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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.


Last edited by neilthom7 on Wed 09 Mar 2022, 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Unclear Mon 13 Dec 2021, 8:04 pm

Unfortunately my glass is rarely even half empty ...

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Post by neilthom7 Mon 13 Dec 2021, 9:38 pm

There will be some inconsistency from the youngsters in the team, it's natural and how young players work and grow.

The trick is making sure there are enough older heads who can step up when that happens so the inconsistency doesn't affect the whole team.

That's where this week in training etc will be crucial, its up to older heads the likes of the Vermuelens, Madigans, McGraths etc to reinforce that the win last weekend means nothing if they don't follow it up this weekend and I guess we will see Friday night, I belive the consistency will come.

If it's any consolation we have really only had 1 bad loss this year and that was to Ospreys when it really came down to some bad decisions from the players in game.

The Connacht loss while we were well beaten I think can be chalked up to Connacht really stepping up and having one of those days that we know they can have.

Saints will be vulnerable this weekend given what happened to them Friday night but they will also be hurt, they will come out hard and it's up to Ulster to deflate that early agression and then score points when available, after a while they will get disheartened and the scars of Friday will start to show

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

Have to agree to disagree about the Connacht game, there can be no excuse for thinking there wouldn't be passion and extra determination in an inter-pro.

I do agree that the older heads need to work with the coaching team to build on the positives and and ensure there is no complacency. Don't worry about the Northampton mindset, if they play like they did against Clermont and Leinster then things will look after themselves. Probably.

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 14 Dec 2021, 1:01 pm

There is no excuse for thinking that, but that wasn't what I was referring to, what I was referring to was that every once in a while Connacht step up a level and have an exceptional game, it's how they beat Leinster way more than we do.

They don't do it consistently (somewhat ironic given that is what we are talking about) but when they do they can beat anyone and I think that is what happened during that Connacht game, they just had a physical intensity especially in defence that we couldn't live with

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Post by Unclear Tue 14 Dec 2021, 4:51 pm

I know what you mean Neilt but I just don't believe that was what happened. Connacht were the better team and had a significant edge on intensity, but the overall quality of the game was poor.

But that must be put in past ....

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 14 Dec 2021, 5:03 pm

Absolutely, what I will be looking for is the same sort of intensity and commitment every game.  Players can have off days, maybe the team doesn't fit right, things go slightly wrong that day or the opposition just have a better game than you, but the one thing that should always be there is the same level of agression and intensity.

It's easy to get yourself up for Leinster or Clermont but can you sustain that for Zebre etc thats what I want to see.

Everything else can be coached up or is a momentary blip but if that intensity isn't there it becomes a question of attitude and that is very difficult to change.

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Post by Unclear Tue 14 Dec 2021, 5:07 pm

neilthom7 wrote:Absolutely, what I will be looking for is the same sort of intensity and commitment every game.  Players can have off days, maybe the team doesn't fit right, things go slightly wrong that day or the opposition just have a better game than you, but the one thing that should always be there is the same level of agression and intensity.

It's easy to get yourself up for Leinster or Clermont but can you sustain that for Zebre etc thats what I want to see.

Everything else can be coached up or is a momentary blip but if that intensity isn't there it becomes a question of attitude and that is very difficult to change.

thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 16 Dec 2021, 12:27 pm

Henderson is back for Saints game.

Ulster: Lowry; Gilroy, Hume, McCloskey, McIlroy; Burns, Cooney; Warwick, Herring, M Moore, O'Connor, Henderson (capt); Marcus Rea, Timoney, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Andrew, McGrath, O'Toole, Treadwell, Carter, Jones, Doak, S Moore.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 17 Dec 2021, 11:14 am

There is nothing wrong with the attitude of this group of players
They will lose games they should win because of the two weaknesses I have outlined (although Vermuelen arriving, the form being shown by Timoney and Marcus Rea and the return of McGrath and Izzy will go a long way to addressing one of those weaknesses).
They will also lose games because of the inexperience of some players, but it wont be because they are not committed or have a poor attitude.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 17 Dec 2021, 11:18 am

Hats off to Warwick - he is there instead of O'Sullivan on merit
Injuries are clearing up in the forwards, only Murphy and Izzy to return.
Two locks on the bench because Hendo probably only has 55 mins in him and AOC played a full 80 mins at Clermont. I expect Tredders and Carter to come on with 20 - 25 mins to go.
Sorry for McCann but I understand why Jones is there - covers the entire backline and useful at lineouts

The backs pick themselves gives the back three injuries

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 17 Dec 2021, 3:08 pm

Neil Doak is back as a player development officer for the Academy.

https://ulster.rugby/content/neil-doak-set-to-re-join-coaching-set-up-at-ulster-rugby

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 17 Dec 2021, 3:34 pm

Excellent news
A very good backs coach

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 18 Dec 2021, 11:08 am

So thoughts on last night.

Positives- Back row was absolutely excellent, Timoney has to be in with a shout for Ireland, Marcus Rea was fantastic and Vermuelen was exactly what we hoped.

Hume was once again excellent and he seems to be really putting his foot on the gas for an Ireland call up, his recognition of space with the little chip that lead to McIlroy's try was great and talking of which I could watch that sidestep all day long from McIlroy.

Stuart Moore also came off the bench to do very well as well and Burns had a nice game at ten, Lowry was always dangerous too.

Nice to see them be consistent as well and follow up a win with another win and all round good performance.

Negatives- Couple of big injuries to McCloskey and Henderson, Stu's looked like it was at least a month out, hopefully Hendo's isn't too bad.

Lots of pressure was not turned into points much like the Ospreys game a few weeks ago, it was however a bit better as they did still get 4 tries but I would hope for more invention and points over time in games where they are dominant.

Everytime Ulster scored they immediately turned round and gave up points, initially pens and then later a try to keep Northampton alive in the match, that needs to be cut out for future so they can put teams away.

Lineout fell apart once Hendo, O'Connor and Herring were all off. A lot of tackles were slipped off in defence especially at the end for that last try. However those are more minor since there had been a lot of subs and tiredness by that stage.

All in all though 2 wins from those 2 matches 9 points gained and a great start to the European campaign.

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Post by Unclear Sat 18 Dec 2021, 4:41 pm

Thanks for the summary NeilT, I have only seen the highlights.

Its a worry that there continues to be an issue in converting pressure into points especially if there are issues with the exit strategy or precision after restarts.

Sounds like Hume and Timoney continue the upward trajectory and really pleased to see McElroy score. Concerning about the Henderson and McCloskey injuries. I'm kinda used to not seeing Hendo in the 23 due to all the international commitments etc, but we have been relying on Big Stu recently. Time for Moore to make the step up.

Overall got to be pleased and hope the form continues into the interiors.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 19 Dec 2021, 11:27 am

2022 (18)

Billy Burns, John Cooney, Tom O’Toole, Stuart McCloskey, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Dave Shanahan,
Angus Curtis, Dave O'Connor, Craig Gilroy, Greg Jones, Marcus Rea, James Hume, Eric O'Sullivan, Bradley Roberts, Ross Kane

Revisiting contracts due thanks to a post by an reliable source on UAFC which stated 13 of 15 contract renewals have been renegotiated
From that I would suggest 3 are being released:
Roberts we know is going
As I have said I am convinced Dave O'Connor will go
So who is the third?
And who are the two not yet signed?

On another note after we lost to Connacht I expressed concern as to the overall quality of the backrow options.
One of the reasons for this was that I could not see how Marcus Rea was going to make it, not because I wasn't impressed by
his appearances, I was very impressed. However they only occurred once every 8 months or so.
Still seems strange to me but in the last handful of games he has been very good and is getting better match by the match.
A couple of times he effected a turn over and at first I thought that must have been Vermeulen - difficult to give a young player higher praise than that.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun 19 Dec 2021, 12:09 pm

From what I have read the YC for Mitchell and a Penalty try were harsh as the opinion over here was that he was going for the intercept but more importantly there was cover behind him so a try was not extremely likely. You go for the intercept and knock the ball on, that is always a 50/50 you will get carded, but can I have an objective opinion of someone that saw the game on the PT?
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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 19 Dec 2021, 12:20 pm

One hand knocking the ball down 5 meters from the line is always going to be a Yellow card.

AS to the PT there wasn't a player directly behind but there was a player coming across to attempt a tackle, he would not have stopped a try but I can see how it was considered harsh.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 19 Dec 2021, 12:23 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:From what I have read the YC for Mitchell and a Penalty try were harsh as the opinion over here was that he was going for the intercept but more importantly there was cover behind him so a try was not extremely likely. You go for the intercept and knock the ball on, that is always a 50/50 you will get carded, but can I have an objective opinion of someone that saw the game on the PT?

As a neutral I though the chance of the cover getting there was fairly remote. Mitchell got himself into a great position for the intercept but didn't make anything close to a convincing attempt to actually catch the ball. One handed and pretty much slaps it down. It was probably a penalty only but it stopped an almost certain try so really had to be a penalty try and then has to be a yellow card. Unlucky more than cynical.

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 19 Dec 2021, 3:43 pm

I thought the decision was okay from the ref and agree with the guys above, I think the thing that shows it was okay most for me was that when BT asked one of the Saints coaches about it he had no complaints and that usually shows it was probably fair enough

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Post by clivemcl Sun 19 Dec 2021, 11:45 pm

Personally I thought he was making a legitimate attempt to get the ball. In fact… I believe it was a howler from him in that it was probably quite an easy intercept.

By not gathering what was a quite attainable intercept, he cost his team 5 points as he likely would have ran the pitch, and instead he cost his team a penalty try and ten minutes at a man disadvantage.

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Post by clivemcl Mon 20 Dec 2021, 10:36 am

Ulster Rugby 2020/2021 - Page 9 Screen10

I mean... if your teammate dropped that pass you'd be annoyed with him.

He read it well, the pass wasn't on, Ulster went from nearly giving away try to being given a penalty try and a man advantage.


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Post by neilthom7 Mon 20 Dec 2021, 11:05 am

I think he panicked, I dont think he thought he would actually be able to get it and so when the opportunity to catch it came he wasnt ready and knocked it down. Once he knocked it down he was never going to be able to gather it.

He may have been making an attempt to get it, only he will truly know that but once he knocks it down instead of up theres no chance he will gather it and the ref will not have much choice but to give a deliberate knock on

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon 20 Dec 2021, 12:00 pm

I totally understand the penalty and YC, it is the PT I am not necessarily in agreement with. The ref is saying that if he had not slapped the ball down it was very likely to have been a try. Two things, the first I am not sure if it is allowed; if Mitchell had not gone for the intercept and knocked the ball on, he could probably have made the tackle, he didn't put himself in that position to knock the ball on, if he was going for the intercept, scrum. Grayson (I think) was covering across and also could have made the tackle with the support of Fish. None of them are 100% but enough to give sufficient doubt that a PT should not have been awarded.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 20 Dec 2021, 12:54 pm

What Mitchell might have done is irrelevant to the decision making, it is only what he actual did that counts. It is what other players might have done that can only be taken into consideration.

If the pass had reached Gilroy there was no one directly between him and the line and he was moving forward and 5 meters away.
Would a try probably have been scored - yes and that is all that is required.
Not 100% certain, not almost certain just probably.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 20 Dec 2021, 12:57 pm

On the contract renewal point - a correction

Murphy and Addison are also up for renewal this year.
I would suggest that either McGrath retires or EOS leave - otherwise us looking for a top class LH makes no sense.
Also one of Cooney or Shanahan must surely be leaving. If Cooney stays why keep Shanahan? , if Cooney leaves we need him as cover

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 21 Dec 2021, 3:43 pm

Matty Rea, Tom O'Toole and James Hume all officially signed new deals to 2024

McCloskey and Henderson both will be out a number of weeks according to Ulsters medical report today

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 22 Dec 2021, 11:27 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-59749709

Interesting that Ulster don't feel so keen to reinforce their values when its a sponsor in the firing line and not their players.

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Post by clivemcl Wed 22 Dec 2021, 11:35 am

Was thinking the exact same thing Neil.

But equally, I’m not a fan of pressure in general, from anyone.
I think Gove should stop creating drama.

Both instances are about forcing an outcome you want to see with the threat of bad publicity.

I’m fed up with it all. I didn’t personally know kingspan was involved with Grenfell- and from what I gather - only minor involvement.
Perhaps it’s ‘right’ that Ulster re-consider their sponsor. I don’t know enough to be honest.

But I’m not a fan of Ulster Rugby in any non-sporting headlines and think Gove should get lost.

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Post by Unclear Wed 22 Dec 2021, 4:43 pm

Hypocrisy when it comes to finance - who'd have thought it.

I don't like the witch hunts that happen while investigations are ongoing, so waiting for the final outcome isn't unreasonable. I see a difference with Mercedes in that appears to be a sponsorship after the event, whereas Ulster Rugby have been involved with Kingspan for longer.

I'm not into the details of Grenfell, but personal experience is that establishing fire certification of materials is a very complex issue, made more so by the producers/manufacturers and their interesting relationship with the facts (to borrow a phrase).

Anyhow, will a team be announced for the interpro before someone decides it should all be called off?

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 22 Dec 2021, 5:26 pm

In other news Burns, Murphy and Marty Moore have all signed new contracts

I'm no fan of presure like that either, Ulster shouldn't give in solely to pressure and Raab is a tory MP so knows as much about good morals as a winger about scrums.

However Ulster rugby have been down this road before when it comes to morals and the club and their response has not been the same, albeit they may wait to the investigation is over.

Olding and Jackson were not got rid off because of the case or criminal aspect but because Ulster/IRFU decided what came out about whatsapp groups etc was not in line with their morals.

Now we all suspected that was rubish and was more to do with how that might affect them financially but couldn't say with absolute certainty.  This case is similar in some ways as its not necessarily how much of their products where in Grenfell but lies etc they told.

If Ulster really decided they want to be a club with morals that's fine and I can support that and by association they will have to get rid of Kingspan. After all its not like they are some sort of small backround sponsor their name is all over the kits, all over the stadium and in the stadium title itself.

This will tell me everything I need to know about Ulster and their new leadership, when we get to the end of this investigation if Ulstern keep going with Kingspan with a business as usual approach it shows they have zero care for anything other than what affects the bottom line.

That shows their only loyalty is to the money, not to players, not to staff, not to fans or the community and that is a club devoid of soul, of the bedrock of a rugby club and a club I cannot and will not be able to get behind and support if that becomes the case.

To be clear, I am no moral saint or preacher, had the club not decided Jackson and Olding had broken some sort of moral code then I wouldn't be saying this, what I am saying is that if Ulster want to be moral they have to be that way all the time, otherwise they show us they will simply do whatever costs them least money and have no clear direction, standards etc

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Post by Unclear Wed 22 Dec 2021, 10:22 pm

I think I'm too confused and too cynical about this. The club is a professional organisation which to me means it is all about money. Winning is only important as it usually means more money is made. The Olding/Jackson thing was about potentially losing more from sponsors/IRFU than would be lost from poorer performance in my view. Kingspan will only be dropped if it looks like costing at the gate/merchandise stand and there is alternate sponsor available.

For me the soul is in the supporters and most of those will have wildly differing views and I don't know if there can ever be a collective agreement. The CEO, the administrators, the organisation and ultimately even the players come and go. Some will be remembered favourably, some will be forgotten, but the supporters will continue. Probably lurching between the highs and lows.

I wish that made some kind of sense.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 23 Dec 2021, 3:01 pm

At the moment I am giving Ulster the benefit of the doubt but to be honest staying quiet over Kingspan is not good enough and opens them up to a charge of hypocrisy.

Firstly I have no time for Gove - a piece of self serving low life.

It has been said that we should wait until we see the outcome of the review.
In principal that is of course correct.
However:
- They didn't do that a few years back in a previous incident when two people, Who were found innocent in a court of law were thrown to the wolves because of a social media storm orchestrated by individuals who had not bothered to check the facts of the case.
- From Aberfan to Grenfell Corporate Business has successfully abrogated responsibility for the deaths of innocent people. Get the best lawyers, muddy the waters and surprise surprise people die but no one is ever held accountable if the defenders are large corporate bodies. I will amazed if it is any different this time with this Inquiry
- A defence of we were only a little bit involved, isn't good enough. So they were only a little bit responsible for 72 deaths, so that is ok then. What % do you have to reach to take responsibility ? 10%, 15%, 50%. Also it is a matter of public record that Kingspan have lied with respect to their involvement already.

If Ulster renew their connection with Kingspan beyond the existing arrangements (2023 for the shirts, 2024 for the Stadium) I will not renew my Season Ticket.
If they fail to make a public statement to that effect before next summer I am undecided.

Putting their heads in the sand and hoping it will go away is unacceptable

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 23 Dec 2021, 4:16 pm

McCloskey, Doak and McIlroy all new contracts to 2025 or 2026

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Post by clivemcl Thu 23 Dec 2021, 6:32 pm

4 years for Doak! That’s a massive vote of confidence for him. Anyone see Cooney’s Insta story yesterday about ‘security’ and his disdain for the mindset.
Could be read both ways in terms of his current situation at Ulster.

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Post by Unclear Thu 23 Dec 2021, 6:57 pm

Great to see the nine new contracts, and in my view only right to secure Doak for the 4 years and McIlroy for 3. Very promising seems a good description for the latter, and a severe understatement for the former. Also pleased to see McCloskey get 3 years, I had small worry he might look elsewhere given his very limited time in a green shirt and the need to secure his financial future given the level of risk of a career ending injury all professional players run.

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Post by Kingshu Fri 24 Dec 2021, 12:46 am

Koth on the other forum (normally reliable) says Cooney has signed with Bordeaux Bègles, add that Doak got a 4 year contract and it appears to be likely thats its true.

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Post by Maine man Fri 24 Dec 2021, 8:54 am

Kingshu wrote:Koth on the other forum (normally reliable) says Cooney has signed with Bordeaux Bègles, add that Doak got a 4 year contract and it appears to be likely thats its true.

Don't blame him if he has. Treated shabbily by the IRFU. On the down side it leaves Ulster a bit light at scrum half if true

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 24 Dec 2021, 9:21 am

Yeah that seems pretty likely, he might as well go and make some money if he can since he could be the only scrumhalf left in Ireland and they would still pick someone else.

Doak will be good to step up but what would be behind him would worry me

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 24 Dec 2021, 10:40 am

I am convinced Cooney is away.

As to back it will be Shanahan as it was for a few years.
A worry certainly but to be honest no different from when he was the backup to Cooney.
Also third choice is Finlay who I would put above Stewart who was the previous third choice

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 24 Dec 2021, 10:42 am

Moxham has been given a development contract for the rest of the year

Declan Moore has joined from Munster as injury cover for hooker

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Post by clivemcl Fri 24 Dec 2021, 4:39 pm

Wonder if Declan Moore is on a bit of a trial with a view to signing him since Roberts will likely be going.

If anyone didn’t see, Cooney did a post about common bad advice. He said he doesn’t agree with making decisions based on the ‘security’ it gives.

He told the story of how at Connacht he was offered a 2yr contract, at a time where he had had two shoulders surgeries and needed a third. Everyone told him with his injury risk etc, he was really lucky to get the security of a two year contract.

Instead he asked for a one year. He said he just believed that his opportunities would be better and not worse and didn’t want to be tied down. After the one year contract, Ulster came for him.

Anyone want to hypothesise how that mindset might judge his current circumstances?

Of course, it could all be posturing. He may want to appear like a free spirit who is always looking for open doors elsewhere to try and get a better contract extension deal.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 24 Dec 2021, 4:54 pm

Ulster v Connacht is postponed due to Covid within Ulster camp

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Post by Unclear Fri 24 Dec 2021, 9:57 pm

Cooney potentially leaving, the Connacht game postponed due to Covid, McCloskey and Henderson injured.  The crisis starts now ..... or does it?  Things can only get better.

The cliches start here.

Merry Christmas everyone Hug

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 25 Dec 2021, 12:59 pm

Merry Christmas everyone and this is Ulster so it really wouldn't be the Ulster rugby team without a crisis lol

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 31 Dec 2021, 3:19 pm

Happy new year everyone, John Cooney and Will Addison have both signed a contract extension.  Didn't say how long for.

Gareth Milasinovich has joined saracens on a short term loan

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Post by Maine man Fri 31 Dec 2021, 3:55 pm

Absolutely over the moon with these 2 signing contract extensions. As I've said before, I wouldn't blame Cooney for heading abroad.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 31 Dec 2021, 3:56 pm

Sean Reffell also joining us from Saracens in the summer. Irish qualified back row

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Post by Kingshu Fri 31 Dec 2021, 4:26 pm

Reffell i dont know much about, but is an openside that has over 40 scarcens caps at 23 is a good sign he will be a quality player, also holds scarcens tackle record of 39 tackles in one game. A quality openside that will tackle anything that moves sounds to be a great addition to the squad. Anyone seen him play, is he better than Jordi?

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Post by Unclear Fri 31 Dec 2021, 6:49 pm

neilthom7 wrote:Happy new year everyone, John Cooney and Will Addison have both signed a contract extension.  Didn't say how long for.

Gareth Milasinovich has joined saracens on a short term loan

At last some good news. Very pleased about the extensions, let's hope there will be some rugby to be played, and Addison will be fit to take part soon. Yahoo

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 07 Jan 2022, 10:52 am

Everything I have heard, or read, suggests all three contracts - Addison, Cooney and Reffell are for one year.
Given their different circumstances they all make sense.
Reffell is a lets see how it goes year - I think this is a bit of a coup to be honest
Cooney was asked if he would give it at least one more year so Doak could be fully ready to be number one. He was very close to moving to Bordeaux, hats of to him for repaying the loyalty.
I don't thin an Ireland call up is part of the thinking - he has given up on Farrell ever selecting him whilst Sexton is in the team.
Addison is simply injury concerns. Again as a top bloke he understands perfectly.
Both Addison and Cooney are admirable professionals who have had the decency to repay loyalty with loyalty.

By contrast I have been reluctant to say this as only heard second hand but seeing as someone of the supporters site has gone public I'll post now.
By all accounts Milasinovich is a bit of a prat who often turns up to practise in less than perfect condition, has a very high opinion of himself, is not popular and Ulster want rid. If Saracens want him they can have him, Ulster would gladly release him from his contract a year early.

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