Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

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Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Sin é on Sat 23 Jul 2016, 11:21 am

First topic message reminder :

What it says in the title - a place to put all bits of news not worth starting a thread for the Four Proud Provinces of Ireland such as new signings, interviews that maybe of interest to others etc.


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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 3:42 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Can't see a Munster thread so i'll say it here. When I watched them against my team they were very strong at the set piece, in the collisions and defence - simple things done well like that can get you far. I'd also say that Kleyn and Ryan is probably your best lock pairing. A lot of the backs are unfamiliar to me so I'm guessing they're all fairly recent graduates.


Sweetnam is probably the most highly rated of the unknowns. O'Shea is on trial at the moment. Goggin is in the academy but gotten his chance through injuries. Ronan O'Mahony is a solid pro12 winger and Conway has made a few Ireland squads but possibly slightly lacking the talent for international rugby. There was also a young lad called Conor Murray who looked alright. Very Happy


Its not the best backline thats for sure but the forwards are much improved this season.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 3:51 pm

You have Saili and Zebo to return don't you? I know who Murray is hence why I didn't mention him Smile. Keatley and Bleyendaal are decent enough as well. Sweetnam has looked good so far but yeah they're all mostly unknown to me.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 4:23 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:You have Saili and Zebo to return don't you? I know who Murray is hence why I didn't mention him Smile. Keatley and Bleyendaal are decent enough as well. Sweetnam has looked good so far but yeah they're all mostly unknown to me.


Saili, Zebo, Earls plus Sam Arnold is a center who was signed from Ulster and he is a good player. Also Rory Scannell has been first choice 12 for the past year and Munsters most consistent back.


And they've signed Taute until christmas. Big center with one or two springbok caps.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 7:46 pm

Munster are moving in.

http://www.the42.ie/munster-high-performance-centre-2988798-Sep2016/

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by wolfball on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 9:49 pm

profitius wrote:Munster are moving in.

http://www.the42.ie/munster-high-performance-centre-2988798-Sep2016/

Love it. The bunkbeds look uncomfortable though Very Happy

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 10:27 pm

That gym is unreal.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 12:21 pm

There is far too much emotional crap spouted about Ruan. He is coming to the end of his second contract extension and will have been with Ulster for seven years so that hardly constitutes being forced out. Was POC forced out of Munster because he wasn't offered  a multi-year deal equal to that of Toulon?

I want Pienaar to stay as much as the next man, but I can understand the IRFU not sanctioning another extension. The problem for me is the ham-fisted way the whole thing has been handled as anyone can see simply denuding the provinces of foreign talent does not generate suitable replacements. The core problem that the IRFU and the provinces should be focussing on is why there are no test class scrum halves being produced in Ireland. I would have liked Pienaar for example to be offered a part playing contract with Ulster and a part development contract with Ireland. In that way Ulster could have retained him in the province for a number of games but he would have had a pathway to start developing a generation of 9s and pass on some of that expertise we all think he has.

Irish rugby has never embraced the position of scrum half so it is hardly surprising there are so few of them. Since Colin Patterson was capped in 1978 there is arguably only Conor Murray who is truly test class:
Colin Patterson
Tony Doyle
Michael Bradley
Fergus Aherne
Alain Rolland
Rob Saunders
Niall Hogan
David O'Mahony
Chris Saverimutto
Stephen McIvor
Brian O'Meara
Conor McGuinness
Cieran Scally
Tom Tierney
Peter Stringer
Guy Easterby
Kieran Campbell
Isaac Boss
Tomas O'Leary
Conor Murray
Paul Marshall
Kieran Marmion
I may have missed a few and someone like Stringer is a player to be admired but he did have a limited game - as highlighted by Kidney's decision to drop him for TOL in that crucial HEC game.

So why are Ireland (not just Ulster) so poor at producing 9s? That is the problem that the IRFU need to answer, and they might have done well to employ someone of Pienaar's status to help them rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater and hope that it'll be alright on the night.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 12:32 pm

We have a major shortage of quality 9s in Irelans. Everyone, provinces and IRFU, have to come together to try find solutions. They did it a few years back during the prop crisis and the results since have been very good.

Stephen Kerins, the Ireland U20 is a talent so that's one to watch.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 12:56 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:There is far too much emotional crap spouted about Ruan. He is coming to the end of his second contract extension and will have been with Ulster for seven years so that hardly constitutes being forced out. Was POC forced out of Munster because he wasn't offered  a multi-year deal equal to that of Toulon?

I want Pienaar to stay as much as the next man, but I can understand the IRFU not sanctioning another extension. The problem for me is the ham-fisted way the whole thing has been handled as anyone can see simply denuding the provinces of foreign talent does not generate suitable replacements. The core problem that the IRFU and the provinces should be focussing on is why there are no test class scrum halves being produced in Ireland. I would have liked Pienaar for example to be offered a part playing contract with Ulster and a part development contract with Ireland. In that way Ulster could have retained him in the province for a number of games but he would have had a pathway to start developing a generation of 9s and pass on some of that expertise we all think he has.

Irish rugby has never embraced the position of scrum half so it is hardly surprising there are so few of them. Since Colin Patterson was capped in 1978 there is arguably only Conor Murray who is truly test class:
Colin Patterson
Tony Doyle
Michael Bradley
Fergus Aherne
Alain Rolland
Rob Saunders
Niall Hogan
David O'Mahony
Chris Saverimutto
Stephen McIvor
Brian O'Meara
Conor McGuinness
Cieran Scally
Tom Tierney
Peter Stringer
Guy Easterby
Kieran Campbell
Isaac Boss
Tomas O'Leary
Conor Murray
Paul Marshall
Kieran Marmion
I may have missed a few and someone like Stringer is a player to be admired but he did have a limited game - as highlighted by Kidney's decision to drop him for TOL in that crucial HEC game.

So why are Ireland (not just Ulster) so poor at producing 9s? That is the problem that the IRFU need to answer, and they might have done well to employ someone of Pienaar's status to help them rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater and hope that it'll be alright on the night.

The emotional crap is more than valid. Without emotions rugby would be a fairly boring game. It's also right to feel bad about losing a player who has gave his heart to Ulster, and who was emotional himself at the prospect about being forced out.

Your post does come across as ironic as you don't like the ham-fisted way the IRFU have dealt with Pienaar.

Otherwise a good post.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Pete330v2 on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 1:02 pm

Munchkin wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:There is far too much emotional crap spouted about Ruan. He is coming to the end of his second contract extension and will have been with Ulster for seven years so that hardly constitutes being forced out. Was POC forced out of Munster because he wasn't offered  a multi-year deal equal to that of Toulon?

I want Pienaar to stay as much as the next man, but I can understand the IRFU not sanctioning another extension. The problem for me is the ham-fisted way the whole thing has been handled as anyone can see simply denuding the provinces of foreign talent does not generate suitable replacements. The core problem that the IRFU and the provinces should be focussing on is why there are no test class scrum halves being produced in Ireland. I would have liked Pienaar for example to be offered a part playing contract with Ulster and a part development contract with Ireland. In that way Ulster could have retained him in the province for a number of games but he would have had a pathway to start developing a generation of 9s and pass on some of that expertise we all think he has.

Irish rugby has never embraced the position of scrum half so it is hardly surprising there are so few of them. Since Colin Patterson was capped in 1978 there is arguably only Conor Murray who is truly test class:
Colin Patterson
Tony Doyle
Michael Bradley
Fergus Aherne
Alain Rolland
Rob Saunders
Niall Hogan
David O'Mahony
Chris Saverimutto
Stephen McIvor
Brian O'Meara
Conor McGuinness
Cieran Scally
Tom Tierney
Peter Stringer
Guy Easterby
Kieran Campbell
Isaac Boss
Tomas O'Leary
Conor Murray
Paul Marshall
Kieran Marmion
I may have missed a few and someone like Stringer is a player to be admired but he did have a limited game - as highlighted by Kidney's decision to drop him for TOL in that crucial HEC game.

So why are Ireland (not just Ulster) so poor at producing 9s? That is the problem that the IRFU need to answer, and they might have done well to employ someone of Pienaar's status to help them rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater and hope that it'll be alright on the night.

The emotional crap is more than valid. Without emotions rugby would be a fairly boring game. It's also right to feel bad about losing a player who has gave his heart to Ulster, and who was emotional himself at the prospect about being forced out.

Your post does come across as ironic as you don't like the ham-fisted way the IRFU have dealt with Pienaar.

Otherwise a good post.

The 'emotional crap' is part and parcel of feeling passionate about your province and the players therein. I don't think there would have been so much emotion spouted over the whole saga if it hadn't been for Ruan and his family's complete immersion in Ulster and Belfast. Fans feel aggrieved enough but in this case there most definitely is added reason for the emotions.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 3:43 pm

I think I go through all the emotions in every game -  Smile  Erm  Crying or Very sad Very Happy  furious  Very Happy  Shocked  Yahoo oh yeah

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 7:36 pm

When Pienaar signed his last extension in 2014 it was apparent then that it would be the last as that was already a special concession from the IRFU.
Rather than the recent shock it appears to have been to many, it would have been incredible if Pienaar had been allowed to get another extension, so I find it hard to understand the hand wringing over something that has been in the offing for a couple of years.

As demonstrated by Jared Payne's first year any player could lose an entire season irrespective of how long their contract is. The real underlying and ongoing problem is that Ulster have repeatedly failed to unearth a suitable understudy in the past six years despite having a superb role model to learn from. What is surprising is that this lack of cover has continued in a climate where the other three provinces have developed options.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 10:14 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:When Pienaar signed his last extension in 2014 it was apparent then that it would be the last as that was already a special concession from the IRFU.
Rather than the recent shock it appears to have been to many, it would have been incredible if Pienaar had been allowed to get another extension, so I find it hard to understand the hand wringing over something that has been in the offing for a couple of years.

As demonstrated by Jared Payne's first year any player could lose an entire season irrespective of how long their contract is. The real underlying and ongoing problem is that Ulster have repeatedly failed to unearth a suitable understudy in the past six years despite having a superb role model to learn from. What is surprising is that this lack of cover has continued in a climate where the other three provinces have developed options.

We do know that his contract was extended. No reason they couldn't have extended his contract one more time. It would make perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is forcing Pienaar out.

For someone who complain about being emotional, you seem rather caught up in this yourself.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Wed 21 Sep 2016, 11:59 pm

Munchkin wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:When Pienaar signed his last extension in 2014 it was apparent then that it would be the last as that was already a special concession from the IRFU.
Rather than the recent shock it appears to have been to many, it would have been incredible if Pienaar had been allowed to get another extension, so I find it hard to understand the hand wringing over something that has been in the offing for a couple of years.

As demonstrated by Jared Payne's first year any player could lose an entire season irrespective of how long their contract is. The real underlying and ongoing problem is that Ulster have repeatedly failed to unearth a suitable understudy in the past six years despite having a superb role model to learn from. What is surprising is that this lack of cover has continued in a climate where the other three provinces have developed options.

We do know that his contract was extended. No reason they couldn't have extended his contract one more time. It would make perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is forcing Pienaar out.

For someone who complain about being emotional, you seem rather caught up in this yourself.


I don't see TGA getting emotional but just stating facts.


Signing NIQs is a privilege not a right. Look at it from an IRFU point of view. They had to make strict rules regarding NIQ players because the provinces were bendingbthe rules when given free reign. So they cannot make an exception for one player because every other side will demand the same.


First instinct of the provinces is always to look abroad for a signing. Leinster tried to do that last year. They tried to sign an open side but were blocked by the IRFU. It's crazy looking back at it considering VDF and now Leavy have come through. I'm sure they were also blocked from signing a replacement for Madigan. Enter Joey Carbery. Munster were blocked from making a tight head signing but John Ryan has stepped up and been Munsters best player this season.


Paul Marshall is a lot better than Duncan Williams or TO'L and Shanahan and Lloyd might not be too bad either if given a chance.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 12:48 am

profitius wrote:
Munchkin wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:When Pienaar signed his last extension in 2014 it was apparent then that it would be the last as that was already a special concession from the IRFU.
Rather than the recent shock it appears to have been to many, it would have been incredible if Pienaar had been allowed to get another extension, so I find it hard to understand the hand wringing over something that has been in the offing for a couple of years.

As demonstrated by Jared Payne's first year any player could lose an entire season irrespective of how long their contract is. The real underlying and ongoing problem is that Ulster have repeatedly failed to unearth a suitable understudy in the past six years despite having a superb role model to learn from. What is surprising is that this lack of cover has continued in a climate where the other three provinces have developed options.

We do know that his contract was extended. No reason they couldn't have extended his contract one more time. It would make perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is forcing Pienaar out.

For someone who complain about being emotional, you seem rather caught up in this yourself.


I don't see TGA getting emotional but just stating facts.


Signing NIQs is a privilege not a right. Look at it from an IRFU point of view. They had to make strict rules regarding NIQ players because the provinces were bendingbthe rules when given free reign. So they cannot make an exception for one player because every other side will demand the same.


First instinct of the provinces is always to look abroad for a signing. Leinster tried to do that last year. They tried to sign an open side but were blocked by the IRFU. It's crazy looking back at it considering VDF and now Leavy have come through. I'm sure they were also blocked from signing a replacement for Madigan. Enter Joey Carbery. Munster were blocked from making a tight head signing but John Ryan has stepped up and been Munsters best player this season.


Paul Marshall is a lot better than Duncan Williams or TO'L and Shanahan and Lloyd might not be too bad either if given a chance.

I don't know, prof, but jumping in to a conversation were supporters are just voicing their opinions and accuse them of hand wringing and emotional crap, seems an emotional outburst to me.

Paul Marshall? So you reckon Paul Marshall is the indigenous international standard player that Pienaar is blocking? Marshall has had many, many, starts to prove himself, and failed to deliver. Marshall does some things really well, and the rest really badly, although he is a good impact sub. Nobody has been good enough to challenge Marshall for the shirt. So it isn't a case of Pienaar blocking anyone, it's just that there hasn't been anyone good enough to break through. Lloyd couldn't get into any of the other Provinces, but he's shown Ulster he can play a bit. Say Lloyd can make the step up, the IRFU has robbed him of a great mentor in Pienaar.

The IRFU strictly enforcing this rule is damaging to Ulster and the IRFU. It's nonsense. Pienaar wasn't blocking any player coming through, and now we are left weak for next season. Damaging to Ulster, damaging to the IRFU.

The IRFU are also hypocrites. They make the lame excuse that Pienaar is blocking indigenous talent, yet are happy to fill the Ireland squad with foreigners qualified on residency, or those who happen to have an Irish granny. The Ireland team most be one of the worst for shipping in foreign imports. It is they which block indigenous talent. Not Pienaar.

None of what I say above is an emotional response. It's simply looking at the facts objectively as possible.

Edit: Everyone is better than Duncan Williams ......

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by SecretFly on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 11:25 am

Actually how much is an Irish Granny on the black market these days??

Not f**king much now that the f**king IRFU have bypassed the need for one!  I'm left with a shed load of good second-hand grannies now that I can't offload for love or extortionate amounts of money!

F**k the IRFU - they've ruined me!

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 11:45 am

The "emotional crap" is in relation to the assertion that Pienaar is such an Ulsterman he should have been given a contract extension - that is a complete non sequitur and therefore rubbish. Lots of Ulster born and bred players who have played for Ulster all their lives reached a point where they weren't given a contract extension yet there was no hue and cry...

The valid point is that Pienaar leaving makes Ulster weaker. A position they have been in because Ulster Rugby have not planned for that day despite having plenty of time to do so. The point is that even if Pienaar had been allowed to sign a 10 year contract, UR have no succession plan and have been and still are one injury away from a post-Pienaar apocalypse.

Maybe UR tried to get James Hart at his last contract window or the one before, or maybe he didn't want to come or isn't deemed good enough... maybe they have tried to get a project like JGP and been denied for the past six years... maybe they are 'scouring the globe' for for a young IQ 9 who would be any good... maybe they are trying to convert guys with plenty of talent like James McKinney into scrum half...
... then again why would they - they have Peter Panienaar who will never age and be around forever, won't he, surely that's true...

Sorry to burst the fantasy bubble but it was and is now confirmed inevitable that Ruan is leaving. Profitius obviously rates Small Parcel and I rate him higher than most, but the truth is that he is not Test class (and in Ireland that's not especially high). Shane Logan said his goal was to have two test class players competing for every position and both Humphreys and Cunningham have failed to deliver that goal, on top of the Academy failure to develop a 9. UR can perform some smoke and mirrors trick to deflect attention elsewhere, but as far as I'm concerned the problem remains and Ulster are looking for TWO Scrum Halfs now rather than one.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 12:03 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:The "emotional crap" is in relation to the assertion that Pienaar is such an Ulsterman he should have been given a contract extension - that is a complete non sequitur and therefore rubbish. Lots of Ulster born and bred players who have played for Ulster all their lives reached a point where they weren't given a contract extension yet there was no hue and cry...

The valid point is that Pienaar leaving makes Ulster weaker. A position they have been in because Ulster Rugby have not planned for that day despite having plenty of time to do so. The point is that even if Pienaar had been allowed to sign a 10 year contract, UR have no succession plan and have been and still are one injury away from a post-Pienaar apocalypse.

Maybe UR tried to get James Hart at his last contract window or the one before, or maybe he didn't want to come or isn't deemed good enough... maybe they have tried to get a project like JGP and been denied for the past six years... maybe they are 'scouring the globe' for for a young IQ 9 who would be any good... maybe they are trying to convert guys with plenty of talent like James McKinney into scrum half...
... then again why would they - they have Peter Panienaar who will never age and be around forever, won't he, surely that's true...

Sorry to burst the fantasy bubble but it was and is now confirmed inevitable that Ruan is leaving. Profitius obviously rates Small Parcel and I rate him higher than most, but the truth is that he is not Test class (and in Ireland that's not especially high). Shane Logan said his goal was to have two test class players competing for every position and both Humphreys and Cunningham have failed to deliver that goal, on top of the Academy failure to develop a 9. UR can perform some smoke and mirrors trick to deflect attention elsewhere, but as far as I'm concerned the problem remains and Ulster are looking for TWO Scrum Halfs now rather than one.

Wow, this is eating you up. Chill, take a cup of tea, read a book.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Sin é on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 12:19 pm

This is the first time 'No' has been said to Ulster by the IRFU, so they are feeling it a bit now.

Both Munster & Leinster have had to deal with plenty of 'No's' even though the 'no's' meant that their teams were severely weakened (ie, Hines & Nacewa, Munster - Warwick & Mafi). Warwick is even married to an Irish woman (with an Irish child) and as he could play 10, 12 and 15 so really would not have blocked anyone. Munster had Mafi from when he was a kid. BJ would have been shipped out years ago except for Archer's injuries and John Ryan's health problems.

By the way, BJ has taken out Irish citizenship, so was fairly committed to Ireland. I'm sure he could have made a lot more money in France than playing for Munster.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 12:38 pm

Sin é wrote:This is the first time 'No' has been said to Ulster by the IRFU, so they are feeling it a bit now.

Both Munster & Leinster have had to deal with plenty of 'No's' even though the 'no's' meant that their teams were severely weakened (ie, Hines & Nacewa, Munster - Warwick & Mafi). Warwick is even married to an Irish woman (with an Irish child) and as he could play 10, 12 and 15 so really would not have blocked anyone. Munster had Mafi from when he was a kid. BJ would have been shipped out years ago except for Archer's injuries and John Ryan's health problems.

By the way, BJ has taken out Irish citizenship, so was fairly committed to Ireland. I'm sure he could have made a lot more money in France than playing for Munster.

Saying no is fine, Sin é. Saying no when it makes no good sense isn't.

I've said all I'm going to say on this now because there's really nothing more to add, and it's getting a bit silly.

Hug to all Very Happy

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 12:43 pm

I hadn't realised this was the first time - when BJ wanted to stay and Ulster wanted to keep him, it must just have been the D4 accent that sounded like 'no'?
(Same must have happened with Wannenburg.)

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Sin é on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 1:03 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:I hadn't realised this was the first time - when BJ wanted to stay and Ulster wanted to keep him, it must just have been the D4 accent that sounded like 'no'?
(Same must have happened with Wannenburg.)

I seem to recall BJ was replaced by Afoa (which many claimed at the time to be an upgrade on BJ until he decided to commute to Belfast from NZ) and the recruitment of BJ was regarded as clever work from the good Doctor. Plenty of Ulster 'fans' were ripping into BJ for his lack of loyalty to Ulster.

Hines was fairly key to Leinster, as Warwick was to Munster. How good would it have been to have had Warwick guiding JJ after ROG retired?

How long was Wannenburg at Ulster?

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by SecretFly on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 1:08 pm

Sin é wrote:

I seem to recall BJ was replaced by Afoa (which many claimed at the time to be an upgrade on BJ until he decided to commute to Belfast from NZ)  

laughing wisecrack of the day so far OK

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Don Alfonso on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 2:23 pm

Sin é wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:I hadn't realised this was the first time - when BJ wanted to stay and Ulster wanted to keep him, it must just have been the D4 accent that sounded like 'no'?
(Same must have happened with Wannenburg.)

I seem to recall BJ was replaced by Afoa (which many claimed at the time to be an upgrade on BJ until he decided to commute to Belfast from NZ)  and the recruitment of BJ was regarded as clever work from the good Doctor. Plenty of Ulster 'fans' were ripping into BJ for his lack of loyalty to Ulster.

Hines was fairly key to Leinster, as Warwick was to Munster. How good would it have been to have had Warwick guiding JJ after ROG retired?

How long was Wannenburg at Ulster?

Wannenberg was here from 2010 - 2012. He was 31 at the end of his second season, so had to go.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 22 Sep 2016, 3:32 pm

Sin é wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:I hadn't realised this was the first time - when BJ wanted to stay and Ulster wanted to keep him, it must just have been the D4 accent that sounded like 'no'?
(Same must have happened with Wannenburg.)

I seem to recall BJ was replaced by Afoa (which many claimed at the time to be an upgrade on BJ until he decided to commute to Belfast from NZ)  and the recruitment of BJ was regarded as clever work from the good Doctor. Plenty of Ulster 'fans' were ripping into BJ for his lack of loyalty to Ulster.

Hines was fairly key to Leinster, as Warwick was to Munster. How good would it have been to have had Warwick guiding JJ after ROG retired?

How long was Wannenburg at Ulster?

BJ was only allowed to be signed because of the sudden end to Simon Best's career at the 2007 RWC. He was not allowed to be re-signed on the contract he and Ulster wanted because of the over 30 rule (same as Wannenburg). I don't know any Ulster fans who thought BJ was disloyal but plenty who complained about the IRFU restrictions at the time.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 2:54 pm

According to pundit arena, Grenoble's Chris Farrell is wanted by Connacht, Munster and Saracens.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Sin é on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 2:59 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Sin é wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:I hadn't realised this was the first time - when BJ wanted to stay and Ulster wanted to keep him, it must just have been the D4 accent that sounded like 'no'?
(Same must have happened with Wannenburg.)

I seem to recall BJ was replaced by Afoa (which many claimed at the time to be an upgrade on BJ until he decided to commute to Belfast from NZ)  and the recruitment of BJ was regarded as clever work from the good Doctor. Plenty of Ulster 'fans' were ripping into BJ for his lack of loyalty to Ulster.

Hines was fairly key to Leinster, as Warwick was to Munster. How good would it have been to have had Warwick guiding JJ after ROG retired?

How long was Wannenburg at Ulster?

BJ was only allowed to be signed because of the sudden end to Simon Best's career at the 2007 RWC. He was not allowed to be re-signed on the contract he and Ulster wanted because of the over 30 rule (same as Wannenburg). I don't know any Ulster fans who thought BJ was disloyal but plenty who complained about the IRFU restrictions at the time.

But Munster were allowed to sign him (for 5 years)! That does not make sense. I think the commentary at the time was that BJ wanted too much money and threatened to go to France whereupon Humphs jumped on a plane to NZ and brought back Afoa. I recall plenty of Ulster fans saying that BJ was past it and that Humphs was magic to have got Afoa.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 3:19 pm

You do some fishing,  Sin é Smile

Humps was magic in getting Afoa. A fantastic signing. The last season didn't work out too well, and his Mrs couldn't settle here. Humphs did well enough out of it considering he took Afoa to Gloucester!

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by SecretFly on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 3:24 pm

We call that treachery in these here parts!

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 3:47 pm

From what I remember BJ was decent in his Ulster days, but by the time he moved to Munster he couldn't scrum - Munster were going downhill from being one of Europe's elite at this point anyway. Afoa had a good impact at Ulster and seemed like a definite upgrade in the first season - after that it seems he lost interest in playing for Ulster. Just my halfpenny btw, it's how I remember things. It seems the Irish signed more SH players back then, or is that just me?

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 3:54 pm

Hopefully we get to play his team in the NotSoSuperDooperCup so we can blow raspberries at him. That'll teach the blighter!

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Artful_Dodger on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 5:11 pm

profitius wrote:According to pundit arena, Grenoble's Chris Farrell is wanted by Connacht, Munster and Saracens.

Could put out a very decent 3/4 line of academy products that have left us in recent seasons:

15 - Rory Scholes (Edinburgh)
14 - Tommy Seymour (Glasgow)
13 - Chris Farrell (Grenoble)
12 - Ian Whitten (Exeter)
11 - Michael Allen (Edinburgh)

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by carpet baboon on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 5:31 pm

Any one mentioned ultan is starting at 6 tomorrow for Connaught? Has he played there before?

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 10:47 pm

Munchkin wrote:You do some fishing,  Sin é Smile

Humps was magic in getting Afoa. A fantastic signing. The last season didn't work out too well, and his Mrs couldn't settle here. Humphs did well enough out of it considering he took Afoa to Gloucester!

Actually the other way round - Afoa was the one that convinced Walkinshaw to poach Humphreys.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 11:13 am

Nathan White has retired due to medical advise after getting concussed last season.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 11:27 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
Munchkin wrote:You do some fishing,  Sin é Smile

Humps was magic in getting Afoa. A fantastic signing. The last season didn't work out too well, and his Mrs couldn't settle here. Humphs did well enough out of it considering he took Afoa to Gloucester!

Actually the other way round - Afoa was the one that convinced Walkinshaw to poach Humphreys.

I would doubt Walkinshaw would be that shallow.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by SecretFly on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 11:33 am

profitius wrote:Nathan White has retired due to medical advise after getting concussed last season.

Rugby really is a brutal game. One minute you're getting a bit of a footing at the highest level in your sport, finally getting a crack at International, next moment you're hanging up you boots and it's all over - all the dreams gone in an instant.

Brutal game physically, brutal game on the emotions.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 2:41 pm

I've always liked Darcy kiss

I know I said I wasn't going to return to this, but this this is a good read:

Rugby is all about manipulating defenders to discover space.

Take that flawlessly executed try up in Scotstoun last Friday. Iain Henderson is sin-binned for flinging Tommy Seymour on the ground so Glasgow have a numerical advantage for a 15th minute scrum just inside Ulster territory.

Rob Herring’s heavy heal squirts ball out the back but an instinctive player like Ruan Pienaar can make this work to his advantage. Paddy Jackson is already switching from right to left, coming from the Ulster 10 metre line towards the short side.

Jared Payne is tracking Jackson. Stuart Olding runs the out-to-in decoy line to hold the drift defence.

Fatally, Glasgow outhalf Finn Russell takes two steps forwards that breaks the defensive chain. Entering the land of no return for a defender, Russell has now lost the collision and ends up clinging to Payne’s hip.

The Ireland fullback is running laterally as he strides past Russell but straightens to offer Charles Piutau a one v one with Leonardo Sarto.


Sarto, the 30-cap Italian international, seems to have Piutau trapped between himself and the left touchline. But to compensate for Russell, he’s looking inwards at Payne way too long.

Sarto, flat-footed and reaching with his arms so neutralising his power base, grabs thin air as Piutau accelerates away.

A huge side step embarrasses prospective Lions fullback Stuart Hogg.

As Piutau enters the Glasgow 22 four men are dragged into his orbit.

Untouched, and in his own good time, the offload allows the supporting Pienaar glide further infield.

Eight pair of hands later and Darren Cave dives over in the right corner. Payne has not been idle; he’s the penultimate ball carrier, taking seven rapid strides to fix the cover.


This is the sort of decision making that wins tight matches

It’s the type of try Payne and Piutau grew up scoring. So did I. Just not as good



Where Russell and Sarto fell down was they defended as individuals and not a pair.


Both Sarto and Russell are looking at Jackson to see what he does.

Sarto’s body shape is all wrong so he’s unaware of Piutau’s looming shadow.

A brilliant flash of evasive footwork is still needed to break free but, equally, it highlights the importance of being shown how to defend correctly at an early age.

Now, if I had played all my early rugby at Wexford Wanderers rather than Clongowes Wood I might still have got capped for Ireland. Just nowhere near 83 test matches.

The IRFU are seeking to improve coaching for teenagers across Ireland, in clubs and less traditional rugby areas, to ensure the naturally gifted player is armed with the tools needed to survive later on.

Pienaar probably played some cricket in South Africa but himself and Piutau were so obviously reared with a rugby ball stuffed under their arm. I’ve seen Kilkenny teenagers with that same head-swivelling, awareness of space to compliment their skill-set. Hurlers with thousands of hours pucking sliotars back and forth or against a wall on their own.

We don’t have the same volume of rugby players to produce Richie Hogans and TJ Reids. A Luke Fitzgerald comes along every now and again. The Byrne twins. Joey Carbery.

I’ve moved away from the theory that mixing up lots of sport growing up in Ireland is a benefit when it comes to being a professional rugby player. Gaelic games are not really transferable. What are the specific benefits? Catching ball overhead is about it.

Name me the Gaelic footballers who became rugby players? Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe, not really. Nor was Robbie Henshaw. All good footballers, sure, but those lads were more rugby players who played GAA. Darren Sweetnam is a hurler who, like Tomás O’Leary, has made the switch from Cork underage hurling to Munster.

But it takes years.

I hurled from the age of six to 12. Same time Piutau was learning to ghost past Scottish fullbacks. Give me 20y minutes against a wall and I’ll rediscover my touch. But hurling never really helped my rugby. Took many, many hours away from it, in fact.

Six years of boarding school helped my rugby.

Even shifting from outhalf to wing in December of fourth year slowed my development. It was decided the senior cup team would benefit from turning me into a finisher. That’s three crucial years where I was scoring tries instead of honing the essential skills needed to create them.

I was moved because Bobby Quigley came in at scrumhalf with Ciaran Finane switched to outhalf. Both were quality passers. We reached a final with Bobby and Ciaran as primary decision makers as I was exiled to the back field, where I remained for eight years until an Australian coach figured I was a centre.

Maybe the multi-sports approach or denying natural talent a creative role, with the primary focus being to win above all else, is stunting the growth of Irish rugby.

Then again some things can’t be coached. Hogg will have nightmares about Piutau.


There is a flip side to this argument.

Paddy Jackson is rightly getting plaudits for Ulster’s winning start to the season. He is playing well but not enough to challenge for Johnny Sexton’s Ireland jersey. Not yet anyway.

The best example of this is Johnny orchestrating and creating Josh van der Flier’s second try against the Ospreys on Friday night.

When Johnny is on the field everything goes through him. Arguably too much.

What has Ulster clicking at the moment is the key players who surround Paddy. With Leinster, more often than not, Johnny is first receiver.



Like Rog and Jonny Wilkinson before him, Sexton likes to call the shots for the entire 80 minutes. I can tell you that not too many decisions are made by the inside centre playing alongside these three outhalves.

Whereas for Ulster several players have licence to create. Louis Ludik slots in there regularly and their attacking momentum goes unchecked.

Payne, Stuart Olding, Stu McCloskey, Luke Marshall are all comfortable first receivers and more importantly good distributors. The benefit is the attacking pattern continues if Paddy is clearing a ruck.

There is no right or wrong here but it explains why almost every team seek to take Sexton out with a cheap shot. No other Leinster or Irish player regularly runs the strike moves. Chop off the head mentality.

Rugby is all about creating mismatches and exploiting them.

Manipulating space. Piutau and Payne are experts but Pienaar is the master; an invaluable resource that Irish rugby is about to lose against Ulster’s and Pienaar’s will.

What a shame that a man who wants to stay and raise his family in Belfast, who has embraced the club and driven the culture, cannot be allowed finish his career at Ravenhill.

Ulster are adamant they can afford to keep him. Because he is an priceless commodity; the type of rugby player who coaches merely by togging out for training.

The IRFU see it otherwise. The theory behind denying Pienaar a new contract is unsound. It makes no sense on any level except a point of principle. Ulster will have to recruit another scrumhalf, probably from abroad, to remain competitive next season.

This seems desperately short sighted.

We won’t never see a player with the Springbok’s poise for a very long time. Next season Ulster will have four, maybe five scrumhalves on their books - two are Leinster spares - who have yet to show the requisite abilities to challenge for international honours.

What Pienaar concocted in the 38th minute against Glasgow - literally something from nothing - will be lost.

The Ulster pack is back-pedalling just outside their 22. Pienaar clearly shapes to box kick. Pressure should be on the scrumhalf to clear his lines yet keep the ball in play. Most Irish nines, perhaps all of them, would have blinkers on. One option. Shoulders are parallel, backside facing touchline, the stance of a certain box kick.

With a quick glance over his shoulder Pienaar changes the shape of the game. He wheels around and pops the ball to Cave.



Piutau fends off the hapless Hogg and is away again. This is the sort of decision making that wins tight matches against clubs like Toulon or Saracens.

Let’s say a Conor Murray type of player, God knows they are rare on this island, is in the Ulster Academy right now. He is 19 and could be alongside Ruan every day for the next three years. Asking questions.

Why did you do that? How do you kick like that? Why do you always kick to the bottom right hand corner?

That sort of intergenerational knowledge could turn the next Conor Murray into the best scrumhalf in the world. Instead Pienaar will be gone and that teenager will not learn from this technically world class operator.

Next season’s starting Ulster scrumhalf will have to sink or swim.

What if he sinks in Europe? Ulster lose is what.

Worst case scenario is it ruins a scrumhalf who could have had a long career because he gets exposed too soon to a standard he is not ready for.

Getting rid of a guy like Pienaar without a replacement feels like a decision that will prove more detrimental to Irish rugby than its progressive intent.



It also means the time for Ulster to deliver is now. Is their tight five good enough to win a Pro 12? The jury is still out. Rory Best will make a massive difference and Marcell Coetzee’s return to fitness might allow Henderson shift from flanker to lock.

But Friday was a serious victory. Winning in Glasgow for the first time lays down a clear marker for the season ahead.

And there was a joy in how they manipulated all those defenders to discover all that space.

IrishTimes

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 9:39 am

"That sort of intergenerational knowledge could turn the next Conor Murray into the best scrumhalf in the world. Instead Pienaar will be gone and that teenager will not learn from this technically world class operator."

That line says more than any of our arguments have and it's a sad fact that the shortsighted IRFU refuse to recognize.
Munchkin, you may have said you would leave this subject but I don't think we shoud as I strongly believe the saga is not over. I read a bit on the other forum about one of our MLAs bringing the subject up in Stormount. I know that bunch of halfwits can't so much but hey, someone is trying to stop the IRFU in their tracks, all be it only to make himself look good. Also the fact that nobody has actually verified that Ruan has actually signed for Montpellier, not Ruan himself and not the club. In fact the only mention was in that perpetual work of fantasy, the Punditarena.

Anyway, that was indeed a great read, D'arcy is becoming a great rugby pundit for the Times, his articles are always insightful and extremely informative. This one is no exception.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by carpet baboon on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 12:11 pm

Is jack Conan still out injured?

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by SecretFly on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 1:37 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Is jack Conan still out injured?

Phill never said that.  You're misquoting him knowingly.  Give it a break, carpet, and leave him alone.  We get it, you don't like him.  Give over!

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 2:03 pm

Thanks for the post Munchkin. It is indeed great to read about good things happening at Ulster. OK

When D'Arcy departs from the factual into the hypothetical he loses some credibility though. It is fantasy to think that Ulster have a player like Conor Murray in the academy. Pienaar has been with Ulster six years and there are no signs that any of the scrummies on the books such as Ian Porter, Michael Heaney, Dave Shanahan, or Paul Marshall for that matter are any closer to being world class than when he arrived. This implies Pienaar needs to start with silk to tailor a purse rather than the perpetual sow's ears laid in front of him.

What D'Arcy is proposing is not only to extend Pienaar's contract (which would be fantastic!), but also to get the best prospect in Ireland (say McGrath) to understudy him. Maybe rugby is escapism and a fantasy world but that really is stretching credibility to the limits.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 2:46 pm

The most amazing thing about Pienaar leaving has been the amount of people who are suddenly very concerned about his family. All this faux concern doesn't sit right with me. Its been used against David Nucifora too which is a below the belt arguement. Gerry Thornley was using this argument last night on the radio.


Go back a few weeks before it hit the news. If it was announced that Ulster were signing Aaron Smith instead of Pienaar, would anyone be concerned with Pienaars family? Yeah right! Every year dozens of players are left go from the provinces and nobody is worried about their families. Some of these would be lads who are trying their hardest to become a professional rugby player and earning peanuts.


I've nothing against Pienaar btw. He is a good player and will be a loss but rules are rules. You can't give a NIQ player a third contract. If they're breaking rules they might as well scrap the rules.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 2:49 pm

SecretFly wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Is jack Conan still out injured?

Phill never said that.  You're misquoting him knowingly.  Give it a break, carpet, and leave him alone.  We get it, you don't like him.  Give over!


Its the pro'12s fault that Conan is injured. If we had an anglo-celtic league things like injuries wouldn't exist. idea

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by carpet baboon on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 2:54 pm

SecretFly wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Is jack Conan still out injured?

Phill never said that.  You're misquoting him knowingly.  Give it a break, carpet, and leave him alone.  We get it, you don't like him.  Give over!

Have I hurt his feelings?

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 6:39 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Thanks for the post Munchkin. It is indeed great to read about good things happening at Ulster.  OK

When D'Arcy departs from the factual into the hypothetical he loses some credibility though. It is fantasy to think that Ulster have a player like Conor Murray in the academy. Pienaar has been with Ulster six years and there are no signs that any of the scrummies on the books such as Ian Porter, Michael Heaney, Dave Shanahan, or Paul Marshall for that matter are any closer to being world class than when he arrived. This implies Pienaar needs to start with silk to tailor a purse rather than the perpetual sow's ears laid in front of him.

What D'Arcy is proposing is not only to extend Pienaar's contract (which would be fantastic!), but also to get the best prospect in Ireland (say McGrath) to understudy him. Maybe rugby is escapism and a fantasy world but that really is stretching credibility to the limits.

Your wilfully missing the point, methinks.

Darcy isn't alone in his thinking. Add Thornley, among others.

You're wilfully missing the point, methinks. Darcy is saying that nobody has come through that can be deemed international level. There have been, and is, plenty of scrumhalfs tried out, and none have been able to replace Marshall.
If a potential international standard player is to come through then they will be without Pienaar as mentor. Anyone with half an ounce of wit can see that having Pienaar as mentor would be a huge benefit to both Ulster Rugby and the IRFU. That is simple logic.
If it happened that no international standard prospect were to challenge Marshall, then at least Ulster have a world class talent in Pienaar, for the remainder of his playing days. That is simple logic.
Without Pienaar, and without any scrumhalf of international standard, Ulster will be much less effective, and will not challenge for the top. That is simple logic.

However much you and prof attempt to trivialise it, you can't get passed the fact that the IRFU forcing Pienaar out makes no good sense, and is in fact counter productive to both Ulster Rugby and the IRFU.


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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Munchkin on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 6:42 pm

profitius wrote:The most amazing thing about Pienaar leaving has been the amount of people who are suddenly very concerned about his family. All this faux concern doesn't sit right with me. Its been used against David Nucifora too which is a below the belt arguement. Gerry Thornley was using this argument last night on the radio.


Go back a few weeks before it hit the news. If it was announced that Ulster were signing Aaron Smith instead of Pienaar, would anyone be concerned with Pienaars family? Yeah right! Every year dozens of players are left go from the provinces and nobody is worried about their families. Some of these would be lads who are trying their hardest to become a professional rugby player and earning peanuts.


I've nothing against Pienaar btw. He is a good player and will be a loss but rules are rules. You can't give a NIQ player a third contract. If they're breaking rules they might as well scrap the rules.

That's a rather shallow reading of what has actually been said, and also one that accusing Ulster fans, and plenty of fans from the other Provinces, of lying. I expected better from you than a cheap shot to justify your rather weak perspective on the IRFU forcing Pienaar out.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by wolfball on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 6:59 pm

I really think the mentorship angle is overstated. Sure, its valuable, but would Madigan have preferred Sexton's mentorship to getting gametime at 10? I think the latter. Also, this statement that we have no international quality 9s after Murray is besides the point. We have to have three 9s minimum for injury coverage etc, if they are of the standard or not. If the current top two are Murray and Marmion (weak as he is this season) we need 1-2 coming from Ulster/Leinster. Who are ulster offering? Who is getting the gametime at 9 there to see if they sink or swim? Saying there is no one at ulster good enough isnt the point. They only have to be better than a shade below Marmion's level, they don't have to be Piennar level.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by profitius on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 7:46 pm

Munchkin wrote:
profitius wrote:The most amazing thing about Pienaar leaving has been the amount of people who are suddenly very concerned about his family. All this faux concern doesn't sit right with me. Its been used against David Nucifora too which is a below the belt arguement. Gerry Thornley was using this argument last night on the radio.


Go back a few weeks before it hit the news. If it was announced that Ulster were signing Aaron Smith instead of Pienaar, would anyone be concerned with Pienaars family? Yeah right! Every year dozens of players are left go from the provinces and nobody is worried about their families. Some of these would be lads who are trying their hardest to become a professional rugby player and earning peanuts.


I've nothing against Pienaar btw. He is a good player and will be a loss but rules are rules. You can't give a NIQ player a third contract. If they're breaking rules they might as well scrap the rules.

That's a rather shallow reading of what has actually been said, and also one that accusing Ulster fans, and plenty of fans from the other Provinces, of lying. I expected better from you than a cheap shot to justify your rather weak perspective on the IRFU forcing Pienaar out.


Sorry but I didn't bring families into it.
I heard Gerry Thornley on the radio last night talking about how unfair it all was and as if Pienaar and his family were thrown out of their home. Thats nonsense. I didn't hear the families of Ruairdhi Murphy, Bronson Ross, Paul Rowley, Frankie Taggart, Paul Jackson etc being mentioned when they were let go. I'm not accusing anyone of anything but theres no harm pointing that out.

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

Post by Don Alfonso on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 7:50 pm

Ach, lads. Pienaar? Still?

Can we not just chalk it up as the greatest injustice ever and move on?

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Re: Irish Provinces NEWS & GOSSIP thread 2016-17

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