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Ulster Rugby 2017-2018 Part 2

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Post by clivemcl Sat 02 Jun 2018, 2:14 am

First topic message reminder :

Carberry is 22, McPhillips is 21. Is this talk about sticking with McPhillips and hoping he turns out to be a gem maybe a tad naive? Carberry at a year older is being talked about as though he was the second coming and all this despite Sexton and Byrne and a whole backline of stellar players potentially blocking him. By contrast, it's almost as if we only know the name of McPhillips because we had no choice. A year ago the thinking was Jackson and Nelson. We then were saying Cooney can play 10 a bit. Then we signed Lealifano. Surely if McPhillips was the hot prospect, the coaches would have featured him more before Lealifano left.
In fact during Leanlifano's time here wasn't Nelson the preferred bench 10, and indeed started 3 games at 10 before Christmas, but then got injured?

Not meaning to be super negative, I hope I'm wrong. Cooney is a perfect example of a player suddenly shining from nowhere. I guess Ulster coaches know better than me if he's a real prospect worth thrusting into the limelight or not.


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Post by Kingshu Sun 01 Jul 2018, 12:52 pm

In regards to the 10, thats what I figured out as well. I'm guessing it will be a player with Irish parents/grandparents that will be a surprise like Will Addison.
All NH players are signed up to I guess it will be a uncapped super rugby player.

Anyone any guesses?
I'm gald its a forwards coach as we need as much imput here as possible.

This year really is a write off already, qualiy for Hcup the only target. Its all about squad development for the future, even next year where hopefully there will be a big influx of players it will take a season to bed in. Hopefully in 3 years we will be up there again but everyone else will have got stronger as well.The IRFU may even be preparing for the return of Jackson. Though he may just say F-off after what you did to me, I'll take the big money contract in France instead.

On the outhalf dilemma, would the IRFU have allowed Munster to go into a season even preseason like now, with one OH with only 11 caps?

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 01 Jul 2018, 1:32 pm

With respect to the season being  write off competitively Cunningham said as much.
He said it will take two seasons to sort out the mess (didn't use that word but that is what he meant),
clearly implying that it will be 20-21 before we can challenge for trophy.
Hard to swallow but to be honest realistic

IRFU have already softened their tone re Jackson, stating it does not have to be permanent.
Johnny retires, end of 19-20 say - I would not be at all surprised if Jackson returns as no one else, at present, is close to his class.

Playing Devil Advocate here but I will suggest a line of reasoning re the different ways we are being treated re NIQs compared to Leinster/Munster.

IRFU/Nucifora trust the Leinster/Munster set ups - they don't trust the recently past Ulster set up.
Leinster/Munster have been competitive in recent years, Ulster have not.
Leinster/Munster have produced an acceptable number of IQ players of International class in recent year, Ulster (threequarters apart) have produce 2.
Even when Ulster got an injection of high class NIQs - when we had Muller, Afoa, Payne, Wannenberg, Pienaer they both failed to win anything,
cost a lot of money and didn't give Ireland any benefit in terms of IQs coming through
Ulster need to pull their weight in terms of producing prospective IQ internationals first before the cash/places will be released to make them competitive

Just putting it out there as a rational

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Post by Standulstermen Sun 01 Jul 2018, 4:24 pm

Whilst he did say that Geoff he also said our signings weren't done. They look to be at this point. Im not suggesting we should be looking at Heineken Cup semis or anything but simply 2/3rd in the conference should be achievable. The problem with the stance the IRFU are taking is that the only people who suffer are the fans......yet again. Its no more than we should expect really given how we are treated usually.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 01 Jul 2018, 6:35 pm

He said success was qualifying for the European Championship and the play offs.
I would suggest that IQ signings may not be done but agree NIQ probably are.
Bryn identified, in order of priority Ulsters  NIQ needs as LH, Lock, Backrow.
(THis was before PJ and SO left and before LM and LL got injured so his perceived priorities may well be different now)
That suggest to me 2 things:
1 - he was prepared to ditch VdeMerwe and Deysel who he said publically had not delivered
2 - he has been knocked back and told no money for NIQs this year, so no point paying them off if no one coming in

Now I do agree fans suffer as a result but where does the blame lie?
With IRFU/Nucifora for telling us to shape up and get your house in order before we give you more money.
We gave you money before and you didn't deliver.
or
Does it lie with the Ulster branch for the systemic failure and poor management (both on and off the field) we have seen since the
Humphreys, McLoughlin and Muller trio were split up and went their separate ways.

I have to say I tend towards the later

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Post by Standulstermen Sun 01 Jul 2018, 6:54 pm

I think theres a middle ground that needs to be achieved Geoff. Just to be clear i would take a few decent pros in the squad to add a bit of depth. They dont have to be Piutaus or Coetzees but just a few solid guys with a bit of experience so the Curtis's of the world can come into a side and have the best possible chance to impress.

Ulster do have to shoulder most of the blame but Nucifora and co need to not take the Ulster fanbase for granted. Lets not forget they (the IRFU) agreed a tv deal to the financial detriment of the people of 6 counties and they are supposed to be a 32 county organisation. I'd be content with the playoffs this season (preferably a home one).

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 01 Jul 2018, 7:04 pm

Standulstermen wrote: I think theres a middle ground that needs to be achieved Geoff. Just to be clear i would take a few decent pros in the squad to add a bit of depth. They dont have to be Piutaus or Coetzees but just a few solid guys with  a bit of experience so the Curtis's of the world can come into a side and have the best possible chance to impress.

The problem with that is we had Payne, Pienaer, Muller, Wannenberg and Afoa - how many Irish players did their presence help develop - we produced (outside the threes) 2 Henderson and Jackson and I am not convinced those players presence helped Henderson much.
Case once bitten twice shy for the IRFU. Why would good NIQ players help usw developed IQ ones when it didn't before ?

Standulstermen wrote:
Ulster do have to shoulder most of the blame but Nucifora and co need to not take the Ulster fanbase for granted. Lets not forget they (the IRFU) agreed a tv deal to the financial detriment of the people of 6 counties and they are supposed to be a 32 county organisation. I'd be content with the playoffs this season (preferably a home one).
You thing the TV is detrimental?
Not so sure. I can now watch all Pro14 games in English for £9.99 and don't have to pay extra to watch European matches.
Previously had to watch matches in various forms of Gaelic and to be guaranteed all European matches (including some Ulster away matches) had to pay £34 a month for Sky.
Sad BBC NI has gone but overall I am happy with the change
NB: I get BT Sport as standard as part of my Virgin package.
Also the TV deal gives all clubs in the Pro14, including us considerably more money

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 01 Jul 2018, 7:24 pm

I can certainly see where the IRFU would be coming from if that were the stance they took.

For years we flogged older (sometimes mediocre) players instead of letting the youth have a go.
The big difference between us and say Leinster is that despite the NIQ players, despite all the brilliant players they have Leinster consistently give their youngsters a chance and we have not done so.  Ergo the IRFU want to force us into doing that in the hope it changes our habits and allows us to contribute more effectively to the Ireland team.

I want Ulster to do well but I would agree we have been completely reluctant to give youngsters a chance and can see why the IRFU have had enough and think that by denying us even bog standard NIQ's they give us no choice but to play the young guns

I agree we could bring in some squad players as cover and still give the young guys a chance but we cannot be trusted to do that, for years those squad players took the place of the youngsters and smothered them out rather than being used to back them up.

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Post by Standulstermen Sun 01 Jul 2018, 9:02 pm

Geoff

Im talking about the sky tv deal for the non 6N internationals not the premier tv thing.
You keep misunderstanding me. Im not necessarily after NIQs. Addison is IQ. there are obviously some backs out there that could potentially do a job and not cost the world. I'd say playing with Payne has helped Marshall defend the 13 channel like a demon and if Pienaar didnt help bring through Jackson and (for a time) make Paul Marshall look like a functioning Scrum half.

Neil
I totally agree with you and Geoff about bringing the young players in but it needs to be done so we arent hanging them out to dry. The reality is if the IRFU and nucifora dont trust Bryn and McFarland (their own pick) to find that balance between blooding youngsters and remaining competitive then the former shouldnt be in the job and the latter shouldnt have been given the job.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 01 Jul 2018, 11:36 pm

Standulstermen wrote:
Im talking about the sky tv deal for the non 6N internationals not the premier tv thing.
That wasn't clear. As this is an Ulster thread and the most recent TV deal was with respect to Premiersports I assumed that is what you were referring to.
Anyway I think you can buy a box to watch all RTE in the North

Standulstermen wrote:You keep misunderstanding me. Im not necessarily after NIQs. Addison is IQ. there are obviously some backs out there that could potentially do a job and not cost the world.
We could sign some squad fillers but a few extra backs is not going to make us significantly more competitive - we would need a handful of quality NIQs for that.
Standulstermen wrote:I'd say playing with Payne has helped Marshall defend the 13 channel like a demon and if Pienaar didnt help bring through Jackson and (for a time) make Paul Marshall look like a functioning Scrum half.
I specifically excluded threequarters and conceded Jackson but two player in  7/8 years who are good enough for Ireland from position 1 to 10 and 15 is pathetic

Standulstermen wrote:I totally agree with you and Geoff about bringing the young players in but it needs to be done so we arent hanging them out to dry.
We didn't give them there head when we have those 5 quality NIQs, why would we now.
Are you saying we do or don't need NIQs ?
If not not sure what you are expecting to happen.

Standulstermen wrote:The reality is if the IRFU and nucifora dont trust Bryn and McFarland (their own pick) to find that balance between blooding youngsters and remaining competitive then the former shouldnt be in the job and the latter shouldnt have been given the job.
I think you have got his completely wrong. Bryn and Dan have been brought in to turn it around because the IRFU/Nucifora didn't trust the previous regime. They are the new set up they hope will turn it around.
To put it blunty Ulster has failed Irish rugby in the last 6 years and is on notice to get its act together.
Until it proves itself it will not get the same investment.
It has previously received that investment and come up short.
Until they trust us, and start to see some green shoots, we will not get the same investment again.

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Post by The Great Aukster Sun 01 Jul 2018, 11:56 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Now I do agree fans suffer as a result but where does the blame lie?
With IRFU/Nucifora for telling us to shape up and get your house in order before we give you more money.
We gave you money before and you didn't deliver.
or
Does it lie with the Ulster branch for the systemic failure and poor management (both on and off the field) we have seen since the
Humphreys, McLoughlin and Muller trio were split up and went their separate ways.

I have to say I tend towards the later

Isn't it both?

The Branch is made up of clubmen who have lost touch with the professional game. They have fewer and fewer guys joining their clubs but haven't the first notion on how to stop the decline. Until they acknowledge the need for change, Ulster Rugby will continue to lose ground on the other provinces.

The IRFU policy is exerting pain on Ulster, but it won't matter how much they are tortured, they don't know the answer. Unless there is root and 'Branch' change, (which would take years even if they knew what to do), all Nucifora is achieving is making the team less competitive. Young guys might not benefit from role models but they do need competition to drive them to excel.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 02 Jul 2018, 8:29 am

We are seeing change now in both the rugby and non rugby structures of the club.
Whether they work or not only time will tell.
I would expect the non rugby changes to accelerate when the new CEO is in place.
What is clear is the IRFU, because they lost faith in the previous set up, are taking a more hands on approach in the running of the Province.
I do agree the committees are an archaic structure that need to be transformed.


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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 9:02 am

The IRFU have a lot of questions to answer, they are said to be in constant contact with those in charge of the provinces so why weren't they asking questions of those in charge over the years. These problems predate Logan and Humphreys, when they came in why weren't they asking them about their plans and giving feedback?

Plenty on here have commented on the problems at Ulster yet those in Dublin didn't see it? Or were Leinster just too productive that it wasn't a problem for them?

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 02 Jul 2018, 9:13 am

I think it is a question that originally, during the professional era, the provinces were by and large left to get on with it.
In the last decade or so the mismatch between the quality of players being produced by Leinster and Munster compared to Ulster has become more and more apparent so they took a closer look and did not like what they saw.
I also would suggest this is being driven by Schmidt telling his bosses something along the lines
'why haven't Ulster producing any decent forwards (bar Henderson), or 9's , or 15's, if they did we could be even better'




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Post by SecretFly Mon 02 Jul 2018, 9:34 am

marty2086 wrote:The IRFU have a lot of questions to answer, they are said to be in constant contact with those in charge of the provinces so why weren't they asking questions of those in charge over the years. These problems predate Logan and Humphreys, when they came in why weren't they asking them about their plans and giving feedback?

Plenty on here have commented on the problems at Ulster yet those in Dublin didn't see it? Or were Leinster just too productive that it wasn't a problem for them?

Would you call hiring Matt O'Connor productive?  I think all Provinces make personal mistakes that the Overall kingpins (IRFU) have little part in.  It's just that when one Province goes through a bad period, they only see their own problems magnified and fail to see that others have made dodgy decisions too.

Maybe in respect to Ulster and IRFU asking questions...maybe it was just that Ulster have been stubborn and didn't want advice from IRFU headquarters?  There is certainly evidence that such lack of faith in IRFU advice was out there and shining bright in recent years.

Did the IRFU really choose Humphreys (even through advisory channels) or did Ulster-centric officlals choose their local hero for a hero's reward?  You say the problems started before Humphreys - if they did, they were microscopic.  Humphreys kinda began the rollercoaster nosedive in chasing away when he saw a few clouds on the horizon.  Now other coaches/Directors have mimicked that performance - running away when even darker clouds show. Who is to blame them really, with reputations on the line, but Humphreys was the initiator of 'let's get out when I still have a marketable name'.
So Ulster were in need of major reworking because the sequence was in a rut of new coach/Director showing up and facing ever bigger challenges. It had just become too fast an elevator into a sewer. I think Ulster (and all of us in Irish rugby) will benefit from the fallout and the sucking in of some clean air to start a true rebuilding process finally.

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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 9:55 am

Fly I was talking productive in terms of producing players for the Ireland squad. There are mistakes, then there are systems that fail to produce the adequate number or quality of players, especially forwards. It has been a glaring problem at Ulster for a long time and it's not microscopic.

I'm not talking about the IRFU appointing people but they are in constant contact, they'll be reviewing performances at least annually especially when it comes to setting budgets etc, so why weren't questions being asked about it at least a few years ago? Ulster knew Johann Muller was retiring and had to go out and sign vDM which the IRFU had to sign off on, why weren't they at least asking about what comes next? There were a number of decent prospects in the academy that didn't get a look in and were cut loose. To get Henderson playing more at lock the IRFU had to let Ulster sign a second NIQ backrow. The signs were there but was anyone paying attention or were they wrapped up in Ulster at least being contenders that they thought it would come good eventually?

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Post by rodders Mon 02 Jul 2018, 10:13 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
rodders wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ulster Rugby now need a leader with a rugby brain to address the crumbling club and schools structures that are unfit for purpose. That will require someone who can get the respect of the Committee men. It will also require someone who can argue the case with Nucifora and the IRFU. Until that happens and a supply of homegrown players starts to emerge Ulster will inevitably continue on the downward slide.

I don't understand this comment. It is Nucifera that is trying to restructure the schools and underage systems into something fit for purpose  - it is Ulster that are refusing to do it.

How is Nucifora "trying to restructure the schools and underage systems into something fit for purpose"? All he is doing is blocking Ulster from recruiting NIEs, to force the issue.

I agree that the Branch are refusing to do anything presumably because they can't actually see what's wrong in the first place and therefore have zero chance of fixing it. Ulster will have to slip a lot further before positive change can start.

Nucifera gave Ulster a list of recommendations last year and they were rejected by the branch. They were warned that until they implemented the changes they would get less investment. This seems entirely reasonable to me.

This anti IRFU fake news is just becoming tedious. Maybe we should have a referendum on Ulster leaving the IRFU and be done with it.

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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 10:28 am

rodders wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
rodders wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ulster Rugby now need a leader with a rugby brain to address the crumbling club and schools structures that are unfit for purpose. That will require someone who can get the respect of the Committee men. It will also require someone who can argue the case with Nucifora and the IRFU. Until that happens and a supply of homegrown players starts to emerge Ulster will inevitably continue on the downward slide.

I don't understand this comment. It is Nucifera that is trying to restructure the schools and underage systems into something fit for purpose  - it is Ulster that are refusing to do it.

How is Nucifora "trying to restructure the schools and underage systems into something fit for purpose"? All he is doing is blocking Ulster from recruiting NIEs, to force the issue.

I agree that the Branch are refusing to do anything presumably because they can't actually see what's wrong in the first place and therefore have zero chance of fixing it. Ulster will have to slip a lot further before positive change can start.

Nucifera gave Ulster a list of recommendations last year and they were rejected by the branch. They were warned that until they implemented the changes they would get less investment. This seems entirely reasonable to me.

This anti IRFU fake news is just becoming tedious. Maybe we should have a referendum on Ulster leaving the IRFU and be done with it.


It's hardly fake news, you say they were recommendations but if the funding is contingent on it then they are surely demands?

Do you know what these 'recommendations' were? They could be what Ulster need to change or they could make things worse and the committees as change for changes sake isn't always the best way to go.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 02 Jul 2018, 10:45 am

Change for changes sake is always the best way to go when continuity of the same is unsatisfactory.

The present - for Ulster; players, coaches, staff, admin, fans - is patently not satisfactory.  Continuation of same principles and practices can not be proven to be the right course because the problems have arisen whilst engaging in them.  
Change is no guarantee either but it's the only solution to stagnancy.  In other words, the time for the big gamble has arrived.  Do you play or do you go home poor and try to dream of what 10 more years of hard labour might give you?

Now because I'm not a great gambling man, I'd probably go home and dream some more but the truth is 10 more years of hard labour in itself is a gamble and at least rolling the dice gives you a quicker answer.

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Post by rodders Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:03 am

marty2086 wrote:

Do you know what these 'recommendations' were? They could be what Ulster need to change or they could make things worse and the committees as change for changes sake isn't always the best way to go.

Don't have the details no, but I do know that scrapping the schools cup and focusing on underage rugby in the clubs to develop players was one of them.
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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:24 am

rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:

Do you know what these 'recommendations' were? They could be what Ulster need to change or they could make things worse and the committees as change for changes sake isn't always the best way to go.

Don't have the details no, but I do know that scrapping the schools cup and focusing on underage rugby in the clubs to develop players was one of them.

Does one really require the other? Think it kind of proves my point, improving the Schools Cup and underage club rugby can give a bigger and better pool of resources to develop players from but instead the IRFU are wanting to scrap it completely?

Schools can be a great platform to get young kids into the game, in my opinion we should be growing the Schools Cup and trying to engage with more kids and getting them into rugby and you can't do that as well at club level as you need someone to come through the doors to do that. With schools, especially in cities etc, you can get a wider collection of kids from different areas, backgrounds and interests that can help the game branch out and grow beyond it's established bases and communities.

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Post by rodders Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:55 am

marty2086 wrote:
rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:

Do you know what these 'recommendations' were? They could be what Ulster need to change or they could make things worse and the committees as change for changes sake isn't always the best way to go.

Don't have the details no, but I do know that scrapping the schools cup and focusing on underage rugby in the clubs to develop players was one of them.

Does one really require the other?

In my opinion yes it does. The schools system as it is is focused on short term results for the schools, rather than player development. Clubs can provide this but they are starved of resources because of the schools.
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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 12:15 pm

rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:

Do you know what these 'recommendations' were? They could be what Ulster need to change or they could make things worse and the committees as change for changes sake isn't always the best way to go.

Don't have the details no, but I do know that scrapping the schools cup and focusing on underage rugby in the clubs to develop players was one of them.

Does one really require the other?

In my opinion yes it does. The schools system as it is is focused on short term results for the schools, rather than player development. Clubs can provide this but they are starved of resources because of the schools.

And scrapping the schools cup doesn't guarantee anything, if you scrap it and it doesn't work you then have a job to get it going again for another solution to a problem down the line. The problem currently is that it's one or the other in Ulster, if you have both you can have players learning in different environments and all the other benefits that can go with it. Like I said, schools can help get people into the game that wouldn't be involved otherwise, it means more opportunities for players to play, train, learn, develop, grow. Why is the schools cup in Leinster seen as helping players develop rather than hindering them?

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Post by The Great Aukster Mon 02 Jul 2018, 2:06 pm

marty2086 wrote:
rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
rodders wrote:
marty2086 wrote:

Do you know what these 'recommendations' were? They could be what Ulster need to change or they could make things worse and the committees as change for changes sake isn't always the best way to go.

Don't have the details no, but I do know that scrapping the schools cup and focusing on underage rugby in the clubs to develop players was one of them.

Does one really require the other?

In my opinion yes it does. The schools system as it is is focused on short term results for the schools, rather than player development. Clubs can provide this but they are starved of resources because of the schools.

And scrapping the schools cup doesn't guarantee anything, if you scrap it and it doesn't work you then have a job to get it going again for another solution to a problem down the line. The problem currently is that it's one or the other in Ulster, if you have both you can have players learning in different environments and all the other benefits that can go with it. Like I said, schools can help get people into the game that wouldn't be involved otherwise, it means more opportunities for players to play, train, learn, develop, grow. Why is the schools cup in Leinster seen as helping players develop rather than hindering them?

The Ulster Schools Cup is the trophy that has been played for more than anything else in world rugby, so is going to be a hard one to scrap. If the smaller schools organised their rugby through their local clubs potentially a bridge between the schools and clubs could be established. Leinster did have the same issue as Ulster - where schoolboys were prohibited from playing for clubs and surprise surprise per capita they didn't produce a whole pile of forwards then. When that rule was scrapped the tide turned so the indicators are that schools and clubs can co-exist with the schools reaching a far greater number of potential players than the clubs ever could, and the clubs exposing them to a more adult form of the game.

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Post by rodders Mon 02 Jul 2018, 2:20 pm

And how many professional Leinster players are coming through clubs and not fee paying schools?
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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 3:02 pm

rodders wrote:And how many professional Leinster players are coming through clubs and not fee paying schools?

Im not sure of the numbers but both are producing players, surely that's what everyone should want? Two pathways rather than one overcrowded pathway? Surely two pathways is better than one?

How many times has it been said on here that players should be playing rugby for school and club?

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Post by SecretFly Mon 02 Jul 2018, 3:45 pm

School believes the 15 is a 14 and play him at 14 coz they already have Josh McIntire with the lovely hair at 15; the girl's favourite who is good enough not to be shifted or dropped - their pupil, their needs, their decision.  
Club believes he's a cert 15 with maybe a bit of a utility 12 thrown in.. and a scout from IRFU nods in affirmation coz the Province or the Nation is looking for future 15s with utility 12 ability.

Two pathways then is inevitably two masters.  Two masters (at the youth stage) can mean two quite distinct opinions on one player's merits and best position and therefore a delayed 'correct' pathway for him as he matures.  I think the friction is there.  How to use schools and clubs to create the pools of players required for Province and Nation.  I think Rodders said it, Schools only require positions to bring them more immediate success.  Clubs are tied more to longterm development for Provincial and International possibilities.

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Post by Standulstermen Mon 02 Jul 2018, 3:59 pm

We could sign some squad fillers but a few extra backs is not going to make us significantly more competitive - we would need a handful of quality NIQs for that.

I entirely disagree with this given the paucity of options in the backs but irrespective of that will Hume learn more from someone like a James Downey type player at 12 or Angus Curtis? Because that's the depth levels you are down to at this point if we also want to rotate. Young players learn more from experienced guys than they will from their peers.

That wasn't clear. As this is an Ulster thread and the most recent TV deal was with respect to Premiersports I assumed that is what you were referring to.
Anyway I think you can buy a box to watch all RTE in the North

Clear or not is in a prime example of inequitable treatment given to fans of a particular province whose mandate clearly states it is a 32 county organisation.

We didn't give them there head when we have those 5 quality NIQs, why would we now.
Are you saying we do or don't need NIQs ?
If not not sure what you are expecting to happen.

Because you clearly state its a different regime now, albeit they arent being backed as much as previous, failed regimes. I would love 5 NIQS this season. We arent going to get it. I'd love some signings to add depth. You seem to be arguing that depth isnt important. At present we arent a million miles away from Curtis and McPhillips starting a game with the likes of Busby and Lyttle in the back three. Thats not ideal for anyone as all these guys are learning the game at the same time.



I think you have got his completely wrong. Bryn and Dan have been brought in to turn it around because the IRFU/Nucifora didn't trust the previous regime. They are the new set up they hope will turn it around.
To put it blunty Ulster has failed Irish rugby in the last 6 years and is on notice to get its act together.
Until it proves itself it will not get the same investment.
It has previously received that investment and come up short.
Until they trust us, and start to see some green shoots, we will not get the same investment again.

Bryn hasnt been brought in anywhere though. He's been in the job for years. If the previous regime is such a dismal failure then he needs to hold his hands up and not be part of a new start. Otherwise it isnt a clean slate and if they dont trust the new regime to sign players (Jantjes etc which looks a poor call) then why are they in place. I totally understand they wont get the same investment. I'd like to see SOME investment and not just a load of draconian cuts which would usually be reserved for organisations that are financially underperforming. I fear you were right and i've made a massive mistake renewing but I do believe our expectations arent entirely dissimilar. All I want for Ulster is equitable treatment with other underperforming organisations. I dont believe we are receiving that as is evidenced by the Munster comparison. The IRFU are basically tying one hand behind Ulsters back and asking them to do a better job than those they previously funded to the hilt. You dont initiate regime change and then doom it to failure. Thats counterproductive.

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Post by Sin é Mon 02 Jul 2018, 4:09 pm

rodders wrote:And how many professional Leinster players are coming through clubs and not fee paying schools?

Leinster (& Munster for that matter) seem to watch youth club teams and if they show promise, get them into a school. Examples, Joey Carbery & Conor Oliver went to Blackrock College for the last two years in secondary school. I know of two lads from Birr who had the option to go to Roscrea, one chose to and the other chose to stay in Birr. Both made it into Leinster Academy.
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Post by marty2086 Mon 02 Jul 2018, 4:19 pm

SecretFly wrote:School believes the 15 is a 14 and play him at 14 coz they already have Josh McIntire with the lovely hair at 15; the girl's favourite who is good enough not to be shifted or dropped - their pupil, their needs, their decision.  
Club believes he's a cert 15 with maybe a bit of a utility 12 thrown in.. and a scout from IRFU nods in affirmation coz the Province or the Nation is looking for future 15s with utility 12 ability.

Two pathways then is inevitably two masters.  Two masters (at the youth stage) can mean two quite distinct opinions on one player's merits and best position and therefore a delayed 'correct' pathway for him as he matures.  I think the friction is there.  How to use schools and clubs to create the pools of players required for Province and Nation.  I think Rodders said it, Schools only require positions to bring them more immediate success.  Clubs are tied more to longterm development for Provincial and International possibilities.

And how many players would that actually affect? You just have to look at some players in professional setups and the number of positions they are shifted around. Kyle McCall was moved around the front row for a few years, he made his debut at tighthead, disappeared and moved to hooker in the academy then came through again at loosehead.

Just look at Joey Carbery

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 02 Jul 2018, 5:39 pm

Standulstermen wrote:  will Hume learn more from someone like a James Downey type player at 12 or Angus Curtis?
False comparison. Hume will be learning from Payne and Cave not Curtis.
They will teach him more in a day than Downey could in a year

Standulstermen wrote:  Because you clearly state its a different regime now
It is but the new regime needs to convince the IRFU it is different and not just a retread

Standulstermen wrote:  You seem to be arguing that depth isnt important.
Not in the least, a few IQ back would make a lot of sense but ones willing to come here don't grow on trees and even if signed will not make us competitive of itself
Signing Marsh, Scholes and Macken would be help but none of them would fundamentally improve our first XV, infact none of them may even make the first XV.
The reality is that is the standard of player we are likely to get

Standulstermen wrote:  Bryn hasnt been brought in anywhere though. He's been in the job for years. .
Not in his current job he hasn't. He was brought in because neither Logan or Kiss had a clue about contract negotiations.
The authority he has been given since the shake up bears no comparison with the past

Standulstermen wrote:  I'd like to see SOME investment and not just a load of draconian cuts which would usually be reserved for organisations that are financially underperforming. I fear you were right and i've made a massive mistake renewing but I do believe our expectations arent entirely dissimilar. All I want for Ulster is equitable treatment with other underperforming organisations. I dont believe we are receiving that as is evidenced by the Munster comparison. The IRFU are basically tying one hand behind Ulsters back and asking them to do a better job than those they previously funded to the hilt. You dont initiate regime change and then doom it to failure. Thats counterproductive.

We have been a failure, as far as producing players for Ireland has been (again threequarters apart) lets admit that because that is where the IRFU are coming from.
Munster have produced more international quality players than us over the last 6 years or so and have been a better team than us over that period. Munster are not on an equitable level of underperforming and that is why they are not being treated to the same cold turkey.
Leinster have produced a massive amount of international forwards in that period we have produced 1, and have been on a different planet success wise.
I can totally understand why it is being questioned why there is such a difference.
We were funded to the hilt, we won nothing and produced hardly any International qualities, why should the IRFU repeat that mistake until they see real change?
If they see us developing the young talent we have I am sure we will some see money coming in 19-20 when incidently far better players will be available than now.

I am in agreement with many of the points Rodders makes and find it disturbing the recommendation were thrown out.

I think our schools cup is a big handicap.
Produce big lumps to win at all cost,  skill is a secondary consideration.
Don't interact with the clubs in any meaningful way, infact open hostility, using coaches who, by and large, are not up to the job.
I do not know enough about Leinster schools as to why their set up works and ours doesn't

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Post by Standulstermen Mon 02 Jul 2018, 8:10 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
Standulstermen wrote:  will Hume learn more from someone like a James Downey type player at 12 or Angus Curtis?
False comparison. Hume will be learning from Payne and Cave not Curtis.
They will teach him more in a day than Downey could in a year

Standulstermen wrote:  Because you clearly state its a different regime now
It is but the new regime needs to convince the IRFU it is different and not just a retread

Standulstermen wrote:  You seem to be arguing that depth isnt important.
Not in the least, a few IQ back would make a lot of sense but ones willing to come here don't grow on trees and even if signed will not make us competitive of itself
Signing Marsh, Scholes and Macken would be help but none of them would fundamentally improve our first XV, infact none of them may even make the first XV.
The reality is that is the standard of player we are likely to get

Standulstermen wrote:  Bryn hasnt been brought in anywhere though. He's been in the job for years. .
Not in his current job he hasn't. He was brought in because neither Logan or Kiss had a clue about contract negotiations.
The authority he has been given since the shake up bears no comparison with the past

Standulstermen wrote:  I'd like to see SOME investment and not just a load of draconian cuts which would usually be reserved for organisations that are financially underperforming. I fear you were right and i've made a massive mistake renewing but I do believe our expectations arent entirely dissimilar. All I want for Ulster is equitable treatment with other underperforming organisations. I dont believe we are receiving that as is evidenced by the Munster comparison. The IRFU are basically tying one hand behind Ulsters back and asking them to do a better job than those they previously funded to the hilt. You dont initiate regime change and then doom it to failure. Thats counterproductive.

We have been a failure, as far as producing players for Ireland has been (again threequarters apart) lets admit that because that is where the IRFU are coming from.
Munster have produced more international quality players than us over the last 6 years or so and have been a better team than us over that period. Munster are not on an equitable level of underperforming and that is why they are not being treated to the same cold turkey.
Leinster have produced a massive amount of international forwards in that period we have produced 1, and have been on a different planet success wise.
I can totally understand why it is being questioned why there is such a difference.
We were funded to the hilt, we won nothing and produced hardly any International qualities, why should the IRFU repeat that mistake until they see real change?
If they see us developing the young talent we have I am sure we will some see money coming in 19-20 when incidently far better players will be available than now.

I am in agreement with many of the points Rodders makes and find it disturbing the recommendation were thrown out.

I think our schools cup is a big handicap.
Produce big lumps to win at all cost,  skill is a secondary consideration.
Don't interact with the clubs in any meaningful way, infact open hostility, using coaches who, by and large, are not up to the job.
I do not know enough about Leinster schools as to why their set up works and ours doesn't

The new regime is the IRFUs choice Geoff. If its more of the same its entirely their fault! Hume cant learn from Cave if Cave gets injured. Thats where we are. If we have zero injuries we can survive. On that I agree. If we have two we are screwed. Which scenario is more likely? (especially considering Addisons history)
I agree with your point on IQ players but we found Herring, Reidy, Addison (by all accounts a very good signing) so I dont think we can afford to give up the avenue. Im talking about being competitive in the league when we are without the likes of Stockdale and McCloskey needs a break from being flogged to death.

Bryn had a hand in some seriously poor signings so cant be absolved completely in my view, unless he's the Bertie Ahern of Ulster rugby. It isnt a massive break and in truth the supposed desire for Jantjes doesnt convince. If we go back 6 years we have been to one more HEC final than munster and (I believe) one less league final. Same number of trophies? Not sure in truth.

Im not suggesting we are as consistent as Munster but munsters recent consistency has come off the back of a massive bending of rules regarding NIQs and a serious shift in funding in spite of owing money to the IRFU as marty suggesting. We may have been given money (and I dont dispute the production has been poor) but we are consistently in the black and as such I could say the competitive nature of the province when we did have the Pienaars and Mullers has been repaid (financially) many times over. The reality is that same money will not be present unless we show some signs of being competitive. Attendances are already down (albeit still 2nd in the league) and with lowering attendances and less exposure (tv deal) then the same money cant be demanded from guys like Heineken etc and suddenly their funding becomes a requirement operationally.


I totally understand where the IRFU (and yourself) are coming from in terms of holding back some funding but not at the expense of squad depth which goes to player safety in the long term. How many minutes will be expected of Stu McCloskey this season I wonder. Will his performances suffer as a result? Therefore he doesnt get selected in green. We have failed to produce again. No funding. No squad depth so lets flog McCloskey again. I personally dont like the schools cup either and I think the notion that the UB simply threw out a number of recommendations troubling. But the response has to be measured and not at the expense of the team or fans. In terms of being competitive I have set a fairly low bar I feel and I think most supporters would be happy seeing more O'Toole, Curtis, Agnew etc and a playoff in the league.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 02 Jul 2018, 8:51 pm

Cave still has a brain to, as does Payne to talk to the likes of Hume, in the event of injury.
Is Payne worthless because he has retired?
Who is talking about not looking for IQ players - no one as far as I know
What has emerged is Kiss was a control freak and made he clear he had the final say in all signings
Not saying Cunningham had no say in them but clear the buck stopped with Kiss.
VdeMerwe for example was a recommendation by Clarke, sanctioned by Kiss
Cunningham has power now he never had even 6 months ago.

In the last 6 seasons Munster have a better Pro nn record than us 4 times (that is 4 out of the last 5 years)
Since we last won the thing they have won it twice
Since we last made the final they have been in it twice
Since we last won anything they have won 2 Heineken Cups
In the last 6 years they have got to 2 Heineken semi finals we have not reach that stage once
Last but not least they have produced a consistent string of quality players for Ireland, we haven't come close.
Yes finances are important but as long as the provinces ticks over the thing that really matters is the players you produced for the
National team because that is where the big money is. That have produced in this regard to a satisfactory level, we haven't.
Rules have been bent for us - year before last we had 6 NIQs on our books on permanent contracts.
We have also had 7/8 on the books through stand in - trouble was most were injured or useless.
Didn't we have Raymaker, Boyes and Stanley all on our books in the same year ?
As to attendances and new TV deal.
The reality is the lose of Season Ticket holders over the last two years is about 2,500 that is less than the increase per club of the new TV deal which was also increased the year before when Sky signed up. In that respect, generate income from outside, next year is the highest ever.

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Post by Standulstermen Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:01 pm

Raaymaker and Boys never played for the senior team and one replaced the other in terms of injury cover iirc. Stanley played about 3 games. My point regarding IQ players is that we havent signed anyone. Two or three signings to add depth and I would shut up but im not hopeful of getting any at this stage especially given most European contracts are done. I dont believe our treatment is equitable and fair albeit I do agree they have a point.

Just to clarify though was Kiss not an IRFU appointment too? If so they have less of a leg to stand on. I understand Cave and co can coach Hume but if we pick up injuries he is on his own at gametime. Would you rather have Payne at 13 or 15 alongside Hume or in the coaching box? You've spun a set of statistics for munster over the last 6 years as did I. The relevant point is the internationals produced in the pack on which I agree and i've said in spite of the needs identified in the pack I believe we can put out two competitive packs with a bit of good fortune which will both help develop youngsters. My issue is there is zero point in doing so if the backline is so weak it cant take advantage because 3/4 players are learning on the job. If the cost is two or three experienced guys (not necessarily big money) to come in to kick us on to playoff level then its worth doing. Not just sitting on their hands and wallets and expecting these youngsters to be the be all and end all in their first full season.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 03 Jul 2018, 9:06 am

We are looking to sign IQ backs - they don't grow on tree and even if they do they don't necessarily want to be picked by Ulster.
Even if we sign IQ backs they will not be world beaters, more like the likes of Marsh, Macken and Scholes; that sort of level but as I say they have to want to come.

If we signed NIQ players on temporary contracts who never played or hardly ever played that is no fault but our own - they were still on our books.
Kiss was pushed in our direction by the IRFU, because Schmidt didn't rate him, so that extent they do shoulder some blame.
However with the appointment of a coach we have the right of veto.
The problem was we had the clueless Logan making the decision and he was in headless chicken mode following the departure of Humphreys and being forced to ditch Anscombe. That sort of mistake should not be made going forward if we have a rugby savvy CEO like Constable - he would have applied a veto


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Post by marty2086 Tue 03 Jul 2018, 9:32 am

I think the problem with Munster, some of their injury jokers have stayed longer than the guy they are covering was injured. Taute was signed to cover Sailis injury but you ended up with them playing in the same team, if Ulster signed better injury cover maybe they would have been afforded the same leeway but the fact is Munster have been given that leeway beyond the IRFUs own policies

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 03 Jul 2018, 9:35 am

You have to make it attractive for the guy to come so a contract to the end of the season is probably inevitable in the vast majority of cases

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Post by rodders Tue 03 Jul 2018, 9:53 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
I do not know enough about Leinster schools as to why their set up works and ours doesn't

As I understand the difference is as fee paying schools they have much better resources in terms of facilities and coaching compared to the Grammar school we have here.

Therefore this is not a system we can copy.

The dual pathway system simply does not work. The IRFU have tried to close the gap in standards between the School and clubs for years and it has not worked.

Only when the the best players are playing underage for the clubs and not their school teams will the system be fit for purpose but right now the tail is wagging the dog.
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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:18 am

rodders wrote:
Only when the the best players are playing underage for the clubs and not their school teams will the system be fit for purpose but right now the tail is wagging the dog.

Could not agree more.
Thanks for you insight into Leinster schools.

So I stand by what I have felt for years, if Ulster want to move forward they need tell the schools to take a hike, with respect to the schools cup, and specifically no final at Ravenhill.
Also no help till they allow the professionals to coach their young talent.
Time for prevarication is over - sadly our committees refuse to see that.

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Post by rodders Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:21 am

So Easterby is going to be interim coach. How do folks feel about that?

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Post by Standulstermen Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:22 am

Geoff if the IRFU have foisted the guy who must take the lions share of the blame on us then they are culpable for the position we are in. Now we have another IRFU coach (albeit one who clearly can work well given certain raw materials) coming in because the next IRFU appointment cant get out of his contract. THey should at the very least be helping us towards competitiveness but not having our coach might be a stickler for any potential signings I suppose.

Like I have said, if there is work going on and we bring in two or three guys to help the youngsters then thats fine by me. Im working off what we are told as fans, which is currently that the squad is the squad

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:35 am

As I have said any coaching appointment we can say no, we were in the ridiculous situation, when Kiss was appointed, of having no one with the understanding to say no. That is a joke.
I agree the IRFU need to shoulder some of the blame for that.
I disagree that Kiss should take the lions share of the blame, the issue at Ulster rugby are far bigger than that, a bad coach really makes the problem worse but it is not the root cause.

At the same time I believe that the problem is now being looked at in terms of a long term solution not seeking a quick fix, as in the past, that merely papers over the cracks.
Some in the committees swallowing their pride and appointing Willie Anderson was  a big step forward (more than one previously stated he would get a position over their dead body - my thoughts were it could be arranged Whistle  )

Reality is this may be the squad, if we find no one else but we are trying.
I am ok with Easterby - given the options available. A forward coach who obviously compliments Peel and Payne in their roles

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:46 am

Given that it didn't seem likely that McFarland would be able to take over until Scotland release him then Easterby is probably the best choice.

Forwards coach who will compliment the coaches we have, a very good coach, has previous experience of being a head coach which could come in useful and will be able to show our players what Ireland are looking for.

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Post by marty2086 Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:46 am

So when it comes to games, who will be picking the team and implementing the game plan?

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 03 Jul 2018, 10:48 am

Peel is in nominal charge but I would expect a very corporate approach with all three having a say

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Post by Pete330v2 Tue 03 Jul 2018, 12:54 pm

At least Peel and Easterbunny have history so may work well together, depending on the relationship they had at the Scarlets.

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 03 Jul 2018, 1:39 pm

I may be remembering wrong, but didn't peel say he spoke to easterby before he took the Ulster job? So I'm guessing they get along

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Post by clivemcl Wed 04 Jul 2018, 6:11 pm

So UR media team have been doing these short interview videos from pre-season. Cave, Henry, Addison, Moore... and Angus Curtis.

I could be wrong, but I don't think media/marketing teams simply pick people at random. Nor are they fortune tellers, but I do find it interesting that Curtis was picked out as a face to hear from.

Are they simply picking people who are capable of speaking well on camera? Maybe.

But is it possible that UR and IRFU actually see a lot on Curtis? Perhaps more so than Phillips in the long run?

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 04 Jul 2018, 8:52 pm

It could be Clive but they both seem to see Curtis as a 12 right now more than a 10, who knows how things turn out though

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Post by clivemcl Wed 04 Jul 2018, 8:55 pm

I suppose with Addison at 15, it wouldn’t be surprising that Curtis would be a good bench option covering ten and centre.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 05 Jul 2018, 9:34 am

Squad for next year, (unless we sign some IQ players in the interim)

TH Herbst, Moore, Ah You, Kane
Hooker Best, Herring, Andrew, McBurney
LH Warwick, McCall, vanDeMerwe, O'Hagan
Lock Henderson, O’Connor, Treadwell, Browne, Dalton
Backrow Murphy, Coetzee, Reidy, Timoney, Deysel, Rea, Ross, Henry, Jones, Hall, Montgomery
SH Cooney, Shanahan, Stewart
FH McPhillips
Centre Marshall, McCloskey, Addison, Cave
Backs Stockdale, Gilroy, Ludik, Lyttle, Nelson, Owens, Busby

Apparently of the 43 above 28 on full contracts and 15 on development contracts
Also there are 17 Academy contracts which I reckon are probably 17 of the following 19 (will have to find out who has been dropped)

O'Toole, Cooper
Clarke
Reid
Regan, McCusker, Thompson
Dunleavy, Agnew, Rea jnr
O'Donnell, Curtis jnr
Lowry, Curtis snr
Hume, Butler
Hughes, Finnegan, Kernohan



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