Larry Dwyer (12)
ISA still struggle to beat CAS at Opens representative level, even in those years that the top ISA schools have beaten the top CAS schools individually.
Something about the sum of the parts.
ISA probably fancy their chances this year, but June is a fair way off.
Usually the ISA trials are the first games that CAS schools play and many players are being compared as (as the name suggests) coaches trial certain combinations, player positions etc. One thing I tend to notice when I attend the Barker vs Oak Hill fixtures is that Barker usually win in the lower grades, and they usually win reasonably convincingly (I understand that this wasn't the case this year but there are exceptions to every rule). I also notice - more so in recent years - that the losing side in trials tends to be the one making more substitutions, obviously this rings true in instances where the sides are of equal or similar calibre.
For instance, I know that in 2012 the Barker team that played and lost to Oak Hill was completely different to their final starting line-up - with some of the players that started in this team being reverted down as far as 3rds, as their replacements had far outperformed them. This included the addition of such familiar names as Nick Burkett and David Smerdon, as well as the movement of Stolz to Inside Centre (where he seemed far more comfortable)... This wasn't the case for Oak Hill, with much of the side that played Barker staying in the starting line up - of course this is a one off example and doesn't necessarily mean that the outcome would have been different between the 2 sides if they'd played again. The point I'm making is that trials are no reflection of a teams true talent, nor are they an indication of how one representative side will perform against another or, better still, who will comprise those representative sides.
Another point I was making is that I think that you'll see a few changes to the Barker team that played Oak Hill last Saturday.