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 Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:19 pm

clivemcl wrote:Screamed the fricking house down there!!!! Yahoo

You aren't on your own Clive.

YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a game what a game

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by carpet baboon on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:20 pm

Friiiiiick me. That was tense

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:21 pm

I'm so glad Cooney looks the business but you can not for a second doubt the passion of Paul Marshall. Watch the replay and just check out how much he's busting a gut to get in support for the last try.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Redman on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:23 pm

Just in terms of discussion points though. Diack can tackle so it's not like he's that light, but in go forward contact he's stunted back upto 5 yards at a time.

Also we're clearing doubling up in the carry. Initial contact and then a support player comes in to force out some cheap yardage.

Set piece seems to be going backwards a bit post Clarke. Scrum just about held up but the line out wasn't great.

Great win all in all considering who we were playing and who we had missing.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:24 pm

Ruan Cooney!

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:29 pm

He's not a Ruan replacement but the one thing he HAS proved us wrong on is that he does look like he has more international caps in him. Some of us dismissed the policy that led to Pienaar's departure because we didn't think any of our scrum halves were realistic international cap contenders. Cooney could well grab a good few more caps.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:34 pm

He'll do us alright. I still think it was disgusting what the IRFU did to Ruan but I'm well pleased with Cooney. I can see him becoming one of the leaders on the field already. My MOTM for that game just about ahead of big Stu.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Griff on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:40 pm

Congrats on the win Ulster, good game. I was rooting for Scarlets, who took a long time to get into the game and 'click'. Far too many errors. But they seemed to click into gear a bit more in the 2nd half. However, Ulster stepped up a gear too and were worthy winners. A good spectacle for a (relative) neutral. clap

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:06 pm

We won. We won! WE WON!!.

That's all that matters.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Artful_Dodger on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:08 pm

Redman wrote:Just in terms of discussion points though.  Diack can tackle so it's not like he's that light, but in go forward contact he's stunted back upto 5 yards at a time.

He has a terrible habit of slowing down before the moment of contact when he is carrying. That is a cardinal sin, particularly for a guy that play second row and back row. He reminds me a bit of Neil McComb in that sense, such a big man but so lacking in venom.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:09 pm

Guys, my work involves all sorts of screw ups. The fact that we won is hugely important to me. Chill out and accept the gains when they come.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Artful_Dodger on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:11 pm

You are of course right Munchkin, I thought we'd lose the opening game to Cheetahs. So to be in this position after three games having just beaten the champions without our Lions and three star foreigners (Piutau, Coetzee and Deysel) is nothing short of magnificent.


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:15 pm

Well, that game had me jumping for joy. What a win, very proud of the lads.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by profitius on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:20 pm

Gibbes is already having an effect.
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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:25 pm

Some of the names on the pitch as we won that...
J Andrew, A Warwick, R Ah You, R Diack, C Ross, P Marshall

Some of the names missing:
Best, Henderson, Coetzee, Deysel, Piutau


Also, a mate was in Cutters Wharf which is where Paddy and Stu watched the game tonight - alongside Hendo who was at the stadium but obviously decided to leave to join them.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:05 pm

The emotion at the end from the players shows what it meant, Lealiifano was leading the celebrations when Andrew scored

Everyone fronted up tonight, scrum was wobbly at times and we forced things on occasions but definitely showed some mental strength that was missing at times in the past

How good does Tommy Bowe look at times? He's running some great lines and causing problems for teams


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:10 pm

Edited/deleted, as always ...


Last edited by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:17 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:12 pm

marty2086 wrote:The emotion at the end from the players shows what it meant, Lealiifano was leading the celebrations when Andrew scored

Everyone fronted up tonight, scrum was wobbly at times and we forced things on occasions but definitely showed some mental strength that was missing at times in the past

How good does Tommy Bowe look at times? He's running some great lines and causing problems for teams



Fair comment. Not convinced about Tommy. A wee bit slow. Where's Cave? Faster and smarter?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:20 pm

He isn't what he was speed wise but he is making up for it in intelligence, he had a few good contributions when he came on for McCloskey then when he played wing he made some strong carries that got us moving forward.

Rea looked good too, thought it was risky taking Henry off and think we dipped for a bit after it in terms of leadership but we regrouped

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:28 pm

Yes, he's smart, but he's not the player he was. Tommy' s smart's as a poacher is legendary and was always top drawer. He's slowed down though. He's not our best wing, and not our best centre.

Rea has potential, but let's not pressure the guy. Give him time.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:40 pm

Blah

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Don Alfonso on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:52 pm

Didn't see that coming at all. Delighted. Agree, don't know if it's cause it was Nev's anniversary or Gibbes' influence. Maybe both?

I see Peel is allowing Big Stu to offload after he was banned from it last season - and all of a sudden, he's an influential, key player again. Strange, that.

Mattie Rea didn't look out of place - and actually came into it more as the game went on. Andrew is so much more physical than Herring now, and McCall did pretty well. Couple of good carries from him, decent scrimmaging (an all-international Welsh front row, with the Lions hooker?)

Stockdale excellent.

I will say that that was as good leadership of an Ulster team as I have seen in some time from Henry. He really drove that team. Always talking, directing his forwards, putting his own body on the line. Still a ways to go, but given the experience and talent of the Scarlets pack, the forwards can be proud

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Don Alfonso on Sat 16 Sep 2017, 12:03 am

Also, I see Treviso beat Edinburgh in Scotland. Down to 13 at the end, apparently.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Don Alfonso on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 7:06 pm

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/dragons/15540107.Dragons_ready_to_ring_the_changes_for_Ulster_clash_in_PRO14/

Apparently Dragons are looking at resting players for their trip to Ravenhill. If that's the case, I'd like to see Rea starting again,Andrew in the first fifteen, and Cooney and Lealifano taken off at half time (depending on how it's going.) I wouldn't start Hendo and Browne, but both need game-time over the next two matches.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Munchkin on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 8:51 pm

Good game against quality opposition. Strange night in some ways, and maybe because Nevin Spence was remembered. Sombre support at the start, but what do you expect after that tribute? I was close to tears, and same with watching the video (in fact, I was in tears). Strange that it lingers so long.

Anyway, I'm amazed that we won, and delighted. Ulster manned up, and although I expected it, considering the occasion, I'm still surprised we won.

Stand outs for me were McCloskey, his off loading is sublime and about time. CL was superb. Think about that for a moment ... The guys still in remission. Massive strength of character. Cooney is much better than I had imagined. I thought he would be mediocre, but he's much more than that. Fair play to him, and expect an Ireland call for him.

Not perfect by any means, and a lot to work on. Too many errors still, but a definite improvement. The Gibbes factor is starting to come through, and hoping for better performances through the season.

We are so lucky with having a good start in terms of who we play, and where. It will get tougher.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by rodders on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 9:55 am

Super impressed with Cooney, he's been probably our best player so far this season and the best player on the pitch followed by Lelifano who could also prove and inspired signing if he can build his fitness. Apart from Murray, Cooney may be the top Irish no 9 this season if he continues as he has started.

McCloskey looked back to his best, Marshall made two game winning - the cut out pass for the winning try and the try saving tackle in the first half. Bowe looked sharp in attack again and Stockdale just keeps scoring so lots of positives.

The downside for me was the backrow, We got turned over too many times and don't seem to have much ball carrying ability in the pack minus the South Africans and Henderson.  

All in though a great result and hopefully can lift some of the doom and gloom.
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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 10:22 am

Don't know if anyone saw it yesterday but Quins went to Coventry and beat Wasps and La Rochelle are going well including hammering Clermont 51-20 last weekend. So our ERCC group is going to be an interesting one, hopefully we can get some of the deficiencies in our game are sorted over the coming weeks other wise we could be in trouble

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by rodders on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 10:35 am

I can't see us doing much in Europe to be honest.... or competing for the Pro14 title for that matter.

I think we are in a period of transition right now and if we qualify for next seasons ERCC and win our home games in this years Champions cup we'll have done more than alright with the panel we have.
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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 11:13 am

rodders wrote:I can't see us doing much in Europe to be honest.... or competing for the Pro14 title for that matter.

I think we are in a period of transition right now and if we qualify for next seasons ERCC and win our home games in this years Champions cup we'll have done more than alright with the panel we have.

Headscratch not with this Ulster team surely? They have a realistic shot at the title.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 12:07 pm

marty2086 wrote:Don't know if anyone saw it yesterday but Quins went to Coventry and beat Wasps and La Rochelle are going well including hammering Clermont 51-20 last weekend. So our ERCC group is going to be an interesting one, hopefully we can get some of the deficiencies in our game are sorted over the coming weeks other wise we could be in trouble

I'm not sure those results make them unbeatable opposition any more than our beating of Clermont at Ravespan last year made us world beaters.

That's my shallow attempt at optimism Marty Smile

I wouldn't mind if we concentrated more on the Pro14 this season to be honest. We don't have the depth to be European champions but we do have the ability to win the Pro14 or at least get a play off place.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 12:21 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Don't know if anyone saw it yesterday but Quins went to Coventry and beat Wasps and La Rochelle are going well including hammering Clermont 51-20 last weekend. So our ERCC group is going to be an interesting one, hopefully we can get some of the deficiencies in our game are sorted over the coming weeks other wise we could be in trouble

I'm not sure those results make them unbeatable opposition any more than our beating of Clermont at Ravespan last year made us world beaters.

That's my shallow attempt at optimism Marty Smile

I wouldn't mind if we concentrated more on the Pro14 this season to be honest. We don't have the depth to be European champions but we do have the ability to win the Pro14 or at least get a play off place.

If we use the squad right we can give it a shot on both fronts, it all comes down to injuries and suspensions I think and Rory being out is a big blow as I think our scrum needs him

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 1:30 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
rodders wrote:I can't see us doing much in Europe to be honest.... or competing for the Pro14 title for that matter.

I think we are in a period of transition right now and if we qualify for next seasons ERCC and win our home games in this years Champions cup we'll have done more than alright with the panel we have.

Headscratch not with this Ulster team surely? They have a realistic shot at the title.

Ulster have hardly any depth, especially in the forwards. Starting the season there is already a significant number of injuries and that will increase as players are played carrying niggles due to the lack of depth, and the opposition get tougher. Leinster and Scarlets will be fighting for the top spots, but Edinburgh and Dragons with more enlightened coaching could push Ulster for the play-off spot.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 3:16 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
rodders wrote:I can't see us doing much in Europe to be honest.... or competing for the Pro14 title for that matter.

I think we are in a period of transition right now and if we qualify for next seasons ERCC and win our home games in this years Champions cup we'll have done more than alright with the panel we have.

Headscratch not with this Ulster team surely? They have a realistic shot at the title.

Ulster have hardly any depth, especially in the forwards. Starting the season there is already a significant number of injuries and that will increase as players are played carrying niggles due to the lack of depth, and the opposition get tougher. Leinster and Scarlets will be fighting for the top spots, but Edinburgh and Dragons with more enlightened coaching could push Ulster for the play-off spot.

The pack who played against the Scarlets looked alright, and they have 4 players to come back in. Is Lealifano staying for the whole season?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 3:28 pm

Lealiifano is signed until January after that is an unknown, we may know more in a few weeks.

Scarlets pushed us around in the scrum a few times, so far this season I don't think we have won a scrum penalty yet have conceded a few.

Front row is the big problem, especially tight head. Herbst seems to have went backwards since he joined. If we ever get Kane fit hopefully we may see some improvements

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by eirebilly on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 3:37 pm

I was a bit concerned for Ulster this season but they are actually playing some good rugby so far. Strength in depth may be found out later in the season but for now they look a fairly well drilled side.
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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 3:50 pm

We won our first 5 games last season including Scarlets, Ospreys and Glasgow and beat the champions of England and France too but finished 4th in our ERCC group and 5th in the league

Its when we get a run of big games we will be exposed as we can't rotate properly and we will pick up injuries. Dragons are said to be resting players this weekend so hopefully we can get 5 points and then not make hard work of a trip to Zebre then we have Connacht(H), Wasps(H), La Rochelle(A), Leinster(H) and Kings(A). Those games could be season defining

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 5:03 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
rodders wrote:I can't see us doing much in Europe to be honest.... or competing for the Pro14 title for that matter.

I think we are in a period of transition right now and if we qualify for next seasons ERCC and win our home games in this years Champions cup we'll have done more than alright with the panel we have.

Headscratch not with this Ulster team surely? They have a realistic shot at the title.

I don't think so. The teams that win the whole thing have good depth. It would be a miracle if our key players all manage to stay fit. I have to say though, I was pretty shocked on Friday that we won, especially without some of those players and our pack actually did themselves proud. Hopefully that is the work of Gibbes and he can get the most out of the more "mediocre" forwards.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Kingshu on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 7:42 am

RORY BEST’S RETURN to action has been delayed another month at least after the Ireland captain tore his hamstring in training last week

http://www.the42.ie/rory-best-hamstring-injury-3604374-Sep2017/

He will miss Ulster’s first two Champions Cup pool games against Wasps and La Rochelle

He's a big loss for those games, maybe see how they go, and it they go poorly, just concentrate on the Pro 14.

Another thing that has me intrigued is the stats from the Scarlets game,
http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/matchstats?gameId=291881&league=270557

582 meters gained compared to Scarlets 327
Most of the possession and territory (72% & 74%)
57 tackles made compared to Scarlets 160

I don't know if its good we could get such one sided stats against a team as good as Scarlets, or poor that despite this it was still anyones game?

Something encouraging is
16 turnovers won to Scarlets 19
96% of rucks won, same as Scarlets
I actually though we were turned over a lot more than Scarlets, with Beirne being a particular nuisance, but it appears that we did ok ourselves, which surprised me for this backrow.
100% scrums won, and 14/15 lineouts.

Of course stats do not tell the full picture, but it appears that our backrow managed to match Scarlets, which included Barclay and Shingler, which bodes well if they can keep it up. Maybe Gibbs is having an impact already, set peice was solid, and backrows are not as powerpuff as they were/believed.

Looking at those and with the players to return is very encouraging.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Don Alfonso on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 10:22 am

It helps to remember where we actually were last season.

We would have killed for 14/15 lineouts in most games. No easy scores for the opposition straight off one of their restarts, which happened a lot last season - it felt like at least once a game. Only ix penalties given away.

None of those is a big, attention-grabbing headline, but each is a considerable improvement on last season.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Pete330v2 on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 12:25 pm

I don't think there's an Ulster fan or player that would ever get ahead of themselves but the signs do look good. If we can achieve consistency at this kind of level it'll be fine season. We've had enough of a rollercoaster ride.
The stats can be hard to convert into what really happened sometimes. As Kingshu said, 72% possession with 74% territory looks good but it could be read that we should have won by much more. You would expect so with figures like that but it's testament to how strong the Scarlets' defence was on the night. Or was it how blunt our attack was in the first half?
See, damn stats Sad

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by marty2086 on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 12:41 pm

I think it was two seasons ago we posted a lot of stats like that, where we dominated teams and all too often lost the game because we relied on the driving maul or predictable attacks.

We knocked on or turned over close to the line too many times and conceded tries of silly mistakes. Continued improvements will hopefully see those errors decrease or be eradicated

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Don Alfonso Yesterday at 1:13 pm

https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/pro14/iain-henderson-and-jared-payne-on-the-way-back-for-ulster-1.3227105

Payne back next week, maybe Deysel and Coetzee then as well.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Don Alfonso Yesterday at 10:20 pm

Word on The Other Forum is that Timoney and Lyttle will play. Would like to see Lyttle back into contention generally, and happy we're taking the opportunity to give Timoney a rattle. If true, that is.

I know various Ulster supporters have a hysterical bee in their bonnets about how, ultimately, Kiss picks the teams, but I think the we can already see a fundamentally different approach form the days of Doak and Clarke, especially. If Clarke was still there, Mattie Rea would have no caps. (And here's a stat that should give you some perspective - Coetzee has two more Ulster caps than Rea. We genuinely have no idea what a season with Coetzee actually available would be like.)

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by Kingshu Today at 7:26 am

Dragons is not going to be the 5 point game it used to be, Jackman is having an influence already. Still think it should be 5 points, but not as easy as last year, which is good for the league.
Reports are than Dragons are changing a number of players, which makes me think they are focusing on home games this year (maybe Top 14 thinking from Jackmans days in France), means players like Timoney and Lyttle get a chance as well.

As an aside does anyone else notice that they are supporting the other provinces slightly less. I used to and still do want the provinces to win, but sometimes for the betterment of the league I'd rather see another team win usually if they are an underdog, like Scarlets in the final last year as it would hopefully improve the Welsh perspective of the League. I think I'd have been happy who ever won in the Dragons v Connacht game. I'd like to see Cheetahs beat Leinster, as a big scalp would help the team and fans settle into the Pro 14 (and also assist us). In ECC it doesn't better the league if they lose and I want them all to win, but also want the other Pro 14 clubs to do well, as it makes the league look better.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

Post by clivemcl Today at 7:41 am

Ulster aside, I generally always hope for an upset. In neutral matches I'll cheer on the side less likely to win. I've never given much support (in the league) toMunster and Leinster, only Connacht.


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-18

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