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Ulster Rugby 2020/2021

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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 geoff999rugby Thu 25 Nov 2021, 3:28 pm

Some guesses:

Will Addison (lower leg) - April

Cormac Izuchukwu (knee) - during 6N

Jack McGrath (hip) - never

Luke Marshall (knee) - during 6N

Jordi Murphy (knee) - no idea

Jacob Stockdale (ankle) - After Christmas

Ben Moxham (groin) - After Christmas

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 26 Nov 2021, 12:17 pm

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sam Carter, Greg Jones, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Angus Curtis, Rob Lyttle.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 26 Nov 2021, 6:38 pm

What do I know?

KOTH is saying McGrath is back soon.
I’m amazed and to be honest the report of of us looking for a top class LH simply doesn’t make sense in this context.

I can’t help wondering if it will a bit like the Ferris comeback.
A last ditch effort to give it a go.

Hopefully I’m wrong, again

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 26 Nov 2021, 7:45 pm

Maybe they don't trust that it will last and thats why they looking for one?

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 27 Nov 2021, 10:25 am

That's my thinking - hence the Ferris reference

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Post by Unclear Sat 27 Nov 2021, 10:04 pm

4 weeks time out well spent. Can Ulster carry tonights mentality forward? If we can then we should be in with a shout at the season end.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 28 Nov 2021, 2:22 pm

That’s what you get when you play with a game plan and total commitment.

I keep reading Leinster we’re poor, and in many ways they were, but in many others ways they weren’t allowed to be good, because of the way Ulster played.

Some of the performances were excellent, we actually had the better back row - never thought I’d say that. Timoney just gets better and better, he is in that Ireland squad because he is one of the best backrowers available. That was McCanns best game in an Ulster shirt, the sort of form we hoped to see from him, but that the first time we have really seen it. Lastly in backrowers what gives with Marcus Rea. He is 24 and over the last 4 years has had about 6 games and every time is excellent. It doesn’t make sense  he is so much better than his brother. The centres were pure class.
The only negative for me was Carter, good in the line out but in open play he is physically weak.

As for Leinster Moloney tried hard, Connors was good when he came on.
Both Brynes were very poor, as was McGrath and Larmour. Henshaw did ok but Frawley was their class act, seems to be far more talented than either Brynes. Maybe he should be given game time at 10.
Other than Moloney those starting forwards need to take a good hard look at themselves.

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Post by Unclear Sun 28 Nov 2021, 3:29 pm

It seemed we did a bit to Leinster what Connacht did to us. They didn't seem to expect the intensity and the pressure shook their composure and accuracy. I thought Penney played pretty well for them but the only time I became aware of Deegan was when he gave away the penalty.

Doak really looked the part when he came on, unlike Byrne H, I was pleasantly surprised by Warwick's contribution, and Moore had another great game. But Timoney and Hume stood out for me.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Sun 28 Nov 2021, 10:48 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:That’s what you get when you play with a game plan and total commitment.

I keep reading Leinster we’re poor, and in many ways they were, but in many others ways they weren’t allowed to be good, because of the way Ulster played.

Some of the performances were excellent, we actually had the better back row - never thought I’d say that. Timoney just gets better and better, he is in that Ireland squad because he is one of the best backrowers available. That was McCanns best game in an Ulster shirt, the sort of form we hoped to see from him, but that the first time we have really seen it. Lastly in backrowers what gives with Marcus Rea. He is 24 and over the last 4 years has had about 6 games and every time is excellent. It doesn’t make sense  he is so much better than his brother. The centres were pure class.
The only negative for me was Carter, good in the line out but in open play he is physically weak.

As for Leinster Moloney tried hard, Connors was good when he came on.
Both Brynes were very poor, as was McGrath and Larmour. Henshaw did ok but Frawley was their class act, seems to be far more talented than either Brynes. Maybe he should be given game time at 10.
Other than Moloney those starting forwards need to take a good hard look at themselves.

I remember Steve Hansen was asked before a match "where will the game be won" and he said " the same place every game is won, in the tight five".
The November Internationals and this match have finally brought home to me how true that is. Furlong was pretty good and Molony was excellent but other than that our tight five was weak. Ulster's dominance there allowed them to get good attacking space which they'll be disappointed they didn't make more of. More importantly it allowed them pressure us when we had possession, it was rare that we good fast ball and usually we faced a set defense that was racing up as soon as the ball was lifted.

If all that wasn't enough then Ulster's poaching killed off our last hopes, any good ball we got was usually ended by a player getting isolated and an Ulster man getting over the ball quickly.

Leinster won't be too worried yet but the new URC format is definitely going to force us to play strong teams more often or we'll struggle again which is great for the competition.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 29 Nov 2021, 9:41 am

Just heard McGrath was wearing his kit and activate in the pre match warm up against Leinster

Brilliant news

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Post by neilthom7 Mon 29 Nov 2021, 10:34 am

That is good news, if they can get him back and he can stay fit it willt ake some of the strain off on that side

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Post by clivemcl Mon 29 Nov 2021, 8:21 pm

Maybe if Frawley wants to be a 10 he could come up the road and create the future Ireland ginger 9/10 partnership!

That said, Billy had a decent game. In particular, it was his line speed and read of the ball that pressured the bad pass that Hume intercepted!

Really hope Lyttle can get a good run of games - for me, he's a class act. Ahead of Lowry in my book.

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Post by Unclear Mon 29 Nov 2021, 8:36 pm

clivemcl wrote:Maybe if Frawley wants to be a 10 he could come up the road and create the future Ireland ginger 9/10 partnership!

That said, Billy had a decent game. In particular, it was his line speed and read of the ball that pressured the bad pass that Hume intercepted!

Really hope Lyttle can get a good run of games - for me, he's a class act. Ahead of Lowry in my book.

I was thinking about an approach to Healy on the same basis ...

Lyttle never seems to let the team down and maybe suffers, inappropriately, from poorly spelt nominative determinism.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 29 Nov 2021, 8:57 pm

Little seems frail.
Far too many injures.

Lowry has the talent, he is trying to hard.
He’ll learn.

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Post by Unclear Mon 29 Nov 2021, 10:13 pm

He doesn't seem to be learning particularly quickly.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 29 Nov 2021, 10:57 pm

He needs to play where he is best - Fly Half.
Messing a youngster around by playing them in more than one position does them no favours.
Paddy Wallace suffered from this a lot.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 30 Nov 2021, 6:36 pm

No Vermuelen against Ospreys - he has tested positive.

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 30 Nov 2021, 7:24 pm

Him not coming to after the Barbarians game was stupid to begin with and this just make it even more stupid, no idea how they came to that deal.
The good news is our back row looked great v Leinster so hopefully they dial up that kind of performance again this week

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 03 Dec 2021, 2:33 pm

Teams up

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, Angus Curtis, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Bradley Roberts, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney, David McCann.
Replacements: Tom Stewart, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

Reidy and McGrath back Very Happy
Marcus Rea hasn't disappeared after one match
Also Carter dropped - good to see. If you don't cut your out whoever you are

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 03 Dec 2021, 4:51 pm

Good to see McGrath back, I hope he can rediscover some form and stay fit

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Post by Unclear Sat 04 Dec 2021, 10:42 pm

Good to see Mcgrath back in today's game, but that was about the only positive. Is it just me but why did anyone think it appropriate to say O'Sullivan was a suitable hooker? It would have made no difference to the eventual result, and Osprey's were good for the win, but surely it shows a lack of clear thought. There still seems to be an inability to convert pressure to points. Is there too much confidence in the maul, should the 3-point option be taken more frequently. Ospreys won by taking the points when on offer, Ulster didn't.

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Post by clivemcl Sun 05 Dec 2021, 12:54 am

I've felt that under McFarland, Ulster take the points way less often. And in my opinion, it's instructed by the coach, and it's a question of mentality.

Teams who take the 3 points to go 1/2 points ahead of the opposition in the first half, are not the teams that win games comfortably. I guess what I'm saying is - the team goes for the line out because they tell themselves they will score.

The mentality of 'we might not score, so we should just take the 3' is a negative mindset and not a champion mindset.

Now... I could be wrong on that. And even if I'm right, it doesn't always work out that way but... still I've been glad to see an ulster team over last few years who at least approach every minute believing they have ability.

Unfortunately, the longer that mindset fails to deliver, the more likely some of that team are to turn to despair, lethargy etc.

For me, that kinda felt like it was too disjointed. Perhaps too many changes to the squad in one week for any momentum from last week to work out.

Compared to last week - Ulster seemed to manage a lot less turnovers, whereas Ospreys seemed significantly better than last week's Leinster at poaching from our isolated ball carriers.

I do wonder if we might have sneaked that in the end had we not had a mare with our two hookers.

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Post by Unclear Sun 05 Dec 2021, 5:23 pm

Good points Clive, I don't think there is right answer, it's always easy to say a decision was poor in hindsight. Like me shouting at Doak for the kick pass at the death. If it had worked I'd be raving at how good it was, instead I'm shouting why kick it away.
I don't think the hooker situation overly affected the final result. The lack of points from all the pressure in the first half was the issue in my view. The scrum was pants even with a full time fit hooker, which surprised me. I didn't think it would be dominant but I didn't expect it to fall apart.

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Post by geoff999rugby Yesterday at 10:06 am

Unclear wrote:I don't think the hooker situation overly affected the final result.  

Cant agree with that. We struggled in the first half but it fell apart in the second.
The main reason for that was Tom Stewart was unable to push because of his injury.
Francis locked in McGrath leaving the hooker and LH to target O'Toole/Moore.
Two against one - it is hardly surprising we suffered.
A number of second half scrums gave the Ospreys field position from penalties.

I do agree that we failed to convert possession into points and that is an issue.
It has two very simple reasons.
One the lack of power in our scrum.
We have too many locks who cant make the hard yards - which makes the fact Treadwell plays so rarely confusing.
On a positive note McCann did well again, Timoney  continues to improve and good to see Reidy back.
Marcus Rea has shown he has a ability to over turn possession at the breakdown and should get more game time (definitely over his brother and Jones)
Unfortunately Ferris doesn't seem to know which brother is which (great player but not the sharpest tool in the box)

In the backs - Doak will get criticism for that kick but I thought it was a fair call given the lack of forward power and the strength of the Ospreys defence.
If Coney does go I am comfortable with it.
McCloskey is a class act and the most important player in the Ulster set up. He should be in any squad of 30 players named by Farrell.
He performs at a level that is comparable with Henshaw and Ringrose.
He is better than Aki and miles of anyone else you could mention (Frawley and Hume potential not withstanding)

The elephant in the room for me is Burns.
I want him to succeed but in the end he simply isn't good enough
Baloucoune hardly say the ball and it comes down to Burns not making the right choices at the right time and far too many plain bad plays.
Lowry should be 10 - the longer he plays 15 the further back he will go.
I thought McIlroy did well
Madigan is fit and available and I would, at the very least, have him on the bench next week.

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Post by Unclear Yesterday at 11:50 am

Geoff I agree that (Marcus) Rea and McCann are improving which is great to see, and McIlroy certainly looks good to me, but I think suffers from comparisons with Baloucoune. No one comes out of those sort of comparisons too well.

Agree that Burns doesn't seem to be performing, but don't necessarily see Lowry as the solution. Agree he needs proper game time to show one way or the other. Happy to be proved wrong ... and being moved around will do his game no good in any position.


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Post by neilthom7 Yesterday at 5:46 pm

Ulsters decision making was poor and has been a feature this season, they need to gte better at reading games, knowing when to take points etc.

Couple of instances during the game, Burns in the first half when we had a 3 man overlap put in a floated pass, allowed the defnders to get across and stop it, simple hands would have saw us in to score.

Lowry later in second half when he went steaming through the defence (what a run that was) at the end made the wrong decision took contact and gave the hard out the back pass, had he played the pass simply before cotnact the support runner was in.

It's these kind of decisions that Ulster need to get right, thats the reason McCloskey doesn't make the step up to international top class player as too often he will take the contact then look for the pass rather than playing the pass before contact.

The way he does it can open the door of a tight defence but he needs to understand when the defence is already open and doing that only allows them to get back, it's all about making good decisions on the field and regretatbly Ulster too often do not.

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