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Ulster Rugby 2022/2023

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Ulster Rugby 2022/2023 - Page 20 Empty Ulster Rugby 2022/2023

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 Tue 30 Aug 2022, 8:21 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by Maine man Wed 04 Jan 2023, 9:11 pm

clivemcl wrote:The news of Ben Healy leaving Munster for Edinburgh got me thinking....
in terms of Ireland, we have 4 provinces - and yet where would we rank Billy Burns in all the out-halves in Ireland right now...

and is that really good enough for a club with Ulster's ambitions?

For me he's behind all of them and that includes 4 at Leinster, 2 at Munster and Carty at Connacht. I've never been a fan of Burns. He's simply a squad player. I've never rated him.

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Post by Unclear Wed 04 Jan 2023, 9:58 pm

clivemcl wrote:The news of Ben Healy leaving Munster for Edinburgh got me thinking....
in terms of Ireland, we have 4 provinces - and yet where would we rank Billy Burns in all the out-halves in Ireland right now...

and is that really good enough for a club with Ulster's ambitions?

Burns form seems to vary wildly. Currently he is playing very poorly, but he has in the past performed at a reasonable club level, and even justified his place in the Ireland squad at one time. I think it is a valid question as to whether or not we took the right out-half from Munster. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, and it is yet to be seen if Healy would really have been the answer. I imagine he would certainly have been more expensive than Flannery and money appears to be a big issue.

On that point I wonder if bringing Kitshoff in is the right strategy. We have had a number of high profile (read expensive) players come in over the years and the results have been mixed. My personal view is that we would be better with a slightly lower profile (cheaper) player and a squad filler with some potential rather than a single world class player. This is not a dig at Kitshoff, the SA players we have brought seem overall to have contributed well, but could we have got better overall value from 2 loose heads?

The other option would be to spend more on better coaching staff. It does seem that are current attack and defence coaches aren't performing well enough, and that puts pressure on the head coach and other senior staff. We as fans are calling for change, but who are the alternatives? Howley has been mentioned, but (probably though lack of knowledge) I don't rate him.

Getting a bad b*st*rd in to administer a boot up the hole was mentioned. Perhaps we could get Dean Ryan cheap on 6 month contract? Whistle

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 05 Jan 2023, 9:15 am

Word is Flannery back to Munster next year.

Frustrated at seeing how poor Burns has been and still not given a chance to show what he can do.
Cant blame him - management error as far as I am concerned

Burns doesn't have the boot to play at the required level.
When your strength is your backs rather than your forwards you need a 10 who can gain territory.
He also is far to reliant in simply shipping on the ball and hope McCloskey to make hard yards, too obvious for the opposition

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 05 Jan 2023, 9:22 am

Been reminded that Payne applied for the assistant coaching position given to Soper.

That was why he left - that is a monumental own goal by Mcfarland.

My take on the previous coaching structure is McFarland was good at the man management.
Payne took the senior roll and the defense.
Soper as skills, Peel as attack and Grant as forwards coaches were decent in those rolls.

Now we have - Soper in the senior roll
No specific attack coach and Bell as defense coach.

Soper is, as alluded above, out of his depth.
No one taking responsibility for the attack and Bell is rubbish.
The whole think is falling apart.

Without Payne McFarlands short comings are being exposed

I also thing that the inclination of given a position to the Ulsterman played a part in selecting Soper over Payne.
This small minded mindset has to stop

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Post by clivemcl Thu 05 Jan 2023, 2:37 pm

Agreed. Kitschoff won't solve Ulster's problems - nota one bit. Sure we've had Sutherland during most of recent poor results.

I'd have to agree that, even if they were asking for more than they deserve, we would be wise to invest in tempting some of Leinster or Munster's squad players North - and not just the ones that feel disenfranchised. We don't want the ones who feel they 'may as well go to Ulster'. We should offer enough money to the talented ones that it is very hard for them to turn down.

I'm fed up seeing how Leinster can turn out a B or C side with some total novices who can go toe to toe with our seasoned regulars.

Or perhaps, it's not that we sign the dregs from Leinster etc, it's that we aren't actually as good as Leinster etc at developing the young stars who show promise. Is that it?

What examples have we to inspire players to come North? What signings from other clubs have we had that could truly be said to have been good career moves?

Cooney? Maybe for game time, and a certain amount of recognition. But it still hasn't borne fruit for him at the top level or internationally.

Who would come to Ulster really? And I can't blame them.

But Kitschoff won't solve the current issues, and is there any point spending that money just to remain 'in the conversation' and no more?

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Post by Oakdene Thu 05 Jan 2023, 2:49 pm

clivemcl wrote:Agreed. Kitschoff won't solve Ulster's problems - nota one bit. Sure we've had Sutherland during most of recent poor results.

I'd have to agree that, even if they were asking for more than they deserve, we would be wise to invest in tempting some of Leinster or Munster's squad players North - and not just the ones that feel disenfranchised. We don't want the ones who feel they 'may as well go to Ulster'. We should offer enough money to the talented ones that it is very hard for them to turn down.

I'm fed up seeing how Leinster can turn out a B or C side with some total novices who can go toe to toe with our seasoned regulars.

Or perhaps, it's not that we sign the dregs from Leinster etc, it's that we aren't actually as good as Leinster etc at developing the young stars who show promise. Is that it?

What examples have we to inspire players to come North? What signings from other clubs have we had that could truly be said to have been good career moves?

Cooney? Maybe for game time, and a certain amount of recognition. But it still hasn't borne fruit for him at the top level or internationally.

Who would come to Ulster really? And I can't blame them.

But Kitschoff won't solve the current issues, and is there any point spending that money just to remain 'in the conversation' and no more?

As a Scarlets fan, I've been fed up of that for a while now..... Doh

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Post by Unclear Thu 05 Jan 2023, 4:26 pm

clivemcl wrote:
I'm fed up seeing how Leinster can turn out a B or C side with some total novices who can go toe to toe with our seasoned regulars.


Who would come to Ulster really? And I can't blame them.
Does it all come down to coaching? I've said repeatedly that we have never really cracked the mental side of the game. This is illustrated by our recent results and our failures over the years. There is much rubbish put forward here by some posters but the accusation that we have under-achieved is hard to deny. You can't develop a true winning mentality without actually winning something significant. There was a false dawn with the win the in RDS, but we failed to follow it up and so any benefit was lost. We seem to be back to being beaten before we even take the pitch against Leinster.

I think to make it attractive to come to Ulster we need to be able to sell the opportunity to win stuff, for the coaching staff to have a "vision" of how they are going to do that, and how they are going to develop the players. And good money. That's a hard sell for coach who has criticised both his own staff and the players, so I don't expect any new recruits soon.

How much say has McFarland in selecting and retaining his staff? Is it down to him, or Petrie, or worst case a committee decision?


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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 05 Jan 2023, 5:34 pm

clivemcl wrote:  
I'd have to agree that, even if they were asking for more than they deserve, we would be wise to invest in tempting some of Leinster or Munster's squad players North - and not just the ones that feel disenfranchised. We don't want the ones who feel they 'may as well go to Ulster'. We should offer enough money to the talented ones that it is very hard for them to turn down.

I have lost count of the players we have tried to persuade north - they are not interested.
Often forgotten that only 2 players have moved from Leinster to Ulster directly.
The rest are via a third party or players Leinster rejected.
Of those two McGrath was a last grasp attempt to try and return to full fitness - Leinster didnt want him.
That leaves Jordi.

Cooney performances have been fine but a certain player black balled him when it came to International selection.

Kitshoff may not be the solution but he is not the problem either.
A better LH than anyone in Ireland.
He will strengthen our side and should be welcomed.

Our Academy doesn't deliver in certain key position.
Izzy is only the 2nd credible Lock prospect since the days of Davidson and now he is in cotton wool.
When was the last top backrower we produced. Chris Henry was half decent before that Ferris stands out like a sore thumb (and he succeeded with very little help from the Academy set up)
I dont know if McCann or Sheridan will cut it or not but being mollycoddled isn't going to help us find out.
Come to thing of it have we produced any prop as good as Simon Best or Bryan Young since they played - not in my book.
O'Toole is still not at Simon Best level.
Doak is the best SH prospect since his dad and by some distance.
Other than Paddy Jackson not even an adequate 10 since David Humphreys - he retired 15 years ago for christ sake !
Turning out a shed load of players from 11 to 15 is not going to cover up this pathetic record.

We will always struggle if we rely on cast offs and the odd top NIQ player.
Persuading players from Leinster and Munster isn't the answer, producing even a modest number of decent players from positions 1 to 10 is the answer.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 05 Jan 2023, 7:19 pm

It’s surprising how badly McGrath, Moore and Madigan have regressed. Been super average every time I’ve seen them, and I remember how good they were at Leinster a few years ago… My take on it is perhaps McFarland has been in the role too long - it hasn’t helped losing a couple of backroom coaches either.

Your backline is very good. Your home grown props are better than the ex-Leinster ones. Henderson, Kitshoff, Herring, Vermeulen, O’Connor, Cooney, Stockdale, Baloucoune - very strong spine to form a team around. Perhaps Jackson would fancy coming home in the near future. The only way is up Smile.

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Post by Maine man Thu 05 Jan 2023, 8:15 pm

I see Izzy is in the A side and the worst tighthead prop in history on the bench.
Regarding Mikeys comments above, Moore has been pretty good this year IMO. McGrath has never been fit but Madigan despite being the model pro and gentleman, has been a disappointment for me.

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Post by Maine man Thu 05 Jan 2023, 11:01 pm

Also spotted Luke Marshall on the training photos for this weekends game

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 06 Jan 2023, 9:22 am

Moore has been performing brilliantly and has become one of the most crucial players to have on a matchday 23.
Without him we're fooooooked such as this coming weekend. With Milo on the A Team bench that must mean O'Toole and big Jeff are fit, we surely can't we expecting Warwick to switch to TH and do a job against the formidable Italians.

The only way is up folks. Any more of a downward trajectory and this season is done so it better be upwards.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 06 Jan 2023, 10:36 am

I think Ulster fans are a bit harsh on Burns, he looks to be carrying a pretty serious injury and was almost playing on one leg against us. He's being flogged for some reason instead of giving Flannery some game time.

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Post by Maine man Fri 06 Jan 2023, 11:06 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:I think Ulster fans are a bit harsh on Burns, he looks to be carrying a pretty serious injury and was almost  playing on one leg against us. He's being flogged for some reason instead of giving Flannery some game time.

Agree that we haven't utilised our other flyhalves. Flannery hasn't had a look in. He's playing for the A side this week at inside centre too. I'm beginning to lose a bit of confidence in McFarland. Especially his selection policy.

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 06 Jan 2023, 12:08 pm

Squad's Up

Ulster team to play Benetton, BKT United Rugby Championship Round 12, Saturday 7 January at Stadio Monigo (KO 1pm), live on Viaplay and URC.tv.

(15-9): Mike Lowry, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8): Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Kieran Treadwell, Iain Henderson (Captain), Greg Jones, Sean Reffell, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Rory Sutherland, Andy Warwick, Alan O’Connor, Duane Vermeulen, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy.

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 06 Jan 2023, 12:32 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:I think Ulster fans are a bit harsh on Burns, he looks to be carrying a pretty serious injury and was almost  playing on one leg against us. He's being flogged for some reason instead of giving Flannery some game time.

I like Burns, at his best he's a very good league player, as good as any behind Sexton proven by the chances he was given in the Irish shirt. HOWEVER, he is, as you said, playing through injury, limping through games while a very talented Flannery shows support from the sidelines. This defies any logic, Flannery needs to have gametime or he'll be off back to Munster (he may well go anyway) and we'll be left another 10 short. Lowry was always vaunted as a 10 but has been used sparingly there to say the least, he seems to be seen as a 15 now but if Addison ever gets off the physio bench even Lowry might be supporting from the side unless the 10 shirt's opened up.

The best Irish/Ulster 10 available isn't available unfortunately but that ship has sailed due to the Muppet hashtag heroes. If Ulster can't produce a 10 of any quality and the like's of Healy would rather go to Scotland than take a chance in Belfast then it's time to look for foreign players with Irish grannies.

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Post by Maine man Fri 06 Jan 2023, 12:34 pm

Warwick looking like back up tighthead. Jones in the backrow again.
Hopefully ulster can hold on to some possession instead of tackling ourselves to a standstill

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 06 Jan 2023, 2:01 pm

Benetton Rugby:

15 Rhyno Smith (24)
14 Edoardo Padovani (31)
13 Ignacio Brex (65)
12 Tommaso Menoncello (26)
11 Onisi Ratave (5)
10 Tomas Albornoz (24)
9 Alessandro Garbisi (21)
8 Lorenzo Cannone (20)
7 Michele Lamaro (C) (46)
6 Sebastian Negri (65)
5 Federico Ruzza (96)
4 Niccolò Cannone (52)
3 Simone Ferrari (89)
2 Giacomo Nicotera (24)
1 Federico Zani (70)

Bench: 16 Siua Maile (4), 17 Cherif Traore (83), 18 Tiziano Pasquali (109), 19 Riccardo Favretto (20), 20 Giovanni Pettinelli (66), 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (6), 22 Jacob Umaga (6), 23 Marco Zanon (58).

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Post by clivemcl Fri 06 Jan 2023, 2:04 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:
The best Irish/Ulster 10 available isn't available unfortunately but that ship has sailed due to the Muppet hashtag heroes. If Ulster can't produce a 10 of any quality and the like's of Healy would rather go to Scotland than take a chance in Belfast then it's time to look for foreign players with Irish grannies.

If ever it was obvious the clubs actions over Jackson were at the behest of sponsors rather than public pressure it’s in the fact our main sponsor themselves are being called out by many over Grenfell and yet Ulster Rugby doesn’t seem to want to bow to the pressure on this occasion when there’s big money on the line for them.

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 06 Jan 2023, 2:05 pm

Maine man wrote:Warwick looking like back up tighthead. Jones in the backrow again.
Hopefully ulster can hold on to some possession instead of tackling ourselves to a standstill

JTA better be able to last the 80 mins because Warwick covering TH is a huge worry and a bunch of penalties on offer to the Italians. Greg Jones' name on the starting XV always fills me with dread although in his defence he does give his all and has the odd very good game.
That Benneton side has a lot of punching power though so this is going to be one heck of a test for a 'must win'.

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Post by clivemcl Fri 06 Jan 2023, 2:06 pm

At least for a change, Ulster have a bench which offers impact.

As long as the starting players decide to show their quality for a change.

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 06 Jan 2023, 2:08 pm

clivemcl wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:
The best Irish/Ulster 10 available isn't available unfortunately but that ship has sailed due to the Muppet hashtag heroes. If Ulster can't produce a 10 of any quality and the like's of Healy would rather go to Scotland than take a chance in Belfast then it's time to look for foreign players with Irish grannies.

If ever it was obvious the clubs actions over Jackson were at the behest of sponsors rather than public pressure it’s in the fact our main sponsor themselves are being called out by many over Grenfell and yet Ulster Rugby doesn’t seem to want to bow to the pressure on this occasion when there’s big money on the line for them.

It's always about money and the previous Ulster regime bent over at the IRFU's behest as soon as there was the slightest pressure from both the Bank of Ireland and the perpetual protestors.

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Post by Unclear Fri 06 Jan 2023, 2:13 pm

Maine man wrote:Warwick looking like back up tighthead. Jones in the backrow again.
Hopefully ulster can hold on to some possession instead of tackling ourselves to a standstill

Warwick covering tight head has to be a concern. The doomsday scenario would be him coming on, getting marmalised in scrum and then getting injured into the bargain. Nothing like worrying about a crisis that hasn't happened yet.

Where are Marcus Rea and McCann? Takes me back to the days of Clive "god love'm" Ross. You couldn't criticise Clive for lack of effort, but skills and talent ...

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Post by Maine man Fri 06 Jan 2023, 3:58 pm

McCann is in the A side. And Izzy I think.

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Post by Maine man Fri 06 Jan 2023, 4:00 pm

Ulster A v Ealing Trailfinders A, Fri 6 Jan, 2.30, Trailfinders Sports Club
15-9: Shea O'Brien; Rob Lyttle; Ben Moxham; Jake Flannery; Ethan Graham; James Humphreys; Rhys O'Donnell

1-8: Callum Reid; Declan Moore; Scott Wilson; Cormac Izuchukwu; Frank Bradshaw-Ryan; Harry Sheridan (c); Matty Rea; David McCann

Replacements: James McCormick; George Saunderson; Gareth Milasinovich; Conor Neary; Adam Montgomery; Zac Solomon; Ben Gibson; James Girvan; Henry Boyle

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 06 Jan 2023, 4:01 pm

Unclear wrote:
Warwick covering tight head has to be a concern.  ..

Even at TH he is a country mile better than the chocolate teapot

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Post by Maine man Fri 06 Jan 2023, 4:36 pm

Chocolate teapot is on the bench for A side.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 06 Jan 2023, 6:24 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:I think Ulster fans are a bit harsh on Burns, he looks to be carrying a pretty serious injury and was almost  playing on one leg against us. He's being flogged for some reason instead of giving Flannery some game time.

I like Burns, at his best he's a very good league player, as good as any behind Sexton proven by the chances he was given in the Irish shirt. HOWEVER, he is, as you said, playing through injury, limping through games while a very talented Flannery shows support from the sidelines. This defies any logic, Flannery needs to have gametime or he'll be off back to Munster (he may well go anyway) and we'll be left another 10 short. Lowry was always vaunted as a 10 but has been used sparingly there to say the least, he seems to be seen as a 15 now but if Addison ever gets off the physio bench even Lowry might be supporting from the side unless the 10 shirt's opened up.

The best Irish/Ulster 10 available isn't available unfortunately but that ship has sailed due to the Muppet hashtag heroes. If Ulster can't produce a 10 of any quality and the like's of Healy would rather go to Scotland than take a chance in Belfast then it's time to look for foreign players with Irish grannies.
Agreed, I think Burns is a euro level 10, he needs a rest though. The Flannery situation is baffling to me as I always thought he'd do well. Perhaps I've over rated him, but it'd be nice to see him get some sort of the shot. The Jackson situation is so unfortunate, but nothing the club can do due to the loud minority such is the world now. I know for a fact he'd be welcome with open arms by the fans in Ulster.

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Post by clivemcl Sat 07 Jan 2023, 2:53 pm

Ulster in CRISIS? censored

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 07 Jan 2023, 3:28 pm

Clearly something is wrong. To many players trying to force things
Is it the players? The coaching?
But something needs to change.

Think we could get Lancaster to come to us instead of R92?

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 07 Jan 2023, 3:51 pm

I said it after Connacht we were in crises and now going from bad to worse.

Totally lost the plot.
Petrie again posting garbage on social media
McFarland has lost the dressing room.

5 loses in the last 6 and the win only thanks to McCarty's poor kicking.

Next 4 games up
La Rochelle away
Sale at home
Stormers at home
Sharks away

We could be 1 from 10 by the end of February is Stormers and Sale send full teams, maybe 1 from 10 even if they dont steam

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Post by Maine man Sat 07 Jan 2023, 3:54 pm

Didn't see the game as away for the weekend and was told off by Mrs Maine Man for bringing my laptop to the pub at lunchtime to watch it.
Was there any improvement?

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 07 Jan 2023, 4:12 pm

No

Tooks us 70 mins to start playing and some players were truly awful

Stockdale and Burns come to mind but hardly alone.
I'd probably give Timoney, McCloskey and Lowry a pass

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Post by Unclear Sat 07 Jan 2023, 5:53 pm

Not sure what to say. I didn't feel it was as bad as last week, but perhaps that's because my expectations as so low. I thought Benetton played better than Munster last week. We are never going to win if we can't pass or catch. Or if our breakdown work is non existent. How many times did we win a turnover - I don't remember any, could well be wrong though. But Benetton certainly won many more.

The attack was very poor. What was that set up with McCloskey putting in to 5m scrum? What was Moore doing right at the end? In past we converted chances like that. Defence was poor again, repeated offsides from the outside backs seemed a real issue.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 07 Jan 2023, 10:43 pm

The defence is shocking, it's been that way for some time this season and it's not getting any better, I doubt the players have forgotten how to defend so I can only assume it's the structures put into play by Bell that's the issue.

8 games with over 20 points conceded this season, it's hard to keep winning when conceding that many points.

You won't be able to outscore good teams with defence that is so porous, if they fix the defence it won't solve all the issues but it will most certainly help them win a lot more games.

Whoever's job it is to sort coaches underneath McFarland needs to do some work and get it sorted, or someone needs to get them out.

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Ulster Rugby 2022/2023 - Page 20 Empty Re: Ulster Rugby 2022/2023

Post by geoff999rugby Mon 09 Jan 2023, 11:54 am

Should have noted that both Cooney and Burns were awful.

Rumour is Petrie has lost all respect in the club - he has made himself and Ulster look foolish.

It should also be remember that losing in the last minutes is not new to this year - Toulouse and Stormers last year came to mind
Kicking away position when you are are less than a score in front with 2/3 minutes to go is criminal, and we do it all the time.

Also remember our new skills Craig Newby.
I had quite forgotten him and given the 'skill?' we have shown this year he has forgotten what is supposed to do mad
Another waste of space

Seeing post above perhaps I should remind folks Flannery is supposed to be going back to Munster as he is fed
up with the lack of opportunity.
Cant say I blame him.

I also find it interesting that after a flurry of new contracts since the results have gone south there has been nothing for a few weeks.
Hopefully the whole set up being re-evaluated and no new decisions until we have aclear understanding of what needs fixing

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 09 Jan 2023, 12:04 pm

If there is a hold on new contracts certain players can consider themselves very lucky to have a contract for 2023-24.
If we dont hear of Du Toit's signing before the 6N my suspicion is he has seen the chaos and changed his mind.

Billy Burns - sorry I have tried to see the positives but his standing so deep and his lack of kicking power means he simply isn't good enough
Matty Rea - Possibly the weakest pair of hands at Ulster rugby
Declan Moore - Panic signing he is utter rubbish. This a position where we have 4 good players (including the Academy). Complete and utter waste of a contract

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Post by Pete330v2 Mon 09 Jan 2023, 12:55 pm

I can honestly say that it was the first time I've had my remote in my hand for most of the game, ready to turn over which I almost did numerous times. It's galling to watch a formerly enjoyable side to watch become so slow, ponderous and devoid of ideas. Kicking the ball away after a few phases is a gift to any opposition and shows just how much faith is being shown in the breakdown. I'm not sure I'll be watching for the next couple of weekends, I'm not a masochist although I'll likely torture myself by viewing the tedium yet again like a pain-worshipping, mindless sheep.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 09 Jan 2023, 2:21 pm

I agree just thinking of my own attitude to the next three games:
La Rochelle - we have some friends round in the evening.
I'll be helping my wife and will just listen to the car crash in passing
Sale - good friend who is moving to Bristol's birthday - I won't be going
Stormers - will go but as much, if not more, to meet up with friends. We didn't meet up for Munster so haven't seen them since the Zebre game and wont see them till late March - the next home game.

Haven't been so ambivalent since I first got a Season Ticket (over 20 years ago)

As mentioned previously I will not be buying a Season Ticket next year and unless I see changes I wont be going



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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 11 Jan 2023, 10:42 am

Looks like Marty Moore out for the season
Baloucoune has another hamstring injury Rolling Eyes

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