality and character is what MT kept saying and Parkes has that and more.
As regards Parkes, while I have nothing whatsoever against him, I think it's overly simple to suggest he's the answer. For the record, we won 47 per cent of the games he started last season and lost 28 per cent, conversely, we won 55% of the games in which he wasn't involved and lost only 15 per cent.
Of course, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. However, we won one of the five games which Tom started between October 19 and November 9. He missed the next five games, of which we won four and drew one. He then returned to the side for two of the next three games – the only one we won was the one in which he didn't feature. FWIW, Parkes also started in our 2-0 loss at Northampton in February.
Make of this what you will, but I remain to be convinced our loss yesterday can simply be attributed to a lack of character and physicality.