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 geoff999rugby on Tue 21 May 2019, 8:41 am

KOTH on the other site saying Sexton will play 7s next year (A year there didn't do Balacoune any harm)
and McPhillips to Connacht

Given his track record I think you can take both of those as read

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 21 May 2019, 9:30 am

7s would be perfect for Sexton, from what I've seen off him his defence needs a lot of work as he seems to expect his pace to get him out of trouble too much. He's still young so it should be a good environment to help him not develop that bad habit

McPhillips could do well at Connacht, Andy Friend seems to have got the best out of Carty who speaks highly of him and his methods

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 21 May 2019, 11:07 am

Connacht probably want McPhillips in case Carty is in Japan - still not convinced that Burns is any better.
Ulster must be hoping one of Lowry, Johnston or Curtis can make the grade, because that is probably the weakest position in the team.

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 21 May 2019, 12:18 pm

McPhillips offers more variety in his play than Burns who seems to be playing within himself, Im convinced Burns is better than we've seen this season but so is McPhillips who has been let down by his execution which could come down to a lack of gametime

Don't think we'll see Curtis at 10 but Johnston if he can stay fit could be a great signing, I said to some Munster fans on here last year I could see him being another Johnny Holland though

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Post by Kingshu on Tue 21 May 2019, 1:00 pm

Bit of a merry go round, would have been better if Carbery had just come to Ulster. Johnston and McPhillips would have stayed at their home province and Connacht may have signed Burns. That would have been best for everyone.

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 21 May 2019, 1:12 pm

Burns would not have gone to Connacht and anyway Joey refused to come here
Johnson would probably have still consider leaving as he is clearly behind Bleyendaal and Hanrahan.
Coming here he is in with a shout of 1st XV rugby.

I also don't thing Curtis will be playing any rugby at 10
Its a three way fight next year Johnson, Lowry and Burns

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Post by Pete330v2 on Tue 21 May 2019, 1:40 pm

I've only seen Johnston play a couple of times and was quite impressed but it's hard to tell much from those limited cameos. I've been reading through the twitter reactions and the Munster fans don't seem at all happy to see him go. That being the case then bring on the battle for number 10. It'll be more than beneficial for all 3 players to have the other 2 breathing down their neck for the shirt. I wish we could get the same kind of competition for the 9 shirt as well.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 21 May 2019, 2:09 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:I've only seen Johnston play a couple of times and was quite impressed but it's hard to tell much from those limited cameos. I've been reading through the twitter reactions and the Munster fans don't seem at all happy to see him go. That being the case then bring on the battle for number 10. It'll be more than beneficial for all 3 players to have the other 2 breathing down their neck for the shirt. I wish we could get the same kind of competition for the 9 shirt as well.

Johnston has been unlucky with injuries and hasn't really had much pro rugby experience, so all he has is potential right now. He will also have to contend with being a lone munster man in the midst of Leinster and Ulster players and under new coaches he doesn't know - a lot to ask of the main play-maker.

Burns now has a season of confidence-building behind him and needs to step up if he has been playing within himself, the challenge for him is to prove he could be Test Class ala Jack Carty.

Lowry cannot get away from the fact that he is small and that will be mentioned in connection to him for the rest of his career. He doesn't have a long range on his kicks so sitting in the 'pocket' isn't a great option for him, which means he is more likely to be flat and therefore more likely to get hit.

Curtis was signed as a ten, so why wouldn't he get a chance there? He might not be robust enough to be a 12, with an injury record similar to Johnstons.

Out half is definitely in a worse place than Scrum half
Burns hasn't yet shown he is Test Class whereas Cooney already has.
There is no League proven back-up to Burns (unless you count Nelson) whereas Shanahan has improved to that standard
The understudies for both 10 and 9 have potential but have yet to get the experience and opportunities in bigger games.

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Post by clivemcl on Tue 21 May 2019, 2:58 pm

It's only a year since the Carbery ulster/munster carry on. I'm sure Johnston wasn't thrilled Carbery was coming to Munster. Perhaps even as ealy as then he was thinking 'Would I be better at Ulster then?' And then we sign Burns. He;'s maybe been watching Burns this season and thinking that in terms of achieving a starting 10 spot, Ulster is the province he is most likely to oust the incumbent. And I reckon he could.

From what i can tell though Burns has settled in here pretty well. He's either got a girlfriend here, or she came with him. And they seem to have really connected with big Stu and his missus. So I think he's happy here and would maybe stay. I just kinda wish for better if I'm honest.

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 21 May 2019, 3:08 pm

Given we must have IQ who is there ?

Carberry said no, Sexton will retire at Leinster and to be honest no one else is any great shakes other than
Carty.

The cupboard has plenty of items, but none of stand out quality
Having a genuine 3 way tussle for the shirt between three up and coming prospects makes sense in the circumstances

Also be patient Sexton did not really emerge till he was 22 and did not hit the international scene till he was 24

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 21 May 2019, 3:22 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
Also be patient Sexton did not really emerge till he was 22 and did not hit the international scene till he was 24

And even then he was still inconsistent at times

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Post by clivemcl on Wed 22 May 2019, 8:50 pm

Confirmed Nelson is leaving, as is Nagle. Bit disappointed by Nagle. Felt he was a more than useful asset. Especially if we wanted Hendy to play more backrow.

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Post by carpet baboon on Wed 22 May 2019, 9:56 pm

clivemcl wrote:Confirmed Nelson is leaving, as is Nagle. Bit disappointed by Nagle. Felt he was a more than useful asset. Especially if we wanted Hendy to play more backrow.

Apparently he had already signed for Treviso for next year before he came to us.

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Post by geoff999rugby on Thu 23 May 2019, 8:36 am

As predicted Busby and Ownes dropped.
Nelson was always going to go once Faddes and Johnson were signed.
Don't blame Nagle - match 23 at Treviso or 5th choice lock at Ulster
You cant blame him

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 23 May 2019, 9:35 am

Chris Hagan added to the staff that have been let go, along with Kev Geary and following on from Gareth Robinson and Jonny Davis a year ago. Is this a continuation of the clear out of the old guard from last season?

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Post by rodders on Thu 23 May 2019, 11:03 am

geoff999rugby wrote:As predicted Busby and Ownes dropped.
Nelson was always going to go once Faddes and Johnson were signed.
Don't blame Nagle - match 23 at Treviso or 5th choice lock at Ulster
You cant blame him

I think we've been exposed a bit at lock this season and maybe could have got more from Nagle.

O'Connor really isn't European level as solid as he is.

Henderson for me continues to blow hot and cold, when he's on form he's like the second coming of Paul O'Connell but his form rarely sustains more than a few games in a row, sometimes due to injury - if you compare him to Toner or Ryan who rarely have a poor game. At nearly 30 he should have found a bit more consistency but worryingly he hasn't.

Treadwell, a great an athlete with decent hands in the loose and good fit for the high tempo game we want to play but was badly exposed physically in the Glasgow game. Against the big packs in Europe you need to win collisions and make hard yards and he isn't that type of player and as such he's not a great foil for Henderson imo.
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Post by geoff999rugby on Thu 23 May 2019, 11:35 am

Nagle was offered a contract but wanted 1st XV rugby.
Treadwell gets better year on year
Henderson was not great against Glasgow but when he has played he has usually played well
We really cant expect to have more than Carter, Henderson, Treadwell and AOC to be honest

Toner is getting on, and injured and to be honest I'd rather have Treadwell and AOC than what Leinster
have behind Ryan and Toner, especially given Fardy will be needed full time in the backrow with SOB away
and the outlook for Leavy not looking good

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Post by rodders on Thu 23 May 2019, 11:49 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Nagle was offered a contract but wanted 1st XV rugby.
Treadwell gets better year on year
Henderson was not great against Glasgow but when he has played he has usually played well
We really cant expect to have more than Carter, Henderson, Treadwell and AOC to be honest

Not in disagreement but my point is when Hendo is not fit or on form, which happens too regularly still we don't have anyone, other than Marcel who can pick up the slack.

Treadwell is good player but only if we are already on the front foot, if we aren't he's not a player who can get us there, as was seen against Glasgow where he was repeated smashed backwards.
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Post by geoff999rugby on Thu 23 May 2019, 12:20 pm

I would not read too much into the Glasgow game.
They were the only team who got the better of us after the New Year break

As I say Treadwell is improving - it will come
More importantly the signing of Carter will make a huge difference

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Post by carpet baboon on Tue 28 May 2019, 11:34 am

Our new prop coming over from Worcester has been described by Donncha O'Callaghan as one of the best athletes he has worked with and has the potential to be a top class International. Which is good news as he is one massive unit.

Also are we getting in a new forwards coach with Aaron leaving, or will Dan take over that part of coaching?

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 28 May 2019, 11:55 am

Roddy Grant coming in sure, seems he'll take over the elements of forward coaching that Dan isn't coaching. Im guessing breakdown etc will be his focus

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Post by carpet baboon on Tue 28 May 2019, 2:51 pm

marty2086 wrote:Roddy Grant coming in sure, seems he'll take over the elements of forward coaching that Dan isn't coaching. Im guessing breakdown etc will be his focus

Cheers missed that bit of news

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 28 May 2019, 4:15 pm

Grant was a flanker so I suspect the breakdown will play a big part of his remit

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Post by profitius on Sat 01 Jun 2019, 6:49 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:KOTH on the other site saying Sexton will play 7s next year (A year there didn't do Balacoune any harm)
and McPhillips to Connacht

Given his track record I think you can take both of those as read

I see Sexton broke 2 records again today. Also is the fastest U20 in Europe over 200m this year.

How tall is he?
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Post by Redman on Sun 02 Jun 2019, 12:09 am

6’4’’ from memory. Ulster height and weight stats though are notoriously unreliable. Players are literally told to inflat the numbers in interviews and the media.

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Post by marty2086 on Sun 02 Jun 2019, 10:14 am

https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/ireland-s-fastest-schoolboy-aaron-sexton-chooses-rugby-over-athletics-1.3909935


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Post by profitius on Sun 02 Jun 2019, 10:49 am

Redman wrote:6’4’’ from memory. Ulster height and weight stats though are notoriously unreliable. Players are literally told to inflat the numbers in interviews and the media.



If he can get the rugby basics right then he has potential. Going playing 7s next season apparently and that should help him with the basics.
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Post by marty2086 on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 3:33 pm

Ulster have confirmed that 'Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Angus Kernohan, Zack McCall and Marcus Rea have all put pen to paper on development deals'

That means 9 players who started 2018/19 on Academy contracts have since been upgraded, with no word on Aaron Hall I'm guessing he's being let go and maybe some good showings over the next few weeks from the under 20 guys will see a few more upgraded before Christmas


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Post by geoff999rugby on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:12 pm

Bit weird on Hume - this is not news

The fact he is getting a development contract was announced months ago
To quote a press release from 20th Feb
'Ulster Rugby is delighted to confirm that Abbey Insurance Academy players Eric O’Sullivan, Michael Lowry and James Hume have secured their first senior contracts.'

As for Hall it will be based on his injury prognosis.
If they think he can pull through he will get a 4th year in the Academy - done it before - Cochrane

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Post by marty2086 on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:49 pm

Has he not already done 4 years in the academy?

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Post by marty2086 on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:52 pm

5 Ulster players in the Ireland under 20 team tomorrow night against England, available on the World Rugby website

Ireland team: Iwan Hughes, Angus Kernohan, Liam Turner, Stewart Moore, Jonathan Wren, Jake Flannery, Craig Casey, Josh Wycherley, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Tom Clarkson, Charlie Ryan, Ryan Baird, David McCann, John Hodnett, Azur Allison

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Post by geoff999rugby on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 6:00 pm

marty2086 wrote:Has he not already done 4 years in the academy?

The website says year 3 and the fact he is not yet 21 would support that
That is my recollection also

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Post by marty2086 on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 9:35 am

I bow to yours and Ulsters superior knowledge notworthy

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 9:50 am

Okay, split the pack then... I think it's 3 years and 12 months that he wot did.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 9:29 am

marty2086 wrote:5 Ulster players in the Ireland under 20 team tomorrow night against England, available on the World Rugby website

Ireland team: Iwan Hughes, Angus Kernohan, Liam Turner, Stewart Moore, Jonathan Wren, Jake Flannery, Craig Casey, Josh Wycherley, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Tom Clarkson, Charlie Ryan, Ryan Baird, David McCann, John Hodnett, Azur Allison

If anyone has been watching the under 20s I think they will agree that it looks like Ulster have made a good signing in Iwan Hughes. Looked quite lively v England and seems to be quite fast.

"19-year-old Hughes, who played for England U18s before being identified by the IRFU’s IQ Rugby/Exiles programme and shining for Ireland at U18 and U19 level, is one of the six youngsters to join Year 1 of Ulster’s academy programme."*

*https://www.the42.ie/ulster-academy-hughes-allison-4146848-Jul2018/

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Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 9:43 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
marty2086 wrote:5 Ulster players in the Ireland under 20 team tomorrow night against England, available on the World Rugby website

Ireland team: Iwan Hughes, Angus Kernohan, Liam Turner, Stewart Moore, Jonathan Wren, Jake Flannery, Craig Casey, Josh Wycherley, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Tom Clarkson, Charlie Ryan, Ryan Baird, David McCann, John Hodnett, Azur Allison

If anyone has been watching the under 20s I think they will agree that it looks like Ulster have made a good signing in Iwan Hughes. Looked quite lively v England and seems to be quite fast.

"19-year-old Hughes, who played for England U18s before being identified by the IRFU’s IQ Rugby/Exiles programme and shining for Ireland at U18 and U19 level, is one of the six youngsters to join Year 1 of Ulster’s academy programme."*

*https://www.the42.ie/ulster-academy-hughes-allison-4146848-Jul2018/

He reminded me of Michael Lowry when he takes off on a jinking run. He's an inch taller too, a whole inch Smile

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Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 9:47 am

Yeah he is a bit small alright.

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 10:10 am

So Ulster are looking for another scrum half in the squad and apparently Ruans left Montpellier? ..... Whistle

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Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 10:22 am

marty2086 wrote:So Ulster are looking for another scrum half in the squad and apparently Ruans left Montpellier? ..... Whistle

Officially announced by Montpellier as well so he'll be coming home to Belfast, what he'll do for employment is another thing Wink

Wouldn't it be utterly daft to ignore the fact that for a very low cost we could have a player/coach/mentor who would live an breath Ulster Rugby for a year (or three) and help to develop Shanners and Cooney to another level. Out-Half cover too of course.

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 10:30 am

Pete330v2 wrote:
marty2086 wrote:So Ulster are looking for another scrum half in the squad and apparently Ruans left Montpellier? ..... Whistle

Officially announced by Montpellier as well so he'll be coming home to Belfast, what he'll do for employment is another thing Wink

Wouldn't it be utterly daft to ignore the fact that for a very low cost we could have a player/coach/mentor who would live an breath Ulster Rugby for a year (or three) and help to develop Shanners and Cooney to another level. Out-Half cover too of course.

Wasn't able to find official confirmation anywhere yet but they have signed Fotuali'i, maybe we could pull of a Munster and sign him on a 3 month contract as RWC cover until the end of the following season, there was a rumour a while back he might be off to the Cheetahs

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Post by Pete330v2 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 1:26 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:
marty2086 wrote:So Ulster are looking for another scrum half in the squad and apparently Ruans left Montpellier? ..... Whistle

Officially announced by Montpellier as well so he'll be coming home to Belfast, what he'll do for employment is another thing Wink

Wouldn't it be utterly daft to ignore the fact that for a very low cost we could have a player/coach/mentor who would live an breath Ulster Rugby for a year (or three) and help to develop Shanners and Cooney to another level. Out-Half cover too of course.

Wasn't able to find official confirmation anywhere yet but they have signed Fotuali'i, maybe we could pull of a Munster and sign him on a 3 month contract as RWC cover until the end of the following season, there was a rumour a while back he might be off to the Cheetahs

This is in French obviously but my limited Francais tells me they're saying he's not being retained.

https://www.francebleu.fr/sports/rugby/top-14-quelle-equipe-l-prochain-a-montpellier-1559468551

Is his family still based in Belfast or did that change after his sister's tragic death?

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 06 Jun 2019, 2:02 pm

I know he spent a month or so back in SA, would maybe explain the link to the Cheetahs if they had

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 10 Jun 2019, 2:31 pm

profitius wrote:
Redman wrote:6’4’’ from memory. Ulster height and weight stats though are notoriously unreliable. Players are literally told to inflat the numbers in interviews and the media.



If he can get the rugby basics right then he has potential. Going playing 7s next season apparently and that should help him with the basics.

Not at all convinced there is any real development value in Sevens as it is such a different game, and worried that he might end up lost to the longer form altogether.

Real speedsters like Carlin Isles (who was slower than Sexton at that age) was signed by Glasgow and didn't get a game. In XVs the aerial game is crucial (especially for a back three player), and that doesn't exist in Sevens apart from restarts. The running lines are very different in 7s, with players not running close support but running wide to stretch defences and the carrier doesn't need to look on both sides as one on ones are usually converted. Similarly the lack of numbers in the short form (on the same sized pitch) mean defence and the breakdown are also totally different learning experiences for the two forms.

Nucifora at the London 7s weekend said the sport was good for player development, and appearing before big crowds was great experience. Difficult to relate this latter comment to the XVs game either as the crowd at these weekends is completely anodyne and would bear no resemblance to playing in front of partisan support/opposition at Ravenhill/Thomond. It is likely that Nucifora has been tasked with getting an Ireland 7s team to the Olympics (probably Paris 2024), and to do that he will need out and out sprinters. If Sexton is a success on the Sevens circuit, Ulster may not see him for four years, and by that time he might be a lifer in the Isles/ Baker/ Norton mould.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 10 Jun 2019, 3:03 pm

The possible benefit of 7s - and I take your point about it being a very different game - is that it potentially increases the instincts of players to hunt for space rather than contact (which can be useful in the XVs albeit a much more difficult environment to actually find that space of course)

... plus it potentially increases the long pass skillset (another aspect that wouldn't be redundant coming in to the XV game)

... plus it might be a different standard of fitness required but by all accounts it seems a lot more of it is required, whatever the grade. So again this perhaps makes 7s useful in educating players about methods of achieving even greater levels of fitness.


I think it's more beneficial to have a 7s outfit than not to have one.  The cross-over potential might be low or it might be high, but at least it can be assessed for usefulness when it exists.

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Post by marty2086 on Mon 10 Jun 2019, 3:11 pm

I think Baloucoune has benefitted from his 7s experience and it seems the goal is to get Sexton some exposure to high level competition without over exposing him. There'll be limited opportunities for him to get game time with the As and throwing him in for the senior team so soon might not be the best approach.

To add another one to Flys list, defence. He'll have to learn to position himself in defence and to make decisions or force the attacker to make a decision. It's not surprising he's very naïve in defence and backs his pace to get him out of a hole but that'll not always work especially against guys who might be faster than him or when he's on the turn or even on a cold wet night in Belfast

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 10 Jun 2019, 6:28 pm

SecretFly wrote:The possible benefit of 7s - and I take your point about it being a very different game - is that it potentially increases the instincts of players to hunt for space rather than contact (which can be useful in the XVs albeit a much more difficult environment to actually find that space of course)

... plus it potentially increases the long pass skillset (another aspect that wouldn't be redundant coming in to the XV game)

... plus it might be a different standard of fitness required but by all accounts it seems a lot more of it is required, whatever the grade.  So again this perhaps  makes 7s useful in educating players about methods of achieving even greater levels of fitness.


I think it's more beneficial to have a 7s outfit than not to have one.  The cross-over potential might be low or it might be high, but at least it can be assessed for usefulness when it exists.

SF - in the interest of genuine debate can I play devil's advocate?

Does it increase the instincts of players to hunt for space? There are less than half the normal number of players on the same sized pitch ergo more than twice the space available. Therefore rather than sharpen the space hunting instinct the abundance of space could dull such an instinct. Not only is there more space but also more time. Sevens players can often be seen walking or even jogging towards their own line waiting for an opening to exploit. That sort of cat and mouse game doesn't happen in XVs. Also on this point the fifteen-a-side game isn't necessarily about seeing space but rather seeing opportunities to exploit, namely mismatches because the space simply isn't there. Sevens sides may have one or two rhinos to power through the gazelles but the player profile is mostly about speed and size is a bonus.

Does it increase the long pass skillset? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of the moves in 7s are tentative probing with passes often behind the gainline followed by an explosive break and a footrace to the line. It would be interesting to see Sevens' stats on passes per game compared to runs but it doesn't seem to major on passing. XVs players who are likely to be kick receivers practice their long passing to evade chasers but those territorial kicks happen far less in 7s.

Does it improve the standard of fitness? Playing rugby in seven minute chunks isn't about stamina - that is needed for the longer form. The aim of Sevens' training is to be as fast as possible (lean) whereas in the XVs game it is to be as powerful as possible. Different outcomes and not especially transferable.

I'm not against the game per se, but it looks like the IRFU are more interested in reaching the 2024 Olympics rather than developing provincial players so a promising guy like Sexton could become a 7s only exponent.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 10 Jun 2019, 6:38 pm

marty2086 wrote:I think Baloucoune has benefitted from his 7s experience and it seems the goal is to get Sexton some exposure to high level competition without over exposing him. There'll be limited opportunities for him to get game time with the As and throwing him in for the senior team so soon might not be the best approach.

To add another one to Flys list, defence. He'll have to learn to position himself in defence and to make decisions or force the attacker to make a decision. It's not surprising he's very naïve in defence and backs his pace to get him out of a hole but that'll not always work especially against guys who might be faster than him or when he's on the turn or even on a cold wet night in Belfast

Baloucoune probably benefited from the exposure, because Ulster had an injury crisis and didn't know where to turn. His yellow card v Munster should have been red and showed how unprepared he was to deal with an aerial challenge. Robert was "very naïve in defence" when he fist played for Ulster but has noticeably got better over the season, so it would seem that the Sevens experience hadn't prepared him at all for a cold wet night in Belfast?

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Post by Pete330v2 on Wed 19 Jun 2019, 1:54 pm

So it's Clermont, Harlequins and Bath, not a bad draw at all.
Billy v Freddy will be a nice family reunion.

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Post by neilthom7 on Wed 19 Jun 2019, 3:02 pm

Peter Nelson has also had a call up for Canada for this summers games, could end up going to the world cup. No longer an Ulster player but a great achievement for him.

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Post by clivemcl on Wed 19 Jun 2019, 4:12 pm


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