Ulster Rugby 2018-19

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 9:49 am

First topic message reminder :

http://www.606v2.com/t68145-ulster-rugby-2017-2018-part-2


Last thread was at risk of self combusting, so started a new one for you. 


Bye.

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Post by clivemcl on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 2:33 pm

Ideally you want Marshall to come back (and come back at a decent level) just in time to rest McCloskey without giving up too much in terms of talent.

He's close, isn't he? He's been in training? Week before last I heard he had non-contact bib on, but couldn't help himself and was smashing players left and right. Champing at the bit it would seem.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 2:41 pm

rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:The bookies have Leinster as 17 points favourites, it's the biggest margin they have for any of the quarter finals

There are just too many variables right now to call it, Ulster need to be on point from the first whistle and Leinster need to be less than 100% which I think they will be. Will Sexton find form? What will their back row be?

Based on their rankings and records it is an easy win for Leinster. I think when you factor in how the 6N went for Ireland, the fact that they haven't had a chance to integrate their internationals back in I think this will be much closer. We're also coming off a good win so the mood will be good in our camp whereas Leinster were poor enough last weekend.    

Don't get me wrong Leinster are heavy favorites but a lot more stacks up in our favor than it did a few weeks ago, I think we have a real chance here.  

Ulster have fewer Test players than Leinster but the 6N went just as badly for them and arguably they are more important to Ulster as the cover is not as good. Have Ulster been integrating any more players back?

Ulster are coming off a good win against the weakest team in the League in a match they had to win. Leinster lost away without breaking sweat in a game that didn't matter to them.

Saturday's game is far more important to Leinster than Ulster and I'm struggling to see what's in Ulster's favour considering they have more injuries to cope with?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 2:48 pm

clivemcl wrote:Ideally you want Marshall to come back (and come back at a decent level) just in time to rest McCloskey without giving up too much in terms of talent.

He's close, isn't he? He's been in training? Week before last I heard he had non-contact bib on, but couldn't help himself and was smashing players left and right. Champing at the bit it would seem.

If Marshall is as fit as you say why not start him on Saturday - surely that is the perfect game for a player of his class to make his comeback, and have McCloskey to come off the bench?

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Post by rodders on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 2:53 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Ulster have fewer Test players than Leinster but the 6N went just as badly for them and arguably they are more important to Ulster as the cover is not as good. Have Ulster been integrating any more players back?

Ulster are coming off a good win against the weakest team in the League in a match they had to win. Leinster lost away without breaking sweat in a game that didn't matter to them.

Saturday's game is far more important to Leinster than Ulster and I'm struggling to see what's in Ulster's favour considering they have more injuries to cope with?

Best and Stockdale had decent 6Ns, Henderson was excellent in his one performance and Cooney did ok too in the couple of cameos he had so I don't think we will bear the same damage Leinster have with Sexton, O'Brien, Porter, Kearney and Cronin struggling for form, Henshaw injured and Ryan, Healy and Furlong all looking tired.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 5:43 pm

rodders wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ulster have fewer Test players than Leinster but the 6N went just as badly for them and arguably they are more important to Ulster as the cover is not as good. Have Ulster been integrating any more players back?

Ulster are coming off a good win against the weakest team in the League in a match they had to win. Leinster lost away without breaking sweat in a game that didn't matter to them.

Saturday's game is far more important to Leinster than Ulster and I'm struggling to see what's in Ulster's favour considering they have more injuries to cope with?

Best and Stockdale had decent 6Ns, Henderson was excellent in his one performance and Cooney did ok too in the couple of cameos he had so I don't think we will bear the same damage Leinster have with Sexton, O'Brien, Porter, Kearney and Cronin struggling for form, Henshaw injured and Ryan, Healy and Furlong all looking tired.    

Think you're being a tad hard on some of those Leinster guys - they were all part of the same misfiring team as the Ulster guys.
Don't think Best was anywhere near his usual standard, (similar to Healy and Furlong). Stockdale looked more mature defensively but had little chance in attack. Henderson had one decent showing but got injured again, not a positive for Ulster, whereas at least Ryan lasted the course and still had enough moments for the showreel. Cooney did OK in the tiny amount of time he was given, but when he was released to Ulster in the middle he was completely off form. Murphy hasn't had as much rugby as Conan who did well, with both Ringrose and Larmour also in fine fettle.

Sorry Rodders still struggling to see anything tipping in Ulster's favour from the 6N fallout.

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Post by Redman on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 9:45 pm

It's the Leinster 23 which is the problem.  I'm particularly worried about Deegan and JGP off the bench.  

Also Sexton has McGrath inside him rather than Murray.  On form that's a big upgrade.  


Prospective Leinster team per Planet Rugby :

1. Healy
2. Tracy
3. Furlong
4. Fardy
5. Ryan
6. Ruddock
7. Leavy
8. Conan
9. McGrath
10. Sexton
11. Larmour
12. ROL
13. Ringrose
14. Byrne
15. Kearney

16. Byrne
17. Byrne
18. Porter
19. Kearney
20. Deegan
21. JGP
22. Byrne
23. Kearney

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Post by carpet baboon on Wed 27 Mar 2019, 7:09 am

Could they have not got a few more Byrne's into the squad? They must have a couple more sitting around in the academy

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Post by Redman on Wed 27 Mar 2019, 11:13 am

There's 3 Kearney's as well.

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Post by rodders on Wed 27 Mar 2019, 11:35 am

Ulster by 5pts.
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Post by carpet baboon on Wed 27 Mar 2019, 11:37 am

In fact I think they must field a 15 with no single individual last name.
Just Kearney's, O'Brien's and Byrne's

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 27 Mar 2019, 12:19 pm

carpet baboon wrote:In fact I think they must field a 15 with no single individual last name.
Just Kearney's, O'Brien's and Byrne's

Don't forget the McGraths

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Post by Redman on Wed 27 Mar 2019, 2:39 pm

I suppose a couple of years ago we were coming down with Marshalls and Bests.

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Post by clivemcl on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 1:28 pm

A bit quiet in here considering whats coming up.
Any thoughts or guesses on the team?

Who all is unavailable?

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Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 2:35 pm

How about a starting XV of:-

O'Sullivan
Best
Moore (if RTP protocols passed)
Henderson (hopeful on fitness)
O'Connor
Murphy
Reidy
Coetzee
Cooney
Burns
Stockdale
McCloskey
Cave (Moore has been flown home early so a baptism of fire possible?)
Baloucoune
Lowry

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 2:41 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:
Cave (Moore has been flown home early so a baptism of fire possible?)

Moore came home with the rest of the A squad from the USA after the Free Jacks match did he not?

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Post by clivemcl on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 2:51 pm

So we are looking for Stockdale to do his usual, and for McCloskley to have a real fire in his belly up against his International centre contendors ahead of WC - and maybe for players like Lowry to not only not be a worry, but quite the opposite - show their worth. Ok Lowry did it last week - but that was the Kings... Leinster a different matter. Still though, would love to see Balacoune and Lowry take a few by surprise.

But at the same time, you would expect Leinster to fully see them both as the weakness in our backline. The forwards - nothing really to be concerned about - 1-8 they should be capable of going toe to toe.

Let's hope for Burns to keep Leinster guessing and find the space for Stockdale to run onto kicks and really pressure them.

Can't believe I'm working though for this. I think this one is too important to risk - going to turn my phone off at 5.45pm until I get home that night.

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Post by Redman on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 2:52 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:
Cave (Moore has been flown home early so a baptism of fire possible?)

Moore came home with the rest of the A squad from the USA after the Free Jacks match did he not?


Rumours elsewhere were he was flown home early on his own.

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Post by Redman on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 2:55 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:How about a starting XV of:-

O'Sullivan
Best
Moore (if RTP protocols passed)
Henderson (hopeful on fitness)
O'Connor
Murphy
Reidy
Coetzee
Cooney
Burns
Stockdale
McCloskey
Cave (Moore has been flown home early so a baptism of fire possible?)
Baloucoune
Lowry

It's a really strong pack but it's Henderson dependent. You saw what Ireland lost when he wasn't there, and he's even more important to us and than to Ireland.

Bench will be the worry. Not sure there's a plan B.

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 3:36 pm

RugbyPass reporting Jack McGraths a done deal and is due to be announced soon, I doubt it'll be announced before Saturday

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Post by clivemcl on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 5:06 pm

Let's hope the other ex-leinster boys really stand up and aim to prove a point on Saturday too.
I do reckon McGrath was holding of to be more sure of European qualification which now looks fairly certain for Ulster.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 5:26 pm

clivemcl wrote:Let's hope the other ex-leinster boys really stand up and aim to prove a point on Saturday too.
I do reckon McGrath was holding of to be more sure of European qualification which now looks fairly certain for Ulster.

Why does European qualification look "fairly certain for Ulster"?
Have they another game against the Kings up their sleeve?

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Post by clivemcl on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 7:29 pm

I'll not pretend I've studied the fixtures list as closely as you GA, but I thought I was hearing chat that we now looked comfortable for Europe, but still had to work to maintain the playoff, and work even harder for a home playoff.

Happy to be enlightened.

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Post by Standulstermen on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 9:13 pm

It still depends on other results Clive but it’s in our hands. One win should be enough for Heineken cup next season.

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Post by Redman on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 9:19 pm

If it was in the balance I'd hope the IRFU would tell Leinster to send an U19 squad up north and tell them not to try too hard.

That said there's no guarantee an Ulster 1st XV would beat a Leinster U19 side, but anyway .......

Back to Europe there's chat Bobby Kearney of highball fame is rumoured to be out. Lamour in to replace him. If so we need to pepper the lad with highballs, he doesn't convince me at all aerially.

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Post by clivemcl on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 10:15 pm

Can’t see Leinster sending a weak side up for the league fixture after we put them out of Europe censored

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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 9:55 am

The Indo is reporting that Sexton is a major doubt for Leinster.

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Post by rodders on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 9:59 am

Should have got the money on Ulster earlier folks Whistle
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Post by SecretFly on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 10:07 am

Dear God, all the poor guys (Sexton, Kearney) have been culled from the Leinster team, and the Ulster lads are happy?


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Post by marty2086 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 10:08 am

rodders wrote:Should have got the money on Ulster earlier folks Whistle

Some of us did thumbsup

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Post by rodders on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 10:12 am

marty2086 wrote:
rodders wrote:Should have got the money on Ulster earlier folks Whistle

Some of us did thumbsup

Haha, I don't bet myself but if I did I'd have stuck 2 quid on it Smile
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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 12:33 pm

15 Michael Lowry  
14 Robert Baloucoune  
13 Darren Cave  
12 Stuart McCloskey  
11 Jacob Stockdale  
10 Billy Burns  
9 John Cooney  

1 Eric O'Sullivan  
2 Rory Best  
3 Marty Moore  
4 Iain Henderson  
5 Kieran Treadwell  
6 Nick Timoney  
7 Jordi Murphy  
8 Marcell Coetzee  

Replacements
16 Rob Herring  
17 Andrew Warwick  
18 Wiehahn Herbst  
19 Alan O'Connor  
20 Sean Reidy  
21 David Shanahan  
22 Luke Marshall  
23 Angus Kernohan

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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 12:34 pm

Very strong starting XV and it's not often we get to say it but that's a strong bench too.
Game on folks!!!
Leinster are going down!!

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Post by clivemcl on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 12:44 pm

Considering how long he has been out, does Marshall making the bench suggest he is
a) ripping up tress in training or
b) he's just better than anyone else we have available?

Hopefully the first!

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Post by rodders on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 1:29 pm

Leinster missing Sexton, Lowe, Toner, Henshaw and VDF as well.

We definitely have a game on our hands.
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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 1:29 pm

In other news KOTH on t'other place reporting that McGrath has indeed signed as well as Irish qualified centre Hayden Hyde from Harlequins who'll join the academy.

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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 1:36 pm

rodders wrote:Leinster missing Sexton, Lowe, Toner, Henshaw and VDF as well.

We definitely have a game on our hands.

That’s a lot of firepower to be missing.

Ed Byrne on the bench ahead of Jack McGrath. Noel Reid as the replacement 10 on the bench. Rob Kearney on the bench and his bruv starting on the wing. Leavy lined up for coming into the backrow.

Ross Byrne is certainly getting a lot of European limelight - this will give him a lot of credit in the bank if he can steer the ship home safely.

Looking forward to going to this.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 1:59 pm

As expected McFarland has selected his strongest squad available. It's a bold move and the team better win this to vindicate it. If they lose and pick up a couple of injuries that cost them a league playoff, his stock will fall.

The Coaches believe that Kernohan is worth a bench place ahead of Lyttle, which is an interesting decision, as he doesn't really cover 15.
Is Nagle not allowed to play as he's on loan? Will the same apply in the last League game?

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Post by marty2086 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 2:16 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:As expected McFarland has selected his strongest squad available. It's a bold move and the team better win this to vindicate it. If they lose and pick up a couple of injuries that cost them a league playoff, his stock will fall.

The Coaches believe that Kernohan is worth a bench place ahead of Lyttle, which is an interesting decision, as he doesn't really cover 15.
Is Nagle not allowed to play as he's on loan? Will the same apply in the last League game?

Lyttle isn't registered, McFarland was complaining about it. For the QF they had to register players two weeks in advance rather than 1 week as it was during the group stages.

Read during the week that Nagle couldn't play because he was on loan, which seems strange as you could have someone like McGrath who will be with Ulster next season could have played yet Nagle will probably never play for Leinster again and not be eligible

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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 2:43 pm

I don't think McFarland's stock will fall if we don't make the playoffs because he sent as strong a squad as possible to play the current Euro champs on their turf in a QF. It would however fall dramatically if he sent our 2nd squad, dramatically off a cliff. There is a chance to make the SF which would be massive when you think of what we all thought we'd be achieving at the start of the season. Just to be in the QF is already very impressive.
I do think that if we can retain the fitness of most of that squad that we can pull off a win in the remaining Pro14 games and make the playoffs. Even if we don't make that, I'd be very pleased with qualifying for Europe next season, something I believe is even more vital than the playoffs.
Our 1st choice XV can push anyone on their day, injuries could come back to haunt us by the end of the season but as the coach of a professional rugby team, McFarland has to go for it with every asset at his disposal.

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Post by Redman on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 5:07 pm

My head isn't allowing me to think about victory.

I think the most likely outcome is a closer than expected defeat.

Bookies have Leinster by 19 or something crazy. I don't see that happening, unless we really lose our heads early on. Bring too much enthusiasm and implode a bit.

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Post by geoff999rugby on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 11:11 pm

No way McFarlands stock will fall if we are in the Challenge Cup - not a chance.

He is seen in Ulster and by the IRFU as the best coach we have had in the professional era, I agree.

As a point of fact we have won 4 and drawn 1 of our Pro14 games since the Leicester game
That draw was against a team that won 8 out of 9 in a row - we were the only ones they didn't beat.

To send anything less than our best team to the Aviva would be a disgrace.
What is the point making a big deal of qualifying for a tournament and not giving it your all when you are in it?
Also don't discount the monetary value of qualifying for a QF, or possibly a SF
If we come our of the QF battered and bruised, I'd rest key players against Glasgow and go full focus on Edinburgh and Leinster.
Leinster wil lnot send anything like there first XV here, and for the record we have won 3 of the last 4 games at home

I believe McGrath and Faddes are done deals, also we have signed an IQ academy back from Quins, called Hyde

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 7:47 am

Pete330v2 wrote:I don't think McFarland's stock will fall if we don't make the playoffs because he sent as strong a squad as possible to play the current Euro champs on their turf in a QF. It would however fall dramatically if he sent our 2nd squad, dramatically off a cliff. There is a chance to make the SF which would be massive when you think of what we all thought we'd be achieving at the start of the season. Just to be in the QF is already very impressive.
I do think that if we can retain the fitness of most of that squad that we can pull off a win in the remaining Pro14 games and make the playoffs. Even if we don't make that, I'd be very pleased with qualifying for Europe next season, something I believe is even more vital than the playoffs.
Our 1st choice XV can push anyone on their day, injuries could come back to haunt us by the end of the season but as the coach of a professional rugby team, McFarland has to go for it with every asset at his disposal.

If Ulster don't make Europe, McFarland won't have achieved what Kiss/Gibbes team did last year. Do you really think that some fans won't hold that against him?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 8:26 am

geoff999rugby wrote:No way McFarlands stock will fall if we are in the Challenge Cup - not a chance.

He is seen in Ulster and by the IRFU as the best coach we have had in the professional era, I agree.

As a point of fact we have won 4 and drawn 1 of our Pro14 games since the Leicester game
That draw was against a team that won 8 out of 9 in a row - we were the only ones they didn't beat.

To send anything less than our best team to the Aviva would be a disgrace.
What is the point making a big deal of qualifying for a tournament and not giving it your all when you are in it?
Also don't discount the monetary value of qualifying for a QF, or possibly a SF
If we come our of the QF battered and bruised, I'd rest key players against Glasgow and go full focus on Edinburgh and Leinster.
Leinster wil lnot send anything like there first XV here, and for the record we have won 3 of the last 4 games at home

I believe McGrath and Faddes are done deals, also we have signed an IQ academy back from Quins, called Hyde

I agree that McFarland is showing he's a great coach. Unfortunately it's not all about the rugby - money and politics need to be managed too and on that front John Petrie has said:
"You don't need to be an accountant to see some of the challenges that are in there," Petrie said. "We've seen falling revenues and falling attendance figures, and the direct correlation between the two.

"That's largely driven by some of the off-field challenges we've had where the focus hasn't been on the rugby during those years, and equally during those times when the performance out there hasn't been good enough. People want a product they can be proud of and that is largely successful."
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/rugby/ulster-rugby/jonny-petrie-ill-focus-on-process-to-make-ulster-better-every-day-37790867.html

The monetary value of a home League QF and being in the ERC Cup next season cannot be dismissed. The point of qualifying for the Cup is that it brings in season tickets for the three guaranteed home games. Progression in the competition is a bonus but not a banker. Progression as a team given where Ulster were starting from has been achieved in the Cup but not the League (yet).

Will the Cup run have fans rushing to sign up for next year to stem the falling attendances or will they be waiting to see if Ulster might be playing Saracens or Timisoara Saracens?

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Post by neilthom7 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 9:54 am

I don't know what other fans want in terms of ticket sales but I will be returning with a season ticket next year. I needed signs of progress and rid of an old management system that was rotten
Dan and his coaching crew have given me that progress and we got rid of a lot of the old management (logan) so thats all I needed.
For the record i do think we will qualify for Champions cup next season and that sending the full strength team to Leinster was the right choice especially since something like 15k Ulster fans will be there

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Post by geoff999rugby on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 10:19 am

Three simple facts and one probable fact and two self evident observation

We could lose every game from here to the end of the season and McFarland would be rock solid in his position
The coaching ticket is set in stone for the next two years, across the board

The players we wanted to sign, or resign, - McGrath, Faddes, Carter, Coetzee have all signed knowing we are not certain to be in the major competition

The vast majority of Season Ticket holders will have renewed before we know our fate because of the spread payments on offer.
That is true every year.

The monetary value of a home League QF and being in the ERC Cup next season cannot be dismissed.
No it cannot and neither can the considerable benefits of a HC QF
The point of qualifying for the Cup is that it brings in season tickets for the three guaranteed home games
We are guaranteed 3 more home games regardless of the competition we are in and one of those, at most, will be against a 2nd tier nation side

Observations - I'll tell you one thing that would make Ulster unattractive to both fans and players - not taking the premier completion seriously.

Secondly our problems in the most have been both mis-management and short termism
We knew at the start of the season it was a three year project to get us back to the top.
We have made great strides and will make more next year, even if we don't qualify for the HC that will still be our attitude.
If we do play in the Challenge Cup we will try and win it and will have every chance.

Your right we may not achieve what Kiss/Gibbes achieved last year - thank god for that.
They were a disgrace



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Post by carpet baboon on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 7:44 pm

Feck me that was some game

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Post by neilthom7 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 7:44 pm

I know they lost but that was a really heroic effort from Ulster and what a story for Luke Marshall. Congratulations to Leinster though fought back to win the game. A great match.

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Post by Pete330v2 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 7:47 pm

That was as good a game as I've seen in a long, long time. We were so close but what a superb effort. Hugely proud of all the boys.

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Post by eirebilly on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 8:57 pm

The one that got away for Ulster. That was one of the toughest closest matches I have seen for some time. Credit to both teams, that was a classic.
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Post by marty2086 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 9:00 pm

For all the praise Ulster deserve, am I the only one that thinks that Ulster still weren't at their best?

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