Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

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Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by George Carlin on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 8:41 pm

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Ulster Rugby v Connacht Rugby
Friday 1 April 2016
KO: 19:35
Kingspan Stadium

Live on BBC NI and TG4

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU, 61st competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway, Nigel Correll (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (IRFU)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)

A. Head to Head

25 Played 25
21 Wins 3
3 Losses 21
1 Draws 1
652 Points 334

B. Form

26/12/15: Connacht Rugby 3 - 10 Ulster Rugby

11/04/15: Connacht Rugby 20 - 27 Ulster Rugby

26/12/14: Ulster Rugby 13 - 10 Connacht Rugby

C. Teams

Ulster Rugby 

(15-9): J Payne, A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar
(1-8): C Black, R Best ©, R Lutton, P Browne, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, C Henry, R Wilson.
(16-23): R Herring, K McCall, B Ross, R Diack, S Reidy, P Marshall, S Olding, D Cave.

Connacht Rugby

15 Robbie Henshaw
14 Niyi Adeolokun
13 Bundee Aki
12 Peter Robb
11 Matt Healy
10 Shane O’Leary
9 John Cooney

1 Denis Buckley
2 Tom McCartney
3 Rodney Ah You
4 Andrew Browne
5 Aly Muldowney
6 John Muldoon (captain)
7 James Connolly
8 Eoin McKeon

16 Dave Heffernan
17 Ronan Loughney
18 Finlay Bealham
19 Ultan Dillane
20 Sean O’Brien
21 Caolin Blade
22 Cormac Brennan
23 Danie Poolman


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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Fri 01 Apr 2016, 9:05 pm

Now connacht on the refs naughty list. What we learn he Rory is there are no saints in the either the white or green pack!

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by neilthom7 on Fri 01 Apr 2016, 9:25 pm

Ulster players need to be slapped for not getting a try when Connacht were 2 men down. A simple overlap butchered that any under age team should be able to do let alone a professional side is not good enough. Well played Connacht fought tooth and nail to the very end. Wish you all the best for your shot at the title

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Fri 01 Apr 2016, 9:32 pm

Well played and congrats Ulster, outstanding physicality in that game, wish you all the best for last few games and the top 4 chase.

Although a word of warning: did you see how much more solid the scrum was with bealham rather than ah you? Yeah. Hope he rediscovers his form and motivation for you.

For us, happy with the performance to be honest, with the right luck it could have got the lbp, but Ulster just wanted it more. Missing TOH, Donaldson, AJ, Heenan, masterson, and marmion didn't have a damming impact, which is good for depth, but their experience this season was missed.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Munchkin on Fri 01 Apr 2016, 9:51 pm

Now that was a proper interpro Very Happy

Mistakes were made, a lack of composure cost us a try against a 13 man Connacht, but a wonderful game, I thought. Plenty of passion and spite shown by both sides, and good to see a bit of rage from Henderson and Diack.

What about that man Payne playing where he should be playing? He had a great game, as did Best, Marshall and Jackson. Thought Marshall might have deserved MoTM, but close with Payne anyway. Browne seems to be getting better. Thought he had a good game, as did Reidy when he came on. I did include Pienaar with those that played really well but, on reflection, I changed my mind. Stupid kick, and his dithering allowed Connacht to turned our ball over. Lutton is a pain in the rear.

Connachts 13 man defence to deny us a try was superb. Great team, lovely rugby, fantastic spirit. One thing that baffles me is their running the ball from their own 22. There's a time to do it, but they always do. Might cost them the final, if they make it. I really hope they do make the final.

Just hope Marshall and McCloskey recover in time for the next game.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 10:16 am

Marshes wrote:Well played and congrats Ulster, outstanding physicality in that game, wish you all the best for last few games and the top 4 chase.

Although a word of warning: did you see how much more solid the scrum was with bealham rather than ah you? Yeah. Hope he rediscovers his form and motivation for you.

For us, happy with the performance to be honest, with the right luck it could have got the lbp, but Ulster just wanted it more. Missing TOH, Donaldson, AJ, Heenan, masterson, and marmion didn't have a damming impact, which is good for depth, but their experience this season was missed.

Very enjoyable game. Thought Marshall (L) was the best player on the pitch, and Marshall (P) was the reason we couldn't score against 13 men (although Connacht's defence was obviously great).

The reason Connacht didn't get the lbp is that they were down to 13. When they started to get tired, they just continually gave away penalties behind their ten metre line. Whatever about us not scoring against 13, if Connacht had had 15 on the pitch, I'd be certain they'd have done something to get within seven.

Neither team was terribly clever. Ulster, as usual,got white line fever and played with little composure when it mattered. But if the positions were reversed, I'd have been screaming at Rory to show a bit of leadership and get the boys under control.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Kingshu on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 10:29 am

I said if Connacht could should a good defence again I would consider them title contenders and they did that in spades.

Down to 13 men and under constant pressure and they didn't concede a try, actually they kept Ulster scoreless from the 44th minute on, ok some of it was ulster going for touch and not taking the points, but still. Thats the defence of a Championship winning side.

Think it will bill down the the Connacht v Glasgow game, however wins it will likely finish in the top 2 and a home semi final which the home team rarely loses, so winner most likely will reach the final, and Connacht have the attack and defence to scare any team.

Ulster, we got the win that was needed, playing better rugby now than durning the 6 nations period, just need to keep getting the wins and hopefully top 4, not just to reach the play offs but for the draw for Europe, as I have high hopes for next season.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 10:33 am

Connacht have a fantastic spirit and are consistent in their play - they might even have won if they'd kept 15 on the pitch.

Ulster were yet again clueless and inept in their decision making. Why when you're down a winger would you kick to their back three with no pressure? Why try and run it from deep in your 22 when everyone needs a breather and you can run the clock down? Why dither at the back of a ruck rather than kick for touch when Connacht were poor from the line all night? Why repeatedly get penalised when you know how the referee is treating the breakdown? Why when Connacht were down to 13 and tired wouldn't you spread it wide?

Ulster aren't a smart team and despite winning this game won't win anything unless they sharpen up.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 10:54 am

Lads, youse are getting completely carried away.

Connacht were brill, and we sent them home without an lbp, and we were rubbish. You're going to sit me down and explain that one to me.

Kingers, if you think a championship winning defence involves having two men sent off for repeated infringements, then we're going to have to agree to disagree. I think most other teams in the top half of the league would have licked their lips and torn Connacht a new one.

Ulster are an unbelievably frustrating team to support, but this place is turning into UAFC. Connacht will win nothing until they get a decent ten (with McGinty heading away next season) and they get both their defence and their lineout sorted.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 11:09 am

Oh, and Ulster turned down four easily kickable penalties to go for the corner. Proof, I'd say, of the questionable decision-making on-field. But also a sign of consistently poor discipline from Connacht.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Notch on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 12:02 pm

I think going for the corner was the right decision. Would have been wrong if we were less than 7 points ahead, but defending on your own line with 10 minutes to go when you're 8 points behind... You're going to get frustrated and give away penalties and that referee was always going to go to the pocket. All that energy sapping defence will mean they can't chase the game even if we don't score.

I think we could easily have kicked the penalty, gone 21-10 up and then lost the restart, and suddenly it's game on and they are on the attack. I remember well Ireland losing to France when they took a penalty to go more than 3 points ahead, only to mess up the restart and concede a try... Similar situation last night. I approved of the decision to keep the game in their 22 and the ball out of their hands.


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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Notch on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 12:18 pm

But our game management more generally was terribly disappointing. We just seem to want to score off every phase wherever on the pitch we get the ball, and when we don't have the ball we want to win a turnover at every breakdown. This lack of composure costs us penalties and leads us to turnover ball for being too ambitious. We need to be way more shrewd at the breakdown when the ref is hot on certain things, and on several occasions we handed them attacking scrums in our own half due to extremely ambitious back line moves not coming off.

Running from deep has to be a coaching decision but we were playing suicide rugby at times; I'm really disappointed we seem to lack the organisation and brains to play a smart tactical kicking and chasing game to get us out of our own territory. You look at the coaches and the leaders on the pitch and you wonder, where's the structure?

I understand not wanting to kick loosely to a really dangerous Connacht back three, Pienaar kicked poorly from deep to Adeolokun at one point and he shredded us on the counter. We had Pienaar box kicking with the intent of retrieving the ball, which was a moderately successful tactic. But there was no in between, we weren't going through phases to set up opportunities to kick long or to touch. We either box-kicked for a 50/50 ball or went wide as quickly as possible. Both high-risk options. Running the kicking game exclusively from 9 and using Jackson as a playmaker with ball in hand plays to Paddy's strengths, he really is an exquisitely talented player ball in hand, but we really need him to start managing these games better and showing he can get us into the right parts of the pitch with his boot as well as with a backs move. It was only in the last twenty minutes we started to play the game in the right areas.

Our saving grace, which compensated for a lack of game management and composure, was sheer determination and aggression. That was a very physical, committed, bloody minded effort in defence. It was a defensive effort to be proud of, even whilst being concerned that we unnecessarily put ourselves in situations where we needed that defence.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 12:45 pm

The team, generally, is missing leadership.

I think we all thought Van Der Merwe would be a kind of Miller Lite (pardon the pun), but Herring and Jackson have been preferred to him as captain. We need unflappable, been there, done that captain.

Actually, what we really need is a new forwards coach. That's a priority, to me.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Kingshu on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 1:01 pm

Don Alfonso wrote:Lads, youse are getting completely carried away.

Connacht were brill, and we sent them home without an lbp, and we were rubbish. You're going to sit me down and explain that one to me.

Kingers, if you think a championship winning defence involves having two men sent off for repeated infringements, then we're going to have to agree to disagree. I think most other teams in the top half of the league would have licked their lips and torn Connacht a new one.

Ulster are an unbelievably frustrating team to support, but this place is turning into UAFC. Connacht will win nothing until they get a decent ten (with McGinty heading away next season) and they get both their defence and their lineout sorted.

Think your being harsh on Connacht
We sent them home without a LBP, and we played the best we have been playing in a while over this game and last.

You think most teams would have torn them a new one, Ulster have scored the 3rd highest total of tries in the league and highest of the of top 6 excluding Connacht themselves.

So if a team was going to rip them a new one you would expect it to be Ulster, yet we couldn't even when they only had 13 men. That is some defence,

Maybe I'm wrong and there's loads of teams out there that would hold Ulster in Ravenhill scoreless for most of the second half and esp when they only have 13 men for the last 10 minutes, sure anyone could do it, it doesn't take much defence that?

In the last two games Connacht have changed up there style of play and and are defensively solid the they need to be, thats the type of change that is needed if you are going to win Play offs,


Also McGinty since the new year has been playing very well for Connacht.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 1:30 pm

But McGinty is injured and leaving next season for Sale, if memory serves.

The reason that Connacht kept us scoreless is that we turned down twelve points from penalties. A less headstrong team than Ulster would have just calmly racked them up.

Getting down to 13 men is poor defence. It wasn't random. It was a series of ruck infringements (on Ulster's ball), a high tackle, lying on the wrong side, and bringing down a maul illegally. Ulster didn't take any kicks, and didn't get any points, but Connacht put themselves under massive pressure. And when they did get the ball, what could they do with it? Nothing. Because they were two men down. Because they had conceded a tonne of defensive penalties.

How many times have you slapped your head, exasperated, when Ulster have given away penalty after penalty in other games, penalties that were needless? That's exactly how Connacht finished the game last night. Some manful one on one tackling doesn't change that.

There was one smart penalty given away last night, and it was Andy Trimble stopping a try with his slap-down.

You say I'm harsh on Connacht. I don't think I am - I think I'm just not patronising them. Judging them by the same yardstick I'd apply to Ulster, when they disappoint me for the hundredth time.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by George Carlin on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 1:53 pm

Seen some highlights now and that was an almighty scrap.

Is this Connacht side for real in the sense that they look like a championship winning side? I go back and forth about it. They do a lot really well but the number of penalties they shipped last night would have killed off a playoff semi final against any of the current top 4, for example. Harsh to judge missing first and second choice fly halves, I absolutely grant you.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by marty2086 on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 2:07 pm

GC, I haven't watched the game on tv but in the ground it seemed like Dudley Phillips got a lot wrong. Rory Best had to drag Pienaar away at one point at he wanted to have a go at the ref, when Aki jumped over a ruck and tackled him baffling how that was allowed to go

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 2:09 pm

Are they getting in a good SA flyhalf next season, actually?

I'd say they have the best coach, but they're losing Henshaw next season.

And you have to wonder is it coincidental that they are doing so well the season after a RWC, in which they only lost a couple of players. Won't be the case next season, and no-one will underestimate them next season either.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Kingshu on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 2:29 pm

McGinty will be back for the title run in, and while he is leaving for Sale they have Marnitz Bomhoff coming in.
Have to also give a bit of credit to Connacht with a half back partnership equivalent to us playing Sam Windsor and Paul Marshall.
Had a 6 day turn around and hence changed 7 players from the Leinster game.

Ok they did give away penalties and lost to players to the bin at the same time, but they did keep Ulster from crossing the line during this.

You may not consider them title contenders, but I think we have seen enough over the season and last couple of games that they could seriously win the league.

Most bookies have them second favourites for the title ahead of Glasgow, who have a great chance as well.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 2:40 pm

My point was that that's not a "championship-winning defence". Bundee Aki gave away one of their stupid penalties, as did Muldoon. The backbone of their team. If they win, it will be because they score a lot.

While we're all beating ourselves up about not scoring against 13 men, it's worth bearing in mind we scored two against fifteen men..

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Notch on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 4:01 pm

George Carlin wrote:Seen some highlights now and that was an almighty scrap.

Is this Connacht side for real in the sense that they look like a championship winning side? I go back and forth about it. They do a lot really well but the number of penalties they shipped last night would have killed off a playoff semi final against any of the current top 4, for example. Harsh to judge missing first and second choice fly halves, I absolutely grant you.

Glasgow look well equipped to beat Connacht home or away. The other four teams in the playoff running look fairly mediocre but beware Leinster in any one-off game.... Hopefully if Ulster don't pull off a miracle run of five wins between now and the end of the season Glasgow vs Connacht will be the Final, but my feeling is that it will be the semi-final at the Sportsground in Galway, with the away team making history.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Notch on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 4:05 pm

Kingshu wrote:Ok they did give away penalties and lost to players to the bin at the same time, but they did keep Ulster from crossing the line during this.

Stopped us from crossing the line but lost the game due to yellow cards- a trade off, but they were beaten because they couldn't legally deal with the pressure they were under.

It's only disappointing for Ulster in that if we had scored at the 74th or 75th minute we could have received a restart and made a late bid for the fourth try, but the winning and the losing of the game was in that 10 minutes and Connacht didn't win it there. Stopping us getting over was a totally phyrric victory that gained them nothing. Now if they were defending a lead, fair enough thats a different story, but they really needed to get the initiative back by winning a legal turnover or forcing us to knock the ball on and they were unable to do it, basically.

They've shown some real grit in defence in the past two weeks, and they're a really good team, but I thought we were doing more damage in defence than them.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 7:51 pm

I oscillate between feeling Connacht have turned a corner and can now compete with the big boys now, to having the "well it is a world cup year" argument in the back of my mind. The thing is, outside of the world cup or 6N period, we have beaten Munster and Leinster, Scarlets and Ospreys deservedly, and when we have lost have never really been drubbed. That with two fairly big injury lists, one at the start of the season and one now, which have stretched our squad in the same way as international call-ups. I think it Ulster were missing either of their first choice half backs, never mind their first 3 tens, they would struggle badly. So I wouldn't write Connacht off on the basis of this performance just yet, I didn't think their was too much in it.

In terms of Connacht discipline, I find it frustrating that Ulster's was as bad in the first half and none of them saw a card even after the ref had warned about in at the side, taking players out beyond the ruck and obstructing players from entering the rucks. Saw Henderson a couple of times just sauntering through the wrong side, like he was out for a stroll! Up at the Connacht tryline in the second half it continued but the defending team at that point were also poor in their discipline. I think the 6 day turnaround after a real lungbusting performance against Leinster contributed to the discipline going as well.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 8:35 pm

I'd say they have definitely turned a corner, in terms of performances on the pitch. But there's a lot of questions about how permanent it is. Look at the way Leinster went after Schimdt left. I've no doubt Lam wants to leave a legacy - but wanting it doesn't necessarily make it so. What happens when he leaves? What happens when Connacht are told to abide by the same number of NIQs as the other provinces? To be honest, I took Henshaw being determined to move on as a sign that some doubt remains.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Munchkin on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 8:52 pm

Marshes wrote:I oscillate between feeling Connacht have turned a corner and can now compete with the big boys now, to having the "well it is a world cup year" argument in the back of my mind. The thing is, outside of the world cup or 6N period, we have beaten Munster and Leinster, Scarlets and Ospreys deservedly, and when we have lost have never really been drubbed. That with two fairly big injury lists, one at the start of the season and one now, which have stretched our squad in the same way as international call-ups. I think it Ulster were missing either of their first choice half backs, never mind their first 3 tens, they would struggle badly. So I wouldn't write Connacht off on the basis of this performance just yet, I didn't think their was too much in it.

In terms of Connacht discipline, I find it frustrating that Ulster's was as bad in the first half and none of them saw a card even after the ref had warned about in at the side, taking players out beyond the ruck and obstructing players from entering the rucks. Saw Henderson a couple of times just sauntering through the wrong side, like he was out for a stroll! Up at the Connacht tryline in the second half it continued but the defending team at that point were also poor in their discipline. I think the 6 day turnaround after a real lungbusting performance against Leinster contributed to the discipline going as well.

What!!! Are you accusing Ulster ( angel ) of cheating!?! mad ......... Very Happy

Agree with the rest of you post.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by carpet baboon on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 8:59 pm

OK watched the game at work today. Highlight for me. The little foot race between Healy and gilroy. Those lads have some pace. Other than that some aggressive defence, some odd decision making, but an entertaining game

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 9:06 pm

Thought that race was between O'Leary and Gilroy - SOL reeled him in!

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by carpet baboon on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 9:08 pm

Was it? Admittedly I was "working" when watching it, but could of sworn it was Healy. In that case sol has some wheels on him

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 12:12 am

Don Alfonso wrote:I'd say they have definitely turned a corner, in terms of performances on the pitch. But there's a lot of questions about how permanent it is. Look at the way Leinster went after Schimdt left. I've no doubt Lam wants to leave a legacy - but wanting it doesn't necessarily make it so. What happens when he leaves? What happens when Connacht are told to abide by the same number of NIQs as the other provinces? To be honest, I took Henshaw being determined to move on as a sign that some doubt remains.

I think the question of permanency at this level is one for the IRFU. And if they are addressing inequity in the rules, Connacht I'm sure would be very happy to abide to the NIQ limits (which we basically do now anyway, we currently have the same number of NIQ as ulster and next season based on current signings will have one less NIQ player) if we were given the same funding as the other provinces. This might give us more opportunities to keep our best players and develop the club, rather than each season being an uphill battle at the end of which our standout performers are pinched.

You are right their are big concerns about what happens when Lam goes, and the better Connacht play the quicker that day approaches! But i hope he will leave some level of culture instilled in the club, the main aspect of which I hope is a continued commitment to play the game the right way.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 12:15 am

Munchkin wrote:
What!!! Are you accusing Ulster ( angel ) of cheating!?! mad  ......... Very Happy

Agree with the rest of you post.

Boxing clever I'd say! No harm in it, except when you get caught and end up with two lads in the bin Wink

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 12:17 am

carpet baboon wrote:Was it? Admittedly I was "working" when watching it, but could of sworn it was Healy. In that case sol has some wheels on him

It defo was Healy, SOL then made the tackle Gilroy while Healy hung on to the coat-tails!

Highlight for me was the Peinaar ROG-versus-Scotland brainfart-kick to Gilroy's wing!

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Don Alfonso on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 1:05 am

The culture will be vital to maintain, Marshes - and having watched both interpros, I definitely felt yesterday's was markedly better.

You're right about the IRFU and the funding, although if the funding was the same, Connacht would still be the poor cousin - literally. How many is a sell-out crowd at the Sportsground? It must be 8-10k tickets less than Ravenhill, to say nothing of Thomond or the Aviva.

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by carpet baboon on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 9:02 am

Marshes wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Was it? Admittedly I was "working" when watching it, but could of sworn it was Healy. In that case sol has some wheels on him

It defo was Healy, SOL then made the tackle Gilroy while Healy hung on to the coat-tails!

Highlight for me was the Peinaar ROG-versus-Scotland brainfart-kick to Gilroy's wing!

That was an impressive kick

carpet baboon

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Munchkin on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 10:37 pm

Marshes wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Was it? Admittedly I was "working" when watching it, but could of sworn it was Healy. In that case sol has some wheels on him

It defo was Healy, SOL then made the tackle Gilroy while Healy hung on to the coat-tails!

Highlight for me was the Peinaar ROG-versus-Scotland brainfart-kick to Gilroy's wing!

Gilroy is faster than Healy king

Munchkin

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

Post by Marshes on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 11:03 pm

Good of Gilroy to let Healy catch him then!! Both of them have serious gas Run

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Re: Ulster v Connacht, 1 April

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