Ulster v Munster 2nd January

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Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Wed 30 Dec 2015, 7:09 pm

Ulster v Munster

Guiness Pro 12
Saturday 2nd January 2016, 3PM
Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
Live on Sky Sports

Referee: Gary Conway (IRFU, 19th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher, Brian MacNeice (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eddie Wigglesworth (IRFU)
TMO: Alan Rogan (IRFU)

So 2016 kicks off with a bang in Belfast and a visit of our provincial friends.  Formwise Ulster are coming off a big win last week in Galway and 3 straight wins while Munster are coming off 3 straight losses including last weeks home loss to Leinster. With Ulster's home record all thge stats point to a home win here but with Ulster tough upcoming schedule and indeed their tough schedule over the last few weeks combined with a lack of options in certain positions is there a danger they will tire out here and slip up? Can Munster get their season back on track in a big way?  This will certainly be a great match up to watch on Saturday at a sold out Kingspan.


Teams

Ulster
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1. K McCall
2. R Best (captain)
3. W Herbst
4. L Stevenson
5. F van der Merwe
6. R Diack
7. C Henry
8. N Williams
9. R Pienaar
10. P Jackson
11. R Scholes
12. S McCloskey
13. L Marshall
14. A Trimble
15. L Ludik
Replacements (16-23): R Herring, C Black, R Lutton, A O'Connor, R Wilson, P Marshall, I Humphreys, S Arnold

Munster

1. D. Kilcoyne
2. M. Sherry
3. B.J. Botha
4. D. Foley
5. M. Chishom
6. J. O'Donoghue
7. T. O'Donnell
8. C.J. Stander (Captain)
9. T. O'Leary
10. I. Keatley
11. Amorosino
12. R. Scannell
13. F. Saili
14. R. O'Mahoney
15. R. Conway
Replacements (16-23):NScannell, JRyan, Sagario, Holland, Copeland,Williams, Bleyendaal,Hurley


Last edited by neilthom7 on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 12:21 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Teams)

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Wed 30 Dec 2015, 10:24 pm

I think Munster are coming off five straight losses Neil. Against Connacht, Dragons, Leicester x2 and Leinster. Ulster are coming off four straight wins going back to Edinburgh at home.

I expect this to be the game where we rotate a few players. I can see starts for Stephen Mulholland, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Sam Arnold coming in this game. Not out of disrespect to Munster, just we have three back to back European games immediately after this and we need to finish strongly.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 10:57 am

Notch wrote:I think Munster are coming off five straight losses Neil. Against Connacht, Dragons, Leicester x2 and Leinster. Ulster are coming off four straight wins going back to Edinburgh at home.

I expect this to be the game where we rotate a few players. I can see starts for Stephen Mulholland, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Sam Arnold coming in this game. Not out of disrespect to Munster, just we have three back to back European games immediately after this and we need to finish strongly.

Oh I know Notch I was only including the last 3 games but you are quite right. I think for sure Ulster will try and rotate the backs at least, the problem is if they rotate too much they could easily be on the wrong end of the result

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 11:54 am

Yeah... but we can't really afford to rest players in Europe. Some people are saying that if we beat Oyonnax with a BP away we can rest players away to Saracens and still get enough points to qualify but if something goes wrong in the rearranged game Saracens becomes a game we have to win.

On the upside, Rory Best and Chris Henry will likely be available after sitting out the Connacht game. Kyle McCall will probably come back too.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Munchkin on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 11:56 am

Ulster team & replacements to face Munster, Guinness PRO12, Kingspan Stadium, Saturday 2nd January 2016 (kick off 3.00pm):

(15-9): L Ludik, A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Scholes, P Jackson, R Pienaar;
(1-8): K McCall, R Best (captain), W Herbst, L Stevenson, F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams;
Replacements (16-23): R Herring, C Black, R Lutton, A O'Connor, R Wilson, P Marshall, I Humphreys, S Arnold.

That's a much stronger starting side than I was expecting.

And the Munster team:

MunXV:Conway; RO’Mahony,Saili,RScannell,Amorosino;Keatley,O’Lear y;
Kilcoyne,Sherry,Botha;Foley,Chisholm;O’Donoghue,O’ Donnell, Stander Capt.

Replacements: NScannell, JRyan, Sagario, Holland, Copeland,Williams, Bleyendaal,Hurley.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 1:02 pm

It's a lot better than I was expecting. Of course, the problem is the only possible change we could have made in the outside backs was bringing in Sam Arnold.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 1:11 pm

It's not a bad Munster team at all when you look at it player for player. Even Keatley isn't a bad player, he's just been off form. Real danger men on the wings, solid scrummagers up front and a highly mobile and aggressive back row. Makes the under-performing even more hard to fathom.

As much as they really should have been doing better over the past month or two, I'm very wary of them. They have had a lot of possession, just not done anything with it. Sooner or later they're going to translate that possession into points and then the confidence comes back and suddenly they'll be looking like a good team again.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Don Alfonso on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 1:15 pm

Was really nervous that we'd rest a lot of players - delighted by that team. Really wish we had Nelson, though - although Bowe, Cave, Payne, Tuohy etc all are bigger name players, Nelson looked to be growing pretty comfortable as our back-up ten. I'd be much happier seeing him come on than Humphreys.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 6:58 pm

And Nelson can cover every position in the back line bar scrum half. Real shame his season is over.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 9:53 pm

Yeah it is such a shame for Nelson lets hope he comes back even stronger, his left boot is fantastic, a real weapon in there. As for this game I just hope it's not the game where Munster get it all together. Would be nice to be have 4 tries and a win in the bag at the 60 and rest a few but I somehow doubt that. I just hope I'm not behind some tall person, always a real danger when you are 5ft 8 and in the promenade lol

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by VinceWLB on Sat 02 Jan 2016, 4:50 pm

Good win for Munster and who would have thought, good performance from Keatley!

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by clivemcl on Sat 02 Jan 2016, 4:53 pm

Well that stings. Crying or Very sad

Well played Munster. Glad to see you break your bad form. But have to say we should have won that. Lack of composure at times and the inexperience showed at times with Scholes and Arnold.

Still though, I'm happy with our brand of rugby and a losing BP to Munster given the injuries we have is a decent return.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Sat 02 Jan 2016, 5:40 pm

Well that was a very poor game of rugby and a very, very poor Ulster performance. We'll try and move on quickly, because if we play like that in the next three weeks we'll be out of Europe.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Sat 02 Jan 2016, 8:50 pm

Notch wrote:Well that was a very poor game of rugby and a very, very poor Ulster performance. We'll try and move on quickly, because if we play like that in the next three weeks we'll be out of Europe.

+1 Agreed Notch, only made worse by the fact I couldn't see most of it over the people infront of me lol or maybe made better I'm not sure

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by rodders on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 9:17 am

Very disappointing way to end a run of excellent form.

I wonder how much of this result was down to a drop off in intensity from Ulster or coming up against a very well organised and aggressive defence?

We didn't seem to have a plan B when we couldn't break Munster down out wide.

I think there was a bit of complacency but tactically we were outsmarted a bit too which is a concern.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by clivemcl on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 1:12 pm

Interesting comments. Perhaps it was due to me juggling a toddler and a baby, and not paying attention enough but I didn't come away from the game with the same negative impression you guys have. I certainly wasn't happy but felt that we were still playing the right style of rugby, but were not clinical like in the past few weeks - not helped by the weather.

At a point in the first half I comfortably felt we were going to win... it just never materialised.

As I said before, I feel Arnold and Scholes were not up to the standard unfortunately. But we didn't have much choice there.

At one point Scholes had the ball out wide - no chance of beating the defender at the touchline. Did he look to pass inside? Did he step inside? Did he consider a kick in behind?

No... He seemed to just run until the opposition tackler did the easy thing. Basically gifting Munster some lineout possession. So infuriating - especially since there were some beautiful fast flat passes. Gilroy would have torn them apart if he had received some of the ball Scholes got.

We are in a bad situation injury wise - lets not forget. After a few weeks of good performances, and we crack up that we can't sustain it? Are we forgetting that we are unable to rotate, and we are missing Bowe, Gilroy, Payne, Nelson, Cave?

Bonus point against Munster is a perfectly OK result all things considered.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by rodders on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 1:20 pm

clivemcl wrote:
Bonus point against Munster is a perfectly OK result all things considered.

Well at home, against a Munster side who'd lost 4 on the bounce, and in dire form, I'd have hoped for more but agree the run of fixtures probably caught up with us with so many injuries.

Munster looked like a side desperate to win. whereas we looked like a side who expected to win and for me that was the difference - with the league so tight this year this could be a costly 3 points dropped with the other all provinces above us and us still involved in Europe.

If you consider there was a clear knock on in the build up to Ludik's try we were actually lucky to get the bonus point.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by clivemcl on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 1:40 pm

rodders wrote:
If you consider there was a clear knock on in the build up to Ludik's try we were actually lucky to get the bonus point.

Well... not entirely true as Keatley would have been unlikely to look for the drop goal if the score hadn't been what it was. But I'm nitpicking now! You are of course right and we were lucky to be allowed the score.

I think you are right about us expecting to win to an extent.

But I kind of like that approach - not to throw strategy out the window entirely, but to play creative attacking rugby with confidence. I prefer that to grinding out a result. Because teams that can grind out results can always be figured out and unlocked by an opposition who has them well analysed. But attacking play, combined with clinical ball handling is by far the best way to win at rugby.

But when you aren't clinical, you end up just looking like you are aimless and toothless while the opposition has a chance to grind out a win against you.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 2:28 pm

Well done to Munster who played the conditions better and tackled with more conviction.

Ulster were lucky with the try but also unlucky on a couple of occasions - so swings and roundabouts.

Based on that game I'm especially disappointed to be losing Williams and keeping Wilson. RW is simply not at the races and maybe he has been told as much. Clive Ross may not be any good but at least he tries.

Jackson's place kicking continues to frustrate - he's simply not good enough from the tee. Having been short with the first kick, it was a daft idea to attempt a longer (+wider) one. Ulster need to have Ruan kicking if they are serious about winning anything.
It was gratifying to see Keatley slot a drop goal because it was a smart play in such a tight game. Paddy Jackson doesn't seem to have that nous to know when to play and when to come away with points. Playing the ball in hand route every time makes it easier for defences, so even an attempt at a DG keeps the opposition backrow guessing.

I thought Scholes had a decent game, causing lots of problems, made yards and was responsible for half of Ulster's clean breaks. He has shown he's hard to stop even though he doesn't have Gilroy's gas. He's learning the game at wing so deserves to get some latitude, and if I were given the choice between him and Chris Farrell (his former CCB teammate) I'm pick him every time.

Considering midfield is so physical these days Arnold has acquitted himself well for a guy who is still developing his physique. Obviously kicking possession away was stupid at the end and hopefully he will learn from it, but I'd be far more inclined to criticise Jackson for losing possession earlier with a chip kick in his own half because he really should have known better.

From a Munster perspective, Sherry was disappointing but it was good to see O'Donnell back. I thought he shaded Henry when he was on the pitch.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 3:14 pm

I don't think thats fair about Jackson and drop goals. I think he has exactly that nous. There was little chance of us nailing a drop goal in that second half but I've seen many games where Jackson has demonstrated he's really excellent at reading the game. In the past when given the chance to convert drop goals he's been calm, decisive and confident although they have rarely been last-minute match winners. A good example would be the one he scored in the first half versus Saracens earlier this season, a good decision and well executed.

Agree he still needs to improve off the tee. However the last decision re. kicking to the corner is a very difficult one to analyse, and I'm still wondering whether he was right or wrong. Some data crunched after the RWC said you have about a 10% chance of scoring off a lineout in the 22 when playing against a Tier 1 test side. This article by the Economist said that in a test situation it's better to kick for the posts if you have at least a 30% chance of converting your kick. Pro12 rugby is not test rugby and defences are not as aggressive and well-organised at this level. Also, those stats are for line outs in the 22 not from 5m out. But even if we compensate and say they have a 25-30% chance of scoring it doesn't change the difficulty of the decision, because you'd still give Jackson a more than 30% chance of converting- although I'd personally guesstimate it was less than 50%.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2015/10/three-points-are-better-seven

Now, those stats are not really relevant to the decision making process on the field where a kicker and/or a Captain has to judge what to do on the basis of their confidence in their own kicking technique. How well a 10 has been striking the ball in the warm-up and game is more likely to influence their decision than anything else.

I wouldn't say there was enough evidence of Ulster being able to be clinical in red zone to suggest the odds of us scoring where greater than that 25-30% range. I also wouldn't say we made many yards through our driving lineout. At the same time, I wouldn't say Jackson has a good track record when it comes to kicks at that distance or angle. Basically I think the odds were against us scoring from either the kick at goal or to the corner, and both ways of winning the game were about equally likely/unlikely.  

I would have been pretty unhappy if he had turned down the kick. When it's not immediately clear what the best option is, I want the kicker to have the confidence to back himself. Kicking technique can be worked on a lot easier than bottle, and I think Jackson has a lot of bottle. Also would be unhappy if the Captain overruled him. You have to back your kicker for better or worse.

If we kicked to the corner and messed up the lineout, he would be accused of bottling it- unless the hooker messed up the throw in which case he would probably become the scapegoat. Either way, its a no-win situating for a kicker and I wouldn't be too critical of his decision.

Having said all that, you may be right that Ulster need to have Ruan kicking if we are to win these tight games in the short-term (although he was off the pitch by the time Jackson missed his second) but Ireland very definitely need Jackson kicking if we are to replace Sexton in the long-term or short-term. Ulster will also need to replace Pienaar in a few years which brings us back to Square One re. Jackson and kicking. He should have been kicking over Pienaar sooner, and then maybe he'd be better than he is now, but there's no use crying over spilt milk. Some frustration has to be endured with place kickers early in their career and by kicking the can down the road and letting Pienaar kick we've probably just prolonged the frustration.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by rodders on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 3:40 pm

Jackson's kicking is fine when the games aren't tight. Under pressure his form goes out the window.

David Humphrey's had the same problem - he improved a bit later in his career but his place kicking wasn't up to his all round skills as a fly half.

Going back to Pienaar isn't the answer but Jackson has to improve his place kicking.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by BamBam on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 4:15 pm

England are in a not too dissimilar situation with Ford (albeit, he kicks very well just not from distance), with Farrell being the best kicker. (although on form, you might say Farrell is also the best fly half!)

Is there anyone else who plays in the backs who can kick? I've often bemoaned the lack of it over here, if you look at a side like Australia it seems half of their backline can kick/play fly half

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by profitius on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 4:24 pm

When Kiss named a very strong Ulster side to play Connacht I knew it would be good for Munster because Ulster would either have to play a weakened side against Munster or most of the same players would have to play another big game without a break. It turned out to be the latter. Ulster looked flat. I hope for Ulster's sake that Kiss hasn't pushed them too far.


For Munster is was good to have TOD back and Keatleys played well. Still, they look a poorly coached team with a blunt attack.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Munchkin on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 5:12 pm

I think some are being very hard on Jackson. His kicks from the tee were mixed, but he made a couple of excellent kicks before kicking into the wind and falling short. The last kick was a huge pressure kick, and very similar to the one that fell short. Jackson would have made adjustments, possibly, and fluffed it, but it's a kick he shouldn't have went for. Jackson is always going to back himself, but I feel the captain should have opted for the corner. I just knew Jackson wasn't going to make that kick.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 6:09 pm

For what it's worth I was right there where Jackson missed both the late kicks and because I played 10 was watching his technique because it interests me to compare techniques and he got under the first one too much thats why it dropped short. It then seemed as though he tried to correct it for the second kick but he didn't correct enough and it looked even worse because it was actually off target too. I was thinking maybe they should go to the corner for the first kick but it is a case of damned if you do damned if you don't.
Lets remember Jackson is still very young (24 tomorrow I think?) and really up until this year has not been kicking consistently for Ulster with Pienaar doing it so he is going to be affected by pressure, make mistakes, not be consistent but in the long run it will be worth it. Lets not forget Sexton was hardly a master in his first few years but they stuck with him and he improved.
I feel like over here we expect too much from young guys at times and are too quick to criticise when things don't go exactly right. It's like they come on the scene have a few good games and we hail them and as soon as something goes wrong or they are a bit inconsistent we are all over them for it. Scholes for example another guy who has been criticised here despite the fact he did most stuff right and actually broke the line a few times. We need to accept these guys will make mistakes the same way our experianced guys did at the start that we seem to forget about because they are so good now.
It's also a bit unfair to throw Jacko under the bus for us losing because yes he missed 2 kicks at the end, which are difficult enough kicks by the way but we had an entire 80 minutes to win that match and in truth we never looked like we might, we were not good and put way too many balls on the floor and really the weather wasn't that bad, the pitch will have been greasy but the actualy weather wasn't too abd for rugby.
In the first half we were made look a bit better by the fact Munster were relatively poor, Munster improved a bit in the 2nd half and we made some bad decisions of when to kick and when not too in open play as well as a lot of bad kicks. Lets not forget Musnter would have scored a try earlier had it not been for a terrific bit of cover from Trimble. The fact we actually knocked on in the lead up to the try was ironic a little since we knocked on in good positions so much in that first half.
It's a tough loss off course but we take it and move on, 3 big weeks ahead now. SUFTUM

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 6:35 pm

Notch, yes the drop goal in the first quarter against Saracens was good. Ulster went out to build a score and take points whenever they could even though it didn't work out that way.
However, I don't remember him scoring any others and the only other one I can remember he attempted might have been against Toulon or Glasgow last season? Maybe he is working under instruction not to attempt the DG but time and time again Ulster go through phases close to opposition line and come away with nothing.

Maybe on Saturday it was especially notable because of the obvious handling difficulties for both teams and therefore increased risk of error. Underfoot conditions were not that bad though so a percentage play would have been to get points when in the red zone.

The stats you presents are interesting, but I wonder what the try rate is for teams in the red zone scoring after say 6 phases? If an opening hasn't been created in the first few phases defences are so organised now that the play usually ends up with a knock-on or penalty. If a breakthrough hasn't happened in the first phases then (as in the Saracens game) it is worth attempting a DG, because it keeps the scoreboard moving. Perhaps I have missed all the ones Paddy has attempted so by all means remind me, but I think that cupboard is relatively bare.

As Munchkin says there looked to be a zero chance that Paddy would have knocked over the last kick. Therefore the decision was very clear to me in that the kick had to go to the corner. Ulster didn't need to score a try so securing possession was all they had to do. Even from a ruck they could have moved the ball to a central position and popped the DG. That had to be a far higher percentage play.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 6:46 pm

There's not a whole lot of occasions where he has gone for the drop goal, but then there's not a whole lot of situations where I think teams should go for the drop goal. Only really comes out of the locker in the last minute of tight games. I would be inclined to support trying to go for the try when you have possession in the opponents 22. The point is, it's not something that he can't do; he's done it a few times in his career. I remember a few more for Ulster and a few for Ireland U20s Rather it's something Ulster in general, like almost every other team in the British Isles, don't do except in desperate circumstances.

I suppose I'm biased because I hate it when teams (usually French teams) get into the 22 and immediately go for the drop goal after 3 or 4 phases, even if it is the percentage call, which it normally is. It's just not that interesting to watch and I suppose I'm letting that colour my judgment. But I really do think that going for the score is the way to go, tactically. To try and put teams under pressure with the ball- it's mentally and physically tiring, if you do get the try it's normally a turning point in the game, and you have as much chance of forcing them to concede the penalty as you do of conceding one yourself.

I don't think thats a fair or valid criticism of him really. You're talking about team tactics, and comparing Keatley to him favourably because of the drop goal neglects the fact they were the away team, have had serious problems scoring tries, and needed a win anyway possible. Whereas Ulster when we had possession in their 22 in the first half were the home team, in control of territory and possession, and were looking to pull away. If we had an opportunity to go for DG in the second half I'd agree it would have been the right call and I agree going to the corner and trying to engineer such an opportunity may have been a good call, but ultimately we're all assessing that decision with significant hindsight bias- I would still say that the kick at goal was maybe a one in four chance.

But at home, Ulster should be playing a more positive brand of rugby- just my opinion. Yeah we lost this one, but we'll win more than we lose if we try to develop our attacking game when we're in the red zone.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 6:59 pm

BamBam wrote:England are in a not too dissimilar situation with Ford (albeit, he kicks very well just not from distance), with Farrell being the best kicker. (although on form, you might say Farrell is also the best fly half!)

Is there anyone else who plays in the backs who can kick? I've often bemoaned the lack of it over here, if you look at a side like Australia it seems half of their backline can kick/play fly half

For Ulster there are a good few but for Ireland- no, not really. Whats frustrating is that players who have been really good place-kickers through youth level are not encouraged to keep it up at professional level. Conor Murray would be a good example of that.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 7:04 pm

I agree with a lot of that Neil, but Jackson is now 24, (the same age as Owen Farrell), and with 100+ senior caps needs to slot at least one of those kicks. His inconsistent placekicking is undoubtedly why he was behind Madigan for the RWC and is likely to keep him out of contention for a starting Ireland shirt in the 6N. He isn't a rookie any longer so while most of his play is improving, his goal kicking isn't and therefore isn't immune to criticism.

My point that Paddy hardly ever attempts a drop goal only puts more pressure on his place kicking. It would have been easier to attempt those points than either of the second half penalties, and with that confidence his kicking from tee would improve too. Maybe he should share the kicking with Ruan and only take the high percentage kicks (like Laidlaw)?

Olding is a decent kicker, as is Nelson, and if Paddy doesn't improve Kiss will be looking elsewhere.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 7:10 pm

Notch -
Ulster were at home against Saracens and Paddy's DG was in the first quarter. You were praising that effort above, yet now say Ulster should have been looking to score a try?

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 7:54 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Notch -
Ulster were at home against Saracens and Paddy's DG was in the first quarter. You were praising that effort above, yet now say Ulster should have been looking to score a try?

Yeah, I was, because of who we were playing and the competition we were playing in. A game against the form team in Europe in what basically amounts to a knockout situation is different to the Pro12. No sense in pretending it isn't. Knockout rugby and league games merit their own approaches. How often do you see other Irish outhalves use the drop goal in the league? Also, you're putting the entire tactical approach we take in those situations on Jacksons shoulders. It's something which is dealt with at a coaching level as well as being implemented by the halfbacks.

I'm not going to engage unless we're engaging in good faith. I've no time for this if you're going to be disingenuous.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 8:05 pm

Anyway Jackson already does share the kicking duties with Pienaar, who takes the kicks outside his range. He probably would have taken that one if he was on the pitch. I agree he needs to work on his placekicking, which is exactly why he should be kicking for Ulster. If he doesn't kick he won't improve- and he needs to be taking the pressure kicks. Only way to get better. Pienaar is into his thirties so whether he kicks or not at some point he'll retire or move on and Jackson will be our first choice place kicker. Better for everyone that he starts now- more experience he gets, quicker he'll improve. The fact he's being criticised at 24 is a direct result of him not being persisted with when he kicked poorly earlier in his career.

As for Kiss looking elsewhere, he would be very unwise to do that given succession planning for Sexton is likely to be one of Nuciforas key priorities. We don't let him kick, suddenly the idea of him being moved to another province comes up or a marquee signing gets blocked.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 8:34 pm

I agree with Notch in that he hasn't kicked previously much, had he kicked every week from day 1 of those 100 caps then it would be more of a concern but he has not done that. He now has to kick all the time otherwise he will never be ready to fulfill those duties. Kicking in practice alone won't get it done, take it from me even as a non pro nothing you do in practice with regards to kicks can be the same as it is during a game or even more so in a pressure situation. Kicking in practice can help you with technique and to practice in some different weathers but it can never replicate an in game kick. I have seen guys kick near perfect in training every week and when they were called upon to kick when I wasn't there they couldn't hit a barn door with a machine gun.
As for going to others I doubt he will for 2 reasons. 1. except Ruan those guys are all injured and 2. Nelson has taken what 5 kicks at goal? How many has Olding taken in game? We can't say for sure if they are any better than Jackson.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 10:14 pm

Notch wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:Notch -
Ulster were at home against Saracens and Paddy's DG was in the first quarter. You were praising that effort above, yet now say Ulster should have been looking to score a try?

Yeah, I was, because of who we were playing and the competition we were playing in. A game against the form team in Europe in what basically amounts to a knockout situation is different to the Pro12. No sense in pretending it isn't. Knockout rugby and league games merit their own approaches. How often do you see other Irish outhalves use the drop goal in the league? Also, you're putting the entire tactical approach we take in those situations on Jacksons shoulders. It's something which is dealt with at a coaching level as well as being implemented by the halfbacks.

I'm not going to engage unless we're engaging in good faith. I've no time for this if you're going to be disingenuous.

BTW I found a second Jackson DG from the reverse Pro12 fixture in October - five minutes into the second half.

You obviously think I'm "disingenuous", so please don't waste your time - I won't.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 10:36 pm

neilthom7 wrote:I agree with Notch in that he hasn't kicked previously much, had he kicked every week from day 1 of those 100 caps then it would be more of a concern but he has not done that.  He now has to kick all the time otherwise he will never be ready to fulfill those duties.  Kicking in practice alone won't get it done, take it from me even as a non pro nothing you do in practice with regards to kicks can be the same as it is during a game or even more so in a pressure situation.  Kicking in practice can help you with technique and to practice in some different weathers but it can never replicate an in game kick.  I have seen guys kick near perfect in training every week and when they were called upon to kick when I wasn't there they couldn't hit a barn door with a machine gun.
As for going to others I doubt he will for 2 reasons. 1. except Ruan those guys are all injured and 2. Nelson has taken what 5 kicks at goal? How many has Olding taken in game? We can't say for sure if they are any better than Jackson.

Neil, Jackson has a lot more to his game than place kicking but that is the one area that will stop him becoming a regular Test player. We all want him to get there and I don't see why some see pointing out that flaw is disingenuous. As has already been pointed out David Humphreys is an interesting comparison. In his late 20s he took over from Eric Elwood for Ireland who was metronomic off the tee, but then soon became second fiddle to O'Gara under Gatland and O'Sullivan perpetuated that preference. Maybe a lot of that had to do with the fact that Humphreys had Simon Mason as the Ulster goal kicker when he came back from London Irish and so didn't get the practice, but his form didn't markedly improve when he had all the duties either. Humphreys' career was undoubtedly curtailed by his lower than Test class goal kicking and he never became a Lion which was a travesty.

You have said that practice is only part of becoming a better place kicker and it's performing under pressure that really tests the mettle. My point is that Paddy is closing in on 600 points for Ulster, so that's a considerable wedge of experience and plenty of that will have been under pressure. How much longer do you think he needs to improve his consistency before Ulster start grooming an alternative?

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by neilthom7 on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 11:26 pm

Well as far as the alternative goes there should always be an alternative waiting in truth but that doesn't always happen. My view would be that if Paddy does not show a noticeable improvement by the end of this season (presuming he kicks the entireity of the season and isn't in and out) then you would have to consider is there a better kicker. That is also a good question is there a better kicker in that team? We know Ruan is excellent but he is also getting on.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by Notch on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 11:35 pm

Sigh... this is exactly what I mean. I'm trying to have a serious discussion- not win an argument on the internet. Thats what engaging in good faith means. Its not about one person being right or wrong, it's trying to define the problem through debate. Pointing out flaws in Jacksons kicking is fine, in fact no-one even contests that they exist. I only disagree on whats to be done, and I take exception to rhetorical games and fallacies. Fair enough?

The truth is- this isn't Niall O'Connor we're talking about. There's no out half in Ireland besides Sexton who is as good at every other aspect of the position. Similarly there is no out half I've seen in the youth system of any province who has the same level of potential to be as good as him.

Ulster might replace him as a kicker but we'd be mad to replace him as our 10 unless someone similarly talented comes along- or we get permission to sign a non-Irish 10 of similar quality. And so long as we have him at 10, Ireland duties will require he kicks. As for how long he needs, I would say whatever amount of time it takes we should give him- at the end of the day some players are worth that investment and for Irish Rugby's sake Ulster will have to invest it.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by eirebilly on Tue 05 Jan 2016, 8:46 am

Personally, I have never thought that Paddy Jackson's kicking from tee is that bad, granted its not exceptional but it is not as bad as some make it out to be. What he does bring is an excellent ability to control matches from 10 and he is also coming on in leaps and bounds in that regard and in my opinion, that outweighs any deficiencies in his kicking ability.

I have long been a member of the '10's do not need to be kickers brigade' and still feel this way. If I were an Ulster fan, I would have no problems with Ulster signing a kicker to cover him because he is so valuable at 10 but also believe that he needs to kick more in matches if they are going to proceed with him. I do not believe that his deficiencies in kicking from the tee will have a direct influence on his selection chances as Ireland 10.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

Post by rodders on Tue 05 Jan 2016, 10:18 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
neilthom7 wrote:I agree with Notch in that he hasn't kicked previously much, had he kicked every week from day 1 of those 100 caps then it would be more of a concern but he has not done that.  He now has to kick all the time otherwise he will never be ready to fulfill those duties.  Kicking in practice alone won't get it done, take it from me even as a non pro nothing you do in practice with regards to kicks can be the same as it is during a game or even more so in a pressure situation.  Kicking in practice can help you with technique and to practice in some different weathers but it can never replicate an in game kick.  I have seen guys kick near perfect in training every week and when they were called upon to kick when I wasn't there they couldn't hit a barn door with a machine gun.
As for going to others I doubt he will for 2 reasons. 1. except Ruan those guys are all injured and 2. Nelson has taken what 5 kicks at goal? How many has Olding taken in game? We can't say for sure if they are any better than Jackson.

Neil, Jackson has a lot more to his game than place kicking but that is the one area that will stop him becoming a regular Test player. We all want him to get there and I don't see why some see pointing out that flaw is disingenuous. As has already been pointed out David Humphreys is an interesting comparison. In his late 20s he took over from Eric Elwood for Ireland who was metronomic off the tee, but then soon became second fiddle to O'Gara under Gatland and O'Sullivan perpetuated that preference. Maybe a lot of that had to do with the fact that Humphreys had Simon Mason as the Ulster goal kicker when he came back from London Irish and so didn't get the practice, but his form didn't markedly improve when he had all the duties either. Humphreys' career was undoubtedly curtailed by his lower than Test class goal kicking and he never became a Lion which was a travesty.

You have said that practice is only part of becoming a better place kicker and it's performing under pressure that really tests the mettle. My point is that Paddy is closing in on 600 points for Ulster, so that's a considerable wedge of experience and plenty of that will have been under pressure. How much longer do you think he needs to improve his consistency before Ulster start grooming an alternative?

Totally agree Aukster and glad someone else sees the parallel with Humphreys.

For the record I think Jackson is really top class - his distribution is already the best out of any Irish fly half in my memory and its no coincidence that when he is on form the guys outside him really shine. Pienaar gets a lot of the plaudits but Jackson is equally, if not more important at orchestrating the attacks.

The question is at what point do you say he simply hasn't got the temperament to be a top class kicker and needs the crutch of a Simon Mason alongside him? Ulster obviously have Pienaar but given Ireland don't have top class kickers in other positions that would be massively detrimental to his international chances to turn to Pienaar,even if the IRFU would allow it.

Does he deserve another season as first choice place kicker? Has there been a progression? There is no doubt he isn't a top class place kicker but for me the noose is tightening to prove he can be for me.

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Re: Ulster v Munster 2nd January

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