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URC Team by Team Review 2021/22

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 15 Jul 2021, 11:47 am

First topic message reminder :

As per the header here's my take so far on URC rugby on a team by team basis.  Granted not all teams have finished recruitment just yet but here is what we have so far.  Will update as further recruitment happens.

Leinster

In: Michael Milne promoted from Academy, David Hawkshaw promoted from Academy, Nick McCarthy from Munster,
Michael Ala'alatoa from Crusaders, Tom Clarkson promoted from Academy

Out: Michael Bent, Cian Kelleher, Greg McGrath, Hugh O'Sullivan, Rowan Osborne, Scott Fardy, Paddy Patterson, Sam Illo

Comments: Not much movement this season so far.  Ala'alatoa is the big addition at Tighthead.  Will be available for them all season and possibly is the long term replacement for Furlong who only signed for a 12 month contract and is probably leaving Ireland after that.

Predicted League Position: 1st.  Easy starting prediction.  The Champions have a quality squad throughout and that hasn't changed going into next season.  With the new format switching to 15 games and teams outside of Ireland only facing Leinster once (either home and away), I do expect it to be harder for them as teams will most probably start fielding full strength sides especially at home.  That said they are one of Europe's best for a reason.  I don't think anyone else really can oust them.

Munster

In: Jake Flannery promoted from Academy, James French promoted from Academy, Seán French promoted from Academy, Ben Healy promoted from Academy, John Hodnett promoted from Academy, Rowan Osborne from Leinster, Thomas Ahern promoted from Academy, Jack Crowley promoted from Academy, Jack Daly promoted from Academy, ason Jenkins from Toyota Verblitz, Josh Wycherley promoted from Academy, Simon Zebo from Racing 92,Paddy Patterson

Out: Nick McCarthy, Billy Holland, Alex Wootton, CJ Stander,  JJ Hanrahan, Tommy O'Donnell, Rhys Marshall, James Cronin

Comments: Lots of Academy promotions this season for Munster.  Notable signings are Zebo and Jenkins, both of which should feature heavily.  They do have some big names finishing however so Stander & Cronin probably offset the improvements from the signings.  Also some key older heads retiring as well who played key roles for Munster.  

Predicted League Position: 2nd.  I think Coombes will replace to void by Stander and with the bulk they have added in Jenkins will see them in a good spot during the winter months.  I think Thomond will still be a fortress for them although away wins next season will be harder to come by although that's the same for everyone.  Still a quality outfit.

Ulster

In: Aaron Sexton promoted from Academy, Nathan Doak promoted from Academy, Tom Stewart promoted from Academy, Ethan McIlroy promoted from Academy, Callum Reid promoted from Academy, David McCann promoted from Academy, Cormac Izuchukwu promoted from Academy,


Out: Hayden Hyde, Adam McBurney, Alby Mathewson, Kyle McCall, Matt Faddes, Bill Johnston

Comments: No incoming signings so far.  Outbound are only fringe players but the lack of additions at this point won't see them improve from last seasons outings unless some Academy players do manage to add to their squad.  

Predicted League Position: 5th.  So I know they finished last year on an overall table in second place and Ravenhill will still be a key factor to wining a lot of their games.  But a lot of this will be determined by how the fixture list falls.  I don't think this Ulster side will win as many away games as they did last year.  Main reason is with a reduced number of matches and only playing some of these sides once, I'd imagine a lot of teams will be fielding full strength sides.  It's going to be close though and I while I only have them ranked at 5th they could easily finish higher as they have had form on their side.

Connacht

In: Oran McNulty promoted from Academy, Cian Prendergast promoted from Academy, Dylan Tierney-Martin promoted from Academy, Alex Wootton from Munster, Mack Hansen from Brumbies, Leva Fifita from Grenoble, Shayne Bolton from Shimlas, Greg McGrath from Leinster, Sam Illo


Out: Quinn Roux, Stephen Fitzgerald, Seán O'Brien, Stephen Kerins, Conor Dean, Colm de Buitléar, Paddy McAllister, Cillian Gallagher, Conor Kenny, Seán O'Brien

Comments: Wootton isn't a new signing really as he was on loan with them last season.  Roux is a big loss for them.

Predicted League Position: 10th.  Ok based on last season this seems a totally unrealistic prediction but not without reasoning.  First major drawback for Connacht will be they will be playing Munster, Leinster and Ulster home and away.  They have it harder compared to some of the other sides who simply will have some weaker opposition.  Add into the fact Connacht will be coming up against some quality teams away from home outside of Ireland and wins could start getting hard to come by.  Looking at how other sides have recruited as well won't help Connacht.  I also expect every single team in the league to fight tooth and nail to get HC spots.  Something I think Connacht may miss out on next season.


Scarlets

In: WillGriff John from Sale Sharks, Carwyn Tuipulotu promoted from Academy, Morgan Jones promoted from Academy, Tomás Lezana from Western Force, Dom Booth promoted from Academy, Kemsley Mathias promoted from Academy, Iestyn Rees promoted from Academy, Scott Williams from Ospreys, Tom Price from Exeter

Out: Jake Ball, Werner Kruger, Jac Morgan, Uzair Cassiem, Osian Knott, Harri Doel, Paul Asquith, Dylan Evans, Will Homer, Ed Kennedy, Joseph Miles, Tom Phillips, Pieter Scholtz, Danny Drake

Comments: Some big players leaving Scarlets this year.  Ball and Cassiem don't look like they have been replaced with equal or better players.  On paper their starting 15 looks weaker.  Lezana is a bit of a unknown quantity and he may turn our to be brilliant or poor.  Hard to tell until we see him in action.  My main issue with them is they look light weight in the front 5 and that may not help things for them in the Winter period.

Prediction: 6th.  I think they will finish behind Ulster but they still have to much for around half of the league.  That said i suspect the may be displaced next season as the best welsh region, mainly due to the lack of forward fire power.  Still have one of the best back lines in the league though so will be dangerous regardless.

Ospreys

In: Tomas Francis from Exeter, Jac Morgan from Scarlets, Ben Warren from Cardiff, Osian Knott from Scarlets, Michael Collins from Highlanders, Jack Regan from Highlanders,
Elvis Taione from Exeter, Alex Cuthbert from Exeter

Out: Guido Volpi, Cory Allen, Ben Cambriani, Rhys Davies, Gareth Evans, Garyn Lloyd, Bradley Roderick, Rhys Thomas, Jordan Walters, Caine Woolerton, Luke Price, Scott Williams, Shaun Venter, Jordan Lay, Nicky Thomas

Comments: No major losses for the Ospreys as Allen and Williams never really worked out for them.  They were on big salaries too so Booth has clearly free'd up budget by releasing some under performers.  Francis heads the major signing columns but Cuthbert & Morgan are both major coups for the region.

Prediction: 3rd.  On paper at least the front 8 look like they can hold their own.  The major reason for the improvement and why I think they will be the top region is Booth.  He has clearly been the right man for the job.  He has strengthened his squad in the right areas and the Ospreys look like will have a fairly potent backline.  But Francis has been key for them.  At home I don't see many teams beating them (maybe Leinster or Munster at a push).  Aside from that they will also be helped with the fact unlike the Irish they will have to play the Scarlets, Blues & Dragons which will more than likely result in more points gained from those encounters than any of the Irish provinces will be able to bank on.  


Cardiff

In: Immanuel Feyi-Waboso promoted from Academy, Rhys Priestland from Bath, Matthew Screech from Dragons,

Out: Ben Warren, Ioan Davies, Ethan Lewis, Ioan Rhys Davies, Cory Hill (unconfirmed)

Comments: Hill will be a big loss although its not officially been announced yet (heading to Japan) but Screech had a great season last year with the Dragons.  I still don't think they have gained if at all in this area.  Priestland is not an inspiring signing has his best rugby is behind him.  Will play a back up roll to Jarrod for sure.  Not other major signings which leaves the squad similar to last year.

Prediction: 8th.  I think they will finish above Connacht but only just.  The new signings and outgoings haven't made me think they will be able to compete with the Scarlets or Ospreys.  I think form has made me place them at 8th but in all honesty as a Dragons fan they may have problems against us and it's not totally inconceivable that they finish bottom of the Welsh Regions.  Granted for that to happen Dragons would have to play the season of their lives so I'll stick with my 8th place prediction.

Dragons:

In: Will Rowlands from Wasps, Evan Lloyd promoted from Academy, Mesake Doge, Aki Seiuli

Out: Lewis Evans, Matthew Screech, Arwel Robson, Connor Edwards, Ed Scragg, Carwyn Penny, Luke Baldwin, Joe Goodchild, Brok Harris, Rhys Lawrence, Deon Smith,  Dafydd Howells, Ryan Bevington, Tom Griffiths to Coventry (season-long loan),

Comments: Screech was playing well last season but I think Rowlands will be a great signing and a improvement on what we have.  Harris was key for us as well last term but Ryan hasn't finished recruitment yet so potentially will see me adding to this list at a later date.

Prediction: 12th.  I'd love to see us be further up the table and maybe depending on our home form this would be possible.  That said I think the top teams have all recruited and improved as well so it's hard to place us higher.  So I think we may still be 4th placed welsh region unless Ryan really pulls of some more great signings.  Given our budget compared to the other welsh regions though the odds are stacked against us.

Glasgow

In: Duncan Weir from Worcester, Jamie Bhatti from Bath, Ross Thompson promoted from Academy, Simon Berghan from Edinburgh, Lewis Bean from Northampton, Jack Dempsey from NSW Waratahs, Josh McKay from Crusaders, Ollie Smith promoted from Academy, Sione Tuipulotu from Yamaha Júbilo, Ally Miller from Edinburgh, Domingo Miotti from Western Force, Sebastián Cancelliere from Jaguares XV, Tom Lambert promoted from Academy

Out: Adam Hastings, Chris Fusaro, Fotu Lokotui, Nikola Matawalu, D'Arcy Rae, Mesu Dolokoto, Dylan Evans, TJ Ioane, Lee Jones, Ian Keatley, Paddy Kelly, Robbie Nairn, Aki Seiuli, George Thornton, Leone Nakarawa, Huw Jones, Alex Allan

Comments: Lots of movement going on from Glasgow for next season.  Hastings will be a loss to them but they have recruited well at 10 edging their bets on bringing both Weir and Miotti into the side.  Nakarawa and Matawalu never really came back at their second stints and played at the same level as the first time at Glasgow.  So probably was wise to cut them.  Some of the signings are unknown as of yet so will be interesting to see how Tuipulotu goes for them as a replacement for Huw Jones.  That said Dempsey is a quality signing and they have added serious bulk to their pack as well.

Prediction: 4th.  Major advantage over every other nation with playing the Italians twice.  I also think they will be the top of the Scottish sides.  All round though just looking at their recruitment, they will be a major threat I think.  Not enough to worry Leinster or Munster but everyone else in the league for sure. I'd be very surprised at this stage if they didn't end up in the top 4.

Edinburgh

In: James Lang from Harlequins, Glen Young from Harlequins, Ben Vellacott from Wasps, Luan de Bruin from Leicester, Adam McBurney from Ulster, Pierce Phillips from Agen, Henry Immelman from Montpellier, Cameron Hutchison from Heriot's, Ben Muncaster promoted from Acedamy, Nathan Chamberlain promoted from Academy, Emiliano Boffelli, Ramiro Moyano

Out: Duhan van der Merwe, Andrew Davidson, Simon Berghan, Ally Miller, Mike Willemse, Jamie Farndale, Murray McCallum, Dan Nutton, Eroni Sau, Lewis Carmichael, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Rowe, Andries Ferreira, Charlie Jupp, Scott King, Shaun Gunn Jack Mann

Comments:  van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland are big losses for Edinburgh.  Signings look a bit underwhelming although Immelman could be a good addition.  Cockerill has managed to make Edinburgh play above their ability in the past though so I don't expect them to be a roll over for any side as they tend to graft hard and the forwards will supply them with ball.  

Prediction: 9th.  I can't see them placing above most of the others in this list.  I still have them better than the Dragons and Connacht thought as they do have an advantage with 2 Italian sides in their pool so that is a major plus for them.  But the top 8 sides i'm predicting simply have better players which can't be understated. With Cockerill leaving and Mike Blair coming in things have changed...I'm not convinced that they can finish 9th.  They have picked up some good Argentinian backs but I fear Blair may be a little inexperienced at this level.

I'll post the second half of teams as a follow up post....


Last edited by Welshmushroom on Fri 27 Aug 2021, 12:46 pm; edited 9 times in total

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Post by The Oracle Fri 17 Sep 2021, 6:13 pm

Well, Old Man may be able to help us fill in the blanks a bit. But I wouldn’t have thought that SA club salaries were in line with those in the Pro14 teams. Otherwise they wouldn’t leave for Europe in such numbers, right? I have absolutely nothing to base this on apart from the anecdotal reports on here and elsewhere from SA posters and others bemoaning the inability to compete financially with European teams, the strength of the rand, etc. But I could be competently wrong Smile
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Post by neilthom7 Fri 17 Sep 2021, 8:29 pm

My guess is that they can pay some players good money but not all.

Think what Geoff is getting at is that Coetzee is probs on big wages as its doubtful he would take a massive paycut when he still had a year left on his Ulster contract.

So they can afford to pay some good wages but have to decide how many of those they do and so other's like Vermeulen may then be open for bigger offers from elsewhere.

The Vermeulen one being something a bit different since Ulster are also wanting to use him to help along some promising younger guys

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Post by Old Man Fri 17 Sep 2021, 9:47 pm

What would Duane Vermeulen be on at Ulster, does anyone know?

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 18 Sep 2021, 12:45 am

£30 per training session and a free tab on weekends.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 18 Sep 2021, 12:49 am

neilthom7 wrote:My guess is that they can pay some players good money but not all.

Think what Geoff is getting at is that Coetzee is probs on big wages as its doubtful he would take a massive paycut when he still had a year left on his Ulster contract.

So they can afford to pay some good wages but have to decide how many of those they do and so other's like Vermeulen may then be open for bigger offers from elsewhere.

The Vermeulen one being something a bit different since Ulster are also wanting to use him to help along some promising younger guys

Bulls have money and they also wanted him to be back there available for South Africa. They still haven’t picked him but I guess they’re waiting for Duane to move on.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 18 Sep 2021, 1:40 pm

Please be aware this is a guess, an educated guess but a guess.
Vermeulen is probably around the £350,000 to £400,000 mark.

Coetzee was definitely on more than that.
In both cases they were/are the highest paid Ulster player

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 20 Sep 2021, 2:50 pm

I can't see it myself. I reckon he's probably around the 200k mark if that. Can't see Ulster spending more on a guy who they probably wont see more than 10-15 games a season out of. He would be on 26K a match which is more than England pay for international games. Even at 200k that's about 13K per match.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 21 Sep 2021, 10:13 am

So the time is almost upon us with this weekend coming, the first round of the URC.

I feel for the Bulls this weekend. Looks like Leinster will almost be at full strength with with only a handful of players missing.

Given its at the RDS and how well Leinster have gone in preseason I could see Leinster putting 30 points on the Bulls which really would send a statement early. On the plus side they will have the hardest away fixture of the season out of the way.

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Post by Old Man Tue 21 Sep 2021, 10:45 am

I can easily see all four SA team taking a loss.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 21 Sep 2021, 1:08 pm

I'd probably give the Lions a good shout against Zebre on the opener. Worth a punt on it.

Sharks look to have another tough opener. Munster though have quite a few big names not involved with both SA locks not available. They won't be as strong as Leinster on the weekend but I would imagine they have to much for Sharks given they are at home. Might be quite close though but only if Sharks can sort that leaky defence out. If they don't Munster can hurt you.

Stormers against Treviso might also be another close one. Treviso lost both Fly Halves in the off season so might lack direction. Hard to know what the knew replacements they have will be like. Think this one might be quite close and I'd say its within a score and would put both sides at even odds.

If SA sides can win 2 from 4 that would be as good as can be expected in that opening round.

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Post by Old Man Tue 21 Sep 2021, 2:21 pm

Sharks have lost the most players to the Springboks.

Fassi, Nkosi, Am, Hendrickse, Kolisi, Thomas du Toit, Ox Nche, Williams, Mapimpi, although he is now playing in Japan.

Lions were very poor in the currie cup, winning I think one match, the coaches by enlarge have been fired.

Stormers have lost Kitshoff, Malherbe, Mbonambi, Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse.

Bulls lost Grobbelaar, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Morne Steyn, Rosco Specman.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 21 Sep 2021, 3:07 pm

Zebre is the weakest team in the league though without question.  Just based on Zebre's form last season I could see the Lions beat them.

I'd also stick with Stormers running Treviso close.  Without Garbisi they may really struggle to function.  All depends if either of those Argentinian Fly Halves (Riera/Albornoz) are any good.  If they are rudderless at 10 they may struggle to play a wide game like they have been.

Sharks and Bulls no doubt will feel the losses from the International call ups.  Don't feel bad though, our Welsh sides don't fare much better on Irish soil.  If Sharks and Bulls can keep it under 20 points or pick up a bonus point, I think they will have done well considering the opposition.

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Post by Brendan Thu 23 Sep 2021, 11:11 am

I think away to Leinster, Munster, Ulster, top Welsh, Scottish and SA side a BP is the goal and everything more than that away is great.

I think if the SA teams can stay close for the first half it could go either way but if they get battered in the first half it might be a long day. You would assume that the SA teams will be more match fit.

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Post by PhilBB Thu 23 Sep 2021, 3:07 pm

I see South Africa is still on the red list, meaning no Scottish or Welsh (or Ulster) team will play there until it comes off the red list.
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Post by neilthom7 Thu 23 Sep 2021, 5:25 pm

PhilBB wrote:I see South Africa is still on the red list, meaning no Scottish or Welsh (or Ulster) team will play there until it comes off the red list.

Ulster in theory could come back in through Dublin since they don't require quarantine there, the other teams who knows, they might have to have those teams play away games in italy or ireland after returning before returning to UK, that's the way they are getting round the issue for the South Africa teams traveling north I believe.

This season is likely to be a mess though with various restrictions and what not, I'd be surprised if theres not at least some games called off somewhere along the line

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Post by Brendan Fri 24 Sep 2021, 1:41 pm

neilthom7 wrote:
PhilBB wrote:I see South Africa is still on the red list, meaning no Scottish or Welsh (or Ulster) team will play there until it comes off the red list.

Ulster in theory could come back in through Dublin since they don't require quarantine there, the other teams who knows, they might have to have those teams play away games in italy or ireland after returning before returning to UK, that's the way they are getting round the issue for the South Africa teams traveling north I believe.

This season is likely to be a mess though with various restrictions and what not, I'd be surprised if theres not at least some games called off somewhere along the line

There is also talk of playing in Dubai or a similar location.

We have the international window in March to have a game or two

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Post by Old Man Fri 24 Sep 2021, 4:56 pm

I thought the Lions are playing tomorrow?

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 24 Sep 2021, 5:30 pm

Don't know when it was originally due but it's definitely happening today in about 5 mins

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Post by Old Man Fri 24 Sep 2021, 5:32 pm

Yep, saw that

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 24 Sep 2021, 5:38 pm

That new refs shirt is a bit weird looking

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 24 Sep 2021, 5:58 pm

Zebre are shocking but Lions putting together some nice running rugby

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Post by Brendan Fri 24 Sep 2021, 6:01 pm

TBP for the worse SA side in less than 30mins.

I know Zebre aren't as match fit but still not bad.

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Post by Old Man Fri 24 Sep 2021, 6:03 pm

Yeah, surprisingly good start, lets see if they can continue in this vain

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Post by Old Man Fri 24 Sep 2021, 7:13 pm

Can anyone explain to me why is it that you can split your maul?

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 24 Sep 2021, 7:26 pm

That was a good watch of a game, thought Zebre were done and dusted at half time but really showed some fight in the second half which was great to see. In the end a deserved win for the Lions and 5 points on the board for them

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Post by Old Man Fri 24 Sep 2021, 7:28 pm

Disappointing second half from the Lions, got penalised off the park at the breakdown.

They will have to manage their breakdown aggression and stay on their feet on attack.

Very little possession in the second half due to the penalties that just kept mounting.

I would like to understand how the mauls are refereed though.

Zebre split their maul once the defenders are all drawn in, I am sure that is changing lanes and illegal.

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Post by Old Man Fri 24 Sep 2021, 7:33 pm

It is like Nick Mallet just said in studio.

A top team would have put Zebre to bed in the second half.

The lions with a typical performance. Knows how to score tries, but too immature to manage the game.

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Post by profitius Sat 25 Sep 2021, 10:17 am

Benetton vs Stormers at 1pm GMT should be a good one. Benetton have not played this season so I think Stormers will win.
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Post by Brendan Sat 25 Sep 2021, 1:00 pm

profitius wrote:Benetton vs Stormers at 1pm GMT should be a good one. Benetton have not played this season so I think Stormers will win.

If the Stormers are bullied by the Benetton pack as they were in the Currie Cup semi by the Bulls it might be a long day.

Benetton will have a big pack and will be good at the set piece. In their game v Edinburgh in preseason they looked ok in the set piece. They ok v Sale too. Big question mark for them is at 10.

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Post by Old Man Sat 25 Sep 2021, 2:43 pm

Stormers blew that match, their replacement frontrow conceded three penalties which gave Treviso opportunity to come back.

Stormers need to play for 80 minutes, they will kick themselves for losing this match.

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Post by Brendan Sat 25 Sep 2021, 4:34 pm

Hasn't been great second half for either SA team. We will have to see how Sharks and Bulls go but there did seem to be a big drop off in terms of pace.

Good games though and something to build on for both teams.

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Post by Old Man Sat 25 Sep 2021, 4:47 pm

Considering it has been the Italy teams I don't read too much into the performances.

The next two matches will be much more challenging.

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Post by Old Man Sat 25 Sep 2021, 5:21 pm

Yup, this referee isn't goingt o allow the Bulls anything, his enthusiasm will need to be curbed

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Post by Old Man Sat 25 Sep 2021, 8:03 pm

The South African teams will need to learn to adjust asap to the referees, they are being blown up for a lot of questionable penalties.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 25 Sep 2021, 8:14 pm

There will be an adjustment period to the northern hemisphere reffing, and I assume the same the other way when the South African referee's are involved in matches too. Having watched the rugby championship etc there certainly seems to be quite a difference in the reffing from North to South

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Post by Old Man Sun 26 Sep 2021, 9:09 am

Summary of the SA teams performances this past weekend.

They don't understand how the breakdown is being refereed.
They don't understand how the scrum is refereed.
Their game management is poor.
They will have to adapt very quickly otherwise their season can go south very quickly, they cannot afford to lose momentum due to cards and penalties

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Post by profitius Sun 26 Sep 2021, 1:43 pm

Old Man wrote:Summary of the SA teams performances this past weekend.

They don't understand how the breakdown is being refereed.
They don't understand how the scrum is refereed.
Their game management is poor.
They will have to adapt very quickly otherwise their season can go south very quickly, they cannot afford to lose momentum due to cards and penalties

I'd agree with that. Also they look like they need to work on their fitness a bit.


Overall the scorelines flattered Munster and Leinster in terms of the quality between the teams. The SA sides were not used to the intensity and will be harder to beat once they get to grips with everything. I don't think the Bulls will lose too many at home and same with Sharks once they get all there Boks back.
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Post by TJ Sun 26 Sep 2021, 2:36 pm

Having now seen Edinburgh ( my team) play a fixture I think many of you are being very harsh on them. Beat Scarlets.

top half at worst for Edinburgh is my prediction

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 27 Sep 2021, 6:41 am

Old Man wrote:Summary of the SA teams performances this past weekend.

They don't understand how the breakdown is being refereed.
They don't understand how the scrum is refereed.
Their game management is poor.
They will have to adapt very quickly otherwise their season can go south very quickly, they cannot afford to lose momentum due to cards and penalties

Welcome to the league. Laugh

To be honest, I am still trying to understand how they ref it. thumbsup

Have a look at the game between Edinburgh V Scarlets and watch the performance of Andrew Brace and his team, Scarlets had two tries disallowed early on very harshly.

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Post by Old Man Mon 27 Sep 2021, 7:12 am

Jake White made a statement after the Bulls vs Leinster match, it could be seen as a reality, but I think it is a bit of making excuses as well.

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Post by Brendan Mon 27 Sep 2021, 11:29 am

For me the big thing with Bulls and Sharks was just a lack of focus at key times.

Bulls held their own for most of the game but just weren't ready for the level Leinster started at.  The issue for the Bulls is they struggled to score tries yet again and the longer they go without scoring tries in the NH they may start to doubt themselves.

Sharks showed Munster to much respect and didn't seem to adjust their game plan which I think could have made a difference. Unlucky with some poor choices but overall ok.

Stormers will be beat up again by Munster.  Stormers started well mainly down to missed tackles.  Once Benetton kept posession the Stormers seemed unable to get it back.  Munster will be just like Benetton but probably a step up.

Lions like the Stormers didn't know how to break up Zebre possession and just about held on.  Maybe issues with fitness but more likely just switched off after half time.  Zebre take big losses but the one thing they do is run all night looking to pick up some tries and that is what they did.

Bulls and Sharks have their hardest games done so while disappointing reality is few teams are going to win in Dublin, Limerick or Belfast.

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Post by Brendan Mon 27 Sep 2021, 11:49 am

For the results overall.

In the race for top 4
Munster and Leinster getting big wins was most important
Ulster and Edinburgh getting TBP was a big plus.
I also think 2pts for Glasgow must be seen as a gain of at least 1pt.

Race for playoffs
5pts for Cardiff was big.
Ospreys not getting the TBP I feel is a point lost.
Connacht not getting a LBP also a big miss.

Bottom 4
Lions getting 5pts big for them and bad for Zebre
Dragons getting a LBP was important.
Benetton getting the win was important against fellow potential strugglers

Overall winner from the weekend
Lions for me got the most important result as it's full points against a fellow struggler after a disappointing Currie Cup
Edinburgh would be my second winners. Getting 5pts against Scarlets is no mean feat.

Overall losers from the weekend
Zebre lost that game before they started playing.  Realistically it was there best shot at a win for the season.  I am sure they will win others but even the bookies had them to win.  Failing to pick up the LBP also key.
Stormers are second losers as they should have seen out the game but ended up with only a losing BP.
Connacht are probably joint second with a man up at the line end up a man down and game out of reach.  Add in the try conceeded right before half time doesnt help.  Give another team on your level a 5-0 pts win not a good day.

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 27 Sep 2021, 8:21 pm

Oakdene wrote:
Brendan wrote:For the results overall.

In the race for top 4
Munster and Leinster getting big wins was most important
Ulster and Edinburgh getting TBP was a big plus.
I also think 2pts for Glasgow must be seen as a gain of at least 1pt.

Race for playoffs
5pts for Cardiff was big.
Ospreys not getting the TBP I feel is a point lost.
Connacht not getting a LBP also a big miss.

Bottom 4
Lions getting 5pts big for them and bad for Zebre
Dragons getting a LBP was important.
Benetton getting the win was important against fellow potential strugglers

Overall winner from the weekend
Lions for me got the most important result as it's full points against a fellow struggler after a disappointing Currie Cup
Edinburgh would be my second winners. Getting 5pts against Scarlets is no mean feat.

Overall losers from the weekend
Zebre lost that game before they started playing.  Realistically it was there best shot at a win for the season.  I am sure they will win others but even the bookies had them to win.  Failing to pick up the LBP also key.
Stormers are second losers as they should have seen out the game but ended up with only a losing BP.
Connacht are probably joint second with a man up at the line end up a man down and game out of reach.  Add in the try conceeded right before half time doesnt help.  Give another team on your level a 5-0 pts win not a good day.

You obviously didn't see much of us at the tail end of the last campaign then.

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 27 Sep 2021, 8:23 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
Brendan wrote:For the results overall.

In the race for top 4
Munster and Leinster getting big wins was most important
Ulster and Edinburgh getting TBP was a big plus.
I also think 2pts for Glasgow must be seen as a gain of at least 1pt.

Race for playoffs
5pts for Cardiff was big.
Ospreys not getting the TBP I feel is a point lost.
Connacht not getting a LBP also a big miss.

Bottom 4
Lions getting 5pts big for them and bad for Zebre
Dragons getting a LBP was important.
Benetton getting the win was important against fellow potential strugglers

Overall winner from the weekend
Lions for me got the most important result as it's full points against a fellow struggler after a disappointing Currie Cup
Edinburgh would be my second winners. Getting 5pts against Scarlets is no mean feat.

Overall losers from the weekend
Zebre lost that game before they started playing.  Realistically it was there best shot at a win for the season.  I am sure they will win others but even the bookies had them to win.  Failing to pick up the LBP also key.
Stormers are second losers as they should have seen out the game but ended up with only a losing BP.
Connacht are probably joint second with a man up at the line end up a man down and game out of reach.  Add in the try conceeded right before half time doesnt help.  Give another team on your level a 5-0 pts win not a good day.

You obviously didn't see much of us at the tail end of the last campaign then.

Scarlets have improved since then. The disappointing thing was the poor defence, players just looked a little slow and uninterested in defending. Graham and Vellacot really exposed it. Rob Evans looks as if he is going to struggle if that is anything to go by. Hardy really struggled too. Williams and Davies are turnstiles, so a few question marks there for me on whether they should still be first choice. Dan Jones is third or fourth choice at best. Some of these are basic decisions which most of us knew last season. Hopefully Pivac has got over picking rafts of average players.

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 27 Sep 2021, 8:24 pm

Brendan wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
Brendan wrote:For the results overall.

In the race for top 4
Munster and Leinster getting big wins was most important
Ulster and Edinburgh getting TBP was a big plus.
I also think 2pts for Glasgow must be seen as a gain of at least 1pt.

Race for playoffs
5pts for Cardiff was big.
Ospreys not getting the TBP I feel is a point lost.
Connacht not getting a LBP also a big miss.

Bottom 4
Lions getting 5pts big for them and bad for Zebre
Dragons getting a LBP was important.
Benetton getting the win was important against fellow potential strugglers

Overall winner from the weekend
Lions for me got the most important result as it's full points against a fellow struggler after a disappointing Currie Cup
Edinburgh would be my second winners. Getting 5pts against Scarlets is no mean feat.

Overall losers from the weekend
Zebre lost that game before they started playing.  Realistically it was there best shot at a win for the season.  I am sure they will win others but even the bookies had them to win.  Failing to pick up the LBP also key.
Stormers are second losers as they should have seen out the game but ended up with only a losing BP.
Connacht are probably joint second with a man up at the line end up a man down and game out of reach.  Add in the try conceeded right before half time doesnt help.  Give another team on your level a 5-0 pts win not a good day.

You obviously didn't see much of us at the tail end of the last campaign then.

If Edinburgh are looking to top their Shield and look to get a top 4 getting 5 points v Scarlets is what you need to do.

Scarlets are also looking for a Top 4 finish so getting the win helps. Going off the shield where the 1872 Champs can pick up 6 wins in the derbies then it's not to much of a run to get top 4.

Last season was covid ridden and international bubbles and 10man rugby.  Shows the change when not a single forward got a try. Cockers must be shaking his head in disgust.

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 27 Sep 2021, 8:27 pm

Apologies for the way posts split, from the one I had to remove. It shouldn’t have done that, so I put them back in as quoted posts.

When a post has to be removed, we have to remove the subsequent quoted posts too, otherwise the post can still be seen and cause disruption.

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Post by Old Man Tue 28 Sep 2021, 8:30 am

Well Jake White is seriously impressed with the Leinster development and squad system.

He talks about the academy at Leinster and the fact that they only have one foreign player, rest are all developed through their academy.

Obviously Leinster salary cap is much larger than the Bulls, according to him three times more, but he said that is the system he will aim to build at the Bulls.

With the aim of being able to retain players rather than lose them to overseas clubs.

But the general theme running through the SA coaches currently is the salary cap disadvantage, both White and the Lions coach have mentioned it in the past week.

I believe Leinster had 31 players in their squad who are or have previously played for Ireland. That is some squad.

What I will note is the teams that played the SA franchises this past weekend have shown some very impressive support running and offloading skills.

Something the Trans Tasman teams might want to look at.

Super Rugby may have been the showcase for inter provincial skills rugby in years gone by, I admit Ididn't expect the URC teams to impress me with their ball running play.

I think the URC can become one of the leading professional competitions in the world, and if all things being equal, it won't take that long.

SARU will have to focus on how the salary caps can be increased so they can attract some better players, however I believe the efforts of getting some of the old boks as mentors for the younger players is bearing some fruit.

For long the consensus in the SH has been there is a distinct seperation of styles between south and north, and I am beginning to think it is a fallacy.

It has opened my eyes in terms of what our teams need to do to become more competitive and apart from the money, our teams need to play with more cohesion, I have watched the European teams in the past but never with much intent it was more just casual observation.

I understand some feel the URC comes from a stale comp and some are disillusioned with the have and have nots.

But let me tell you from someone who never wanted us to be part of a European comp, I am impressed. I think we got a good thing going here that has the potential to be the envy of the rugby world.

As long as everyone pulls together for the greater good of the competition.

I will caution though against expanding the comp further.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 28 Sep 2021, 8:33 am

Scarlets look like they have some problems.  I thought before the season kicked off they looked light in the tight 5.  Edinburgh don't lack in that area and exposed them at times.  Shingler playing in the second row shows that.  The issue for them is even with some of the rested players coming back - none of them where in the areas Scarlets struggled in.  They are missing a quality lock and openside.  Granted hopefully Macleod or James Davies will be back at some point but Dan Davies probably will come good in a season or two after getting used to the level.  They do need those opensides back badly.

The real issue is Dan Jones.  At 25 and given the amount he has played in previous campaigns he hasn't kicked on as he should have.  He does not attack the backline, distribute that well, kick that well and lacks pace.  Based on Saturdays game they have to look at different options because without creativity at 10 it wont matter how good your backline is.

That said they will win games this season as I think Edinburgh really had an edge to them from home advantage as the fans added to the occasion.  

Think my prediction for the Scarlets at 6th was a little to much.  If they don't improve on Saturdays showing they won't make the top 8. Granted its only 1 game in so plenty of rugby yet ahead.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 28 Sep 2021, 8:44 am

I agree with your Old Man.

In truth Leinster are a special case. No other side in the league can call on those kind of resources. But to be fair they are also funded to allow them to do that, whereas elsewhere the funding in split more equally in order for it to be fairer.

It obviously was a tough day for Sharks and the Bulls but keep in mind both Leinster and Munster will beat other teams in the league at home by this margin partly because they will always go fully loaded against teams to appease the fans. What will be interesting is how many times the big names appear away this season. Leinster probably will chance their arm a bit as they have so many opening home games they may have secured a fair few points by then.

The Bulls shouldn't be to worried for the rest of the league. They looked strong and physical. They will cause plenty of teams problems away let alone at home.

The one thing most sides will be aiming for is to keep 100% home records. The difference of the sides that will make the top 8 is how many away wins can you get. I'd imagine 3 wins on the road would probably be enough with a 100% home record. Just based on what I saw Bulls would be looking at Zebre, Lions, Stormers & I think they might even do a number on Connacht next week. Those with almost a perfect home record would see them break into the top 8 easily.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 28 Sep 2021, 8:54 am

Welshmushroom wrote:The real issue is Dan Jones. At 25 and given the amount he has played in previous campaigns he hasn't kicked on as he should have. He does not attack the backline, distribute that well, kick that well and lacks pace. Based on Saturdays game they have to look at different options because without creativity at 10 it wont matter how good your backline is.

Whats happening with Rhys Patchell ? Do you reckon he will improve things ?

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