Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

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Post by Cyril on Sat 20 Oct 2018, 8:56 pm

First topic message reminder :

Part 2

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Post by marty2086 on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 12:12 pm

Zebre Team

F Brummer; P Balekana, G Bisegni, N de Battista, J Elliott; C Canna, J Renton; D Rimpelli, O Fabiani, E Bello; L Krumov, G Biagi (c); A Tauyavuca, J Brown, J Bianchi.

Subs: L Luus, D Fischetti, R Tenga, L Masselli, A Mordacci, R Raffaele, M Azzolini, G Venditti

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Post by rodders on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 1:52 pm

marty2086 wrote:ULSTER: L Ludik; R Baloucoune, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; P Nelson, D Shanahan; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore; A O’Connor (c), K Treadwell; C Ross, S Reidy, N Timoney.

Subs: J Andrew, A Warwick, R Kane, I Nagle, G Jones, J Stewart, J McPhillips, J Hume.

Can we now agree that McPhillips really is not fancied at 10 by the Ulster management?

Oh gee even Nelson ahead of him. That is crazy.
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Post by marty2086 on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 2:06 pm

Im guessing McPhillips wont be at Ulster next season

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Post by clivemcl on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 2:17 pm

OK I know its Zebre, and I know Geoff will say I'm incredibly negative, but does nobody else worry that that lineup is more than capable of having a mare and losing?

Is this not supposed to be a handy wee bonus point win? I wouldn't be so sure of the handiness, nor the bonus point.

Not even just who the players are, but the drastic changes in partnerships and pairings etc... Maybe depends on some young lads really showing their potential (Lyttle) and some older heads leading by example (Herring, Moore, O'Connor, and Reidy).


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Post by rodders on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 2:18 pm

Bizarre decision, that aside that is an exciting looking back line and decent team.
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Post by neilthom7 on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 9:10 pm

Uncontested scrums. You don't see that often. With all due respect this Zebre team is really not remotely qualified to be in this league.

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Post by neilthom7 on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 9:27 pm

Rob Lyttles kicking has been a real positive tonight, getting a bonus point has been great but I don't know how much we can really learn from this since Zebre were so bad.

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Post by clivemcl on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 9:41 pm

I said it last week, I’ll say it again. When are we going to consider the possibility that Benetton are good rather than lucky. Another convincing win for them.

Does it begin to look like we need to be hoping Scarlets and Edinburgh have poor runs and accept the fact that Benettons ‘tricky’ fixtures may not be assumed losses on their current form.

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Post by clivemcl on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 9:46 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:

ROUND 16: Benetton v Dragons
ROUND 17: Benetton v Edinburgh
ROUND 18: Connacht v Benetton
ROUND 19: Leinster v Benetton
ROUND 20: Benetton v Munster
ROUND 21: Zebre v Benetton


Can see Benetton winning 4/5 of those to be honest.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:58 am

clivemcl wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:

ROUND 16: Benetton v Dragons
ROUND 17: Benetton v Edinburgh
ROUND 18: Connacht v Benetton
ROUND 19: Leinster v Benetton
ROUND 20: Benetton v Munster
ROUND 21: Zebre v Benetton


Can see Benetton winning 4/5 of those to be honest.
The Great Aukster wrote:
BENETTON
ROUND 16: Benetton (5) v Dragons - woeful Dragons away form
ROUND 17: Benetton (4) v Edinburgh - The Italians will have more first teamers back from 6N camp than the Scots
ROUND 18: Connacht v Benetton (1) - Connacht may rest some players for Europe, while Benetton only have the league to go for
ROUND 19: Leinster v Benetton (0)
ROUND 20: Benetton (2) v Munster - Munster probably secure in their playoff spot and may still be in Europe, home advantage but Munster will scrap
ROUND 21: Zebre v Benetton (5) - Zebre nothing to play for
Current 41 plus 17 = 58
Benetton will be very hard to catch. I'd predicted a home win for Edinburgh last night, but because they lost, they will be even more desperate to beat Benetton in Italy.
Zebra were unbelievably poor and looked like a bunch of individuals scratched together to fulfil the fixture rather than compete, but at least the game showed that Ulster could get a bonus point when their pack is dominant

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Post by Pot Hale on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 2:25 pm

Michael Bradley, the Zebre coach had only one thing to say after his team lost to Ulster:

We wuz robbed.

Rob Little - 6 conversions and a try
Rob Balacounne - try
Rob Herring - 3 tries
Rob Tenga - Yellow Card
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Post by geoff999rugby on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 5:16 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Here are my predictions, and even with a season ending win Ulster will finish 5th!

SCARLETS
ROUND 16: Scarlets (5) v Toyota Cheetahs
ROUND 17: Scarlets (4) v Munster - Munster will be missing their 6N guys and won't risk any doubtfuls as they still have R18 before Europe
ROUND 18: Cardiff Blues v Scarlets (1) - Tight game with both scrapping for respective playoffs
ROUND 19: Scarlets (4) v Edinburgh - The Scots either elated from Europe and rest players or deflated and lose focus by licking wounds
ROUND 20: Scarlets (5) v Zebre
ROUND 21: Dragons v Scarlets (4) - Dragons will have nothing to play for and will be looking towards the summer hols
Current 36 plus 23 = 59

BENETTON
ROUND 16: Benetton (5) v Dragons - woeful Dragons away form
ROUND 17: Benetton (4) v Edinburgh - The Italians will have more first teamers back from 6N camp than the Scots
ROUND 18: Connacht v Benetton (1) - Connacht may rest some players for Europe, while Benetton only have the league to go for
ROUND 19: Leinster v Benetton (0)
ROUND 20: Benetton (2) v Munster - Munster probably secure in their playoff spot and may still be in Europe, home advantage but Munster will scrap
ROUND 21: Zebre v Benetton (5) - Zebre nothing to play for
Current 41 plus 17 = 58

EDINBURGH
ROUND 16: Edinburgh (4) v Cardiff Blues - home advantage and form
ROUND 17: Benetton v Edinburgh (1) - LBP as more depleted by 6N and away from home
ROUND 18: Edinburgh (4) v Leinster - The Irish missing more players and Edinburgh looking for a hard run in to their HEC tie.
ROUND 19: Scarlets v Edinburgh (0) - can't see Edinburgh getting up for this game whether they win or lose in Europe the previous weekend
ROUND 20: Edinburgh (4) v Ulster - home win
ROUND 21: Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh (4) - Edinburgh have the wood over Glasgow and may need the win more
Current 41 plus 17 = 58

ULSTER
ROUND 16: Ulster (4) v Zebre - Ulster don't have the fire power to get a TBP while missing Stockdale and Addison
ROUND 17: Dragons v Ulster (4) - Very tough away fixture, but if Ulster can beat the Ospreys maybe they can do the same at Dave.
ROUND 18: Ulster (5) v Southern Kings - Hopefully some Test returnees against the worst team in the league
ROUND 19: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster (0) - Glasgow are likely to be out of Europe but will be fired up to get home playoff and will be playing a game Ulster struggle to contain.
ROUND 20: Edinburgh v Ulster (1) - Ulster haven't a great record in this fixture and will do well to get anything
ROUND 21: Ulster (4) v Leinster - a backs to the wall performance against freewheeling Dubliners who will be probably still in Europe
Current 39 plus 18 = 57

Ulster might be best advised to rest players for the Glasgow game, as there is a short turnaround from Europe and the Edinburgh game is now the most important game of their season. Qualification for next season's competition could hinge on that game, but they will still have to beat Leinster as well.

Adjusting the above for actual results we now have a prediction of:
Scarlets 59
Benetton 59
Edinburgh 55
Ulster 58

I believe the prediction for the coming weekend is optimistic for Scarlets
Yes Munster are missing their 6n guys but so are Scarlets
I also believe Ulster will probably get 5 points - Dragons are very poor and we have a number of players who will come back
Not sure a 6N time Edinburgh are capable of a point at Benetton

By time Edinburgh play Ulster they could easily be down and out with three more defeats on the bounce

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Post by Standulstermen on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:00 pm

Ulster could really use Coetzee, Cooney and Murphy back for the dragons. We havent performed well there consistently. Also Marty Moore must be knocking on the door of international honours again which might hinder us

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Post by marty2086 on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 9:06 pm

Coetzee is expected back for Dragons isnt he? Gilroy back running this week, too soon for him probably, Marshall back before the end of the season? Could be huge for the squad

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Post by carpet baboon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 11:30 pm

Any news at all on Curtis? He was looking a very handy player

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Post by rodders on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 9:30 am

Good performance again, Lyttle would have been my motm.
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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 10:53 am

Alan O’Connor, Ross Kane, Dave Shanahan and Rob Lyttle have signed contract extensions.

Milasinovich confirmed

Probably al l2 year contracts but I'll try and confirm

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:04 am

Great news, still a few who don't have contracts for next season though

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:06 am

What is interesting is who is left to sign

Full contract players:                Warwick, McCall Kyle, Best, Herbst, Ross, Cave, Gilroy, Nelson
Development contract players:  O'Hagan, McBurney, Timoney, Matty Rea, Jones, Stewart, McPhillips, Montgomery
Development contract players:  Thompson, Owens, Busby
(who have played zero minutes)
Academy in 3rd year or played for 1st XV: McCall Zack, Baloucoune, Hernhan, Houston, Dalton

I think the three development players who has not played a single minute are certain to go
Full contract players - my guess is Herbst away. Ross, Gilroy and Cave in the balance - the rest will stay
Of the development players who have appeared on the pitch McBurney, Timoney, Rea, Jones are shoo ins
McPhillips and Stewart will be offered contracts
O'Hagan will be assessed re injuries - my guess is he will get one more year
Montgomery could easily leave
Baloucoune is shoo in for a development contract, Zack McCall could be in a tricky situation if Rory decides to stay.
He could go. Don't think any of the others will be offered Development contracts at this stage

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:11 am

Gilroys signed up Geoff, he signed a deal last year until 2021

Isn't Marcus Rea along with Hall also out of contract this year?

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:21 am

Marcus Hall and Hall are In the 3rd year of the Academy.
I should have included them as they are in the same situation as Zack McCall
I would expect both to be offered development contracts

I missed the Gilroy extension - I was away when it happened
Thanks for the update

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Post by Pete330v2 on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:22 am

I thought Herbst was already away or did I dream it?

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:31 am

Herbst was on the bench against Treviso and there has been no announcement.

Now to be honest it does seem to be the worst kept secret but nothing official, although in practise I reckon you are right.
He did not train with the first XV last week

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:47 am

Should have added Milasinovich is seen by Ulster as a TH who can play LH not the other way round.
Having watched him at the weekend I have to agree
Really only confirms that it is him in, Herbst out at TH and that is other set up for next year - Moore, O'Toole, Kane and Milasinovich
Also confirms still a LH to arrive to join - O'Sullivan, McCall, Warwick, O'Hagan (maybe)

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:49 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Herbst was on the bench against Treviso and there has been no announcement.

Now to be honest it does seem to be the worst kept secret but nothing official, although in practise I reckon you are right.
He did not train with the first XV last week

Why would he not be training with the first XV?

That also sounds like there's been a falling out

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 12:34 pm

The suspicion is he has already left - just not official
May well be allowed a week off to sort his affairs out prior to his return to SA

I suspect he will just be a break glass option for the rest of the season
Keeping Moore and O'Sullivan fit is absolutely key from here on in


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Post by carpet baboon on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 7:20 am

The indo. Is reporting the jack McGrath to Ulster story, but they are saying it's jack himself who has asked for the move North.
Makes me a bit hopeful

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Post by geoff999rugby on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 9:14 am

This is definitely on.

Ulster been turned down by Dooley last year and Buckley fancies foreign fields.
IRFU want Ulster to sign a IQ LH and it appears McGrath got wind and said what about me.
He want to be No 1 choice - with O'Sullivan as backup that would become a position of strength
Now if he can just convince his team mate Deegan to make the same move, we would have a serious looking pack.

Added advantage of us having a NIE slot to give to Faddes

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Post by Kingshu on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 9:33 am

Buckley signed a two year deal with Connacht just earkier this month, so not foreign fields, just low lieing ones.

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 10:07 am

If Leinster think he's on the decline and have Byrne ahead of him should Ulster worry that he's declining?

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Post by Redman on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 10:40 am

marty2086 wrote:If Leinster think he's on the decline and have Byrne ahead of him should Ulster worry that he's declining?

He's a British & Irish Lion. He's 2 years younger than Healy and seems ambitious to regain the starting Ireland shirt. It doesn't feel like a player who's in decline but I haven't seen many Leinster games recently.

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Post by rodders on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 10:48 am

I think he'd be a terrific signing, not long ago he was the no 1 loose head in the country and is obviously suffering by being behind Healy in the pecking order for Leinster.

He's used to packing down with Moore and Best as well is a bonus, not to mention Murphy and Henderson.
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Post by Kingshu on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 10:55 am

Hes on a central contract as well at present, does that not mean we get a top quality LH in his prime for cheap.
Thats a win win win and should help balance the books.

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Post by Brendan on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 11:01 am

I think Carty being picked over Byrne was a wake up call for Leinster players that being backup at Leinster isn't good enough as starting somewhere else.

I think we might see a few more Leinster players looking to go North and West rather than stay a squad player.

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Post by Pete330v2 on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 11:57 am

Unconfirmed report on the twittersphere that the South African players at Montpelier have fallen out with Vern Cotter and Ruan Pienaar is set to leave the club at the end of the season. The club owner has met with the squad to discuss the situation.

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Post by St John The Enforcer on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 12:14 pm

rodders wrote:I think he'd be a terrific signing, not long ago he was the no 1 loose head in the country and is obviously suffering by being behind Healy in the pecking order for Leinster.

He's used to packing down with Moore and Best as well is a bonus, not to mention Murphy and Henderson.  
Will he ever pack down with Best for Ulster? Rory will be 112 years old after the wc

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 12:25 pm

Redman wrote:
marty2086 wrote:If Leinster think he's on the decline and have Byrne ahead of him should Ulster worry that he's declining?

He's a British & Irish Lion.  He's 2 years younger than Healy and seems ambitious to regain the starting Ireland shirt.  It doesn't feel like a player who's in decline but I haven't seen many Leinster games recently.  

Age means nothing if he's got fitness issues or is just declining, my point though is that there's a reason he's fallen down the pecking order and should that be questioned?

Him being a Lion is irrelevant unless he can regain the form that got him there and he doesn't look like the same player he was then but there was a point Healy looked like he mightn't get back to his best either

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Post by Redman on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 12:52 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Redman wrote:
marty2086 wrote:If Leinster think he's on the decline and have Byrne ahead of him should Ulster worry that he's declining?

He's a British & Irish Lion.  He's 2 years younger than Healy and seems ambitious to regain the starting Ireland shirt.  It doesn't feel like a player who's in decline but I haven't seen many Leinster games recently.  

Age means nothing if he's got fitness issues or is just declining, my point though is that there's a reason he's fallen down the pecking order and should that be questioned?

Him being a Lion is irrelevant unless he can regain the form that got him there and he doesn't look like the same player he was then but there was a point Healy looked like he mightn't get back to his best either

Point taken, but a lot of it is mental and if he's actively looking to move to get 1st team rugby then it suggests that he a) wants it and b) thinks (rightly or wrongly) that he's capable of it. That's got to be a positive sign.

And let's be honest, even if he's lost of bit of his edge he's still a top, top player.

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 1:24 pm

The biggest positive is that its probably a no lose situation for Ulster, if he's on the decline and not up to it then he doesn't usurp EOS and the IRFU foot the bill. If hes back near his best then Ulsters front row improves and the other 3 guys still have plenty of opportunity for game time.

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Post by rodders on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 1:32 pm

St John The Enforcer wrote:
rodders wrote:I think he'd be a terrific signing, not long ago he was the no 1 loose head in the country and is obviously suffering by being behind Healy in the pecking order for Leinster.

He's used to packing down with Moore and Best as well is a bonus, not to mention Murphy and Henderson.  
Will he ever pack down with Best for Ulster? Rory will be 112 years old after the wc

Yeah but he'll still be better than Cronin ... Very Happy
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Post by Brendan on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 2:01 pm

rodders wrote:
St John The Enforcer wrote:
rodders wrote:I think he'd be a terrific signing, not long ago he was the no 1 loose head in the country and is obviously suffering by being behind Healy in the pecking order for Leinster.

He's used to packing down with Moore and Best as well is a bonus, not to mention Murphy and Henderson.  
Will he ever pack down with Best for Ulster? Rory will be 112 years old after the wc

Yeah but he'll still be better than Cronin ... Very Happy
Is there any talk of when he plans to retire. Hooker is quiet physical so you would assume after the WC he will probably announce when he goes. Great servant and better than Cronin.

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Post by Redman on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 2:18 pm

He's done with Ireland after the World Cup. It was always assumed he'd leave Ulster then too, but there's been mutterings that he might stay on at Ulster recently.

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Post by Kingshu on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 2:18 pm

Please let us resign Pienaar, we can play cooney Pienaar 9/10 and they can keep swapping and upsetting defenses. Its the future.

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Post by clivemcl on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 3:03 pm

Is Rory not still fairly involved with the family farm though? Would that not keep him local?

Don't think anyone would have a problem with him cashing in with a big club for his last few years though.

If Herring promises to do hatricks every week we are grand anyway!

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Post by rodders on Thu 28 Feb 2019, 4:43 pm

No harm to Rob Herring but I'd take a 40 year old best every day of the week.
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Post by Redman on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 12:58 am

clivemcl wrote:Is Rory not still fairly involved with the family farm though? Would that not keep him local?

Don't think anyone would have a problem with him cashing in with a big club for his last few years though.

If Herring promises to do hatricks every week we are grand anyway!

I'm not sure cash has ever been that high up Rory's priority list. It's possible, and I wouldn't begrudge him going elsewhere but I doubt it'll happen. I remember seeing an interview with him a good while ago now. He talked about how he had strongly considered moving abroad, but it wasn't for the money. It was back when Ulster were getting beat up, pre Pienaar, pre Muller. They were losing games they really shouldn't and Best took each loss extremely hard. He said every time they lost it would throw him into a depression which lasted the whole week until the next game. That is was affecting his home life and family. He wanted to continue playing rugby and push for Ireland and as a result he was considering leaving Ulster. He was literally too committed to the cause and it took a toll on him.

I don't remember the rest of the interview but I guess the Saffas showed up and Ulster's fortunes turned around and it looked like we might actually win something. In that time Rory established himself as Ireland's starting hooker and while Ulster's fortunes took a turn for the worse relatively recently Ireland's have soared and so have his. He's strangely graduated from being disliked by the southerners to being pretty well respected (in fairness he was a poor captain in his early Ulster days but he's relentless worked at it and is now a very effective influencer with the refs at international level, and I guess has always commanded the respect of the players).

The BBC ran a bit back during the autumn internationals how he was now Ireland's most successful captain. An incredible claim given Willie John McBride basically walks into most publications starting XV greatest Lions as the captain. And having followed O'Connell and O'Driscoll previously ...... but he's the skipper that the players chose, the IRFU wanted Heaslip. His record really does speak for itself.

Whatever he chooses he's an Ulster and Irish legend and having him connected with the branch in anyway shape or form in the future would be our honour.


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Post by marty2086 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 12:19 pm

(15-9): Louis Ludik; Robert Baloucoune, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8): Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt), Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements (16-23): Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Ian Nagle, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, James Hume, Peter Nelson.

That's a bloody strong team

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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 1:07 pm

marty2086 wrote:(15-9): Louis Ludik; Robert Baloucoune, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8): Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt), Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements (16-23): Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Ian Nagle, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, James Hume, Peter Nelson.

That's a bloody strong team

I was hoping it would be, no matter how bad the Dragons have been we've always had the propensity to slip up at Rodders Parade and we need to avoid the banana skin as well as getting a bonus point win. Not a simple task away in Wales. That squad should be capable so fingers and everything else crossed.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 1:17 pm

Get ready for the walloping to end all wallopings. Dragons by 50 Wink.

The way our defence was last week, McCloskey and Cave will be licking their lips.

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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 2:44 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Get ready for the walloping to end all wallopings. Dragons by 50 Wink.

The way our defence was last week, McCloskey and Cave will be licking their lips.

I wouldn't bet on that, if they go in with that attitude they could end up licking only their wounds Wink

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