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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 clivemcl Wed 19 Jan 2022, 2:02 pm

Yep, there seems to be a serious lack of consistency in adjudicating and citing. I thought we pretty much agreed that we can't read minds, and so intent could never be used as an excuse.
For me, it has to be black and white. Was contact made at a certain point? Was the player lifted above horizontal?

These are all black and white questions. Whether another player pulls the upper body down, as you lift the legs is irrelevant.

The Zebo one is the most clear cut I've seen in a long time, but the commentators almost didn't even call it never mind the ref!

For me, Lowry 'dipping' is irrelevant for the simple reason that when Zebo's shoulder made contact, his elbow and forearm were BEHIND his shoulder. That by definition is leading with the shoulder which is found play on it's own even if he doesn't connect with his head.

And as for the tackle in the air. I've said it before, I'll say it again. The danger does not exist because players 'lose control' or jump o late, or too early etc. The danger in that instance exists by the FACT two players run and jump high into the same zone at pace.

THAT is dangerous. If you are concerned about that risk factor, we need to ban jumping to catch.

I've seen too many games ruined by players who did very little wrong apart from challenging for a ball and causing an opponent to fall.

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 19 Jan 2022, 4:49 pm

8 into the Ireland squad including Mike Lowry, a reward for an excellent run of form this season for him. Henderson also in which should in theory mean he is back soon which is good news

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 19 Jan 2022, 5:53 pm

We might, I say might, see Henderson on Saturday or against Scarlets

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Post by Kingshu Thu 20 Jan 2022, 9:37 am

Geoff whats your take on the Murray central contract?

With there only being about 12 of them it seams an odd decision to the 2nd choice SH one when not all first team players will get one?

Is it as I suspect the IRFU trying to give at least 2/3 central contracts to each province, so they are spread out a bit more rather than all Leinster?

Would that suggest that when Stockdales is up, its near guarenteed to be renewed as a central contract whether or not he is back starting for Ireland?

Or were the IRFU just doing Munster another favour?


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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 20 Jan 2022, 10:43 am

I think it shows Farrell is not convinced about JGP and sees Murray as a safe fall back option.
Very very conservative.

Farrell is making a pigs ear of succession planning at both 9 and 10.
He has kicked Cooney into touch, ignored the Connacht lads and seems to be putting all his eggs in one basket - Casey.

Some at 10, he is reduced to crossing his figures and praying Carberry stays fit after Sexton retires.
That’s not going well is it.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 20 Jan 2022, 10:45 am

I think Stockdale is a long way from being guaranteed a renewal of his CC.
He needs to come back all guns blazing because, at lease, two of his Ulster team mates may have gone ahead of him.
Hume and Baloucoune - not inconceivable there will be more.

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Post by Pot Hale Thu 20 Jan 2022, 10:55 am

Kingshu wrote:Geoff whats your take on the Murray central contract?

With there only being about 12 of them it seams an odd decision to the 2nd choice SH one when not all first team players will get one?

Is it as I suspect the IRFU trying to give at least 2/3 central contracts to each province, so they are spread out a bit more rather than all Leinster?

Would that suggest that when Stockdales is up, its near guarenteed to be renewed as a central contract  whether or not he is back starting for Ireland?

Or were the IRFU just doing Munster another favour?


The number of central contracts has decreased slightly with not all positions being filled and duplication in midfield.
No hooker regular first choice as yet - Kelleher the most likely to get that spot in a couple of years.
Furlong and Porter are the designated props. Healy not likely to get another one.
Ryan and Henderson are the regular locks
POM is still a regular pick player, but none of Conan, VdF, Doris are central - Conan is a possibility.
Murray remains as a regular pick - it may be that Casey/Doak are the next likely candidates in a couple of years time, rather than JGP
Sexton's central contract is up for discussion this year. Who's likely to take it over?
Aki, Ringrose and Henshaw are still regular picks
Earls contract is up for discussion this year - is Conway likely to replace him?
Stockdale's may be up for query if he's not seen as a regular first team pick but who else is there as an established regular pick?
Keenan has been a regular since getting capped - but IRFU may hold off on that - not sure how long his current Leinster contract runs to.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 20 Jan 2022, 11:06 am

I can’t POM, Sexton or Earls getting renewed, and Conway shouldn’t get one

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Post by Pot Hale Thu 20 Jan 2022, 11:25 am

geoff999rugby wrote:I can’t POM, Sexton or Earls getting renewed, and Conway shouldn’t get one

I agree, Geoff, in one sense, but trying to see how the provinces pick up the respective -albeit reduced - salaries is more difficult. POM and Sexton might get one-year renewals to end of RWC 2023.
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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 20 Jan 2022, 12:38 pm

It should be about excellence and potential.
It shouldn’t be about a retirement home for fading players and helping provinces  with inflated budgets.

If POM is renewed and Doris and Conan do not get CCs or
Earls is renewed and Baloucoune, Hume or Keenan do not get CCs

It makes the whole thing a farce.

Not having a go at Munster but to be honest the only player they have who deserves a CC now is Beirne.
I am not showing bias here as to be honest only Henderson stands out for Ulster and only Aki stands out for Connacht.

I do however thing Ulster have more potential future Ireland regulars than either of those two provinces

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 21 Jan 2022, 12:09 pm

Team:
(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Angus Curtis, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Kieran Treadwell, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Ben Moxham, Craig Gilroy.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 21 Jan 2022, 12:50 pm

Late change Roberts for Andrew

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Post by Unclear Fri 21 Jan 2022, 1:33 pm

Interpros re-arranged for 4th Feb (Connacht) and 12th March (Leinster). Great for the young guys to get into the international squad, will be interesting to see if anyone is released back, but we could be a little short of quality for these games.

Decent team for tomorrow, I hope Curtis plays as well as S Moore did last week.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 21 Jan 2022, 1:47 pm

Interesting that Curtis is in, Stewart Moore isn't injured is he?

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 21 Jan 2022, 4:58 pm

On the 4th

McGrath, Andrew, Moore, AOC, Carter, Rea, Vermuelen, Jones/Rae
Cooney/Doak, Burns, Gilroy, McCloskey/Moore/Curtis ( 2 from three), Lyttle, McIlroy

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:00 pm

Heard nothing about Moore being injured.

To be honest, following Cardiffs victory, it is questionable whether a victory is in our best interest

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:14 pm

Perhaps they want to get Curtis some game time in case Stu isn't available for the rearranged interpros and they need him alongside Moore.

A win would give them home advantage in the quarters should they get that far so still may be worth it, I suppose if nothing else it breeds confidence

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:28 pm

On balance I think you are right but there would be a very good chance we will end up with Toulouse

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:34 pm

Yeah thats possible, its also possible Toulouse don't even make the last 16 although unlikely. I guess we just have to trust that we are good enough to beat whoever we get. The 2 legged last 16 will make it interesting, previously I would have said a home last 16 v Toulouse would be fine given their travelling woes but over 2 legs that makes it more tricky.

I'd still back Ulster to win though, a big performance in france to keep the score close maybe even sneak a win and then beat them at Kingspan

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jan 2022, 8:40 pm

So the win and bonus point means we finish second in the group, will play the 7th team from the other group in last 16, currently that is Toulouse but could change based on Wasps and Stade Francais games tomorrow. Will have 2nd leg at home and also quarter final at home if we get there.

Not bad considering we were one of the few teams to actually play all our games and not have postponements and forfeits etc.

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 23 Jan 2022, 6:04 pm

Toulouse it is then in last 16

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Post by clivemcl Sun 23 Jan 2022, 7:15 pm

Strange game. Going from wetting myself at the brilliance of our youngsters to fearing we might lose.
Too many subs and players switching off, but also, and more puzzling - Clermont just seemed like they suddenly decided they wanted to play and found something that was missing for the first 65minutes of the match.

Either way, I'm now desperate to see if Hume and/or Lowry get a chance with Ireland and would love to see if they can shine at that higher level.

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 23 Jan 2022, 8:47 pm

Hume should get a chance for sure, Lowry might get something v Italy maybe but both those guys on absolute fire

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 25 Jan 2022, 10:43 am

Having digested the game my assessment is that for 60 to 65 mins we were outstanding.
After half time we were running them ragged and the try around the 50 min mark was as good a team try as you are likely to see.

However the bench came close to blowing it
I will exclude the prop replacements in that statement.
Jones, Shanahan and Roberts all came on 10 mins too early (yes Roberts should not have come on)
They were all a marked step down from the player they replaced.
Having said that it is the other three substitutions that were the real issue.

I am starting to get pissed off with Same Carter - he has the power of a chocolate tea pot - how the hell did he get 16 Aussie caps?
His poor tackling played a big part in one try
It is an absolute joke he has a NIQ contract for next year.
He would not make my Ulster second XV as we have, at least, 4 better Locks - Hendo, Izzy, AOC and Treadwell and Kearney is as good.
The reduction in forward power, brought about by substitutions, nearly costs us the game.
We had our foot on their throat and we took it off.

This was further compounded by disorganised chaos in the backs, again brought about by substitutions
Why was Gilroy brought?, what was the point?
It meant McIlroy and Lowry changing position. In addition to Hume having changed because of Moxham coming on.
Our back three had caught everything all day, Gilroy comes on and knocks on straight away.
By all means give McIlroy time at 15  and Lowry time at 10 but do that against Scarlets next week not Clermont. You could tell the players confused with the set up.

Along with Carter the biggest car crash that nearly cost us the game was Moxham.
Two games at 13 and two games where he does not appear to have a clue how to defend that position.
He should be nowhere the 13 shirt for the rest of the season.
As far as I am aware Moore was fit and should have been on the bench.

Like to mention Curtis who did really well, Burns has played two good games in a row and I thought Timoney was outstanding (If VDF doesn't make it Timoney should be starting for Ireland - he wont but he should be)

The starting XV to a man were very good - the coaching staff need to take a good hard look at themselves, their decision making nearly cost us the game

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 25 Jan 2022, 12:28 pm

Have to say two of my favourite moments of the game were
Lowry taking Raka down twice and not giving an inch of ground. Very Happy Very Happy


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Post by neilthom7 Tue 25 Jan 2022, 5:48 pm

Bradley Roberts is off to Dragons then, not surprising really.

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Post by Unclear Tue 25 Jan 2022, 9:45 pm

Sad to see the best hair in Irish rugby go, but hardly a surprise as you say Neil. Any word on Tom Stewarts's injury? He looks a better long term prospect.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 25 Jan 2022, 10:24 pm

Morris has gone back to Munster so I would guess Stewart must be ok.

Otherwise we would have McCormack on the bench against Connacht

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 26 Jan 2022, 7:47 pm

It appears Moore was/is injured.

Makes Friday a banana skin, we don’t have two credible centres available.
If Hume won’t be in the Ireland 23 I would hope he would be allowed to play

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Post by Maine man Wed 26 Jan 2022, 8:01 pm

Could end up with Curtis and Moxham at centre on Friday if Hume isn't selected

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 26 Jan 2022, 8:28 pm

Moxham

I’ve made my views clear - not up to it


Last edited by geoff999rugby on Thu 27 Jan 2022, 8:33 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 26 Jan 2022, 9:14 pm

I suppose if Hume isn't available then we won't have much choice really unless I'm forgetting someone.

No Hume, Luke Marshall, Stu McCloskey or Moore would leave Curtis as our only proper centre and then Moxham or someone else would have to do a job in the centre.

Unless you throw one of the youngsters in, I think Postlewaite (def not spelled correctly) and Carson are the centres in the academy right?

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 27 Jan 2022, 12:05 pm

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Craig Gilroy, Ben Moxham, Angus Curtis, Rob Lyttle, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak.

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sam Carter, Greg Jones, Marcus Rea, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Jack McGrath, Gareth Milasinovich, Mick Kearney, David McCann, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Aaron Sexton.

Bare bones
So Saracens has realised Milasinovich not worth keeping - he has come back early from his loan period
We have to stay disciplined
That team is vulnerable

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Post by clivemcl Thu 27 Jan 2022, 1:13 pm

Didn't Madigan fit in at centre fairly often when he was first breaking through? Too rusty at this stage perhaps?

Glad to see Andrews ahed of Bradley Roberts. We need to be ready for when he goes.
Can't help but feel Ulster were taken by surprise on this one.
Do you reckon he disclosed his multiple country eligibility when Ulster first took him on?

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 27 Jan 2022, 1:24 pm

I'm looking forward to seeing Curtis playing again. I take it he's no longer looked at as a 10?
He's not the biggest but he puts in good hits.
This will be an interesting game.
Also I like the Greg Jones absolutely throws himself into every tackle

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Post by Maine man Thu 27 Jan 2022, 1:26 pm

Worst fears at centre are confirmed.
What's the word on Sexton? Is this his first appearance this season on the bench? Was he not seen as the next big thing or is it too early yet? Hopefully can make an impact off the bench too. Been a bit underwhelming at the start of the season.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 27 Jan 2022, 1:42 pm

Sexton defence has been nowhere near good enough but he is playing well for Malone.

He needs to have a handful of steady performances in defence before he gets a start

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 27 Jan 2022, 6:29 pm

Confirmed new contracts for Jack McGrath, Marcus Rea, Greg Jones and Craig Gilroy. All one year deals.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 28 Jan 2022, 10:29 am

2022

LHP - Eric O’Sullivan (leaving?)
Hooker – Bradley Roberts (definitely leaving)
THP - Ross Kane (being let go?)
Lock - David O’Connor (being let go?), Mick Kearney (retiring?)
Backrow - Sean Reidy (retiring?)
SH - Dave Shanahan (re sign ?)
Centre - Angus Curtis (re sign ?)
Back 3 Player - Ben Moxham (re sign ?)

2023

LHP - Andrew Warwick, Callum Reid, Jack McGrath
Hooker – John Andrew, Rob Herring, Tom Stewart
THP - Gareth Milasinovich
Lock - Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Iain Henderson, Cormac Izuchukwu
Backrow - Nick Timoney, David McCann, Duane Vermeulen, Jordi Murphy, Sean Reffell*, Marcus Rea, Greg Jones
SH - John Cooney *
10 - Ian Madigan, Michael Lowry
Centre - Stewart Moore, Luke Marshall
Back 3 Player - Rob Lyttle, Jacob Stockdale, Robert Baloucoune, Aaron Sexton,  Will Addison *, Craig Gilroy

2024

THP - Tom O’Toole, Marty Moore
Backrow - Matthew Rea
10 – Billy Burns
Centre - James Hume

2025

Centre – Stuart McCloskey
Back 3 Player – Ethan McIlroy

2026

SH – Nathan Doak

Update.
Those with ? have an educated guess against them, some almost certain (Reidy), others speculative (Kearney)
* My guess but in each case I believe well founded
Milasinovich appears to be staying as he has a contract and Saracens don't appear interested.
Kane position looks precarious

Next year is going to be a huge year for contract negotiations.
30 listed and with the three backs likely to re sign we could be talking 33 players out of contract !

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 28 Jan 2022, 5:57 pm

Next year will be huge, Cooney wont sign again so you would lose him but its getting the other key players out of contract next year sorted that is key.

Some decisions will have to be made as well on players we kicked the can down the road with this year

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 29 Jan 2022, 9:55 am

I would suggest that Carter will definitely go.
Also unless we see something of Murphy soon so will he.

It seems certain that Reidy and Kane will not be offered new contracts.
Assuming the three backs listed are re signed that leaves three to be decided

EOS, Kearney, DOC

Is EOS dependant on us getting a NIQ or will Warwick become our prop for both sides with Milasinovich focusing total on TH.
That would mean we get a new LH for Kane.
Significant upgrade, and we would be very strong at LH

As for locks keep Kearney, if he is interested and ditch DOC.
We have Sheridan com8ng through as well and Izzy will be back

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 29 Jan 2022, 9:59 am

My fear for the team last night were justified.
We could so easily have lost up.

We really need Cooney back, we missed Herring.
That is not to say Doak and Andrew didn’t play well, it is just they are a step down.

The big missing though are a credible Lock alongside AOC, Timoney and a second credible centre.
If we don’t get them we will struggle next week.

My low opinion of Carter and Moxham as a defensive 13 were reinforced last night

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 01 Feb 2022, 5:34 pm

Getting worse no Marty Moore on Friday.
Gilroy cited

Without players released we could be looking at looking at

McIlroy, Sexton, Moxham, Curtis, Lyttle, Burns, Doak
O’Sullivan/McGrath, Andrew, Kane/ Milasinovich, O’Connor, Kearney/Carter,
Rea, Vermuelen, Jones

Bench: O’Sullivan/McGrath, Stewart, Kane/ Milasinovich, Kearney/Carter, McCann
Shanahan, Madigan, Carson/Postlewaite *

* both Academy players
Dave O’Connor and Callum Reid not listed

Every other full professional and development is with Ireland, or injured, or (possibly) suspended - Gilroy

That’s 21 players

In better news Izzy, Murphy and Marty Rea have started training again

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Post by Don Alfonso Tue 01 Feb 2022, 5:45 pm

Curious contract news. A development year and then three year senior contract for Postlethwaite? Interest from outside based on his Sevens showings?

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 01 Feb 2022, 6:29 pm

So Shanahan, Postlewaite and Moxham all get new contracts. Declan Moore who had been on loan from Munster joins on a 2 year deal as well. One hooker with a mullet out, one hooker with a mullet in and the world is in balance again.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 01 Feb 2022, 7:14 pm

Declan Moore went back to Munster a few weeks back - was it just to pack his bags?

With Moxham getting 1 Year and Postlewaite getting 4 does that mean Postlewaite could be in contention for Friday?

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 01 Feb 2022, 7:17 pm

So O’Sullivan, D O’Connor, Kearney, Curtis the only ones to decided

I suspect that are a handful of development contracts to be announced in the coming weeks

KOTH confirmed Allison has been chopped, can’t say I am surprised it has been on the cards for some time. I was amazed he was given a 4th development year

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 01 Feb 2022, 7:21 pm

Possibly they decided after last week that Moxham wont cut it and Postlewaite should just be given the chance, or perhaps it is a product of the situation, perhaps he had competing offers and Ulster needed to do this to get the deal done.

This is the first game I'm going to attend since the start of the pandemic so they better get it right on Friday lol

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 02 Feb 2022, 2:58 pm

Baloucoune starting for Ulster
Hansen starting for Ireland
Gilroy not playing

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 02 Feb 2022, 4:17 pm

Rob will be dissapointed, lets hope he decides to unleash that on Connacht

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