Ulster Rugby 2018-19

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon Mar 04, 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 marty2086 on Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:27 am

ULSTER A SQUAD FOR CARA CUP FIXTURES

Forwards (14)
Claytan Milligan, Zack McCall, Callum Reid, Corrie Barrett, Peter Cooper, Ross Kane, Jack Regan, Bradley Luney, JJ McKee, Charlie Clarke, Joe Dunleavy, David McCann, Marcus Rea, Caleb Montgomery

Backs (10)
Michael Stronge, Lewis Finlay, Graham Curtis, Bruce Houston, Johnny McPhilips, Jack Owens, Ben Power, Stewart Moore, Iwan Hughes, Ben McCaughey


CARA CUP FIXTURES
(All times EST)

Free Jacks 7 Connacht Eagles 38
Saturday 16th March
Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth MA

Connacht Eagles v Ulster A
Wednesday 20th March, 7.00pm
Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth MA

Free Jacks v Ulster A
Sunday 24th March, 6.30pm
Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth MA

Free Jacks v Munster A
Saturday 6th April, 4.00pm
Irish Cultural Centre, Canton MA

Munster A v Leinster A
Wednesday 10th April, 7.00pm
Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth MA

Free Jacks v Leinster A
Sunday 14th April, 5.00pm
Harvard Mignone Field, Boston MA

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Post by clivemcl on Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:24 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:No problem - good to have ones opinions questions.
Just a couple of additionals

Any player I pass an opinion on is based a fair bit on 'A' games as well as first XV games so not just 5 games.
It just my contention a back shows there potential fairly early, but forwards can be slow burns with Henry as an example

Secondly if Kernohan becomes as good as, say, Gilroy I will be delighted to come on here and eat humble pie

On Gilroy good news is they appear to have got to the bottom of it and no long term problem envisaged.
I doubt he will play again this year but no reason he will not be 100% at the start of next  

Gilroy just can't get a break. I do worry/wonder if he can reach great heights again, or if he may indeed just become a squad player.
Whilst he remains injured, we have Marshall coming back into the centres mix and so we may see more of Addison in the back three. Stockdale is obviously nailed on, and now Balacoune and Lyttle have a real chance to grow and develop even further staking a claim for owning a wingers jersey regardless of Gilroy's injury. Combine that with the ever reliable Ludik, Nelson showing a little of a resurgence of his old exciting ability, and the highly rated young Sexton coming through - it could go either way for Gilroy really. Will Balacoune/Lyttle/Sexton/Nelson progress to a higher ability than Gilroy will be able to bring back?

Are any of these names mentioned out of contract at end of this season by any chance?

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Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:20 pm

As I understand it Gilroy will be fine at the start of next year, and would remain in front of all those players you mention in the pecking order.

Having said that if Faddes is signed my guess on the first XV back three is:
15 - Addison
14 - Stockdale
11 - Faddes
Gilroy on the bench

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Post by carpet baboon on Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:26 pm

Any news on Angus Curtis?
Not heard a thing about his injury.
Was it concussion?

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Post by clivemcl on Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:41 pm

Forgot about Faddes! Hope Gilroy also comes back to good form. That said, if Balacoune or Lyttle end up shooting to great heights like Stockdale, I'd take that also. But early yet to be suggesting that would happen in fairness.

with Faddes arriving and Gilroy returning, their gametime will be significantly reduced next season, so let's hope the young lads make the most of this season to show they can step up and still be in the picture despite Faddes/Gilroy.

Any of Balacoune, Lyttle or Nelson likely to leave Geoff? Nelson most likely I would have though?

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Post by geoff999rugby on Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:32 pm

No chance Baloucoune will leave. I would be pretty certain he will be on a development contract next year, with a probably 1 year beyond that.
Lyttle has recently signed a contract - 2 years I believe
Has to be a doubt about Nelson but my guess he will get a 1 year contract

On Curtis it was concussion.
My guess they are playing it safe and will get him ready for next year, and forget the rest of this, but that is only a guess

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Post by neilthom7 on Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:42 pm

I see Methody won the schools cup, was in work so didn't see it. Any stand outs?

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Post by marty2086 on Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:00 am

Is Faddes definitely signing? It's gone kind of quiet on that front

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:15 am

No its is not certain.

It is my belief it depends on LH
If we sign an IQ LH then he will, probably, sign, if not that last NIQ slot will go to a NIQ LH

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Post by marty2086 on Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:45 am

By that logic does it mean we are looking around for an IQ back in case McGrath doesn't come north? Or are we likely to use the academy?

McGrath plus Faddes is the best option though given that McGrath is on a central contract we are only likely to be able to pay a bit more than what Faddes would get to two players which would impact on quality

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Post by clivemcl on Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:20 am

Just realising in all my back three chat I omitted Kernohan! Rolling Eyes

If we signed both McGrath and Faddea that would be very very useful signings Fingers Crossed

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Post by geoff999rugby on Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:19 am

marty2086 wrote:By that logic does it mean we are looking around for an IQ back in case McGrath doesn't come north? Or are we likely to use the academy?


Don't think we will be signing an IQ back.
A LH is seen as essential - if we sign a IQ LH then Faddes is seen as icing on the cake for the simple reason we will have used up only 2 NIQ slots.

I see Cave is wondering whether or not this is his last year

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Post by marty2086 on Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:07 am

That would make it seem like Faddes is a luxury signing rather than filling a need, does that not go against the recent changes in policy?

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Post by geoff999rugby on Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:19 am

I think it is more a belief that having looked around there are no IQ back three players good enough to bring added valuable who are interested in joining Ulster.

To be honest I would not be completely surprised if he doesn't sign regardless - now Gilroy has been given the all clear, given the form of Baloucoune, return from long term injury of Lyttle and the potential of Sexton it may be prudent to say the cash for a more urgent signing next year. Add in Stockdale and Kernohan that is 6 players to play on the wing
The back three options have improved considerably since we first talked to him - has it gone cold ?

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Post by Standulstermen on Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:05 am

If cave goes then we aren’t looking so stocked at centre though. My contention would be that faddes would be a replacement for ludik (albeit an early one). Not that I don’t like Louis but I do think he is beginning to slow down a touch. I suppose it depends on the pace at which Hume and Moore can come through. I think the latter had concussion issues and let’s not forget faddes can play centre or back three. I agree we are looking a hell of a lot better in terms of depth now but there’s still no guarantees with the youngsters and our luck with injuries isn’t great

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Post by geoff999rugby on Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:46 pm

Centres next year are shaping up to be McCloskey, Marshall, Addison, Curtis, Hume and Moore

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Post by Pete330v2 on Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:51 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Centres next year are shaping up to be McCloskey, Marshall, Addison, Curtis, Hume and Moore

The only one I know nothing about on that list is Moore but I've heard he's one hell of a talent, the next big thing. Is he as talented as I've heard??

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Post by geoff999rugby on Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:09 pm

Early days of course but fair to say the expectations are high.

He played part of one of the pre season friendlies at Ravenhill in August

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Post by Pete330v2 on Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:12 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Early days of course but fair to say the expectations are high.

He played part of one of the pre season friendlies at Ravenhill in August

I seem to remember someone had asked some of the players who was standing out in pre-season. The answer was Addison and Moore seemed to be on another level altogether. Fingers crossed Smile

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Post by Standulstermen on Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:40 pm

Moore was promising in the game I saw but the concussion thing is a worry. I see he has now been picked for ulster A which is good. Addison at centre is fine I suppose but given that this season McCloskey and Hume are the only two of that list not to have been unavailable for lengthy periods it’s quite worrying. I still think Faddes would bring something exciting, especially at pro14 level were his attacking ability would be a level up from most.

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Post by marty2086 on Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:22 pm

Standulstermen wrote:Moore was promising in the game I saw but the concussion thing is a worry. I see he has now been picked for ulster A which is good. Addison at centre is fine I suppose but given that this season McCloskey and Hume are the only two of that list not to have been unavailable for lengthy periods it’s quite worrying. I still think Faddes would bring something exciting, especially at pro14 level were his attacking ability would be a level up from most.

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Ulster Rugby 2018-19 - Page 2 Img_3410

Gutted to get an injury that finishes the season, surgery went well and looking forward to having a positive mindset and making myself fitter and stronger during the next couple of months.

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Post by Standulstermen on Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:21 pm

Hume at least has made strides in a debut season. He wasn’t perhaps too likely to feature in any squad beyond the kings game

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Post by geoff999rugby on Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:30 pm

Hume was always likely to play more than Moore.
He is a year ahead in Age and Academy terms

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Post by marty2086 on Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:44 pm

Ulster team to play Isuzu Southern Kings, Guinness PRO14 Round 18, Saturday 23rd March, Kingspan Stadium (5.30pm):
(15-9): L Ludik; R Baloucoune, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns, D Shanahan;
(1-8): A Warwick, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (captain), I Nagle, M Rea, N Timoney, M Coetzee;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, W Herbst, T O’Toole, K Treadwell, C Ross, J Cooney, M Lowry, A Kernohan.

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Post by Standulstermen on Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:58 pm

There’s highlights of the tries from the A game in the states. Not much to see except Moore with a nice break and offload to set up the final one.

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Post by Redman on Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:33 pm

Huge win for Cardiff. Did us a favour there.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:57 am

The team selection suggests the coaches are yet again prioritising the ERCC game again over the league - are they actively trying to get in the Challenge Cup next year?

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Post by geoff999rugby on Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:32 am

That team will win regardless.
Totally logical approach to team selection.

Both competitions matter and after last nights results we are looking very good.
Both Edinburgh and Scarlets would have to win two games more than Ulster out of the last three compared to Ulster to
finish above them. They have to play each other - it aint going to happen.
Scarlets seem to have gone mentally and Edinburgh are not in a good place themselves
Treviso mean while have to go to Leinster and at home to Munster in a game that will mean something to Munster

Your revised prediction thread
Ulster 59
Scarlets 58
Benetton 57
Edinburgh 55

Bear in mind this includes the worse possible set of results for Ulster with respect to Scarlets and Edinburgh i.e. their only collective loss being Edinburgh at Scarlets
Otherwise 5 straight wins. As you also gave Treviso 7 points which would probably require 2 wins out of three.
So in the worse case scenario Ulster need one win after this week - I think we will manage that

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Post by Pete330v2 on Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:07 pm

Report from last week in France stating Pienaar not returning to Montpellier. Announcement due soon.

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Post by clivemcl on Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:04 pm

Don't know what the commentators are struggling with, clearly didn't touch Kings hands, no knock on, try scored. Poor feom the Ulster boys not chasing for the ball to make sure.

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Post by Redman on Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:23 pm

Agree with Lyttle for MOTM.

Biggest negative is Marty Moore being taken off early.

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Post by Redman on Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:24 pm

Ludik is a concern obviously but easier to replace. Commentators don't appear to have realised Moore went off early.

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Post by Redman on Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:30 pm

clivemcl wrote:Don't know what the commentators are struggling with, clearly didn't touch Kings hands, no knock on, try scored. Poor feom the Ulster boys not chasing for the ball to make sure.

Rules say a knock on is :

A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.

The argument would be if he ever had possession and loses control of it.

Ref seemed fine with it so I presume they made the right call.


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Post by clivemcl on Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:03 pm

Yea but commentator said 'it doesn't touch his hand and comes off his knee, so I guess it could be interpreted as a kick'... why does it need interpreted as a kick? It clearly didn't touch hands therefore no knock on to teh best of my knowledge. Pretty sure a head or chest or crotch or anything other than hands/arms does not count as a knock on.

Oh and yea, of course he doesn't have 'possession'. If somebody threw a bag of weed and it bounced off me, I'd be pretty peeved if the cops arrested me for possession. Smile

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Post by Standulstermen on Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:41 pm

Lyttle looked culpable in the first two tries imo. He bit in on the first and then stopped (as did others) for the second kings score. Not that he didn’t do good things too but wouldn’t have named him motm. Not a great performance but 5 points. Moore is the worry.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:56 am

geoff999rugby wrote:That team will win regardless.
Totally logical approach to team selection.

Both competitions matter and after last nights results we are looking very good.
Both Edinburgh and Scarlets would have to win two games more than Ulster out of the last three compared to Ulster to
finish above them. They have to play each other - it aint going to happen.
Scarlets seem to have gone mentally and Edinburgh are not in a good place themselves
Treviso mean while have to go to Leinster and at home to Munster in a game that will mean something to Munster

Your revised prediction thread
Ulster 59
Scarlets 58
Benetton 57
Edinburgh 55

Bear in mind this includes the worse possible set of results for Ulster with respect to Scarlets and Edinburgh i.e. their only collective loss being Edinburgh at Scarlets
Otherwise 5 straight wins. As you also gave Treviso 7 points which would probably require 2 wins out of three.
So in the worse case scenario Ulster need one win after this week - I think we will manage that

Do both competitions really matter? OK there are 15,000 fans heading down to the Aviva but away to Leinster at any time is a low percentage of success never mind the ERCC. Ulster would undoubtedly incur casualties to stand any chance of an upset, and then they would have the semi final to resource against Racing or Toulouse. Of course Leinster would be smarting badly if they were beaten and would be throwing the kitchen sink at Ulster looking for revenge in the last league game. There is a reason why Ulster are 18 points behind Leinster with three games to go.

The Great Aukster wrote:
SCARLETS
ROUND 16: Scarlets (5) v Toyota Cheetahs ACTUAL 5
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 ACTUAL 4
ROUND 18: Cardiff Blues v Scarlets (1) - Tight game with both scrapping for respective playoffs ACTUAL 0
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 ACTUAL 5
ROUND 17: Benetton (4) v Edinburgh - The Italians will have more first teamers back from 6N camp than the Scots ACTUAL 4
ROUND 18: Connacht v Benetton (1) - Connacht may rest some players for Europe, while Benetton only have the league to go for ACTUAL 0
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 ACTUAL 1
ROUND 17: Benetton v Edinburgh (1) - LBP as more depleted by 6N and away from home ACTUAL 0
ROUND 18: Edinburgh (4) v Leinster - The Irish missing more players and Edinburgh looking for a hard run in to their HEC tie. ACTUAL 5
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 ACTUAL 5
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. ACTUAL 5
ROUND 18: Ulster (5) v Southern Kings - Hopefully some Test returnees against the worst team in the league ACTUAL 5
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

Half term report
Scarlets    3 game prediction 10 Actual 9 revised total 58
Benetton  3 game prediction 10 Actual 9 revised total 57
Edinburgh 3 game prediction 9 Actual 6 revised total 55
Ulster       3 game prediction 13 Actual 15 revised total 59

Ulster need at least one win to qualify but should they not be looking for a home quarter? Where is it going to come from - in Scotstoun six days after emptying themselves at the Aviva, or at Murrayfield for Edinburgh's last home game with them still in the qualification hunt? Logically the coaches should choose which competition they target and logically that should be the League to secure next season and be the competition they would stand the best chance in this year. Earlier in the thread it was mentioned how important it was to expose the younger players to knockout rugby and that goal has been achieved in Europe but not yet in the Pro14. Losing to Leinster in Europe would make it easier to get to the league playoffs and potentially beat them there.

As mentioned before - Ulster might be best advised to rest some players next week for the Glasgow game. They won't of course because they'd rather pursue European glory and so threaten their qualification for a league playoff place.

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Post by Standulstermen on Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:43 pm

Jesus Aukster you cant throw a QF in any competition. We need one win from three in the league. Glasgow are in the same boat as us in that they have a Heineken QF (probably less winnable than ours) but they won’t be resting players. We have three bites at the cherry in the league and let’s face it, playoffs in two competitions is massive progress in year one of this rebuild

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:53 am

Standulstermen wrote:Jesus Aukster you cant throw a QF in any competition. We need one win from three in the league. Glasgow are in the same boat as us in that they have a Heineken QF (probably less winnable than ours) but they won’t be resting players. We have three bites at the cherry in the league and let’s face it,  playoffs in two competitions is massive progress in year one of this rebuild

Who said anything about throwing a QF?

There are two QFs at stake and Ulster have a chance at getting a home one in the league if they win two matches. Prioritising that over Europe this season would be an easier path to silver. If there is one thing this season has shown, it is that Ulster are well behind sides like Glasgow and Leinster in squad depth. Ulster have a competitive first team but the drop-off in experienced cover is marked, even Benetton and Edinburgh have shown remarkable resilience in their squads. The Scarlets were decimated early season but are now returning to strength.

Glasgow might be resting some players against Ulster because of their depth or have lost some to injury, so that game is more winnable for Ulster than the one at the Aviva this Saturday. McFarland et al chose to field a team at Welford Road with little thought for the Treviso game the following week and forfeited two points (almost 4) to Benetton as a result. If they have learned from that mistake, they don't have to put out an Academy team just use the key players cleverly with judicious selection and management of the bench.

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Post by Standulstermen on Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:20 pm

Can’t agree Aukster. These games are the reason people get behind the team. I don’t think we have a chance of silverware in either competition this season fwiw. You were advocating resting players in a QF which is tantamount to throwing the game. We have three chances to win two games in the league and even if we get an away QF in the league, giving Leinster a bloody good scare in Dublin will have players and fans believing we can go to Thomond or to scotstoun and win. You just can’t rest players in the knockout stages of the Heineken in the hope of a possible home QF in the league. It’s daft.

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Post by marty2086 on Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:10 pm

Pretty sure it would go against the philosophy of fight for every inch too

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Post by clivemcl on Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:39 pm

I won't mind a loss in the quarter's, I just want to see us compete and not fold or look outclassed. Kinda the same thing I hope every time we face Leinster in a knock out stage.

If we lose, but put up a fight, I'm sure even that loss might give us the belief and momentum to secure a league playoff and then who knows.

Then again... an embarrassing spanking and a lacklustre effort might see heads go down and a bit of a spiral.

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Post by rodders on Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:26 am

I have to say I actually fancy us to pull off an upset this weekend.

Leinster have a lot of players to integrate back in after the 6N, not to mention injuries and a few key guys not in great form.

When this fixture was announced it looked like the end of the road for us but now I'm not so sure, if ever there was a good time to play Leinster it is this weekend.

I think we are play some good rugby right now, Burns seems to be struggling a bit with injuries and Addison is a big loss but if we have Henderson, Best, Murphy and Stockdale that will add good experience to and already exciting group.

The fact that we have several ex Leinster player too will stand to us as they will want to prove a point and have no fears of the Aviva.
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Post by clivemcl on Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:03 am

With Marshall added to the European squad, would it be fair to assume they were hoping to give him gametime against Kings but he didnt make it? And as a result, he won't be anywhere near the squad yet whether fit or not.

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Post by marty2086 on Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:05 am

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?

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Post by clivemcl on Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:09 am

Just on the Sexton point... I did wonder during the Six Nations, where we would be right now had the Jackson fiasco not happened. Jackson already was firm second choice and if his career had been uninterupted, who knows what coversations would be ongoing as a result of Sexton's lack of form with a world cup looming. I'm sure in some ways he's happy to still be playing rugby, but there must surely also be some dark days for him thinking about what he's lost.

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Post by rodders on Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:28 am

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.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:19 pm

Standulstermen wrote:Can’t agree Aukster. These games are the reason people get behind the team. I don’t think we have a chance of silverware in either competition this season fwiw. You were advocating resting players in a QF which is tantamount to throwing the game. We have three chances to win two games in the league and even if we get an away QF in the league, giving Leinster a bloody good scare in Dublin will have players and fans believing we can go to Thomond or to scotstoun and win. You just can’t rest players in the knockout stages of the Heineken in the hope of a possible home QF in the league. It’s daft.

Yes it's true there are people who demand success to get behind the team, but is one Cup quarter final the equivalent of missing out on the entire Cup next season? Surely that would turn even more fair-weather fans away, as supposedly season ticket sales are heavily dependant on Cup participation.
Rather than use the word "resting" (that seems to be contentious), perhaps 'rotating' players might have been a better choice. Coaches rotate players throughout the entire season because they know they have to manage them to peak for the right games and cope with injury and call-ups. It is the coaches responsibility to achieve the targets set for them commensurate with their resources. Their minimum goals this season would be to improve on the last, so making it to the playoffs in the Cup would be a box ticked. They have not achieved that in the League yet, and they could still finish fifth (worse than last year).

Remember Ulster were given special dispensation to sign Speight, when Ludik and Marshall were unavailable - well Speight has gone and Ludik and Marshall are still unavailable. Hume is out and Ulster's midfield is stretched with McCloskey already 21 appearances and Cave 14. Eric O'Sullivan has been a revelation, and it's just as well because Herbst had to play loosehead last Saturday.

If Ulster go out with the intensity and bodies on the line necessary to haul Leinster in by the bookies 17 points, what do they get if they win - another more intense semi-final and even less likelihood they make the League play-offs. McFarland is a good coach but he got the Welford Road decision wrong and has to be wary this team doesn't finish lower than Gibbes' one did last year.

OTOH Ulster's luck has been holding all season so that's bound to continue for another nine games...

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:21 pm

marty2086 wrote:Pretty sure it would go against the philosophy of fight for every inch too

Is it only first team players who fight for every inch? Should they start every game until they get crocked and a 'lesser' player can be justified?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:22 pm

clivemcl wrote:With Marshall added to the European squad, would it be fair to assume they were hoping to give him gametime against Kings but he didnt make it? And as a result, he won't be anywhere near the squad yet whether fit or not.

They're hedging their bets on him being fit for the Final.

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Post by marty2086 on Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:30 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Pretty sure it would go against the philosophy of fight for every inch too

Is it only first team players who fight for every inch? Should they start every game until they get crocked and a 'lesser' player can be justified?

Shocked

No but it hardly says fighting for every inch when you essentially abandon one competition and say it's too hard so there's not really any point

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