Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

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Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by clivemcl on Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:14 am

Carberry is 22, McPhillips is 21. Is this talk about sticking with McPhillips and hoping he turns out to be a gem maybe a tad naive? Carberry at a year older is being talked about as though he was the second coming and all this despite Sexton and Byrne and a whole backline of stellar players potentially blocking him. By contrast, it's almost as if we only know the name of McPhillips because we had no choice. A year ago the thinking was Jackson and Nelson. We then were saying Cooney can play 10 a bit. Then we signed Lealifano. Surely if McPhillips was the hot prospect, the coaches would have featured him more before Lealifano left.
In fact during Leanlifano's time here wasn't Nelson the preferred bench 10, and indeed started 3 games at 10 before Christmas, but then got injured?

Not meaning to be super negative, I hope I'm wrong. Cooney is a perfect example of a player suddenly shining from nowhere. I guess Ulster coaches know better than me if he's a real prospect worth thrusting into the limelight or not.


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:34 am

The reality is clive that one of McPhillips, Lowry, Curtis and Houston needs to be our next 10 for the foreseeable. managing that transition is now the challenge. The Nelson at ten thing was a catastrophe and was pursued far far FAR longer than it should have been.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:45 am

Standulstermen wrote:The reality is clive that one of McPhillips, Lowry, Curtis and Houston needs to be our next 10 for the foreseeable. managing that transition is now the challenge. The Nelson at ten thing was a catastrophe and was pursued far far FAR longer than it should have been.

Agreed - most people will tell you McPhillips was the least likely of the first three names to succeed.
Also I would suggest Carbery is the exception to the rule, 21 is no age for an emerging 10 - most don't really shine till 24 or so.
I think we have to have someone if only because our 9 and 15 situations are also poor - that's why Keatley would not be a bad call. (As I said though I have my doubts he is interested)
Christian Lealiifano would be a good call as well as he is a better 12 than 10 - perfect player alongside a young 10 - also he didn't make the Australia squad.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by The Great Aukster on Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:17 am

clivemcl wrote:Carberry is 22, McPhillips is 21. Is this talk about sticking with McPhillips and hoping he turns out to be a gem maybe a tad naive? Carberry at a year older is being talked about as though he was the second coming and all this despite Sexton and Byrne and a whole backline of stellar players potentially blocking him. By contrast, it's almost as if we only know the name of McPhillips because we had no choice. A year ago the thinking was Jackson and Nelson. We then were saying Cooney can play 10 a bit. Then we signed Lealifano. Surely if McPhillips was the hot prospect, the coaches would have featured him more before Lealifano left.
In fact during Leanlifano's time here wasn't Nelson the preferred bench 10, and indeed started 3 games at 10 before Christmas, but then got injured?

Not meaning to be super negative, I hope I'm wrong. Cooney is a perfect example of a player suddenly shining from nowhere. I guess Ulster coaches know better than me if he's a real prospect worth thrusting into the limelight or not.

Are Sexton and Byrne et al blocking Carbery or encouraging him? Despite all that impediment he has been given plenty of time in the team to build experience and develop.
McPhillips hadn't been given any time in the team despite Ulster needing a 10 to come through for two seasons. Since his debut he has shown enough to confirm his omission was just another monumentally stupid decision on a list that began when David Humphreys left.


The rumour that Ulster were within a day of signing a NIE 10, but blocked at the eleventh hour is unbelievable. How could Ulster who have needed a 10 for two seasons have almost signed a flyhalf without the full knowledge and sanction of the IRFU supporting it? Did someone at Ulster think they could sneak a signing under their radar? If Carbery is so indecisive that he can't say yes or no, then maybe he should consider another career? For me the jury is out on Bryn's ability to handle recruitment, but I do not believe that he would have overseen such a farce, so this has to be nonsense.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Kingshu on Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:52 am

I think the player we missed out on was Ben Volavola it is reasonable that Ulster had made a offer and needed IRFU to sign off on it, IRFU wanted to see what Carbery would do and would not authorise the deal untill he decided, in the meantime
Bordeaux made an offer and hence the deadline, let me know if the Ulster deal is on, by tomorrow or else hes off to Bordeaux.

If Ulster hadn't been looking at 10s you would be given out for Ulster not making any arrangements in case Carbery didnt come and leaving it to the last minute.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:07 am

I don't care what Joe says Ulster were blocked in signing a NIQ 10 because Joey had not said for definite where he was going.

The 'you have till tomorrow lunchtime line' only has truth in the sense Ulster lost patience with him dithering

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:11 am

I'll go further I suspect the Jantjies was blocked whilst Joey dithered and we then lined up another possible deal and hence the deadline.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:22 pm

Lealiafano didnt want to be considered for the Ireland tour squad Geoff. He didnt think he was ready

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by eirebilly on Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:39 pm

A few whispers coming out suggest that it may not be Keatley going to Ulster but Bleyendaal...
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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by The Great Aukster on Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:43 pm

How can Ulster approach any players without having already cleared it with the IRFU?
It is farcical that everything is agreed and then they aren't allowed to complete. A player and his agent don't know if what they've been told is the truth or not!
Ulster may not be the best run organisation in the world but if they aren't told what authority they actually have, then the IRFU must be even worse.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:59 pm

eirebilly wrote:A few whispers coming out suggest that it may not be Keatley going to Ulster but Bleyendaal...

Another sick note ...just what we don't need
To be honest I'd rather we stuck with our kids, unless Bleyendaal can play 15 as well


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:01 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:How can Ulster approach any players without having already cleared it with the IRFU?
It is farcical that everything is agreed and then they aren't allowed to complete. A player and his agent don't know if what they've been told is the truth or not!
Ulster may not be the best run organisation in the world but if they aren't told what authority they actually have, then the IRFU must be even worse.

I suspect Ulster were told you can search for another 10, if Joey doesn't want to come.
Ulster sussed he wasn't interested so started looking, but IRFU didn't approve because Carbery had not provided a definitive answer
Just speculation on my part - but fits the man sausage up theory of management which is apt

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:07 pm

Bleyendaal makes little sense because if he gets broken Nucifora is on the hook again from Ulster.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Pete330v2 on Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:55 pm

I don't believe for second that Ulster would be daft enough to start lining up a player who might already be broken. The Ulster way is always to get them here 1st, then break them.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Kingshu on Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:08 pm

Ulster may have a decent team in the treatment room this season

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Kingshu on Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:31 pm

My personal prefence would be to go with Bleyendaal with the cravet that unless he stays injury free the IRFU allow us to pick up a top level NIE outhalf post WC. We should be asking for a NIE OH post WC even with Keatley but its more likily if Bleyendaal breaks. If he stays fit we may not need it, but we still would with Keatley.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:05 pm

Kingshu wrote:I think the player we missed out on was Ben Volavola it is reasonable that Ulster had made a offer and needed IRFU to sign off on it, IRFU wanted to see what Carbery would do and would not authorise the deal untill he decided, in the meantime
Bordeaux made an offer and hence the deadline, let me know if the Ulster deal is on, by tomorrow or else hes off to Bordeaux.

If Ulster hadn't been looking at 10s you would be given out for Ulster not making any arrangements in case Carbery didnt come and leaving it to the last minute.

I suspect Ulster would have wanted Volavola at 15 more than 10. Really not in the Irish flyhalf mold and particularly Ulster who seem to have built their relative success previously on their half backs controlling the game. Volavola is a creative player that'll get a backline moving but not I've never seen him control a game.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:04 pm

Seems Dan Soper new job is Skills Coach and he will continue working with Banbridge
Cant see how Malone can stay now

O'Donnell, Reid and Finnegan all joining the Academy next year according to Planet Rugby
There is our future at 9

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Pete330v2 on Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:36 pm

http://www.midilibre.fr/amp/2018/06/03/rugby-montpellier-pienaar-l-autre-raison-d-une-finale-ratee,1680794.php?__twitter_impression=true

Now my french is a tad rusty but this article says Steyn is also moving to Ireland. Interesting eh???

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:46 pm

Get the finger out Ulster and offer to pay Ruan 200k to be sparky for a year. I couldn't give a fiddlers what role it is. Find him a job and ST's will sell out

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by eirebilly on Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:12 am

Standulstermen wrote:Get the finger out Ulster and offer to pay Ruan 200k to be sparky for a year. I couldn't give a fiddlers what role it is. Find him a job and ST's will sell out

Get on to Rava, he could get him a job in HSE thumbsup
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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by marty2086 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:16 am

Pete330v2 wrote:http://www.midilibre.fr/amp/2018/06/03/rugby-montpellier-pienaar-l-autre-raison-d-une-finale-ratee,1680794.php?__twitter_impression=true

Now my french is a tad rusty but this article says Steyn is also moving to Ireland. Interesting eh???

Is that maybe just the poor grammar on Google translate?

Steyns family have left Montpellier too and Pienaars has returned to Belfast and the two players are living together, where Pienaars family not back in Belfast before Christmas though for his wife to have their new baby?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by rodders on Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:36 am

Standulstermen wrote:Bleyendaal makes little sense because if he gets broken Nucifora is on the hook again from Ulster.

I like Bleyendaal actually, his only weakness is place kicking otherwise he is a top class player.

The fact that he's not very durable is a plus for me as it will give McPhillips plenty of opportunity also. Keatley would have been ok either but a fit Bleyendaal is certainly a better player and will be a good mentor as well.



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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Pete330v2 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:44 am

marty2086 wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:http://www.midilibre.fr/amp/2018/06/03/rugby-montpellier-pienaar-l-autre-raison-d-une-finale-ratee,1680794.php?__twitter_impression=true

Now my french is a tad rusty but this article says Steyn is also moving to Ireland. Interesting eh???

Is that maybe just the poor grammar on Google translate?

Steyns family have left Montpellier too and Pienaars has returned to Belfast and the two players are living together, where Pienaars family not back in Belfast before Christmas though for his wife to have their new baby?

It may be lost in translation from the article writer or just misinformation through bad journalism. I do not however use google translate for French, how dare you Marty......Smile
Ruan is sharing a house with him according to this so may have a strong influence over him.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by marty2086 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:13 am

Sacre bleu!

Excuses, comment pourrais-je faire une telle réclamation erronée

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:21 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
O'Donnell, Reid and Finnegan all joining the Academy next year according to Planet Rugby
There is our future at 9

Should clarify, only the first two are 9s

Finnegan is a back three player - never seen him pay but I have seen the two 9s

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Pete330v2 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:22 am

marty2086 wrote:Sacre bleu!

Excuses, comment pourrais-je faire une telle réclamation erronée

Now for that I used google translate Smile

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:27 am

Bleyendaal remains a few whispers at the moment and whilst a talented player fragile and cant play 15 which would be as important in any signings imv.

The Pienaer story is his family are moving back here.
(I think before they have shuttled back and forth - that is no longer the case and Ruan will now come over whenever he can. Doesn't sound sustainable to me)

Doubles my conviction he will return as a coach.
Two years on his contract to go - I reckon a deal could be had next summer.
He will be 35 1/2 come the start of the 19/20 season - time to hang up your boots.
Alternatively I would suggest seeing as it is WC year the IRFU would give us a bit of slack and allow him to sign as a player/coach
Useful cover whilst Cooney away in Japan.

Steyn family moving to Ireland - we don't know where though.
Probably a new Leinster signing Rolling Eyes


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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:29 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
O'Donnell, Reid and Finnegan all joining the Academy next year according to Planet Rugby
There is our future at 9

Should clarify, only the first two are 9s

Finnegan is a back three player - never seen him pay but I have seen the two 9s

Reid is a LH Geoff.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:32 am

Standulstermen wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
O'Donnell, Reid and Finnegan all joining the Academy next year according to Planet Rugby
There is our future at 9

Should clarify, only the first two are 9s

Finnegan is a back three player - never seen him pay but I have seen the two 9s

Reid is a LH Geoff.

In which case I am going mad - clearly mixing him up with someone else.
Will have to find out who I am talking about
Pretty sure I didn't watch a LH play SH Very Happy picard furious

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by marty2086 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:35 am

Soper confirmed as new skills coach with Malone staying as head analyst

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by toml on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:36 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
O'Donnell, Reid and Finnegan all joining the Academy next year according to Planet Rugby
There is our future at 9

Should clarify, only the first two are 9s

Finnegan is a back three player - never seen him pay but I have seen the two 9s

Is this true? All players from Sopers Inst team that won 2016/2017 with Lowry and Hume.

I think Reid is a Loose Head?

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:38 am

I think it must have been Curtis jnr I was watching play at 9 not Reid !!
He is also joining the Academy in some capacity.
I need a lie down after that - complete Brain fart Doh

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by marty2086 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:40 am

Ulster Rugby has confirmed that Daniel Soper will join the coaching team next season in the position of Skills Coach.

  Following on from the announcement of new Head Coach Dan McFarland and the news that former player Jared Payne will assume the role of Defence Coach, Soper's appointment completes the Ulster coaching ticket for next season along with Assistant Coach Dwayne Peel, Scrum Coach Aaron Dundon and Head Analyst Niall Malone.

Soper will be a familiar face to followers of domestic rugby, where he has achieved considerable success in the local club and school game. The 41-year-old native of Alexandra, New Zealand, moved to Ireland in 1998 and played for both Banbridge RFC and Ballynahinch RFC. He also had spells playing for North Otago in New Zealand's NPC and Padova in Italy.

He was then part of the coaching team that guided 'Hinch to the 'grand slam' of Ulster and All Ireland Cup and League success in 2009. In 2010, Soper rejoined Banbridge as Head Coach and he has overseen a steady upward trajectory in club fortunes, highlighted in two promotions in the All Ireland League. Soper will continue to be involved at Banbridge next season.

In the school game, Soper cut his teeth with Sullivan Upper before spending seven years at Ballyclare High School, during which time the school reached four Danske Bank Ulster Schools' Cup semi-finals and a first final in almost 40 years. Most recently, as Director of Rugby at RBAI, Soper collected three Schools' Cup titles in a row from 2015 to 2017. He has also coached the Ulster U18 Schools squad.

Commenting on the announcement of his new role, Daniel said:

"When I spoke to Bryn (Cunningham) and the other coaches, I was really impressed with the vision they have about how they want the team to play and where they want the club to go, and I feel my strengths are well suited to the role they want me to play in that.

"There are a lot of the players that I have worked with over the years, from Michael (Lowry) and James (Hume) at 'Inst' in recent years, right back to Darren Cave who I coached at Sullivan, as well as all the players on the Ulster Schools and Banbridge teams.

"Also, as someone who has been a Season Ticket holder for the past number of years, I've always watched the development of players with a keen eye so it's really exciting that I'll now have the opportunity to help further that development.

"The prospect of working in the professional game is something that I am really enthused about, I expect it to be another step up but it's a challenge that I'm really looking forward to."

Bryn Cunningham, Ulster's Operations Director, added:

"From speaking to Dan, Jared and Daniel, as well as our current coaches, I know they are all really looking forward to linking up and getting stuck into the new season. This is a great opportunity for a revitalised coaching group to come in with fresh ideas and a renewed determination to take Ulster back to where we all want to be.

"There are very few coaches who can boast the level of success and respect that Daniel has in the local game and this, along with his undoubtable coaching aptitudes, will ensure he is a great addition to the setup here at Kingspan Stadium."

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:40 am

marty2086 wrote:Soper confirmed as new skills coach with Malone staying as head analyst

Understand Soper will still help out at Banbridge in some capacity.

Surprised Malone staying because it will be a pay cut but then maybe he enjoys his job/has nowhere else to go

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:41 am

Heard good things about Reid but as you can tell I haven't seen him play ...no at LH anyway Run

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by marty2086 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:04 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Soper confirmed as new skills coach with Malone staying as head analyst

Understand Soper will still help out at Banbridge in some capacity.

Surprised Malone staying because it will be a pay cut but then maybe he enjoys his job/has nowhere else to go

His titles changed to Head Analyst so could be more responsibility on that front hence the need for a new skills coach

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by toml on Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:15 pm

Plenty of young 9s on the books then.

Stewart, Curtis Jr, Stronge, O'Donnell

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:03 pm

Yep and it seems to me that we may be expanding the Academy size a bit, with two provisos.

1 - Some of the Academy may well be getting full contracts next year
2 - Some of, the names mentioned, may be in what is described as the Sub-Academy rather than the full Academy

Even so we continue to increase the crop of promising young players on the books, after years of inadequate numbers.

I noted with interest Soper mentioned Hume and Lowry by name - they both will be in the 1st XV at some point of the season

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:08 pm

Just watched the Wales v Saffers match
Jantjies was crap

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by marty2086 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:15 pm

Lealiifano is off to Japan for the 18/19 Top League, so that's his name of the shortlist

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by carpet baboon on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:25 pm

I'm going to make a wild prediction now. Strap in and enjoy the ride.

We won't get any 10 of note untill after the WC, but my wild prediction is this. McPhillips will be our starting 10, he will be invited along to the Ireland camps in November, due to how well the start of season is going for him. But will not feature in any squads during the November Tests.
With his confidence high his form over Christmas will rocket leading for calls for him to make the 6n squad. Won't make initial squad but will be called up due to injuries. Gets capped with 10 mins left in a 6n game.
Outstanding form for rest of season gets him called up for the larger WC training squad.
Gets announced he's made the WC squad.
Gets injured in training.
Misses the WC and all of Ulster's season.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:20 pm

By the end of the season Lowry will be in front of him - that's my prediction

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by JmD on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:26 pm

Geoff, how tall is Lowry? He looks very short, possibly too short to make the step up to European cup standard rugby. His Banbridge website profile says 5'9", but given that the profile also he's 29 years old it's probably not to be trusted.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:03 pm

He is not a big lad and his size is a problem but the view in the club now is develop the players with the brains and the skill and that size isn't everything.

He is, I'd guess something like 5' 7.5" - Age is 19 though.
He would have to play with a strong 9 and a strong 12 but if a 10 is good enough you can cope (sure we had I.Humph for years)

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by clivemcl on Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:31 pm

Glad to see from his Instagram that Jordi seems to be spending a fair bit of downtime with his new club mates.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:04 pm

Coaching Set Up declared complete:

Dan McFarland         Head Coach
Dwayne Peel            Assistant Coach
Jared Payne             Defence Coach
Dan Soper               Skills Coach
Aaron Dundon          Scrum Coach
Niall Malone              Head Analyst

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:13 pm

I'll take that bet on Lowry Geoff. Not that I dont think he is a better player or has more potential but I see a far few knocks for him in any introductory season. He'll be managed massively due to his size. I'll gout on a limb and suggest Agnew to come through

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:21 pm

I am thinking literally the last month or so, certainly post New Year.
I do think McPhillips will dominate in 2018
Agree on Agnew, also I expect to see a lot more of Dunleavy, Hall, Hume and some more of Regan, McBurney and O'Hagan.

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

Post by Standulstermen on Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:24 pm

The last two you mentioned are overdue a shot. McBurney has been injured obviously a fair bit but no excuse for O'Hagan imo

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Re: Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

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