Ulster 2016/2017

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Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Tue 24 May 2016, 6:08 pm

The build up to Ulsters gloriously successful 2016/2017 campaign starts here!

Allow summer optimism to get the better of you or discuss why we are in crisis right here on this thread- before weary resignation over the quality of forwards we have sinks in once again.


Last edited by Notch on Mon 19 Sep 2016, 7:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Kingshu on Tue 24 May 2016, 6:46 pm

Players In
Charles Piutau
Rodney Ah You
Kieran Treadwell
Marcell Coetzee
Brett Herron

Players Out
Nick Williams
Sam Arnold
Rory Scholes
Ian Humphreys


Marcell Coetzee for Nick Williams gain
Brett Herron for Ian Humphreys, got to be a gain
Charles Piutau for Sam Arnold and Rory Scholes a gain but hope Scholes comes back.

Rodney Ah You and Kieran Treadwell and losing no-one has to be a gain

Still hoping for a backrow to move north, and an injury replacement for Coetzee.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by marty2086 on Tue 24 May 2016, 9:29 pm

Kingshu wrote:Still hoping for a backrow to move north, and an injury replacement for Coetzee.

Has Conan signed a new contract yet? I know he wasn't in the list of renewals a few months ago and haven't heard anything since then about him, seems strange that nothing has been tied up or announced yet

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Wed 25 May 2016, 9:12 am

marty2086 wrote:
Kingshu wrote:Still hoping for a backrow to move north, and an injury replacement for Coetzee.

Has Conan signed a new contract yet? I know he wasn't in the list of renewals a few months ago and haven't heard anything since then about him, seems strange that nothing has been tied up or announced yet

Conan is off to France I think, can't recall which team.....

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by clivemcl on Wed 25 May 2016, 9:54 am

marty2086 wrote:
Kingshu wrote:Still hoping for a backrow to move north, and an injury replacement for Coetzee.

Has Conan signed a new contract yet? I know he wasn't in the list of renewals a few months ago and haven't heard anything since then about him, seems strange that nothing has been tied up or announced yet

Nobody actually knows his contract is up because Leinster have a policy (so it seems) not to state length of renewals.
Disappointed if Conan is going to France. Can't see Leinster losing two decent backrows in one season.

Plus... it would be another failure for Nucifora.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by marty2086 on Wed 25 May 2016, 10:26 am

I know he had the last year of his academy contract upgraded to a full professional in 2014 and renewed at the end of that. The press seemed to think that his contract is up when talking about the raft of contracts were announced at the turn of the year

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Wed 25 May 2016, 10:34 am

Can't seen any confirmation anywhere - nearly sure I saw it mentioned that the Ulster game was his last home game for Leinster... maybe I am mistaken.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by johnnymonaghan on Wed 25 May 2016, 12:16 pm

http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/news/14649.php#.V0WIjFeRnuR

Heres the last leinster squad update that I remember. Rumours are Jordi Murphy is off to Wasps as per this forum...

http://forum.leinsterfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22007&start=9200

Conan appears to be the only remaining possibility ....but then again thats just pure speculation

Here's more....
http://www.balls.ie/rugby/some-high-profile-names-were-not-among-the-leinster-contract-renewals/324758

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Kingshu on Wed 25 May 2016, 1:24 pm

Great to see Sean Reidy called into the Ireland squad, for South Africa Tour

With Henry not making it, do we now classify Reidy as being ahead Henry for Ulster yet?

PJ in and Ian Madigan out, hopefully Joe is going to stick with this.

No Stuart McCloskey is the big one for me, though his physical presence would be a bonus in SA
Marshall, Olding and Panye all in

Think Olding may be covering fullback?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Wed 25 May 2016, 1:49 pm

Kingshu wrote:
Think Olding may be covering fullback?

Well I've seen it written that Olding is seen is the man to take Ian Madigan's 'utility' role in the squad henceforth - the latter being excluded now he is off to Bordeaux.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Kingshu on Wed 25 May 2016, 1:58 pm

Gilroy unlucky to miss out, missed that earlier.

Thinking on it more I don't think we will see Madigan in a green jersey to much any more, not only is be going abroad which means to have to be a fair bit better than your rival to get selected, but even if he had stayed in ireland.

PJ is now second choice out half, Madigan will have o really improve here if he is the take that role
For the versatility bench role I think Olding is going to take it.

In this years 6 nations, Joe's replacement backs were Madigan and a winger (Zebo/McFadden/DK)
Mostly they cover 10/12/11/14/15?
Would PJ and Olding be better? 10 better covered, 12 and 15 better covered 11 and 14 not so well covered?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by neilthom7 on Wed 25 May 2016, 2:36 pm

Sad that McCloskey is not in the squad or gilroy looks like Stuart is not a Joe type of player. Reidy deserves his spot ahead of Henry although as for Ulster at this minute both look like they could be playing considering Coetzee is going to be out we don't exactly have great depth in the back row and they have been playing together recently.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Wed 25 May 2016, 2:49 pm

rodders wrote:
Kingshu wrote:
Think Olding may be covering fullback?

Well I've seen it written that Olding is seen is the man to take Ian Madigan's 'utility' role in the squad henceforth - the latter being excluded now he is off to Bordeaux.

I expect that is exactly what will happen; I hope it doesn't mean his Ulster and Ireland role is limited to bench appearances.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Wed 25 May 2016, 2:50 pm

Delighted for Reidy, surprised to see him picked to be honest but he's obviously worked incredibly hard and deserves some recognition.

Don't feel it's an awfully strong group of forwards in general...

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Wed 25 May 2016, 5:24 pm

It looks as if Henderson has been selected to be part of the back row, which is good. I do think his pace can be utilised more at 6.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Kingshu on Wed 25 May 2016, 9:13 pm

Do you think with Ultan Dillane coming in that the IRFU are no longer fixated with having Henderson as Lock and he can play where he's needed?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Wed 25 May 2016, 10:01 pm

Kingshu wrote:Do you think with Ultan Dillane coming in that the IRFU are no longer fixated with having Henderson as Lock and he can play where he's needed?

Not sure- I think in terms of horse trading with the IRFU, if they do want him at lock Ulster should be making the argument that if they prevent us signing an injury replacement for Coetzee then Henderson at 6 should be part of a compromise over that.

For me, in South Africa Henderson at 6, Stander at 7, Heaslip at 8?

Unbalanced back row, but really worried our pack is going to be bullied.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by clivemcl on Wed 25 May 2016, 10:57 pm

Notch, it may also be possible Hendo in the backrow has already been negotiated and might be partly the reason we are not getting our medical joker...

Either way he will be expected to play a few games at Lock since IRFU will be hoping to use his versatility there. But if he plays mostly backrow I'll be happy!

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Wed 25 May 2016, 11:32 pm

Notch wrote:
Kingshu wrote:Do you think with Ultan Dillane coming in that the IRFU are no longer fixated with having Henderson as Lock and he can play where he's needed?

Not sure- I think in terms of horse trading with the IRFU, if they do want him at lock Ulster should be making the argument that if they prevent us signing an injury replacement for Coetzee then Henderson at 6 should be part of a compromise over that.

For me, in South Africa Henderson at 6, Stander at 7, Heaslip at 8?

Unbalanced back row, but really worried our pack is going to be bullied.

Stander and Heaslip are both very good on the deck, so it could actually work quite well.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Thu 26 May 2016, 10:08 am

Kingshu wrote:Do you think with Ultan Dillane coming in that the IRFU are no longer fixated with having Henderson as Lock and he can play where he's needed?

Very good observation.

Alternatively they could be rethinking his development in light of his last injury - whether that is a short term thing whilst he returns to full fitness (which imo he isn't) or a longer term thing we'll have to wait and see....

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Don Alfonso on Thu 26 May 2016, 11:12 am

Hope so re: Hendo.

In other news, Willie Anderson and Bryan Young will join the Hughes Insurance Academy in the roles of Elite Player Development Officer and Talent Development Officer respectively.

Good news? Can we get some Geoff lowdown?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 26 May 2016, 12:03 pm

Notch wrote:Delighted for Reidy, surprised to see him picked to be honest but he's obviously worked incredibly hard and deserves some recognition.

Don't feel it's an awfully strong group of forwards in general...

Reidy and Roux are being capped to tie them to Ireland just in case someone else might come calling. This is a questionable practice and there seems to be a trend with guys like Diack, Ah You and Herring who may never see more than a couple of caps.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by marty2086 on Thu 26 May 2016, 1:03 pm

Aukster I don't think Diack and Ah You were ever much threat to South Africas back row or the ABs front row

I think Herring has a genuine chance to add to his caps over the years, there is no big drop off for Ulster when Herring steps in and looks to get better each year and Cronin and Strauss are both 30, Best 33 and McCartney will be 32 when he becomes IQ plus he looks better than the current alternatives that are around

I don't think Schmidt is a coach to use guys that cynically and Roux has been in training squads previously and there is an issue in the second row at the minute

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Kingshu on Thu 26 May 2016, 1:34 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Notch wrote:Delighted for Reidy, surprised to see him picked to be honest but he's obviously worked incredibly hard and deserves some recognition.

Don't feel it's an awfully strong group of forwards in general...

Reidy and Roux are being capped to tie them to Ireland just in case someone else might come calling. This is a questionable practice and there seems to be a trend with guys like Diack, Ah You and Herring who may never see more than a couple of caps.


beat me to it, damn posting in work lol

I think Herring will win more, he's only 26, prime will be in about 4 years time. At that point Strauss and Cronin would be 34 (never realised they were the same age)
And there is a lack of hookers coming through.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Thu 26 May 2016, 1:36 pm

marty2086 wrote:
I don't think Schmidt is a coach to use guys that cynically and Roux has been in training squads previously and there is an issue in the second row at the minute

I don't think he personally is but think it's IRFU policy to tie these guys in. Think Aukster is on the money.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 26 May 2016, 2:08 pm

marty2086 wrote:Aukster I don't think Diack and Ah You were ever much threat to South Africas back row or the ABs front row

I think Herring has a genuine chance to add to his caps over the years, there is no big drop off for Ulster when Herring steps in and looks to get better each year and Cronin and Strauss are both 30, Best 33 and McCartney will be 32 when he becomes IQ plus he looks better than the current alternatives that are around

I don't think Schmidt is a coach to use guys that cynically and Roux has been in training squads previously and there is an issue in the second row at the minute

I never thought they would be that much of a threat to Ireland's back row and front row!

Reidy has improved this year but ahead of TOD? There's also JOD, Conan and the versatility of Dom Ryan to surpass. Maybe the policy would have been too obvious if Paddy Butler and Sean Dougall had made the cut?

If Herring hadn't just been capped to tie him to Ireland why is he not in the squad and Strauss is? Richardt hasn't had a great season, doesn't offer anything especially different to Herring and is four years older. If Joe was going to select a provincial backup hooker, Herring would be the one to benefit most from a tour like this.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by SecretFly on Thu 26 May 2016, 2:29 pm

rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
I don't think Schmidt is a coach to use guys that cynically and Roux has been in training squads previously and there is an issue in the second row at the minute

I don't think he personally is but think it's IRFU policy to tie these guys in. Think Aukster is on the money.

I'm not going to be cynical either because I know you guys aren't saying these are direct orders from on high - but I still can't pin down how they do it on a practical level if it isn't orders from on high.  

Do they (the famous/infamous IRFU blazers) allow Schmidt to pick most players on his own and then provide him with a sealed envelope with the names of three or four players that must be taken too?  How do they manage to ....coax ....Joe into picking the players they want picked?  

After all, he's a New Zealander, he won't be in the job forever, he has no real compulsion or vested interest to pick players just to get them pinned down for a future Irish side that he might not even be part of.

Surely he'd say, "Look guys - I want to win these games.  I can't be leaving players at home that I hope to use a lot in the year or two I have left just to pin down guys I don't think I'll use more than once or twice"

Serious question.  I know nobody here is suggesting orders are given - but how do the blazers convince Joe to potentially weaken his hand to pin down these projects?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Don Alfonso on Thu 26 May 2016, 3:00 pm

I don’t buy it. Reidy is not going to get capped by the ABs, the only other team for which he qualifies. To play for another team he’d have to qualify on residency, which means three years somewhere after next season – he’d be 31 before he could pull on a jersey for anyone else. That is not going to happen for him; he doesn't need tied to Ireland.

Strauss is a player that Joe is very familiar with, and Joe trusts his skill-set. I think Herring is missing out to him for the same reasons Healy is missing out to Kearney. Also, in fairness, Herring has been featuring less at the business end of the season, because Rory is Rory and the captain. Just as things heat up, Herring has to take a back seat. I’d say his overall performances this season put him at 2nd/3rd best hooker.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by marty2086 on Thu 26 May 2016, 3:31 pm

I think Cronin gets in for his explosive ball carrying especially late on, his lineouts still aren't great for someone playing regularly at the highest level and Strauss gets the nod for Leinster in the big games.

I think Herring is a combination of the other 3 but just a touch below the others in their respective strengths

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 26 May 2016, 3:56 pm

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
I don't think Schmidt is a coach to use guys that cynically and Roux has been in training squads previously and there is an issue in the second row at the minute

I don't think he personally is but think it's IRFU policy to tie these guys in. Think Aukster is on the money.

I'm not going to be cynical either because I know you guys aren't saying these are direct orders from on high - but I still can't pin down how they do it on a practical level if it isn't orders from on high.  

Do they (the famous/infamous IRFU blazers) allow Schmidt to pick most players on his own and then provide him with a sealed envelope with the names of three or four players that must be taken too?  How do they manage to ....coax ....Joe into picking the players they want picked?  

After all, he's a New Zealander, he won't be in the job forever, he has no real compulsion or vested interest to pick players just to get them pinned down for a future Irish side that he might not even be part of.

Surely he'd say, "Look guys - I want to win these games.  I can't be leaving players at home that I hope to use a lot in the year or two I have left just to pin down guys I don't think I'll use more than once or twice"

Serious question.  I know nobody here is suggesting orders are given - but how do the blazers convince Joe to potentially weaken his hand to pin down these projects?

I'd say Joe has a number of options for all positions and some will be very close calls, so who is Quinn Roux's opposition - Billy Holland, Dave Foley, Peter Browne, Andrew Browne, Ross Molony, Aly Muldowney? Foley was supposed to be the next big thing and Holland has had a good season, Aly Muldowney has been playing better than Roux and is Irish qualified but he is 32 and leaving Connacht. Given that the IRFU had invested in Roux it wouldn't be surprising if that was a factor on the list.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by SecretFly on Thu 26 May 2016, 4:06 pm

So Roux because for a few reasons he's best choice right now?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Thu 26 May 2016, 4:13 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Serious question.  I know nobody here is suggesting orders are given - but how do the blazers convince Joe to potentially weaken his hand to pin down these projects?

I'd image when he sits with Nucifora and the blazers and they discuss their objectives that includes widening the panel of IQ players and part of this is capping players when the become available to ensure we don't lose them.

I don't believe he would pick a player if it would weaken the side or affect his ability to get results but it's naive to think he has a free hand to pick the squad - albeit I'm sure he has the final say.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by SecretFly on Thu 26 May 2016, 4:18 pm

A free hand?  
Well consultation of a kind yes - but didn't we have that moment back before he was chosen when there was talk that he wouldn't accept blazer interference and that such a demand would be a condition of his after the embarrassment of Kidney saying he had to have a chat with the blazers before every game to run through the teams.

I'd say he has the power to decide that he knows more than the blazers and that it's his career neck on the line if forced to play guys he doesn't want.

But yes, I suppose I'm only trying to get to the point where we say he might help pin down players for the blazers...but only if he first believes they are good enough.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by rodders on Thu 26 May 2016, 4:37 pm

SecretFly wrote:
But yes, I suppose I'm only trying to get to the point where we say he might help pin down players for the blazers...but only if he first believes they are good enough.

Well that is what I believe, yes.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by SecretFly on Thu 26 May 2016, 4:50 pm

So he's picking on what he considers merit?

We're back to where this started so Wink

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Munchkin on Thu 26 May 2016, 6:53 pm

Schmidt out!

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by profitius on Fri 27 May 2016, 1:28 am

Kingshu wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Notch wrote:Delighted for Reidy, surprised to see him picked to be honest but he's obviously worked incredibly hard and deserves some recognition.

Don't feel it's an awfully strong group of forwards in general...

Reidy and Roux are being capped to tie them to Ireland just in case someone else might come calling. This is a questionable practice and there seems to be a trend with guys like Diack, Ah You and Herring who may never see more than a couple of caps.


beat me to it, damn posting in work lol

I think Herring will win more, he's only 26, prime will be in about 4 years time. At that point Strauss and Cronin would be 34 (never realised they were the same age)
And there is a lack of hookers coming through.


My 2 hookers to watch are James Tracy and Shane Delahunt.
Tracy is good around the pitch, has good darts and is a converted prop so he is bigger than Cronin and Struass.
Delahunt has been upgraded from the Connacht academy. He looked good this season when he played. He looks similar to Tracy in many ways.


I see George McGuigan has been called into the England saxons this week. He was Ireland U20 and just signed with Leicester tigers. So thats one that got away.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Sat 28 May 2016, 11:25 pm

profitius wrote:I see George McGuigan has been called into the England saxons this week. He was Ireland U20 and just signed with Leicester tigers. So thats one that got away.

Another Ulster Academy forward who's been let go and gone on to do well elsewhere, then.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Sun 29 May 2016, 11:25 am

Notch wrote:
profitius wrote:I see George McGuigan has been called into the England saxons this week. He was Ireland U20 and just signed with Leicester tigers. So thats one that got away.

Another Ulster Academy forward who's been let go and gone on to do well elsewhere, then.

Seriously - what is going on in the Academy? This is surely getting ridiculous.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Sun 29 May 2016, 3:40 pm

Pienaar not included in South Africas squad- hopefully a summer off for him, and a full pre-season, means we'll see the best of him for Ulster. Could add a year or two onto his career.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by neilthom7 on Sun 29 May 2016, 4:28 pm

Yeah I think at this stage having the time off with no mor einternational appearances would be the best for Pienaar and selfishly Ulster

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Munchkin on Sun 29 May 2016, 4:56 pm

Pienaar ruled himself out of the squad. Don't know why, but maybe he realised he really needs a rest. Better for us of course Very Happy

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Don Alfonso on Sun 29 May 2016, 8:35 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
Notch wrote:
profitius wrote:I see George McGuigan has been called into the England saxons this week. He was Ireland U20 and just signed with Leicester tigers. So thats one that got away.

Another Ulster Academy forward who's been let go and gone on to do well elsewhere, then.

Seriously - what is going on in the Academy? This is surely getting ridiculous.

While it is frustrating, Leinster were just pulled apart by a team in which both wingers and the number ten were passed on by Leinster's selectors. I'm sure Munster fans have mixed feelings watching Dillane playing as well. The issue is hardly unique to Ulster.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Sun 29 May 2016, 8:57 pm

Bit of a rant with no real insightful points, but I have too get this off my chest.

At the weekend, I was delighted for Connacht and thoroughly enjoyed the Final. But it was hard not to be slightly bitter- in the last two seasons we've watched teams with lower budgets, smaller stadiums, smaller fan bases and smaller talent pools to draw from win this league.

It's particularly galling that both teams have done it by playing more imaginative and skillful rugby than us and by showing a level of confidence and composure in pressure games that really makes us look like bottlers.

My frustration isn't at Glasgow or Connacht who are wonderful teams deserving of their success. It's more that their success seems to prove beyond all doubt that Ulster have recently been under performing badly on the pitch; our coaching, our players mindset and our development of talent all look highly suspect when compared to teams who have a lot less natural advantages than us. What would Connacht or Glasgow be able to achieve with our budget, infrastructure and fan base?

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by George Carlin on Mon 30 May 2016, 10:20 am

Notch wrote:Bit of a rant with no real insightful points, but I have too get this off my chest.

At the weekend, I was delighted for Connacht and thoroughly enjoyed the Final. But it was hard not to be slightly bitter- in the last two seasons we've watched teams with lower budgets, smaller stadiums, smaller fan bases and smaller talent pools to draw from win this league.

It's particularly galling that both teams have done it by playing more imaginative and skillful rugby than us and by showing a level of confidence and composure in pressure games that really makes us look like bottlers.

My frustration isn't at Glasgow or Connacht who are wonderful teams deserving of their success. It's more that their success seems to prove beyond all doubt that Ulster have recently been under performing badly on the pitch; our coaching, our players mindset and our development of talent all look highly suspect when compared to teams who have a lot less natural advantages than us. What would Connacht or Glasgow be able to achieve with our budget, infrastructure and fan base?
Very kind of you to offer. Very Happy

I'll get the paperwork in place.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Don Alfonso on Mon 30 May 2016, 11:10 am

It's a great deal more complicated than that.

The Leinster of three, four years ago would have despatched Connacht at the weekend. Glasgow and Connacht have peaked at just the right time - as Leinster, the dominant force in the league, have slumped. Munster and Ospreys are both shadows of their former selves.

I know we're concerned about our pack, as we should be, but a much bigger issue in recent times is the coaching - specifically the fact that we have had three coaches in the last three seasons. Anscombe (fired), Doak (came in to place-hold for Kiss) and Kiss (been here for six months, had no pre-season with players). That is appalling - I was going to say "planning", but whatever planning is, we have been doing the opposite. Lam and Townsend both won the League in their third seasons in charge of their respective teams. When was the blast time we had a coach who served three seasons? McLaughlin?

That's our issue. No consistency, no time for a master plan or ideology to develop. Connacht are currently a brilliant rugby team, and their supporters have every right to be sentimental. But in the cold light of day, they've always had team spirit or whatever Disney-esque way people want to dress up that underdog status. What they have had recently is a fantastically talented coach who has recruited excellently, and who has built that team exactly the way he wants it, having been forgiven some horrible seasons early on. They constant refrain about Connacht has been that this is something "special". It is, but it's really only because of their context. I don't think the way Bundee Aki has bought into Connacht is fundamentally any more amazeballs than they way Muller bought into Ulster, or even the way Nick Williams has.

I think Kiss could do it for us. Not next season, but let's give the man some time to build the Ulster he wants.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by clivemcl on Mon 30 May 2016, 11:14 am

Notch, I have to say I have already been through those thoughts in my own head. But I've learnt to not express my discontent on these forums - all too often it has been met with an onslaught. Perhaps its a status thing. I'm pretty sure if I had made those comments I'd be getting people reminding me of injuries, and the disruption of the coaching setup etc....

I'll wait to see if you get the same. But yes, I agree. Year after year I get more frustrated. I love Ulster, and I love the players. But I just don't feel the club is delivering.

If I could be permitted to mention a football reference - some may disagree about whether its right or wrong, but in big professional clubs they are very unforgiving of poor performances. From what I can see, UR began by getting rid of a coach (McLaughlin) who punched well above his weight, and was only learning. Then they get rid of a coach (Anscombe) for non-performance reasons who had a fairly successful season. They did this with no immediate plan in place which too me is unforgivable for a professional club. They persevere with a stand-in acting head coach despite poor form. They then allow the poor coaching staff to remain in employment rather than letting the new coach build a coaching team.

Les may come good, I'm not righting him off, but the whole saga has been absolutely shocking for a club making so much money and with such a big loyal fan base. A club with paying punters putting money into their salaries should never, ever, treat a season as a right off, which is what it felt like they did.

If Les does well next season we may well forgive and forget. But seriously.... if we do not make knock out rounds in Europe and don't make pro12 semis, I genuinely fear that the fans will leave in droves.

The pressure is very much on for Kiss and the boys. They have to prove it was worth it.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by marty2086 on Mon 30 May 2016, 11:27 am

Notch I think there is a mindset problem at times that is almost part of the Irish psyche. If you look at the football teams and rugby team they can get up for big games and be gallant losers or at times winners then under perform against minnows. That's Ulster to an extent.

On the big stage I think the memories and scars linger in some minds and nervousness sets in at times and it shows with some of the mistakes, Im holding out for it being a learning curve rather than a weight around the players necks. Connacht and Glasgow didn't have this, they didn't have the shadows of the past successes and the fans craving those days again.

Slowly I think the squad is becoming hungrier and more competitive and it will lead the drive to success but ultimately in every competition only one team can win and it hard for it to come.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by Notch on Mon 30 May 2016, 11:59 am

marty2086 wrote:Notch I think there is a mindset problem at times that is almost part of the Irish psyche. If you look at the football teams and rugby team they can get up for big games and be gallant losers or at times winners then under perform against minnows. That's Ulster to an extent.

On the big stage I think the memories and scars linger in some minds and nervousness sets in at times and it shows with some of the mistakes, Im holding out for it being a learning curve rather than a weight around the players necks. Connacht and Glasgow didn't have this, they didn't have the shadows of the past successes and the fans craving those days again.

Slowly I think the squad is becoming hungrier and more competitive and it will lead the drive to success but ultimately in every competition only one team can win and it hard for it to come.

I thought it was a learning curve too, but we've reached the point where we lose in a big game and there really is nothing to be learned from it because it's just a repetition of past 'lessons' in past big games. It may be part of the Irish psyche, but Connacht, Leinster and Munster have overcome that at various times.

I think you're very right to say that Connacht and Glasgow have been liberated by the lack of expectation on their shoulders. They've been able to go out with no pressure and everything to gain I think the way they play gives them confidence. They go out to run form everywhere and every time it comes off, the more confident in their own abilities they get. I'm not sure about us. We tend to try and play expansive rugby, make mistakes and immediately retreat into our shell. We also try and fore the game and score from everywhere but unlike Connacht or Glasgow the skill levels aren't there- yet. I think the biggest difference in style between us and Connacht is they all have great skills 1 to 15 and everyone knows how to keep the tempo high. We try and play fast, high-tempo offloading rugby until it gets to one of our tight five, who just hit the ball up to little effect and it all slows down.

In terms of improving our skill levels we have to have license to make mistakes, keep making mistakes, until we don't any more. Lam was able to do this when he came into Connacht, there was no expectation on them. His first year was very poor but it was about putting in foundations and no-one questioned him because, well, no-one expected much of him or Connacht anyway. I'm very sure that this is what Les Kiss is doing with the team and this is his long-term goal. By all accounts he's a very positive coach, very encouraging, and he's trying to get us to play at a higher pace with improved skills. We saw his efforts beginning to bear fruit towards the end of the season, but all just a little too late for this year. I hope that over the next year or two he'll achieve his goals for the squad and we'll see players gain in confidence.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

Post by clivemcl on Mon 30 May 2016, 12:38 pm

I've just figured it out! How we can win silverware! It's simple really.

All we need is... for Leinster f**k away off. Rolling Eyes

We beat Connacht twice this season, and we put 30 on Leinster three weeks before they put 30 on us.

Choking is the only logical explanation.

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Re: Ulster 2016/2017

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