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Ulster Rugby 2022/2023

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Pot Hale
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Post by neilthom7 Thu Feb 04, 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 Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:21 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by Unclear Sun Jul 03, 2022 8:35 pm

I get what you say Geoff, the back row is more of a priority. I would have said Marcus Rea was a starter, but mainly because of the lack of alternatives. I've been disappointed with McCann, but probably more because of unreasonable expectations. Crothers looked good in the little of the U20s I watched but it is a big step up to fully pro.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed Jul 06, 2022 8:52 am

We now have some idea on injuries
Both Henderson and Vermuelen should easily make the start of the season.
The guys holding tackle bags for Ireland will miss the first couple of weeks, probably.
In Hume's case he would have missed them anyway - hopefully no more than that

Addison and Marshall need to show their worth in the first couple of games.
It seems to me the 12,13,15 could be Marshall, Moore, Addison.
To be honest if Marshall or Addison have a run of injuries they will be shipped out next summer

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Post by Unclear Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:52 pm

I would think that Marshall and Addison need to think about a career change if they have any more significant injuries. A sad fact in pro sport. Still if they are fit that's not a bad backline. What wingers have got that will be fit? Is Baloucoune out long term again?

The pack worries me most, we struggle against the the more powerful teams. And while Kitshoff would be a great addition, it is going to take more than one prop, even if he is world class, to give us the power we need through a whole season. Hopefully Henderson, Vermuelen and Kitshoff can bring on the younger academy and ex-academy lads to provide the depth we need.

Hope springs eternal.

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Post by Maine man Wed Jul 20, 2022 4:20 pm

Copied and pasted from BBC website:
Irish-qualified scrum-half Michael McDonald has joined Ulster from Super Rugby side Western Force on a one-year deal.

McDonald, 23, was born in Louth and played with Dundalk RFC before moving to Australia at the age of 13.

He started the 2019 U20 World Cup final when the Junior Wallabies agonisingly lost to France by a single point.


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Post by Kingshu Wed Jul 20, 2022 5:52 pm

From Western forces fan site "Prior’s best years are behind him. McDonald’s best years are coming

Simple math…. big loss"

It appears they would rather have kept McDonald than Prior, who appears to have had a good career, looks like we are signing a quality SH, if he lives up to potentional Ulster will be good at SH for years to come.

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Post by clivemcl Wed Jul 20, 2022 10:46 pm

Not exactly the position I would have expected a signing for. Strange given the emergence of Doak, and adds weight to the suggestion Cooney will leave at end of contract.

There’s no chance Doak will be looking at a position change? Is he an out and out scrum half? Or would he have a go at out-half?

It’s one position where we could play either Cooney or Doak and not lose too much. Not many positions in our 15 we can really say that for. And yet, this isn’t a journeyman signing, but a young lad who would have ambitions if Ireland representative rugby.

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu Jul 21, 2022 9:15 am

So we'll have Cooney, Doak, Shanahan and McDonald to pad out the 9 shirt whilst we could be threadbare at LH and 10. I don't really get it but if he's a decent player then come on in anyway.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 21, 2022 9:27 am

My take is either Cooney is off next year or he will switch to 10.
I think he enjoys playing there and Id be pretty certain Madigan will retire next summer.
Unless a big money comes in from France he will stay - he loves it here.
His loyalty to Ulster may just mean the chances of a big money deal have passed.

Doak wont be moving - him and Casey are the future for Ireland at 9 and they know it

So will gives us Doak, McDonald and Shanahan at 9
and Burns, Cooney, Flannery at 10 for 22/23

If Addison doesn't come good injury wise Lowry will definitely be a permanent 15.
in truth that decision may already have been made both at Provincial and International level.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 21, 2022 9:29 am

LH will be a case of Warwick, O'Sullivan and Reid this year with Kitshoff coming in after the World Cup

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 21, 2022 9:32 am

Academy up for next year

Year 1

Joe Hopes - 2nd row
Lorcan McLoughlin - Back row
James McNabney - Back row
Rory Telfer - Back Three
Scott Wilson - Prop

Year 2

James Humphreys
Conor McKee
George Saunderson
Harry Sheridan

Year 3

Ben Carson
Reuben Crothers
James McCormick

So one player dropped - Conor Rankin
No surprise he was never going to be good enough

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 21, 2022 9:34 am

So what I assume is the final squad:
46 Full Professionals
2 Development Contracts
12 Academy players

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Post by Maine man Thu Jul 21, 2022 10:39 am

Thanks for the update Geoff. Any word on the injury front?

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 21, 2022 10:57 am

I am afraid not - Hume looks like late September but he probably would have been unavailable for the first two week anyway because of the tour.

If we don't see Addison and Marshall early on I reckon the writing is on the wall for them.
Moore should be ok, if not Toomunga-Allen will be playing the early games

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Post by Kingshu Thu Jul 21, 2022 6:10 pm

Cooney playing 10 would be very intresting. Id guess Cooney burns would be first choice with Doak coming on for either cooney or burns (with Cooney moving to OH). If he proves to be good at outhalf, and I suspect he will, will the Irish management look even more foolish for not playing him? Could he finally force himself into a WC squad?

Afterall its looks like the Utility FH will be Leinsters 4th choice FH and Irelands 6th choice centre, if Cooney can play enough at OH to be 2nd choice at Ulster, he should also be in top 3 SHs in Ireland, the Irish squad could drop Casey and Frawley and bring Cooney and another forward/back much higher in the pecking order than 6th.

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Post by Maine man Thu Jul 21, 2022 6:33 pm

TBH I'd be going to the irfu and pretty much asking them politely as possible to send Frawley up the road especially if Mr Farrell sees him as a 10. Currently 4th choice 10 at Leinster.

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Post by Kingshu Thu Jul 21, 2022 7:01 pm

On the Ulster side of things Ulster used Lowry to cover OH durning games and brought on another FB, if Cooney takes that roll with Doak coming on it means with Cooney at SH and Lowry at FB there will be no need to have a FH on the bench and that spot can be used for an extra forward or back. Its well know that Ulster struggle in the last 1/4 of games, in last 8 games in the last 15 mins Ulster scored 17 points and conceded 66, hopefully having an extra sub come on could help address that?

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Post by Kingshu Thu Jul 21, 2022 7:07 pm

Maine man wrote:TBH I'd be going to the irfu and pretty much asking them politely as possible to send Frawley up the road especially if Mr Farrell sees him as a 10. Currently 4th choice 10 at Leinster.


Not going to happen with Flannery moving. Is Flannery not supposed to be the better OH, he's certainly played more at OH than Frawley over the last two years. I havent seen much of either tbh, but Frawley wasn't great in the first game and was good in the 2nd, but if Flannery had played them would he have done better?

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Post by Unclear Thu Jul 21, 2022 9:28 pm

All very interesting. Hasn't Cooney already covered as FH a few times already? My memory may well be playing tricks on me. I think it is more beneficial for the vast majority of players to establish themselves in one position, and I think some clarity would do Lowry good. Similarly I would prefer Cooney and Doak to continue to specialise as SH.

Looking forward to seeing the new names settling in and providing positiver contributions.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri Jul 22, 2022 9:55 am

Zero chance of Frawley coming and I'm glad.
I would be uncomfortable us taking their players

I know we have a number of Leinster born players but none of them were in Leinster plans, that includes Murphy.

As to Cooney playing 10 if he stays, I suspect it will be in a cover role aka Madigan both last year and the coming year..
What it will allow is a 6th forward on the bench if we want.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon Jul 25, 2022 12:13 pm

No Vermuelen early on - he is in the SA quad

So for first two games backrow looking like
Reffell, McCann, Marcus Rea Bench: Murphy

As I mentioned before for those three starters this is a big year where they individually, and collectively, really need to make their mark

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:40 am

.


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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:44 am

First seven fixtures before Autumn International break

16/18th Sept - Connacht H
23/25th Sept - Scarlets A
30th Sept/2nd Oct - Leinster H
7th/9th Oct - Ospreys H
Following two weeks Lions and Sharks A
28th/30th Oct - Munster A


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Post by geoff999rugby Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:54 am

The good news Stockdale and Baloucoune fully fit.

The bad news Addison isn’t.
Unless something changes he will be cast adrift next summer

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Post by Pete330v2 Mon Aug 08, 2022 12:52 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:The good news Stockdale and Baloucoune fully fit.

The bad news Addison isn’t.
Unless something changes he will be cast adrift next summer

I reckon Ulster would have cast him adrift already from a purely business perspective if he wasn't the quality player he is. He came to Ulster with a big question mark over his ability to remain available for selection and it's been answered but what is it about players like him that end up seeing the physio bench more than the subs bench. It is so cruel and frustrating for the likes of him and Luke Marshall, classy players that are so unlucky with injury.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon Aug 08, 2022 4:51 pm

Marshall in full training.
As an aside he has played some 60 more top flight games than Addison.

They both have had more than their fair share but Addison record is noticeable worse.

Also good news Irish internationals are, reportedly, only going to miss one game not two as in previous years

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon Aug 15, 2022 8:55 pm

Addison getting married around now.
Wont be back and available till October (nothing to do with getting married !)

Lovely fella but if he doesn't show up soon.......

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Post by clivemcl Tue Aug 30, 2022 7:55 pm

Hi all.
I hope you've had an enjoyable summer.
Geoff, your posts and info are greatly appreciated even if I don't find time to respond! Apologies.

I cancelled my premier Sports over the summer. And maybe my BT sports also. Or maybe I just switched to the online only BT Sport subscription - I don't remember.

Many of us are trying to cut costs in these times.
Just how many of the Ulster URC games will we see on free-to-air tv?

My issue is I no longer have a TV box that I can record onto. I'm very reliant on On Demand viewing as I'm working often when Ulster games are on.

I suspect I'll have to re-subscribe to premier Sports.

There are plenty of things I could save money on without having to give up what is usually a well looked forward to part of my week!

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Post by neilthom7 Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:31 pm

Hows things Clive.

6 home games games on BBC NI.

Connacht, Leinster, Ospreys, Zebre, Stormers and Bulls.

There will also off course be matches on RTE and TG 4 as well as BBC Wales potentially for some of the away games, if you can access those channels that is and they don't get geo blocked.

The good news is that those first 3 games are 3 of our first 4 games of the season so you may at least be able to delay Premier to after those, although I don't know where you would see the Scarlets away game unless it shows up on one of the Welsh channels

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Post by clivemcl Wed Aug 31, 2022 12:19 pm

The fixture calendar is effectively 8 months if you get to knock out stages.
£14.99 p/month makes it £120.
Annual Subscription if you can pay up front is £99 so I'll likely go that route.

BT Sports on the other hand is much more substantial.
The app/online subscription is £25 p/month for the luxury of not being tied to a contract.
It's something like £16 p/month for TV version and they send you a box (which you will never own).
I left BT TV a few months ago after paying them for 5/6 years and they had me post the bloody box back to them!

I don't watch any other sport on BT sport, so it's a little harder to justify for that price!
Might just head to the clubhouse or a pub for the European games!

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Post by Oakdene Wed Aug 31, 2022 12:29 pm

clivemcl wrote:The fixture calendar is effectively 8 months if you get to knock out stages.
£14.99 p/month makes it £120.
Annual Subscription if you can pay up front is £99 so I'll likely go that route.

BT Sports on the other hand is much more substantial.
The app/online subscription is £25 p/month for the luxury of not being tied to a contract.
It's something like £16 p/month for TV version and they send you a box (which you will never own).
I left BT TV a few months ago after paying them for 5/6 years and they had me post the bloody box back to them!

I don't watch any other sport on BT sport, so it's a little harder to justify for that price!
Might just head to the clubhouse or a pub for the European games!

You can, as far as I know, stream BT Player to a TV on 2 devices at the same time. So if you can find a friend willing to pay half it only costs £12.50 a month.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed Aug 31, 2022 4:10 pm

Iain Henderson (hand) and James Hume (groin) have both had surgery during the off-season and continue to rehabilitate their respective injuries. They join Will Addison (lower leg), Jude Postlethwaite (knee), and Ben Moxham (shoulder) on the current injured player list.

The following players are also unavailable for selection this week due to low grade injuries picked up in training: David McCann, David Shanahan and Andy Warwick.

Jacob Stockdale has reintegrated into full team training and is available for selection.

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Post by neilthom7 Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:12 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Iain Henderson (hand) and James Hume (groin) have both had surgery during the off-season and continue to rehabilitate their respective injuries. They join Will Addison (lower leg), Jude Postlethwaite (knee), and Ben Moxham (shoulder) on the current injured player list.

The following players are also unavailable for selection this week due to low grade injuries picked up in training: David McCann, David Shanahan and Andy Warwick.

Jacob Stockdale has reintegrated into full team training and is available for selection.

Given the players that are likely to go on this frankly stupid tour with Ireland it means Ulster are going to suffer at the start of the season especially in the backs.

If they all miss the first 4 games we then have a trip to South Africa followed by a derby away at Munster. We could very easily enter that game with 0 or 1 wins under our belt.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed Aug 31, 2022 10:22 pm

I bet you we win at least 2 home games and 1 away game out of the first 6 games

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Post by Pot Hale Thu Sep 01, 2022 9:25 am

neilthom7 wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Iain Henderson (hand) and James Hume (groin) have both had surgery during the off-season and continue to rehabilitate their respective injuries. They join Will Addison (lower leg), Jude Postlethwaite (knee), and Ben Moxham (shoulder) on the current injured player list.

The following players are also unavailable for selection this week due to low grade injuries picked up in training: David McCann, David Shanahan and Andy Warwick.

Jacob Stockdale has reintegrated into full team training and is available for selection.

Given the players that are likely to go on this frankly stupid tour with Ireland it means Ulster are going to suffer at the start of the season especially in the backs.  

If they all miss the first 4 games we then have a trip to South Africa followed by a derby away at Munster.  We could very easily enter that game with 0 or 1 wins under our belt.

"The squad will rely heavily on former Ireland Under-20 players over the past few seasons"

The SA tour affects Rounds 3 & 4.
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Post by clivemcl Thu Sep 01, 2022 4:52 pm

A fair fee unfamiliar names against Chiefs. I thought I was familiar with new signings and academy players.

Any insight in these names? New signings? Or just Ulster born youth coming through?

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Post by neilthom7 Thu Sep 01, 2022 6:41 pm

(15-9): Shea O’Brien, Aaron Sexton, Angus Curtis, Ian Madigan, Rob Lyttle, Jake Flannery, Michael McDonald;

(1-8): Callum Reid, Declan Moore, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, Sam Carter, Harry Sheridan, Sean Reffell, Jordi Murphy (Captain).

Replacements from: Eric O’Sullivan, Tom Stewart, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Gareth Milasinovich, Alan O’Connor, Cormac Izuchukwu, Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, Greg Jones, Nathan Doak, Conor McKee, Billy Burns, Jacob Stockdale, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy, Stewart Moore, Rory Telfer.

Sean Reffell, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, Jake Flanery, Michael McDonald are all new signings.

Declan Moore was with Ulster last year at times and has officially joined in the summer

Shea O'Brien was signed up from Armagh RFC.

The rest of the unknowns are academy players.


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Post by neilthom7 Thu Sep 01, 2022 6:42 pm

With the idea that most of those going away with ireland will be young recent u-20 players I feel a lot better about Ulsters early season chances

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Sep 01, 2022 6:56 pm

Which players Clive?

O'Brien, along with Postlewaite is one of 2 Development Contracts
Rory Telfer is an Academy back three player
Conor McKee is an Academy scrum half
Harry Sheridan is an Academy backrow
The new signings are those listed by Neil

Sean Reffell - backrow
Jeff Toomaga-Allen - Tight Head
Frank Bradshaw-Ryan - Lock
Jake Flannery - 10
Michael McDonald - 9

Everyone else has played for the first XV


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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Sep 01, 2022 6:58 pm

neilthom7 wrote:With the idea that most of those going away with ireland will be young recent u-20 players I feel a lot better about Ulsters early season chances

Agreed - it never sounded right.
Emerging Ireland are the 3rd XV not the 2nd XV - that is the Wolfhounds

Also the likes of Timoney, O'Toole, Lowry, Hume, Baloucoune would get far more benefit playing Scarlets, Leinster and Ospreys than playing 2nd string SA sides

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Sep 01, 2022 7:03 pm

The Academy is:

Ulster Rugby Academy Squad 2022-23
Year 1

Joe Hopes

Lorcan McLoughlin

James McNabney

Rory Telfer

Scott Wilson



Year 2

James Humphreys

Conor McKee

George Saunderson

Harry Sheridan



Year 3

Ben Carson

Reuben Crothers

James McCormick

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Post by neilthom7 Fri Sep 02, 2022 9:48 pm

Comfortable win v Exeter tonight in the pre season.

Good to see both Marshall and Stockdale get tries.

Stockdale looked strong in attack, looks a bit leaner than he did before.

Reffell did well at the breakdown, Flannery looked decent at ten.

Lyttle's finish for his try was eceptional.

Good run out for all the lads

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat Sep 03, 2022 11:03 am

Good performance overall

One little caveat though, although Exeter selected a far more experienced starting 15 than us they were very poor
They seem to have Munster QF illness.
The Voodoo 'knock-on' doll was again in full cry last night
Also their rolling maul was very effectively nullified, ours was much better.

Stand outs for me:
- Reffell looks a real find. Tiggerish in the tackle and good at the breakdown.
With Timoney, Vermuelen and him in tandem we should have real success at the breakdown.
- Stockdale was on fire, Superb under the high ball and took his try well
- Sheridan may only be Academy year two but he will be knocking at the door this year
- Moore and O'Sullivan at the start of the second half had Hepburn and Williams for breakfast.
- Marshall back and still showed his classed
- Madigan did well at 12
- The two new guys Flannery and McDonald did ok. McDonald was tidy and Flannery showed some nice touches.
Neither will be starters though
- Favourable comments for Reid, Bradshaw, Izzy, Telfer (great run showing real confidence out of defense, then he passed to Exeter !)

Negatives:
- Carter remains a chocolate tea pot. I would put him 6th in our 2nd row players - Henderson, AOC, Treadwell, Izzy, Bradshaw
all better. Absurd to have a NIQ player so low in the pecking order
- Milasinovich player what 15 mins and was totally knackered
- Gilroy clearly thinks tackling is optional - like Carter well down the pecking order. Stockdale, Baloucoune, Lyttle and McIlroy all in front of him, Sexton ?

Hard to judge Sexton - clearly has incredible pace and saved a certain try but my nagging doubts remain.
There was one attack where the ball came to him and he, instinctively, did not know what to do.
Something tells me he doesn't have a rugby brain - hope I am wrong

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri Sep 16, 2022 11:52 am

Ulster ‘A’ team to play Leinster ‘A’, Friday 16 September at St Marys RFC, 5pm kick-off:

(15-9):

Shea O’Brien

Rory Telfer

James Girvan

Ross Taylor

Rob Lyttle

Jake Flannery

Michael McDonald

(1-8)

George Saunderson

James McCormick

Cameron Doak

Joe Hopes

Charlie Irvine

Harry Sheridan (Captain)

Lorcan McLaughlin

James McNabney

Replacements from:

Zac Solomon

Jack Boal

Joe Mawhinney

Paddy Browne

Jamie Macartney

Conor McKee

Zach Quirke

Henry Boyle

Sam Cunningham

Ethan Graham

Adam Montgomery

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri Sep 16, 2022 11:56 am

The Memorial Stand will be renamed the

'Nevin Spence Memorial Stand' next April on the day of his birthday.

10 years yesterday since his death.

A fitting tribute to one of the most decent young me you could ever meet and a tragic loss
to Ulster and Ireland (he would have been a regular)

but most of all his family

RIP

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri Sep 16, 2022 12:06 pm

Team up

(15-9): Stewart Moore, Rob Baloucoune, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8): Eric O’Sullivan, Tom Stewart, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sam Carter, Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, David McCann.

Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Reid, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Cormac Izuchukwu, Jordi Murphy, David Shanahan, Angus Curtis, and Aaron Sexton.

Cooney continued absence a worry.
I would have picked Refell in front of Matty Rea.
Time for McCann to show what he is made of
10 cover must be Shanahan at 9, Doak at 10 - no one else to play 10

Excellent set of backs but Matty Rea and Carter are weaknesses in the pack.
Hopefully Izzy plays most of the 2nd half

The following players were not considered for selection due to being in the Graduated Return to Play process (injured), on the IRFU Player Management Process, or on international duty:

Andrew Warwick; Rob Herring (IRFU PMP); Tom O’Toole (IRFU PMP), Iain Henderson; Nick Timoney (IRFU PMP); Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby); John Cooney; James Hume; Ben Moxham; Jude Postlethwaite; Will Addison; Ethan McIlroy; and Mike Lowry (IRFU PMP).

List incomplete - Treadwell s/b a (IRFU PMP)

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Post by Kingshu Fri Sep 16, 2022 12:21 pm

Angus Curtis covers 10, one of his 8 starts was at OH v Munster a season before last, and Im sure he has come off the bench at 10 a few times

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri Sep 16, 2022 12:34 pm

Well remembered.
You could be right but not sure they see him as a 10 anymore.
My bet is still Doak would go to 10 unless the weather is awful, which is not forecast,
and then he would dictate from 9.

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Post by clivemcl Fri Sep 16, 2022 1:37 pm

Looking forward to another season.
So good to see Balacoune and Stockade on the wings!
Really hoping that Marshall can not only avoid injury, but that he can get a good run of games and get back to his best.
It would be a fantastic headache to have if he got back to his best with Hume, McCloskey and Moore also vying for the centre jerseys.

I assume there is no where the 'A' game is being streamed tonight?

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Post by Unclear Fri Sep 16, 2022 4:16 pm

Also looking forward to another season, but while the sun shines outside (resident in the southeast of England, good view of the French coast while walking the dog the this morning) the inner gloom remains, especially when looking at that pack. Anyone remember that game where Connacht blew us away with their intensity and fight? It's another interpro so they won't be holding back.

That great starting backline won't be able to do much without at least some decent ball, but it should inflict damage if it gets the chance. Great to see Luke Marshall and Jacob S back in a competitive match.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri Sep 16, 2022 5:47 pm

Bit surprised not to see Reffell in there for Matty Rea and Macdonald for Shanahan.

Cooneys absence is worrying since Doak shall be off to South Africa soon


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