Ulster Rugby 2017-18

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Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 10:42 am

First topic message reminder :

Director of Rugby Les Kiss  
Head Coach Jono Gibbes  
Assistant Coach Dwayne Peel
Scrum Coach Aaron Dundon  
Skills Coach Niall Malone


Players In
John Cooney from Connacht
Schalk van der Merwe from Southern Kings
Jean Deysel from Sharks
David Busby promoted from Academy
Aaron Cairns promoted from Academy
Ross Kane promoted from Academy
Rob Lyttle promoted from Academy
Tommy O'Hagan promoted from Academy
Jack Owens promoted from Academy

Players Out
Franco van der Merwe to Cardiff Blues
Roger Wilson retired
Conor Joyce to Jersey Reds
Mark Best to Jersey Reds
Jonny Murphy to Rotherham Titans
Ruan Pienaar to Montpellier
John Donnan released
Lorcan Dow released
Ricky Lutton released
Stephen Mulholland released

Ulster Rugby 2017/18 Senior Playing Squad

Rodney Ah You (18 ULS, 3 IRE)
John Andrew (27 ULS)
Rory Best (198 ULS, 104 IRE)
Callum Black (128 ULS)
Tommy Bowe (150 ULS, 69 IRE)
Peter Browne (31 ULS)
David Busby (2 ULS)
Aaron Cairns (1 ULS)
Darren Cave (193 ULS, 11 IRE)
Marcell Coetzee (4 ULS, 28 SA)
John Cooney (0 ULS, 1 IRE)
Jean Deysel (0 ULS, 4 SA)
Robbie Diack (193 ULS, 2 IRE)
Craig Gilroy (149 ULS, 10 IRE)
Iain Henderson (74 ULS, 32 IRE)
Chris Henry (165 ULS, 24 IRE)
Wiehahn Herbst (54 ULS)
Rob Herring (120 ULS, 1 IRE)
Brett Herron (7 ULS)
Paddy Jackson (123 ULS, 25 IRE)
Ross Kane (11 ULS)
Louis Ludik (54 ULS)
Robert Lyttle (8 ULS)
Luke Marshall (104 ULS, 11 IRE)
Paul Marshall (195 ULS, 3 IRE)
Kyle McCall (36 ULS)
Stuart McCloskey (58 ULS, 1 IRE)
Johnny McPhillips
Peter Nelson (37 ULS)
Alan O'Connor (39 ULS)
Tommy O'Hagan
Stuart Olding (62 ULS, 4 IRE)
Jack Owens (1 ULS)
Callum Patterson
Jared Payne (78 ULS, 20 IRE)
Charles Piutau (23 ULS, 16 NZ)
Matthew Rea
Sean Reidy (58 ULS, 2 IRE)
Clive Ross (52 ULS)
David Shanahan (13 ULS)
Jonny Simpson (4 ULS)
Jacob Stockdale (24 ULS, 2 IRE)
Kieran Treadwell (21 ULS, 2 IRE)
Andrew Trimble (217 ULS, 70 IRE)
Schalk van der Merwe
Andrew Warwick (74 ULS)

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 9:54 am

If that's true he has to go Geoff. If he can't do the decent thing and walk then he needs forcing out, like a tick.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 11:03 am

Noone knows if Donald is actually on the shortlist or where he is on the shortlist

Id like to think we have been talking to a number of players

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 11:06 am

Pollard was another that was strongly linked but even the NZ media had said Donald was talking to Ulster so I want him, no others Smile

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 11:14 am

Maybe we're signing both of them Whistle

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 11:51 am

marty2086 wrote:Maybe we're signing both of them Whistle

Or neither Sad

We'll get some middle of the road unknown outhalf who'll 'DO'.
Mind you, the last couple of times we signed relatively unknown players it all turned out very well.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Redman on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 1:26 pm

I do think that money might be an issue for us. Any new 10 will be an additional expense and we'll need to sign them for at least 6 months to make it worth their while.

For example why is Donald going to sign for us on £150,000 (completely made up figures here) and potentially be let go by December rather than sign for £250,000 for a French team for a whole season. He's going to want stability, at least a season somewhere, possibly 2. Ulster will be looking for 6 months with an option on their side for longer if we need him, it's an open ended question how long this court case will last. The mismatch in priorities could well be the sticking point.

In that regard someone like Pollard actually makes more sense. A safe place for him to regain his fitness and he then still has a career to think about as he moves off. Donald, for all his obvious talents, will be looking to maximize his earnings between now and retirement. Is Ulster the best place for him to do that?

We are however completely desperate for a 10 I guess.


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Redman on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 1:34 pm

For the record though, Donald would be a terrific signing if we did get him.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 1:35 pm

That's the thing, if Donald or any 10 has agreed a deal in principle and the come back in and asked for more knowing we are seriously desperate we might have to pay it.

Then again we may have agreed with him and officially e hasn't signed yet so he was telling the truth or just not announcing it until Ulster do it officially. With the Wasps game next week maybe in the run up to that would be the ideal time to generate some buzz and maybe sell a few tickets

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 1:49 pm

It would be incredibly short sighted to sign a decent 10 fof 6 months when there's a chance Jackson may never return to Ulster. Surely we'd sign someone with a view to the worst case scenario.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by geoff999rugby on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 2:08 pm

I don't believe money is an issue - our salary budget is significantly down on last year.
The one thing that is an issue is no half decent 10 is going to sign for 6 months.
If I was Donald, or Pollard, I would be saying 2 seasons or sling your hook

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 2:16 pm

Not that simple though geoff as we all know, Pollard plays in Japan too but Im not sure what his contract situation is there and if he is signed up for next season yet.

Donald is ideal because he is a free agent, he may see Ulster as a platform to go show what he can do still and earn a big payday in France for a year or two

It also comes down to how long of a contract are we allowed to offer? Is this a stop gap until we know what is happening long term? Or is it preparing for the worst from a rugby perspective?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 2:17 pm

Why should Logan go - for speaking to the media?

Presumably any signing has to be approved by Gibbes, and if anyone was signed without that, Gibbes would be undermined.
However in Gibbes absence that responsibility would rest with Kiss, and then Cunningham would be the one to make it happen.

That said, if Donald is indeed coming it will undoubtedly have been completely down to Gibbes, so it has to be questioned what exactly is Bryn doing to earn his six figures and expenses?


Pleased to see Scholes back in Ireland, pity it's not Ulster, but he will get far more gametime at Connacht across the back five and may resurrect his place kicking skills.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 2:32 pm

Logan should have went when we were clearing out the rest of the dead wood, speaking to the media claiming to have been on the hunt for a 10 for the last year isn't any good reason to wave him off but it'd do for me.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Redman on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 2:45 pm

Logan just seems to have outstayed his welcome. I think him and Humphrey's really turned us around when they came in but sometimes you just run out of ideas and the whole piece becomes stale.

Very few leaders, from sports managers to CEOs, can correct their faults ... too often they stick to building off their strengths. Logan strikes me as one of those. He has brought a lot of business nous to Ulster Rugby but hasn't worked on other areas. For example, from what I understand, his rugby connections in the game are hovering around non-existence. That was one of the reasons we had to go cap in hand to the IRFU when Humphreys left and we got given Kiss. So the question is he a significantly better CEO than when he came in? I'm not sure he is. That's not downplaying his obvious achievements, but past glories aren't strong enough reasons to stick with people going forward.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 2:50 pm

In all seriousness, who would we bring in the run the place that has the connections and experience?

Surely that's why Bryn was brought in to fill that hole?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by geoff999rugby on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 4:11 pm

marty2086 wrote:Not that simple though geoff as we all know, Pollard plays in Japan too but Im not sure what his contract situation is there and if he is signed up for next season yet.

Donald is ideal because he is a free agent, he may see Ulster as a platform to go show what he can do still and earn a big payday in France for a year or two

It also comes down to how long of a contract are we allowed to offer? Is this a stop gap until we know what is happening long term? Or is it preparing for the worst from a rugby perspective?

I only mention Pollard because someone else did.

My point is a simple one a top player may well not be attracted by a 6 month contract.
Again it could be the IRFU tie our hands - nothing new there Whistle

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by geoff999rugby on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 4:22 pm

The issue I have with Logan is he spouted off about transforming Ulster and in terms of finances, sponsorship and spreading the net wider he has done an excellent job.

However in the last couple of years, since Humphreys left his weaknesses are more manifest than his strengths.
He is totally clueless about rugby, he has no feel for the game and things show is more important than substance.
Great man to front you when all going well but when under pressure he waffles and exaggerates.
He is starting to both become arrogant and evasive - not great traits

As an aside Bryn does not have the same power as Humphreys.
I suspect he feels he is facing an uphill struggle and Logan is more of a hindrance than a help
When Pienaer left only Cunningham fought to keep him - the rest of them folded quicker than an IKEA flat pack

If this goes tits up after Logan has been telling everyone it is fine and all sorted he should go.
Did a great job early on but is starting to become a liability and a bit of an embarrassment

I suspect there are people in the IRFU who snigger when his name is mentioned

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 6:14 pm

Right. That stirrer on t'other forum, the one who's rarely wrong has now added 'is he a Christian'. They have come up with Christian Lealiifano but as far as I knew he was still ill.
Then he added 'bye bye Charles'

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 6:17 pm

I just read why. Piutau signed for Bristol for 2018/19 season.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by neilthom7 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 6:25 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:Right. That stirrer on t'other forum, the one who's rarely wrong has now added 'is he a Christian'. They have come up with Christian Lealiifano but as far as I knew he was still ill.
Then he added 'bye bye Charles'

he played before the end of the season in Super rugby, he has returned to playing which is fantastic to see given the terrible illness he had

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 6:40 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:I just read why. Piutau signed for Bristol for 2018/19 season.

His brother has signed for Bristol, they obviously appreciated playing together at Wasps. They certainly combined well.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Kingshu on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 9:11 pm

Ben Volavola rumored to be the new 10 also?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 9:14 pm

Kingshu wrote:Ben Volavola rumored to be the new 10 also?

I just saw that. The list lengthens and the plot thickens. Speculation is fun but I just want it announced now.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 9:43 pm

Certainly looks like UR are preparing for worst case scenario. Piutau leaving implies we are saving that NIQ for a 10. Or rather, hoping IRFU allow us an NIQ 10 for this full season (grace period) and then beyond in place of the departing Piutau.

If this is the case, and a 2/3 year deal is being struck with a decent 10. We could well see Jackson leaving our club even if he is found innocent.

I guess we could just be offering a temporary NIQ 10 contract, with Piutau leaving giving us options to either extend or sign somebody else.

But what you guys think - does a 2/3 year NIQ contract of a decent 10 spell the end of Jackson at Ulster regardless of teh trial?

Or am I getting carried away?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 10 Aug 2017, 10:25 pm

clivemcl wrote:Certainly looks like UR are preparing for worst case scenario. Piutau leaving implies we are saving that NIQ for a 10. Or rather, hoping IRFU allow us an NIQ 10 for this full season (grace period) and then beyond in place of the departing Piutau.

If this is the case, and a 2/3 year deal is being struck with a decent 10. We could well see Jackson leaving our club even if he is found innocent.

I guess we could just be offering a temporary NIQ 10 contract, with Piutau leaving giving us options to either extend or sign somebody else.

But what you guys think - does a 2/3 year NIQ contract of a decent 10 spell the end of Jackson at Ulster regardless of teh trial?

Or am I getting carried away?

I do think Piutau was never going to stay, he never bought into the Ulster brand and never intended to, he was here for the trip and the money.
It does open up the NIQ spot and has probably happened sooner than necessary so that negotiations with an outhalf of some value can go ahead. It would have been impossible to sign anyone decent for a short term contract but now things are different. Even if Jackson comes back it'd be up to him to win the 10 jersey back and competition for that spot would help immensely.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Welly on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 12:10 am

Piutau Out lealiifano In?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by St John The Enforcer on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 12:16 am

Ffs lads. "Is he a Christian" is obviously a jibe at the whole Trimble/Pienaar type of Christian rather than someone's name.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 12:23 am

Lol.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 7:52 am

clivemcl wrote:Certainly looks like UR are preparing for worst case scenario. Piutau leaving implies we are saving that NIQ for a 10. Or rather, hoping IRFU allow us an NIQ 10 for this full season (grace period) and then beyond in place of the departing Piutau.

It really doesn't, did anyone think Piutau was staying beyond two years? My only surprise is that he's not going back to NZ


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 8:12 am

St John The Enforcer wrote:Ffs lads. "Is he a Christian" is obviously a jibe at the whole Trimble/Pienaar type of Christian rather than someone's name.

No it isn't, KOTH on the other forum always does this and it's definately not what you 'obviously' think.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 8:28 am

a) the Christian joke has done the rounds for so long on the other forum, that in this case, it's  likely to mean more. They do love their obscure word play over there.

b) Secondly, I didn't expect Piutau to stay. I just think it's interesting the timing. They were free to announce where Piutau was going now since it's going to be obvious soon that he is definitely not staying. Made obvious by a long term NIQ 10 signing. IRFU will allow us one extra for this season, and thereafter the NIQ spots will even out again upon Charlies departure. Just me guessing of course.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by geoff999rugby on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 8:58 am

Piatau was never ever going to stay more than 2 years and as such has absolutely no bearing on our 10 situation.




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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by geoff999rugby on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 8:59 am

Pete330v2 wrote:
St John The Enforcer wrote:Ffs lads. "Is he a Christian" is obviously a jibe at the whole Trimble/Pienaar type of Christian rather than someone's name.

No it isn't, KOTH on the other forum always does this and it's definately not what you 'obviously' think.

Agreed KOTH likes being obscure but he certainly is one of the few on there who has genuine contacts

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 9:13 am

Is it common for signings like Piutau to Bristol to be announced so early though? I'm just guessing we may be about to hear of a 2/3 yr deal on anNIQ 10 which would put Piutau leaving beyond question. Which would mean there's no problem in it being announced.
Not saying it's likely, just wondering if timing of it hints at something.

Would you be surprised Geoff if the NIQ 10 we get is for longer than one season?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 9:17 am

I mean isn't there more chance of making a 2/3yr deal with a player than a 1year or less deal?

We may have went looking fora short term option and either come up short or had potential options demand longer term deals in negotiations.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 9:19 am

clivemcl wrote:
b) Secondly, I didn't expect Piutau to stay. I just think it's interesting the timing. They were free to announce where Piutau was going now since it's going to be obvious soon that he is definitely not staying. Made obvious by a long term NIQ 10 signing. IRFU will allow us one extra for this season, and thereafter the NIQ spots will even out again upon Charlies departure. Just me guessing of course.

It wasn't Ulster who announced it though, if we'd had failed to qualify for the ERCC I bet he'd have joined Bristol this season.

There's no guarantee that any 10 who joins this season is a long term option




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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by toml on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 9:32 am

Looking at the age profile of our outside backs, it's a bit of a worry for the next few years. Bowe turning 34 this season, Trimble 33, Payne 32, Ludik and Cave 31. With Piatau leaving as well, what are the chances we will see another back 3 NIQ next year.
Potentially Stockdale could move to 15 in a couple of years?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 9:34 am

Reading the quotes on Scholes to Connacht, everyone says he has signed for the coming season. Maybe he has signed for the one year? A move back to Ulster would surely make sense if he has learned his lesson and he's not a 15

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 10:15 am

Who plays 10 for Western Force?? Smile

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 10:26 am

Ok so Peter Grant then? He is a christian so maybe KOTH wasn't just being clever. I'm fed up, just want an announcement now!

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 6:13 pm

Ulster are set to confirm the signing of Australia fly-half Christian Lealiifano ahead of the new PRO14 season, BBC Sport NI understands.

The 29-year-old has won 19 caps for the Wallabies and recently returned to the game after recovering from leukaemia.

He'll fill the gap left by Paddy Jackson, who has stepped aside from playing pending legal proceedings.

The news comes a day after Ulster utility back Charles Piutau signed a deal to join Bristol.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by geoff999rugby on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 6:27 pm

Hearing it is not a full season just up to the start of the new Super 15

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 6:28 pm

Lealiifano will be a great signing for you guys if you can get him. Can play 10 and 12 so if Jackson does return you've got options to combine them as well rotate them.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 6:28 pm

Figured it would be, to get him back to fitness.

They must be hopeful Jackson will be back by then

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 6:50 pm

FFS guys the BBC are obviously referring to Andy Trimble's christian faith.
I would follow with a 'LOL' comment but that'd be too peurile.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 6:59 pm

marty2086 wrote:Figured it would be, to get him back to fitness.

They must be hopeful Jackson will be back by then

He will be found not guilty bar some evil conspiracy but the big question is when. Legal matters are rarely quick.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by neilthom7 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 7:26 pm

Its great to see him sign, a fantastic player but maybe more importantly for us is his character. Someone who can not only beat that horrible disease but then battle back to playing top level rugby must have an iron will and that could be extremely useful for Ulster who have at time lacked such things

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 8:03 pm

His medical history and character sure make him more than just a necessary replacement. I fully expect the media and fans to adore him and be sad when he leaves!

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 8:26 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:FFS guys the BBC are obviously referring to Andy Trimble's christian faith.
I would follow with a 'LOL' comment but that'd be too peurile.

Awk, cheer up. It was rather funny.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

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