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Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May

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Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May Empty Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May

Post by George Carlin Tue 05 May 2015, 11:54 am

Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May Ulster10              Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May Munste10
Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby
Saturday 9 May 2015
KO: 14:40
Kingspan Corporate Sellout Stadium Ravenhill, Belfast

Live on Sky Sports

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 124th competition game) Cool
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips, Nigel Correll (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Murray Whyte (IRFU)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (IRFU)

A. Head to Head

26 Played 26
13 Wins 13
13 Losses 13
0 Draws 0
47 Tries 53
30 Conversions 41
54 Penalties 52
1 Drop Goals 5
460 Points 518
27 Avg. Age 27

B. Form

Fri 28 Nov 2014 - Munster Rugby 21 - 20 Ulster Rugby

Sat 10 May 2014 - Munster Rugby 17 - 19 Ulster Rugby

Fri 3 Jan 2014 - Ulster Rugby 29 - 19 Munster Rugby

C. Teams

Ulster Rugby
Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May Conlet10
L Ludik; T Bowe, J Payne, D Cave, P Nelson; P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, R Best (capt), W Herbst, D Tuohy, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, C Henry, R Wilson.

Replacements: R Herring, A Warwick, B Ross, R Diack, C Ross, P Marshall, I Humphreys, S McCloskey

Munster Rugby
Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May Graham10
F Jones; K Earls, A Smith, Denis Hurley, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, E Guinazu, S Archer; D Ryan, P O'Connell; P O'Mahony (capt),T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, John Ryan, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Jack O'Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O'Mahony.


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Post by Pete330v2 Tue 05 May 2015, 12:29 pm

Quietly confident would sum up what I feel about this match. We're on a bit of a roll and I am sure we can continue along the same tracks.

Mind you, when I think like this about Ulster it ends up being a terrible jinx.

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Post by Notch Tue 05 May 2015, 12:47 pm

Win this, and we have won every league match at Ravenhill this year. Formidable record. If only the Final was being held in Belfast... Smile

Well, we've got to get there first and if we slip up here we can kiss goodbye to a home semi-final. So it's massive. Actually, no, two weeks ago against Leinster was massive. This is... massiver.
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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 05 May 2015, 1:14 pm

The final isn't really a League match though - it's pure cup rugby and Ulster have been beaten in the Cup at the King's Pan already this season. Still for all Ulster's supposed coaching woes they've done rightly!

If there is such a thing as a double finaller (as opposed to pointer) this could be it. If Munster win they stand a good chance of a home-semi maybe against Ulster and so have a shot to ensure they get the home support for the final.

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Post by jimbopip Tue 05 May 2015, 1:25 pm

Notch, I was talking with some Ulster season ticket holders at Twickenham on Saturday and they seemed apprehensive about the next two games. My take on it was (and still is) that a win on Saturday gives you a home semi and since no-one ever wins away in the semis then a home final. I don't think any one would be confident about going to Kingspan to meet Ulster in the final.
No, I think all the pressure will be on Munster. After last season they wont want a trip to Glasgow so they need to win on Saturday.
I believe, oh lord do I believe, that the semis will be
Glasgow v O's
Munster v Ulster (home advantage determined on Saturday)
It is possible that Ulster lose on Saturday, lose at Scotstoun on the last day of the season and then have to return there for the semi. Possible but highly unlikely. If Glasgow secure home advantage by tonking the O's then I expect the Magic Tombola to go into overdrive and lots of the walking wounded to be rested.
If Munster win on Saturday then I predict a Glasgow- Munster final. Who would the Ulster season ticket holders be supporting then?

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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 05 May 2015, 1:29 pm

jimbopip wrote:Who would the Ulster season ticket holders be supporting then?

...er... Ulster?

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Post by jimbopip Tue 05 May 2015, 3:24 pm

So, in a Munster v Glasgow final you'll be supporting ....Ulster.
Right you are Ted. That's grand there. So it is.

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Post by Don Alfonso Tue 05 May 2015, 4:37 pm

We'll just be hoping that everyone has a lovely day.

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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 05 May 2015, 5:52 pm

jimbopip wrote:So, in a Munster v Glasgow final you'll be supporting ....Ulster.
Right you are Ted. That's grand there. So it is.

That wasn't your question Dougal, the game isn't included in the season ticket.

For the record I'm ambivalent.
Glasgow have an Ulsterman in their side and it would be great for the league and Scottish rugby if they won. They are also likely to finish top at the end of the normal season and if so are arguably the deserved champions.
OTOH Munster would be the only Irish team capable of winning something and it would be good for POC to celebrate in Belfast before he moves on to Toulon... then again Munster winning silver in Belfast is hard to swallow...

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Post by George Carlin Tue 05 May 2015, 6:08 pm

Offy preview:
Preview: Ulster v Munster
Ulster are the best home side in the Guinness PRO12 having won all ten games in Belfast and tallied 44 league points in the process.

Ulster's only defeat in the last eight rounds of PRO12 rugby came on a trip to Newport Gwent Dragons on 8th March.

Munster have also suffered just one defeat in their last eight Guinness PRO12 encounters: 12-26 at Ospreys in round 17.

The Munstermen are the tournament's best away team having picked up 30 league points on the road this season.

Munster's only defeat to a fellow Irish province this season came when they visited Connacht on New Year's Day.

Munster were victorious 21-20 when the two sides met in Limerick in round 9, and have not achieved a season's double over the Ulstermen since season 2010/11, which was also the only occasion the Munstermen have been victorious in Belfast since 2007.

Note: This game will also see the HawkEye System in operation again, as part of trials with Sky Sports and World Rugby.
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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 9:02 am

If Ulster aren't involved in the Final, I really don't care who wins.
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Post by George Carlin Wed 06 May 2015, 9:12 am

Notch wrote:If Ulster aren't involved in the Final, I really don't care who wins.
I'm disappointed in you, young man. I always had you down as a secret Glasgow fanboi.

For what it's worth, I think that whomever wins this game will win the final.
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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 06 May 2015, 9:22 am

I've found myself gravitating towards Glasgow this season. They are certainly my favourite non-irish side. I do find it hard not to support fellow Irish sides though so I'd probably favour the boys in red or that stabilo highlighter kit they wear.
The big thing for me as has been mentioned by Aukster is that I feel whoever is on top of the league before the play-offs is the deserved winner and no amount of silverware would make me think different. If a team comes fourth in the league and goes on to win the trophy then it's a very empty win IMO but that's just my opinion.

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Post by jimbopip Wed 06 May 2015, 9:50 am

Thanks Pete, you've just given Glasgow the "moral victors" kiss of death. We've fecc all chance of winning the league now. Doh

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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 10:31 am

jimbopip wrote:Thanks Pete, you've just given Glasgow the "moral victors" kiss of death. We've fecc all chance of winning the league now. Doh

Oh, well in that case I also want Glasgow to win if Ulster don't!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/32605502?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook
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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 10:32 am

George Carlin wrote:
Notch wrote:If Ulster aren't involved in the Final, I really don't care who wins.

I'm disappointed in you, young man. I always had you down as a secret Glasgow fanboi.

In Europe, I am though... Glasgow up against an English, Welsh or French side in Europe, there's absolutely zero doubt. But against another Irish side? Meh.
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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 10:47 am

Pete330v2 wrote:If a team comes fourth in the league and goes on to win the trophy then it's a very empty win IMO but that's just my opinion.

If we come fourth and win, I'll be over the moon. It's only two years since Ulster came first in the league and didn't win the title, and 'winning' the league stage was of absolutely no consolation to me then- so if it didn't cheer me up back then, I'm not going to let not topping the league bring me down if we win it this year.

I don't even care about the advantage we have with the Final in Belfast. We were theoretically due a Final in Belfast when we won the league, but we had to move it to our opponents home ground so... I have very little sympathy. I don't mean that to sound harsh, but when Leinster beat us in the 2013 final I didn't see their players and supporters not enjoying the victory to the fullest extent because they hadn't finished top or earned a home Final. They seemed overjoyed and just right too.

Why should we let it in any sense diminish our joy if we do make it? If we do manage win the league, it'll be an incredible surprise based on what we expected after going out of Europe before Christmas, and after losing Muller and Humphreys in the off season. Besides, I've only ever seen us win three trophies- and it's been nine years since the last one with a lot of disappointment in between. They come around very rarely and I'm certain the usual suspects will be out on here to moan about an Ulster win... but nothing will deter me from celebrating in style. Life's just too short to let anything get in the way of enjoying it 100% and I'm certain the majority of the fans of the other three teams will all feel the same way about their teams if they win.


Last edited by Notch on Wed 06 May 2015, 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 06 May 2015, 11:06 am

That's a point on which we'll agree to disagree. Two years ago when Ulster topped the league but didn't get the silverware I still knew that throughout the season we'd been the strongest side. A trophy would have been nice of course but I was quite content with topping the league.

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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 11:47 am

How come Wales and Scotland and even Italy always get beautiful women and the Irish get men....many of them semi-ugly????

Wot's up, George!? Explain yourself!


Replace Graham Norton this instant with this girl:

Ulster Rugby v Munster Rugby, 9 May 6dabf2d2125965b4a5b7b15f89d30cd0

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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 12:14 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:That's a point on which we'll agree to disagree. Two years ago when Ulster topped the league but didn't get the silverware I still knew that throughout the season we'd been the strongest side. A trophy would have been nice of course but I was quite content with topping the league.

Each to their own, but walking out of the RDS after the Final whistle in 2013 I was surrounded by other Ulster fans and there weren't many celebrating coming top of the league... lot of very disappointed faces.
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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 12:34 pm

I think topping the League should be the Cup winner.  A League is a League for a reason.  Form in it through a year should be the deciding factor.  These bloody play-offs are great for TV and Sponsors and fans but they're just a smart (or not so smart) way of giving end-of-term sloggers another chance.

I don't like the play-off principle at all.  I think it only serves one goal, to cream more money before the season ends.  Yes - a game is a game and games will always be welcome as spectacles.  But if things were done right - the Last games of the League would decide who gets the reward.

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 06 May 2015, 12:45 pm

Notch wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:That's a point on which we'll agree to disagree. Two years ago when Ulster topped the league but didn't get the silverware I still knew that throughout the season we'd been the strongest side. A trophy would have been nice of course but I was quite content with topping the league.

Each to their own, but walking out of the RDS after the Final whistle in 2013 I was surrounded by other Ulster fans and there weren't many celebrating coming top of the league... lot of very disappointed faces.

After that match I felt pretty deflated as well as I always do when Ulster lose. However, after I got over that I still couldn't ignore the fact that over the season we'd been the best which is what any league should always be about. I've never really connected with the whole idea of playoffs which of course is a sign of my age more than whether playoffs are right or wrong. In my elderly mind we were champions that year even if that empty chalice went off to guild Leinster's lilly.

On another point, where the hell's Geoff gone?

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Post by clivemcl Wed 06 May 2015, 1:18 pm

I have to say, I prefer the playoff system.

Yea you can be league winners - but it doesn't seem to merit the 'champions' title in the same way. Having a final, adds a little sort of 'oh you think your the best do you? well prove it!' element to the whole thing.

As for two years ago, as an Ulster fan, I did feel this painfully in my gut, I couldn't shake it - the truth is - CHAMPIONS DON'T GET BEAT.

Leinster beat us, and that alone told me weren't yet at the top of our game regardless of league positions.

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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 2:51 pm

Last time we finished top before that, we won the league in 2006. Leinster were second and they beat us twice that year. I'm not sure we were the best team but Leinster slipped up in a few more games, which of course was always likely when they had more internationals in their team. I don't think we would have won that year with playoffs, Leinster proved they were the better team when everyone was fit across two games.

The same thing happened in 2013- Leinster coming to the boil at the right time and they proved they were the better tram They have disadvantages in terms of the time they get with their squad no-one else in the league has to deal with that effects their consistency throughout the season, so I'm just glad they're out of it this year and not waiting in the long grass for their usual late charge.

International call-ups and injuries do distort the league and sometime the playoffs show that it isn't the best barometer. If we don't finish top this year, are we really worse than we were in 2013? I don't think we are. I think in 2013 we were remarkably lucky with injuries whereas this year we've been very unlucky with injuries to key players throughout the season. I think if we do win the league this year, it would be our biggest achievement since 1999 including winning the league in 2006 and finishing top in 2013. The other three teams still in the running are all truly excellent, and all have realistic ambitions on the title.
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Post by George Carlin Wed 06 May 2015, 3:12 pm

SecretFly wrote:I think topping the League should be the Cup winner.  A League is a League for a reason.  Form in it through a year should be the deciding factor.  These bloody play-offs are great for TV and Sponsors and fans but they're just a smart (or not so smart) way of giving end-of-term sloggers another chance.

I don't like the play-off principle at all.  I think it only serves one goal, to cream more money before the season ends.  Yes - a game is a game and games will always be welcome as spectacles.  But if things were done right - the Last games of the League would decide who gets the reward.
+1

The whole point of a league is to reward the side that plays consistently best over the year.
That's it. You shouldn't be able to waste a year's worth of hard work over 2 matches because of one game where (exactly like Glasgow last year) the entire team just had a bad day at the office.

By all means have a playoff. But let's play for some other kind of trophy.
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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 3:21 pm

If there must be a playoff - to please the fans that never want rugby seasons to bloody end! Wink  But if there must be a play-off or a designated Big game final - why not just simplify it and have the top two in the League have one final go at it to decide who is best.

One big Final - between two best sides in the League.  Letting the other two have a sniff is for me a step too far if you call something a League.  And George is right, there is something fundamentally wrong in saying those winter games in dark cold conditions are almost forgotten by the time this time of year comes around.  It does feel like a bit of a waste of effort, when everybody else was still in hibernation Wink

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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 3:37 pm

George Carlin wrote:
SecretFly wrote:I think topping the League should be the Cup winner.  A League is a League for a reason.  Form in it through a year should be the deciding factor.  These bloody play-offs are great for TV and Sponsors and fans but they're just a smart (or not so smart) way of giving end-of-term sloggers another chance.

I don't like the play-off principle at all.  I think it only serves one goal, to cream more money before the season ends.  Yes - a game is a game and games will always be welcome as spectacles.  But if things were done right - the Last games of the League would decide who gets the reward.
+1

The whole point of a league is to reward the side that plays consistently best over the year.
That's it. You shouldn't be able to waste a year's worth of hard work over 2 matches because of one game where (exactly like Glasgow last year) the entire team just had a bad day at the office.

By all means have a playoff. But let's play for some other kind of trophy.

See, I wouldn't agree for a second Glasgow were the best team last year or Ulster were the year before. The thing about a champion pedigree team is that they are mentally tough enough to beat all comers. Do I believe Ulster in 2013 without their internationals in the team were better than Leinster in 2013 without their internationals in the team? I do, and I think thats one of the reasons we finished ahead of them- less turnover of players going in and out of the national side was massive in helping us be the most consistent team, that and the head to heads (we won two out of three that year, just not the one that counts). But the real measure of a team is how they fare against opponents picking from a full deck in a pressure situation.

That Cup Final thing- win or die, no do-overs, second is nowhere- that's what test level rugby is about. Test Rugby is basically a series of high pressure Cup Finals. In the Six Nations or the World Cup group stages, you can lose one game and still be in with a chance of winning the tournament, but every game is hugely pressurised and is a massive event in and of itself. And I'm happy that the Pro12 have these playoffs to better prepare guys for test rugby, because otherwise it's another advantage the English/French have over us. I think the playoffs make stronger players; say Scotland do get to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in the autumn. I really think the experience the Glasgow guys have in the Pro12 playoffs and even Edinburgh this year could be very helpful to them in their preparations for that game.

I would like to have a minor trophy for the league winners and the major trophy for the playoff winners, but if you finish top and you really are undoubtedly the best team- you've got nothing to fear from playoffs. Most years there's two or three teams pretty close at the top though. This year there's four!
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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 3:46 pm

Fly, if third and fourth place really aren't good enough to be considered in the same league as one and two the problem takes care of itself. If the gulf is so big, they'll be taken care of in short order. They might have a one-off heroic performance against 1st who have a bad day, it's true... but if it's a one-off then still no reason to worry, they'll be dispatched in the Final in short order. If they put two massive back to back games to win an away semi-final and a final then you might wonder why they weren't higher in the league and usually there's a reason for that; injuries, call-ups.

And then once you've eliminated all those factors and it's still not explained, well, maybe they just timed their run better. they hit form at the right time. Unfair? Slightly. But the teams ahead of them who've lost out had it in their control- by beating them on the day, they could have proven they deserved it more. They had their chance and missed it.
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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 3:56 pm

There's no actual 'right' or 'wrong' of course, Notch - just those that instinctively prefer League winners and those that prefer an exciting play-off. I appreciate a lot of fans like the current way - I always feel sorry for the League winners. But two cups - one for League winner and one for Play-off kings is another non goer in my eyes. That even more pointedly pronounces League winners as consolation prizers.

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Post by George Carlin Wed 06 May 2015, 4:00 pm

SecretFly wrote:There's no actual 'right' or 'wrong' of course, Notch - just those that instinctively prefer League winners and those that prefer an exciting play-off.  I appreciate a lot of fans like the current way - I always feel sorry for the League winners.  But two cups - one for League winner and one for Play-off kings is another non goer in my eyes.  That even more pointedly pronounces League winners as consolation prizers.
I'm going to stab wildly in the dark and say that supporters of teams who have finished the league in first place but then tanked at the playoffs are very much against...

It's only "exciting" if you're a neutral.
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Post by GLove39 Wed 06 May 2015, 4:41 pm

Hope it's a draw Whistle

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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 4:45 pm

George Carlin wrote:
SecretFly wrote:There's no actual 'right' or 'wrong' of course, Notch - just those that instinctively prefer League winners and those that prefer an exciting play-off.  I appreciate a lot of fans like the current way - I always feel sorry for the League winners.  But two cups - one for League winner and one for Play-off kings is another non goer in my eyes.  That even more pointedly pronounces League winners as consolation prizers.
I'm going to stab wildly in the dark and say that supporters of teams who have finished the league in first place but then tanked at the playoffs are very much against...

It's only "exciting" if you're a neutral.

I'd say you're on to something. Wink


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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 4:49 pm

George Carlin wrote:
SecretFly wrote:There's no actual 'right' or 'wrong' of course, Notch - just those that instinctively prefer League winners and those that prefer an exciting play-off.  I appreciate a lot of fans like the current way - I always feel sorry for the League winners.  But two cups - one for League winner and one for Play-off kings is another non goer in my eyes.  That even more pointedly pronounces League winners as consolation prizers.

I'm going to stab wildly in the dark and say that supporters of teams who have finished the league in first place but then tanked at the playoffs are very much against...

It's only "exciting" if you're a neutral.

But thats why I think it's a good thing. Because Ulster dominated the league in 2013 and then lost the Final. At first, of course, I was upset and disappointed and had exactly the reaction you'd expect about the playoff system- that it wasn't fair, that we'd been screwed by the Pro12s regulations etc etc. But as the hurt diminished and I began to think about it with my head not my heart, I realised if we couldn't get over the line and finish the job when the pressure is highest... we didn't deserve to call ourselves Champions anyway.

The drawback isn't so much that it's not fair inherently, it's if there is a red card in the first minute of the Final or something that skews that one game. Thats the argument against it. Hope Jared Payne's new role at centre means he has a lot less aerial contests to deal with in the next three or four games Wink

If it's 15 vs 15, strongest teams out, and you lose- the argument that you still deserve the Cup because you racked up more bonus points when the big boys were playing in the Six Nations just doesn't wash for me. Personal preference.


Last edited by Notch on Wed 06 May 2015, 4:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by MunsterMac Wed 06 May 2015, 4:58 pm

Whatever the rights or wrongs of playoffs / no playoffs you can't say that Glasgow would be deserving champions this year if they finished top nor could you say it for Ulster in 2013 as the very fact that the playoffs are in place alters the approach teams take to the league phase.

If there were no playoffs in place this season would the league table look exactly as it does now?

I doubt it.

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Post by Guest Wed 06 May 2015, 5:37 pm

Fair point, MunsterMac.

I am happy with either finishing top or winning the playoffs for the cup. It did hurt when we finished top and lost the playoffs, but I still didn't think it unfair somehow. We knew what we had to do, and we failed. It's that simple.

Really looking forward to this weekend. With two strong teams, with what is at stake and with Owens reffing, it should be a great game. Think we will just edge it.

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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 5:38 pm

MunsterMac wrote:Whatever the rights or wrongs of playoffs / no playoffs you can't say that Glasgow would be deserving champions this year if they finished top nor could you say it for Ulster in 2013 as the very fact that the playoffs are in place alters the approach teams take to the league phase.

If there were no playoffs in place this season would the league table look exactly as it does now?

I doubt it.

In other words, the present set-up allows teams to lag a bit during a season and then just try to hit the top four whilst holding some gas and tricks and ideas in the tank for the play-offs?

Oh please don't let Chunky hear this!  More Tom Foolery in Pro12 with some teams genuinely trying to play hard in each and every game whilst others trust their pedigree and cruise through certain games.....


Again though, and more seriously, I accept the Play-off, and I realise that fans hungry for more and more rugby love them - and they're great for more publicity and bigger sponsors etc, but I just prefer League topping on principle.  Yes, had we no play-offs the League table might look different today - but so too might sides like Leinster have realised that they had to start trying to play earlier in the season! Whistle

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 06 May 2015, 5:47 pm

I kind of agree with both sides, I see where Notch is coming from here but also others. In a perfect world I would want the team that wins the league during the main season to be the winner as they would have put in the effort overall during the year and they would completely deserve it. The hang up in rugby is that during international periods teams still have to play games and are obviously missing players. Some teams will lose lots of players others will only lose a few and this can really distort things there are players in there who could have missed 5 or 6 matches simply because of Internationals. If there were no internationals then having solely the league would be perfect but it is the loss of these that I think slightly justifies having the playoffs. My only problem is that the league winners should also be recognised because they have put the effort in all season but how you go about doing that I'm not sure.

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Post by The Great Aukster Wed 06 May 2015, 6:17 pm

Notch wrote:I would like to have a minor trophy for the league winners and the major trophy for the playoff winners, but if you finish top and you really are undoubtedly the best team- you've got nothing to fear from playoffs. Most years there's two or three teams pretty close at the top though. This year there's four!

I think this is a great idea.

Of course it wouldn't be 'minor and major' but the marketing guys could put a spin on that.

There would be something like a 'League Champions trophy' - purely based on the league standings, and the winner could call themselves 'League Champions'.

Then there would be the 'Elite League Cup' for the playoff games with only the top four (elite) teams competing. Naturally teams would want to do the League and Cup double!

IMO one of the big problems with the Pro12 is that there are only two pieces of silverware to compete for each season. Creating a third without additional games would reward true performance better. Sponsors would be happy as well having another opportunity to spread their word, everyone's a winner!

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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 6:44 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Notch wrote:I would like to have a minor trophy for the league winners and the major trophy for the playoff winners, but if you finish top and you really are undoubtedly the best team- you've got nothing to fear from playoffs. Most years there's two or three teams pretty close at the top though. This year there's four!

I think this is a great idea.

Of course it wouldn't be 'minor and major' but the marketing guys could put a spin on that.

There would be something like a 'League Champions trophy' - purely based on the league standings, and the winner could call themselves 'League Champions'.

Then there would be the 'Elite League Cup' for the playoff games with only the top four (elite) teams competing. Naturally teams would want to do the League and Cup double!

IMO one of the big problems with the Pro12 is that there are only two pieces of silverware to compete for each season. Creating a third without additional games would reward true performance better. Sponsors would be happy as well having another opportunity to spread their word, everyone's a winner!

And of course winning the playoff without winning the league would be more akin to winning a Six Nations on points difference, whereas doing the double is the equivalent of a Grand Slam- rarer and even more special!
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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 06 May 2015, 8:33 pm

Notch wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Notch wrote:I would like to have a minor trophy for the league winners and the major trophy for the playoff winners, but if you finish top and you really are undoubtedly the best team- you've got nothing to fear from playoffs. Most years there's two or three teams pretty close at the top though. This year there's four!

I think this is a great idea.

Of course it wouldn't be 'minor and major' but the marketing guys could put a spin on that.

There would be something like a 'League Champions trophy' - purely based on the league standings, and the winner could call themselves 'League Champions'.

Then there would be the 'Elite League Cup' for the playoff games with only the top four (elite) teams competing. Naturally teams would want to do the League and Cup double!

IMO one of the big problems with the Pro12 is that there are only two pieces of silverware to compete for each season. Creating a third without additional games would reward true performance better. Sponsors would be happy as well having another opportunity to spread their word, everyone's a winner!

And of course winning the playoff without winning the league would be more akin to winning a Six Nations on points difference, whereas doing the double is the equivalent of a Grand Slam- rarer and even more special!

The best idea I've heard. I would be a massive fan of that. I think a team should get the deserved recognition for finishing at the top of the league table. The bonus of an elite playoff to become either the elite champs or league grand slammers would add one hell of a buzz.
Trust you to think of it first Notch Smile If only the powers that be could see this forum

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Post by SecretFly Wed 06 May 2015, 9:07 pm

Didn't George mention this earlier?

"By all means have a playoff. But let's play for some other kind of trophy."

I've heard this mentioned quite a few times in 606 posts over the years actually - two trophies - one for League and one for Play-off winners.

I think it's too many Cups though - and you end up with fans saying one is better than the other and 'we have more of one than you have of the other' etc etc.  It gets fussy and needlessly niggly in the complexity of records. And it waters down the concept of 'Champions'.
Maybe that's how many fans here like to have their sport seasons, with cups and sub cups and all the lovely banter that can go along with it (I'm thinking of football!!! - so many bloody Cup each year).  But I'm always drawn to neatness and simplicity at the end of a season.  One goal, one cup, one outright undisputed Champ.  No grey.  A strongly identified Champion side.  
Yes, it might cut down some of the banter and history disputes about who was really best, but it gives much more League focus to that one side that the rest want to knock off it's smug perch! Smile   It creates a strong marketable sense of where the rest want to be and which single side needs to be dethroned.  So for me it's Either/Or - either League topper or the Play-off winners to take the full kudos.

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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 10:57 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:
Notch wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Notch wrote:I would like to have a minor trophy for the league winners and the major trophy for the playoff winners, but if you finish top and you really are undoubtedly the best team- you've got nothing to fear from playoffs. Most years there's two or three teams pretty close at the top though. This year there's four!

I think this is a great idea.

Of course it wouldn't be 'minor and major' but the marketing guys could put a spin on that.

There would be something like a 'League Champions trophy' - purely based on the league standings, and the winner could call themselves 'League Champions'.

Then there would be the 'Elite League Cup' for the playoff games with only the top four (elite) teams competing. Naturally teams would want to do the League and Cup double!

IMO one of the big problems with the Pro12 is that there are only two pieces of silverware to compete for each season. Creating a third without additional games would reward true performance better. Sponsors would be happy as well having another opportunity to spread their word, everyone's a winner!

And of course winning the playoff without winning the league would be more akin to winning a Six Nations on points difference, whereas doing the double is the equivalent of a Grand Slam- rarer and even more special!

The best idea I've heard. I would be a massive fan of that. I think a team should get the deserved recognition for finishing at the top of the league table. The bonus of an elite playoff to become either the elite champs or league grand slammers would add one hell of a buzz.
Trust you to think of it first Notch Smile If only the powers that be could see this forum

Actually, I can't take any credit for the idea whatsoever. Nor can anyone else on here for that matter. I first came across it in US soccer;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Soccer#Competition_format

They have a slightly different system, as they currently have two conferences with the Champion being decided by playoffs, but the principle is the same- at the end of the season the team with the highest points total wins the 'supporters shield'.

Also, their conference format runs on the exact same principles as I suggested for any future Pro14 on the other thread... but I'm just finding that out now. I knew I didn't think up the trophies for league and playoff winners, but for the conference thing it turns out I was just being wildly unoriginal Smile
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Post by Notch Wed 06 May 2015, 11:01 pm

SecretFly wrote:Yes, it might cut down some of the banter and history disputes about who was really best

For some people, nothing can ever do that regardless of the format! Hug
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Post by MunsterMac Thu 07 May 2015, 9:37 am

In other words, the present set-up allows teams to lag a bit during a season and then just try to hit the top four whilst holding some gas and tricks and ideas in the tank for the play-offs?

Or an alternate interpretation could be that all of the teams who tend to finish towards the top of the Pro12 are disproportionately affected by international call ups (and for the Irish teams more often than not being involved in the knockout stages of Europe) while the playoffs allow them the room to make up for that disruption.

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Post by MunsterMac Thu 07 May 2015, 9:43 am

I think a team should get the deserved recognition for finishing at the top of the league table.

Well they do get top seeding for the HCv2 and up to this year they rightly got the possibility of a home final.

Now even that tangible reward has been withdrawn.

I'd take a home final over some makey-uppy title and meaningless piece of silverware any day.

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Post by clivemcl Thu 07 May 2015, 10:19 am

Has there ever been the suggestion of an Aviva versus Pro12 Champions match? I guess though the question is - do you go for a neutral venue and would fans actually travel?

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Post by MunsterMac Thu 07 May 2015, 12:10 pm

Has there ever been the suggestion of an Aviva versus Pro12 Champions match? I guess though the question is - do you go for a neutral venue and would fans actually travel?

Don't really see the point of it given we already have the HCv2 plus trying to wedge another match into the season end mightn't go down well in some quarters.

What most would like to see I'd venture would be a proper World Champions match between the HCv2 and the S15 champs ala rugby league.

I'd imagine that would be a match that Hong Kong or Japan would love to get their hands on.

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Post by The Great Aukster Thu 07 May 2015, 1:33 pm

Forget about the trophies - there's a game on Saturday. When are the teams up?

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Post by Sin é Thu 07 May 2015, 1:51 pm

Don't know when the teams are up, but here is my guess:

1. Kilcoyne
2. Duncan
3. Archer
4. D Ryan
5. POC
6. POM
7. TOD
8. CJ
9. Murray
10. Keatley
11. Zebo
12. Hurley
13. Earls
14. Conway
15. Felix

16. Cronin, 17 Eusibio, 18. BJ, 19. Billy Holland, 20. Jack O'Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22. JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ronan O'Mahony

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Post by marty2086 Thu 07 May 2015, 1:55 pm

MunsterMac wrote:
Has there ever been the suggestion of an Aviva versus Pro12 Champions match? I guess though the question is - do you go for a neutral venue and would fans actually travel?

Don't really see the point of it given we already have the HCv2 plus trying to wedge another match into the season end mightn't go down well in some quarters.

What most would like to see I'd venture would be a proper World Champions match between the HCv2 and the S15 champs ala rugby league.

I'd imagine that would be a match that Hong Kong or Japan would love to get their hands on.

Toulon tried to arrange it after their first HC but were shot down, I think Sarries talked last year of the finalists from both competitions playing each other like League did this year but there are all sorts of logistical problems involved in it

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