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Ulster Rugby 2020/2021

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formerly known as Sam
thebandwagonsociety
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Post by neilthom7 Thu 04 Feb 2021, 8:06 pm

First topic message reminder :

Thought it was time for an update on the thread so this is the new all things Ulster thread.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 22 Jul 2021, 1:44 pm

Nice to see that we have managed to get the NIQ's down, hopefully our Irish players do it without those NIQ's as it will be a very competitive league this year

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Post by Don Alfonso Wed 28 Jul 2021, 11:12 am

Azur Allison, former Leinster TH prospect Ryan McMahon and Rhys O'Donnell all training with Ulster. Allison must still be in the mix.

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 28 Jul 2021, 8:19 pm

Wonder when the fixtures for the league will be released

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 01 Aug 2021, 3:33 pm

Don Alfonso wrote:Azur Allison, former Leinster TH prospect Ryan McMahon and Rhys O'Donnell all training with Ulster. Allison must still be in the mix.

O'Donnell is an interesting one.
Him and Campbell doesn't didn't get on - Campbell leaves and he is back in.
A talented SH

Allison has completed 3 years in the Academy, not much luck with injuries - being consider for a 4th year in the Academy

McMahon is a player we have seen some potential in and he realises that he has a chance to make a mark at Ulster rather than Leinster.
Lets be honest not much behind Moore and O'Toole at TH

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 01 Aug 2021, 6:38 pm

Useful young squad players then who might turn into something down the line. Decent of them to give Allison a chance to prove himself hopefully with an injury free run

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Post by Don Alfonso Mon 02 Aug 2021, 12:05 pm

While Cooney is superb and Doak is evidently the second coming of Pienaar, there's plenty of space for a talented young scrumhalf - Lewis or O'Donnell - to establish themselves as an option ahead of Shanahan.

Cooney has probably only a year (or two) still playing at Ulster, so I'd hope by the time he leaves Shanners is fourth choice

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 03 Aug 2021, 7:29 pm

I see Bank of Ireland where guilty of failing to protect a woman from Sexual Harassment.
The same organisation that were central in getting two players thrown out of Ulster after being found not guilty.

What a bunch of hypocrites.
Will the IRFU tell the BoI to go take a hike - will they heck as like.
IRFU and BoI - two contemptible organisations

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 03 Aug 2021, 8:24 pm

Corporate bank is hypocritical, wish I was shocked. We all knew that decision was not made because of what happened or what they thought of it but because IRFU, Ulster, BOI were scared of looking bad in the press, losing customers/sponsors etc.

They didn't care what happened, if they had got rid of the guys because they really cared and did it because they wanted to make sure that all players knew they had a moral obligation to be better than that and should be role models then I could get behind that. But they didn't, they did it because it might hurt the bottom line and this, well this just reinforces that

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 04 Aug 2021, 1:15 pm

It always was and always will be finances that make the decision while logic can talk a hike.

On the flipside I noticed that PJ was awarded the London Irish player of the season. He's the best Irish 10 but the BOI and the IRFU would rather make up their own morals.

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Post by Don Alfonso Wed 11 Aug 2021, 2:59 pm

So we'll be missing Jack McGrath and Izzy come the start of the season, is that right? Is Luke Marshall back?

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 11 Aug 2021, 5:18 pm

Sounds about right to me, haven't heard about Marshall. Still a month and a half to the start of the season so if he is not fit he still has a good bit of time

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 11 Aug 2021, 6:19 pm

Jack McGrath is most definitely training and my understand is Marshall is as well.

Only Izzy definitely out for the start of the season

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Post by Don Alfonso Thu 12 Aug 2021, 3:21 pm

ULSTER RUGBY ACADEMY SQUAD 2021/22:


Year 1:

James Humphreys

Conor McKee

Jude Postlethwaite

Harry Sheridan

George Saunderson



Year 2:

Ben Carson

Reuben Crothers

James McCormick

Ben Moxham

Conor Rankin



Year 3:

Azur Allison

Lewis Finlay


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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 12 Aug 2021, 4:52 pm

Allison is in practise Year 4.

The numbers are light but we must remember that 5 of the 6 players with development years followed by, guaranteed professional contracts, would normally have been Years 2 and 3. They were promoted early because of the high promise they show.
McCann being the exception

Sheridan, Postlethwaite are exciting additions.
Saunderson impresses as well.
If Humphreys has any of his Dads ability that would be handy.
Seem to be getting a bit of a production line in SHs - Doak, Finlay, McGee, O'Donnell

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 26 Aug 2021, 7:06 pm

Mick Kearney (lock) has signed on a short term deal from Zebre

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 27 Aug 2021, 10:10 am

Brought in to cover Izzys injury I believe so probably until the end of the year.

Lets be honest Dave O'Connor is a break glass option so effectively we are down to 4 Locks

Hendo, Carter, AOC and Tredders

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 27 Aug 2021, 11:59 am

f we don't get any major injury issues that should be enough cover at lock, I'm more concerned about our ability to compete in the back row

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 27 Aug 2021, 1:07 pm

Given the backrow is Reidy, Timoney, Murphy the cover is
Rea x 2, Jones and McCann

If we are ok at Lock I can see Treadwell getting some time at 6

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 27 Aug 2021, 4:47 pm

BBC NI are getting 6 of the home games then this season, plus the final should we make it that far.

Might as well just get Premier tbh save faffing about trying to work out what channel the game is on each week

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 02 Sep 2021, 1:04 pm

Teams up

(15-9) Aaron Sexton, Craig Gilroy, Stewart Moore, Angus Curtis, Ben Moxham, Ian Madigan, Nathan Doak; 

(1-8) Callum Reid, John Andrew, Ross Kane, Mick Kearney, Sam Carter (Capt.), Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, Greg Jones. 

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Gareth Milasinovich, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Jude Postlethwaite, Ben Carson, Azur Allison, David McCann, Harry Sheridan, Andrew Warwick, Lewis Finlay, Conor Rankin.  

Ticket printed - check
Mask in pocket - check
Covid vaccine card in pocket - check (don't actually need but I'll have it with me)

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 02 Sep 2021, 1:09 pm

Just glad to be back but the stand out player interests for me are:

Sexton at 15
Doak at 9 - I'm convinced he will be in front of Shanahan in the pecking order
Reid at LH. If McGrath still not fit I can see him being the backup to EOS
Marcus Rea at 7 - he could be key this year (incidentally same age as Chris Henry when he made his break through)
Seeing Postlewaithe, Carson, Allison play but more than anyone Sheridan.
There is an open door for him to make a break through. I also think it will be in the back row rather than Lock

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 02 Sep 2021, 1:58 pm

Nice to have Ulster back in front of a good capacity again, a good chance for everyone to get some match sharpness, lets see if anyone is sticking their hand up for selection

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 02 Sep 2021, 2:09 pm

Agree - in particular there is an open door available for any of the following to make a name for themselves in the backrow


Marcus Rea
David McCann
Azur Allison
Harry Sheridan
Reuben Crothers


Are any of them bold and good enough to do so?

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 02 Sep 2021, 7:00 pm

Back row certainly is open, with Coetzee out and no replacement brought in the door is open for any young backrower to step through, we will soon find out if any can.


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Post by scrummy Thu 02 Sep 2021, 7:16 pm

So it's Ulster's 2nd team for the first match. Saving the firsts for the second leg.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 04 Sep 2021, 11:29 am

Ulster: A Sexton; C Gilroy, S Moore, A Curtis, B Moxham; I Madigan, N Doak; C Reid, J Andrew, R Kane; M Kearney, S Carter (capt); Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, G Jones
Replacements: B Roberts (for Andrew, 40), G Milasinovich (for Reid, 40), M Moore (for Kane, 40) D Shanahan (for Doak, 40), A O’Connor (for S Carter, 40), S Reidy (for G Jones, 40), D McCann (for Matty Rea, 40), A Warwick (for M Moore, 52), J Postlethwaite (for S Moore, 58), H Sheridan (for Kearney, 62), C Rankin (for Gilroy, 64), B Carson (for Curtis, 64), L Finlay (for Shanahan, 67), A Allison (for Marcus Rea, 67)

What did I see?

Some positives but we lost because the backs were far too easily cut open.
Of the starters only Doak and Moore really impressed, Madigan was erratic, Curtis nice touches but failed defensively. Moxham offered nothing, Gilroy likewise, Sexton showed some exciting potential but he is an accident waiting to happen - really green - poor offloading, poor positioning, poor tackling, good in the air. He is not a 15 he is a winger. Postlethwaite showed nothing and Rankin had a mere. Finlay did ok and Shanahan had a decent game.

As to starting forwards Reid was outstanding - he is ready to go and McGrath better watch it otherwise he could be 3rd choice LH, one bullocking run from the half way lne to inside the Saracens 22 was a joy, he has pace. Jones had a brilliant game. Interesting he showed real pace and seems to being groomed to be Timoneys back up. On that performance alone he is good enough. Andrews was solid, Kane with the exception of one turn over was average. Disappointed with the lack of grunt from the Locks. On our own ball we were turned over far too much, They and the Rea brothers didn't do enough - Matty was better than Marcus (although he was much better in the 2nd half). What was noticeable was how much the forwards improved when O'Connor and Reidy came on. McCann played very well, Roberts was excellent - really busy and outperformed Andrews. Moore not on enough to assess,  Milasinovich showed some real power and looks like an ideal sub (maybe McGrath will be 4th choice LH !), we are well stocked at LH. Sheridan and Allison I didn't really notice if I'm honest.

As in these matches some put their hand up and some didn't
Those who pushed themselves forward the most - Reid, Roberts, Jones, McCann, Doak

I have to mention some over top play but Saracens - borderline aggressive.
Two outrageous tackles on Gilroy when airbourne - one resulted in a Red card.
At least 5 high tackles, most of which Murphy missed
One really cheap late shot on, I think Curtis.

If it had not been a friendly and not the incompetent Frank Murphy - there could easily have been 4 cards for Saracens.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 04 Sep 2021, 12:13 pm

I only saw the first and uncarded tackle in the air and I think the ref handled it perfectly. Penalty and a talking to. Player was brought down safely but it was a blatant tackle in the air. At the time he said anymore would be a card and by the sounds of it he stuck to that. The only think I disliked about that was Madigan walking up and demanding a yellow card which was pathetic as the ref was trying to talk to the Ulster captain about the incident.

Sarries and their Wolfpack defence go up fast and hard. If you go up that hard then there's always the chance of poor body position in the tackle. I suspect they'll pick up a number of cards this season. Farrell probably a prime candidate though he didn't play yesterday.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 04 Sep 2021, 3:42 pm

My definition of a player being brought down safely is he is uninjured - Gilroy was clearly injured after that first tackle in the air - yellow card

The cheap late shot was by Ben Earl in the second half - yellow card

It wasn't that any one high tackle was horrendous but there were five I can recall suggests a team mind set and a potential card.
It is also something Saracens need to change otherwise cards will loss them matches this coming season

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 04 Sep 2021, 3:49 pm

One player I forgot to mention was McIlroy he came on and he impressed - even though not listed on the website (he came on for Moxham)
Looking at our back three players I would say the ranking is as follows:

Starters - Addison, Balloucoune, Stockdale
Backup - Lowry, Lyttle, McIlroy
3rd string - Gilroy, Moxham
Players I would be very nervous about starting - Sexton, Rankin



Craig Gilroy - Full Contract
Will Addison - Full Contract
Jacob Stockdale - Central Contract
Michael Lowry - Full Contract
Rob Lyttle - Full Contract
Robert Baloucoune - Full Contract
Ethan McIlroy - Development, Full Contract 22/23
Aaron Sexton - Development, Full contract 22/23
Ben Moxham - Academy
Conor Rankin - Academy

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 08 Sep 2021, 12:11 pm

Ulster team to play Saracens, pre-season fixture, Thursday 9 September at Honourable Artillery Company (kick-off 5pm, live on Saracens website):

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Brad Roberts, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Mick Kearney, Greg Jones, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter, Matty Rea, David Shanahan, Ethan McIlroy, Ben Moxham, Ross Kane, Marcus Rea, David McCann, Harry Sheridan, Ian Madigan, Angus Curtis, Ben Carson.

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 08 Sep 2021, 3:39 pm

Much stronger team this week, getting ready for the new season

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 08 Sep 2021, 4:58 pm

Absolutely

McCloskey and Murphy are two who need to be playing against Glasgow

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 08 Sep 2021, 8:43 pm

Definitely, surprised not to see them on the team sheet for this one

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Post by Don Alfonso Thu 09 Sep 2021, 7:05 pm

Not needed.

In all seriousness, a much more coherent performance. And - did I see some dominant tackles?

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 09 Sep 2021, 7:23 pm

Sadly I am working late tonight so didn’t get to see the game.

Any standouts? Injuries?

Good to get a good win and get some game time in the legs before the start of the season.

Thoughts on the new alternate kit?

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Post by Don Alfonso Thu 09 Sep 2021, 8:31 pm

Bradley Roberts was great. Carried excellently, good defence, threw accuratey into the lineout. McIlroy was also very good - should definitively leapfrog Gilroy this season. Lowry went to ten and played well.

We were fast and, for the most part, accurate. The drop-out rather than scrum when the ball is held up may very well suit our lighter forwards down to the ground - I think we earned three this evening.

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Post by Don Alfonso Fri 10 Sep 2021, 8:45 am

neilthom7 wrote:Sadly I am working late tonight so didn’t get to see the game.

Any standouts? Injuries?

Good to get a good win and get some game time in the legs before the start of the season.

Thoughts on the new alternate kit?

Reidy went off with a sore leg, but didn't look too bad.

I do like both the alternate kit and the dark blue training kit.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 10 Sep 2021, 10:32 am

Still to watch the game but a few points:

Don's comments on Roberts and McIlroy mirror my views from the first game.
Spoken to some people and the general view was we beat them with pace and by comparison they were ponderous.
Some also thought Saracens sailed close to the wind rules wise and were borderline thuggish - again that was a view I had from the first game

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 10 Sep 2021, 3:41 pm

Good to know all round, seems like we are going for a mobile sort of game this year then.

I agree Don I like both the new alternate kit and training kit, one of the better lots in recent years

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 16 Sep 2021, 11:02 am

Saw John Cooney in the Cathedral Quarter yesterday - fit and raring to go.
I think he is particularly looking forward to play in front of a decent sized crowd again

KOTH teasing on the supporters forum re transfers
I'll try and make some enquiries

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Post by Maine man Thu 16 Sep 2021, 12:29 pm

Just read Duane Vermeulen is joining in November!!

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Post by Maine man Thu 16 Sep 2021, 12:37 pm

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/rugby/ulster-rugby/duane-vermeulen-ulster-rugby-pull-off-shock-signing-of-south-african-world-cup-winning-star-40857185.html

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Post by clivemcl Thu 16 Sep 2021, 12:41 pm

Wowzers!

Anyone still wishing we were keeping our NIQs down? Smile

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 16 Sep 2021, 1:00 pm

"Saw John Cooney in the Cathedral Quarter yesterday - fit and raring to go.
I think he is particularly looking forward to playing behind a decent sized SAFFER again"


Fixe that for you Geoff Smile

My word what a signing, just unreal.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 16 Sep 2021, 1:29 pm

Thats an incredible signing, seemingly out of nowhere too, that should add some muscle to the backrow

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Post by Don Alfonso Thu 16 Sep 2021, 3:48 pm

I'll take that.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 16 Sep 2021, 5:08 pm

To be fair Clive Vermeulen does double our NIQ numbers.
2 years for a man in his mid thirties
I get the impression this has taken a lot of the players by surprise as well.

Nakarawas failed medical is the best thing that happened this summer regarding new players.
Also no harm to Coetzee who is a fine player in his own right, but Vermeulen is a step up.

Alongside Murphy and Timoney our backrow now looks impressive.
Murphy and Vermeulen have been there, seen it, done it.
Timoney's pace will come to the fore from the gaps Vermeulen creates.

The young backrowers like Rea Jnr, McCann will learn heaps from him
To cap it all our start is a, comparatively, easy one and I would expect to win most, if not all ,before he arrives for the trickier fixtures

Everything looking rosy Very Happy


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Post by Don Alfonso Thu 16 Sep 2021, 11:14 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:To be fair Clive Vermeulen does double our NIQ numbers.
2 years for a man in his mid thirties
I get the impression this has taken a lot of the players by surprise as well.

Nakarawas failed medical is the best thing that happened this summer regarding new players.
Also no harm to Coetzee who is a fine player in his own right, but Vermeulen is a step up.

Alongside Murphy and Timoney our backrow now looks impressive.
Murphy and Vermeulen have been there, seen it, done it.
Timoney's pace will come to the fore from the gaps Vermeulen creates.

The young backrowers like Rea Jnr, McCann will learn heaps from him
To cap it all our start is a, comparatively, easy one and I would expect to win most, if not all ,before he arrives for the trickier fixtures

Everything looking rosy  Very Happy  


The thing that frustrated me about MC was that he never did it against Leinster. The one team that we needed him most against, and he never really delivered.

Will Glasgow be easy though? They've gone on quite the recruitment splurge.

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Post by scrummy Mon 27 Sep 2021, 6:13 pm

Happy enough to get 5 points against Glasgow. Not perfect by any means but something good to build on over the next few weeks with a few, in theory, winnable fixtures. I thought Marty Moore and McCloskey were the standout players for Ulster. Doak did a good job although I hope Cooney is OK and continues to be our starting scrum-half. As usual Stockdale strikes me as a liability in defence. I wouldn't mind seeing Addison starting at full-back with Baloucoune and McIlroy on the wings. Also a couple of guys like Henderson and Vermeulen up front wouldn't do any harm. Not doubt Roberts gets through a lot of work but our lineout struggled in the first half which is something that needs to be addressed.

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Post by neilthom7 Mon 27 Sep 2021, 9:34 pm

It was a good result, had the feeling of an early season game with Ulster performing well in spurts but not able to put it together consistently.

Doak did really well when he came on and nice to see him as a good kicking option too, adds more depth where needed, certainly an improvement on our second string scrumhalf options from recently.

Lineout will need to be sorted after its falters but considering it was Roberts on debut and no Henderson in there I'm sure that will get better going forward

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