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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 Welshmushroom Tue 28 Sep 2021, 9:06 am

Patchell will no doubt make a difference. The real issue for me is that Costelow should be starting while Patchell is out. Even O'Brien is a better attacking Fly Half.

I hate to be a negative larry with regards to Jones as his limitations are not really his fault per say. But I just don't think he's good enough at a pro level especially considering every team this weekend really have pushed on - with maybe the exception of Zebre.

Peel will really need to address that Lock and Fly Half issue soon if they are going to have any chance of making the play offs and the HC place.


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Post by Old Man Tue 28 Sep 2021, 9:31 am

Welshmushroom wrote: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.

Wleshmushroom, I haven't set my expectations too high for the first season to be honest. We haven't played any overseas teams for such a while now, and the constant domestic matches may have kept the guys match fit, but it is difficult to measure our standards after being out for so long. The Sharks were leading the Super Rugby comp after seven rounds having already completing their four matches in Australasia and looking good.

But that team has lost many many players and are not looking close to the team that last lead the Super Rugby tournament. So it is reset time for the SA teams, adjust to new law interpretations, build new squads and adapt to what they meet in Europe.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 28 Sep 2021, 9:47 am

Sharks looked like they just need to tighten up that defence a fair bit. If they can sort out giving cheap scores away although granted they might be hard pushed to get to the top 8.

Bulls i reckon will be a good shout to make the top 8.

Its the Stormers and Lions who no doubt will have a tough season.

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Post by The Oracle Tue 28 Sep 2021, 9:52 am

Old Man wrote: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.


Good post Old Man. I do wonder whether the impression of the North being a bit 'stodgy' and not running and offloading comes more from the international game. The league has always had teams that can throw it about. However, when we get to the 6 nations and we're playing in our deep winter of January and February and into early spring in March (when it could be sunny, but equally it could be snowing!) our rugby up here gets a little stodgy. Not just the weather; something in the 6N just makes it such an arm wrestle, close, intense, lower risk I guess. But the club game, while obviously having some turgid matches, is a little looser. A prime example of this is the Scarlets under Pivac a few seasons back vs Wales under Gatland during the same period. Chalk and cheese. Without wanting to offend anyone, you could say also maybe Leinster in their pomp vs Ireland in the same period. Very different styles perhaps to suit the competition they're playing in (Pro14 vs 6 Nations). I guess defenses aren't as good as international sides either so there are more gaps and more opportunities to run. But yes, good to see some good running rugby. Of course we're just coming out of summer and have had an unseasonably warm and sunny September, so lets see what happens when the wind and rain picks up over the next few months! Look out for windy games at Connacht where the kickers sometimes need to aim for the corner flag to get a penalty to swing in!
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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 28 Sep 2021, 10:20 am

Were any of the Welsh teams good? I think Dragons did some good in patches, Ospreys were a little better although not great themselves - I tend to expect more of them with the players at their disposable but it seems difficult to find an Ospreys fan to agree with that - the "Bla bla we're the most successful" brigade.

Cardiff were good, but Connacht are probably mid-table although they tend to be one of the better ones as the season goes on. I still don't get their obsession with Josh Turnbull though.

Highlight of the weekend from our perspective has to be Michael Collins. For me that's the 13 jersey sewn up in North's absence.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 28 Sep 2021, 10:50 am

I thought Cardiff were pretty strong. They really look like they have a lot of threats. Front 3 were a bit wobbly in patches but the locks and back rows outplayed Connacht totally. Lee-Lo and Halaholo looked dangerous. Given they will end up slotting Adams into that backline they will only get better. At the minute they look like the benchmark in Wales.

Ospreys hard to read anything into yet. They got a job done in a derby which is all they will care about. When you look at the list of guys they have coming back they will no doubt play better than they are at the minute. I still think they may end up being the top Welsh side by the end of the year.

I really hope your wrong about Collins starting for Wales at 13. I'd rather see Halaholo at 13 although I suspect part of the reason he was playing at 12 against Connacht is because Wales must be thinking of using him there. If that's the case I'd probably still go with Davies at 13.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 28 Sep 2021, 11:03 am

Looking ahead though massive weekend coming for Scarlets. They need to get some confidence and be looking at a BP win against Lions at home. Anything less won't be great heading into Munster & Leinster the following weeks.

Dragons got another tough one with Leinster coming up. Can't see Leinster taking it easy yet until they have banked the first 4/5 games of the season. Would have rather us catch these guys at home in round 7/8 when they would have potentially sent out a couple of youngsters. Still a good test for our pack to see where we are.

Another Derby that could end up going either way for Ospreys or Blues. If the Blues do pull this one out of the back they have a nice run of home games that they should be targeting wins in.

Munster and Ulster look like wins to me but I could see Connacht losing to the Bulls.

Think Treviso Edinburgh is a flip of a coin. Could go either way. Glasgow and Sharks will be a cracker I reckon although I would say based on what I saw from Glasgow they will win at home this weekend.

Reckon SA best chances for wins at the weekend will be Bulls and Lions - Still think Scarlets will beat the Lions though. But pressure will be on Peel if they don't.


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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:08 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I really hope your wrong about Collins starting for Wales at 13.  I'd rather see Halaholo at 13 although I suspect part of the reason he was playing at 12 against Connacht is because Wales must be thinking of using him there.  If that's the case I'd probably still go with Davies at 13.

No offence but this is a horrendously bad call. I do understand some people don't want more Kiwi's etc, playing for is - but it is what it is. Halaholo has always been a 12. JD2 is passed it sadly, the only time Halaholo was at 13 was to accommodate JD2 and I don't think Foxy played too well. Collins having been a super rugby regular for a few years is good enough for most international teams as well as the ABs, that's just the reality of the situation. Personally I hope he walks into the team as we've been lacking in the backline for years now, but that's just me.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:13 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I thought Cardiff were pretty strong.  They really look like they have a lot of threats.  Front 3 were a bit wobbly in patches but the locks and back rows outplayed Connacht totally.  Lee-Lo and Halaholo looked dangerous.  Given they will end up slotting Adams into that backline they will only get better.  At the minute they look like the benchmark in Wales.

Ospreys hard to read anything into yet.  They got a job done in a derby which is all they will care about.  When you look at the list of guys they have coming back they will no doubt play better than they are at the minute.  I still think they may end up being the top Welsh side by the end of the year.

Dai will have Cardiff playing good rugby but like you allude to, their front 5 isn't good enough for the top end of the league. If you make an average player captain then it's not going to help. Adams is class yeah but I don't see who will come back in and make a big difference.

Same with Ospreys, who are they missing apart from AWJ and Tips? It looks as though they have a couple good replacements for both. Almost forgot about North, I think he can make the biggest difference but now with Collins there, do you keep George on the wing? I suppose they can interchange, Collins goes to full-back and North shifts in to 13.

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Post by Brendan Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:56 pm

I think the problem Super Rugby had was it put to much emphasis on running rugby and belittled physical teams.  As we saw with NZ they don't mind keeping it tight when they have to but belittled SA up to that match.

The surprising thing to me is how soft the SA teams are currently.  What I mean by that is their big players weren't punching holes in defender like a big English or French team does.  It was the big takeaway from the Rainbow Cup Final too. Their defence structure has also fallen behind which they need to address as Super defence was less structured and more missed tackles. Again it was highlighted in the Rainbow Cup rounds 1-6 that first phase defence was poor, and to many soft shoulders. Bulls are adapting and the others need to follow.

If you play Benetton or Edinburgh (under Cockers) they were stubborn teams that you have to play around.  I think SA teams by the end of the season will be the most phyisical teams which is what the league needs as they go back to basics.  Having phyisical teams that run over you and when you tighten up go around you is why we want the SA teams as the Pro12 can't do it as well. It's why teams struggle at the top end in Europe.
Listening to the last 10mins of Edinburgh v Scarlets for Edinburgh it seemed to be ruck, Pyrgos, Schoeman ruck repeat because he makes holes.

What the Pro teams have that SR didn't give the SA teams is an ability to recycle ball and keep ball when playing a more physical team because the Champions Cup has forced us too.  Glasgow, Ulster and Scarlets are the running teams they are because Leinster, Munster and Ospreys use to beat them up all the time.  Munster and Ospreys failed to adapt and have failed to win anything because once matched phyiscally they struggle.  It's why I am fairly sure Munster will lose at Loftus.

SA has the schools system to do what Leinster does on a national level so can bring through the players (which they are already) and need to improve the u20/23 competition by having the best players playing. Maybe have the u23s play in the Rugby Challenge/Vodacom Cup so the young players get tested better. Bringing in/back 30+ aged players makes a big difference to the rising generation and future years success.

Either way the Bulls and Sharks are going to face two team that are going to play a different style.  Glasgow and Connacht will have a good enough defence but they will run all night and from anywhere and will cause their defence a different kind of trouble which will be a good learning curve for the coaches.

Wages will go up because money is going up. If the coaches only focus on wages then they will always be bad. Scots never talk about their smaller budgets but are smart with their money. Picking up some Argentine and PI players to bulk up squads can be done but having 2 good players is better than a star and a rubbish player. Also identifing Currie Cup players early is key to as NH teams will be looking to sign them up from the Cheetahs/Griquas/Pumas and the SA teams need to get them first.

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Post by PhilBB Tue 28 Sep 2021, 4:01 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I thought Cardiff were pretty strong.  They really look like they have a lot of threats.  Front 3 were a bit wobbly in patches but the locks and back rows outplayed Connacht totally.  Lee-Lo and Halaholo looked dangerous.  Given they will end up slotting Adams into that backline they will only get better.  At the minute they look like the benchmark in Wales.

Ospreys hard to read anything into yet.  They got a job done in a derby which is all they will care about.  When you look at the list of guys they have coming back they will no doubt play better than they are at the minute.  I still think they may end up being the top Welsh side by the end of the year.

I really hope your wrong about Collins starting for Wales at 13.  I'd rather see Halaholo at 13 although I suspect part of the reason he was playing at 12 against Connacht is because Wales must be thinking of using him there.  If that's the case I'd probably still go with Davies at 13.

Halaholo is a definitive 12. He's gone public this season in noting he wants to play there. He's played the vast majority of his Cardiff rugby at 12.

And Lee Lo is the best player at the club.
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Post by Brendan Tue 28 Sep 2021, 6:44 pm

Big thing for Cardiff over the last few years has been consistency.  To many times they go on a 5 game winning run only to back it up with 4 losses.  Last Season they started strongly only to fall off.  If they fix that they will be pushing top 6-8 but if they don't they will finish behind Scarlets and Ospreys.

I don't think Scarlets looked bad against Edinburgh who themselves are looking for that top 4 spot.  Would be surprised if they didn't finish in the top 8 and top 2 in Wales.  It's the first game of the season so running teams will be a bit sloppy.  Will get 5pts v Lions and sit mid table after round 2. By round 4 they should have their hardest home and away game out of the way.

One thing I notice as I look through the fixtures is how many tasty fixtures there are each week. Excluding Leinster and Zebre there probably isn't a massive gap between teams and a few bounces of balls or injury to key player could see results go either way.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:17 am

It looks as though the first set of away games for the Welsh regions against the South African teams will now be played in Italy.

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Post by Oakdene Wed 29 Sep 2021, 12:06 pm

LordDowlais wrote:It looks as though the first set of away games for the Welsh regions against the South African teams will now be played in Italy.

Not sure on that....

Taken from the Independent

Nine months after the UK imposed the most severe travel restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, it appears almost certain that the country will be taken off the “red list” on or around 7 October. At present South Africa is one of 54 nations from which arrivals to the UK must enter hotel quarantine, at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 29 Sep 2021, 1:59 pm

Oakdene wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:It looks as though the first set of away games for the Welsh regions against the South African teams will now be played in Italy.

Not sure on that....

Taken from the Independent

Nine months after the UK imposed the most severe travel restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, it appears almost certain that the country will be taken off the “red list” on or around 7 October. At present South Africa is one of 54 nations from which arrivals to the UK must enter hotel quarantine, at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

Did it say what list they are going on amber/green ?

If they are on amber, then the people coming back from there still need to stick to the stringent rules:-

Amber list rules What you must do if you have been in a country or territory on the amber list in the 10 days before you arrive in England. You can read separate guidance on what you need to do if you are travelling abroad from England. Before you travel to England Before you travel to England you must: take a COVID-19 test – you must take the test in the 3 days before you travel to England book and pay for COVID-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England complete a passenger locator form You must do these things whether you are fully vaccinated or not. When you arrive in England If you are fully vaccinated After you arrive in England you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2. This applies if you’re fully vaccinated under either: the UK vaccination programme the UK vaccine programme overseas an approved vaccination programme in Europe or the USA - not all are recognised in England Find out how to prove you are fully vaccinated, which European countries this applies to and approved vaccination programmes for Europe and the USA. It also applies if you are: taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or the USA under 18 and resident in the UK, a UK Overseas Territory, the USA or one of the specified European countries If you will be in England for less than 2 days you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You only need to take the test if you are still in England on day 2. If you are not fully vaccinated If you do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, on arrival in England you must: quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 Read about the fully vaccinated rules, quarantine and taking COVID-19 tests after arrival in England. If you are in England for less than 10 days, you need to quarantine for the time you are here. You need to book day 2 and day 8 travel tests. You only need to take the tests if you are still in England. Test to Release scheme If you need to quarantine, you may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme. If you have been in a country or territory on the red list If you have also been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the red list rules. Read about making a transit stop in a red list country or territory. wrote:


So I think unless SA is in the green list, the games will be played in Italy.

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Post by The Oracle Wed 29 Sep 2021, 2:37 pm

I thought the UK were moving to only green and red, with amber being removed completely?
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Post by The Oracle Wed 29 Sep 2021, 2:37 pm

Although, that might just be England?
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Post by LordDowlais Thu 30 Sep 2021, 11:02 am

The Oracle wrote:Although, that might just be England?

BBC Sport are now reporting it :-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/58726696

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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 11:02 am

Brendan wrote:Big thing for Cardiff over the last few years has been consistency.  To many times they go on a 5 game winning run only to back it up with 4 losses.  

That's because they win the games when they can play their own players but they lose the games when the WRU have them holding tackle bags (in the main).

This is caused by a lack of depth caused by a lack of budget.

Cory Hill played 11 Cardiff games last season. He won 9 and lost 2. The 2 losses were by a combination of under 5 points.
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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 11:04 am

I remember being told how the SA teams will improve the standard of the league and how their international players will only miss a couple of rounds of the tournament, meaning that the 'luck' of the fixture list draw won't affect the likely results.

Well, I wasn't proved wrong by the actual events......
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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 30 Sep 2021, 11:13 am

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:Big thing for Cardiff over the last few years has been consistency.  To many times they go on a 5 game winning run only to back it up with 4 losses.  

That's because they win the games when they can play their own players but they lose the games when the WRU have them holding tackle bags (in the main).

This is caused by a lack of depth caused by a lack of budget.

Cory Hill played 11 Cardiff games last season. He won 9 and lost 2. The 2 losses were by a combination of under 5 points.

What other players though Phil, the mighty Dillon Lewis???

Genuinely curious though, as that is an interesting statistic with Cory Hill.

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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 1:46 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:Big thing for Cardiff over the last few years has been consistency.  To many times they go on a 5 game winning run only to back it up with 4 losses.  

That's because they win the games when they can play their own players but they lose the games when the WRU have them holding tackle bags (in the main).

This is caused by a lack of depth caused by a lack of budget.

Cory Hill played 11 Cardiff games last season. He won 9 and lost 2. The 2 losses were by a combination of under 5 points.

What other players though Phil, the mighty Dillon Lewis???

Genuinely curious though, as that is an interesting statistic with Cory Hill.

Lewis played 13 games, 8 starts, 5 off the bench.

Cardiff won 11 and lost 2. The 2 losses where the same as Hill's - London Irish and Munster away. I'm not sure if you'll remember, but they stupidly threw away the London Irish game and, well, the Munster game was a typical game in Ireland.
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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 1:47 pm

If you want to check out the players for your team for last season (and seasons past) click here:

https://cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/players/4779.php?clubID=20&seasonID=26
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Post by Brendan Thu 30 Sep 2021, 3:42 pm

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:Big thing for Cardiff over the last few years has been consistency.  To many times they go on a 5 game winning run only to back it up with 4 losses.  

That's because they win the games when they can play their own players but they lose the games when the WRU have them holding tackle bags (in the main).

This is caused by a lack of depth caused by a lack of budget.

Cory Hill played 11 Cardiff games last season. He won 9 and lost 2. The 2 losses were by a combination of under 5 points.

How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

It's easy to blame the WRU when you only look at appearances but forget how said players are even at the Region.  I am sure Dragon fans would happily take Cory Hill for 11 games a season. Cardiff are free to not sign internationals but they still try and get them so assume they are happy with the deal.

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Post by Brendan Thu 30 Sep 2021, 3:47 pm

PhilBB wrote:I remember being told how the SA teams will improve the standard of the league and how their international players will only miss a couple of rounds of the tournament, meaning that the 'luck' of the fixture list draw won't affect the likely results.

Well, I wasn't proved wrong by the actual events......

Global calender will fix this and the SA fans seem to understand that if they move North they can't expect the URC to change its season to account for the RC. They seem happy enough to just be playing an international competition.

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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 3:51 pm

Brendan wrote:

How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

It's easy to blame the WRU when you only look at appearances but forget how said players are even at the Region.  I am sure Dragon fans would happily take Cory Hill for 11 games a season.  Cardiff are free to not sign internationals but they still try and get them so assume they are happy with the deal.

Ah, we are back to this 80% nonsense.

To repeat, the payment for services (which wasn't even paid last season) has a clause that notes part of the payment must be used for player wages in that ratio.

And, to repeat again, that money wasn't even paid. So Cardiff paid, as they always do, 100% of his wage.

If the WRU were really paying 80% of the wage, it would have shown in the Annual Report. It didn't. Of course it didn't, as I wrote often enough on here that it wouldn't.
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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 3:51 pm

Brendan wrote:
PhilBB wrote:I remember being told how the SA teams will improve the standard of the league and how their international players will only miss a couple of rounds of the tournament, meaning that the 'luck' of the fixture list draw won't affect the likely results.

Well, I wasn't proved wrong by the actual events......

Global calender will fix this and the SA fans seem to understand that if they move North they can't expect the URC to change its season to account for the RC.  They seem happy enough to just be playing an international competition.

There won't be a Global Calendar until the game is run by the professionals of private equity rather than the incompetent old school Blazers.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 30 Sep 2021, 3:54 pm

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:

How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

It's easy to blame the WRU when you only look at appearances but forget how said players are even at the Region.  I am sure Dragon fans would happily take Cory Hill for 11 games a season.  Cardiff are free to not sign internationals but they still try and get them so assume they are happy with the deal.

Ah, we are back to this 80% nonsense.

To repeat, the payment for services (which wasn't even paid last season) has a clause that notes part of the payment must be used for player wages in that ratio.

And, to repeat again, that money wasn't even paid. So Cardiff paid, as they always do, 100% of his wage.

If the WRU were really paying 80% of the wage, it would have shown in the Annual Report. It didn't. Of course it didn't, as I wrote often enough on here that it wouldn't.

Semantics.

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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 3:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:

Semantics.

No. Accuracy and honest.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 30 Sep 2021, 4:04 pm

Your example to me was if I gave my son a fiver to buy sweets, he's paid for them. Ie if the WRU give Cardiff 80% of a wage to pay a player then Cardiff pay his wages. It doesn't alter the point made by Brendan however.

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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 4:07 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Your example to me was if I gave my son a fiver to buy sweets, he's paid for them. Ie if the WRU give Cardiff 80% of a wage to pay a player then Cardiff pay his wages. It doesn't alter the point made by Brendan however.

The WRU doesn't give anything.

At least we've moved on from the drivel of the WRU paying the wages. Next up you can learn that the sum of money paid is for services provided, part of which is for providing the asset of the supplier (which the WRU didn't pay for, of course).

Regardless of which, Brendan's point was the inconsistency of Cardiff. I provided the reason for it.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 30 Sep 2021, 4:40 pm

So you continue to ignore the point rather than answer it.

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Post by PhilBB Thu 30 Sep 2021, 5:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:So you continue to ignore the point rather than answer it.

If you want to play your silly games, tell me the point and I'll answer it.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 30 Sep 2021, 5:12 pm

How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU. I assume Cory Hill is one of them. Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

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Post by Brendan Fri 01 Oct 2021, 10:55 am

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:
PhilBB wrote:I remember being told how the SA teams will improve the standard of the league and how their international players will only miss a couple of rounds of the tournament, meaning that the 'luck' of the fixture list draw won't affect the likely results.

Well, I wasn't proved wrong by the actual events......

Global calender will fix this and the SA fans seem to understand that if they move North they can't expect the URC to change its season to account for the RC.  They seem happy enough to just be playing an international competition.

There won't be a Global Calendar until the game is run by the professionals of private equity rather than the incompetent old school Blazers.

Prior to Covid there was an even split between the power blocks.  Since Covid the power block of SANZAAR has fallen apart with SA moving to the NH side of the debate.

Add in that SR needs money so in order for them to get the lucrative Club World Cup they will have to sign up to the NH season.

NZ and Oz can't use their previous trump card of we will just not play you because they need money.  Without SA would the RC be viable and if the WR voted for a NH calender the NH leagues don't have to release players.

Which again just shows how stupid the NZRU were to accept the pre-covid commissioned report that blew up SANZAAR and SR.

If reports in France are to be believed everything is already in place to be done in the next WC cycle.

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Post by Brendan Fri 01 Oct 2021, 10:58 am

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:

How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

It's easy to blame the WRU when you only look at appearances but forget how said players are even at the Region.  I am sure Dragon fans would happily take Cory Hill for 11 games a season.  Cardiff are free to not sign internationals but they still try and get them so assume they are happy with the deal.

Ah, we are back to this 80% nonsense.

To repeat, the payment for services (which wasn't even paid last season) has a clause that notes part of the payment must be used for player wages in that ratio.

And, to repeat again, that money wasn't even paid. So Cardiff paid, as they always do, 100% of his wage.

If the WRU were really paying 80% of the wage, it would have shown in the Annual Report. It didn't. Of course it didn't, as I wrote often enough on here that it wouldn't.

Cardiff go on winning and losing runs every season. The other Regions don't which implies to just blame the internationals does stack up as Scarlets and Ospreys are just as affected.

Dai said the fitness levels were poor at the Region, that might be more the problem as they like to run so when players aren't fit running teams fall apart more.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 11:57 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

Ah, I see your mistakes.

You're confusing the total sum of money owed with the stipulation on how some of it should be spent.

The stipulations can change, but the total sum owed would not.

You're also making the huge mistake of not understanding how secondments work because you're forgetting the missing employee must be covered by another employee, who would require payment.
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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 12:00 pm

Brendan wrote:
Cardiff go on winning and losing runs every season.  The other Regions don't which implies to just blame the internationals does stack up as Scarlets and Ospreys are just as affected.

Dai said the fitness levels were poor at the Region, that might be more the problem as they like to run so when players aren't fit running teams fall apart more.

You should review your thoughts on this. For example, look at the results again.

Secondly, the Scarlets' wage bill is significantly larger than Cardiff's, so they can afford better replacements, so their performances in international games should be better.

And you've misrepresented Young's words. He noted the levels weren't there for the game he wanted to play. As per the Captain's own words on this "He told us we weren’t fit enough for how he wanted to play the game." So your thinking on that is also wrong.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 01 Oct 2021, 12:49 pm

PhilBB wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

Ah, I see your mistakes.

You're confusing the total sum of money owed with the stipulation on how some of it should be spent.

The stipulations can change, but the total sum owed would not.

You're also making the huge mistake of not understanding how secondments work because you're forgetting the missing employee must be covered by another employee, who would require payment.

Ah so you don't want to answer the points, fair enough as I don't think you could anyway.

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Post by Brendan Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:12 pm

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Cardiff go on winning and losing runs every season.  The other Regions don't which implies to just blame the internationals does stack up as Scarlets and Ospreys are just as affected.

Dai said the fitness levels were poor at the Region, that might be more the problem as they like to run so when players aren't fit running teams fall apart more.

You should review your thoughts on this. For example, look at the results again.

Secondly, the Scarlets' wage bill is significantly larger than Cardiff's, so they can afford better replacements, so their performances in international games should be better.

And you've misrepresented Young's words. He noted the levels weren't there for the game he wanted to play. As per the Captain's own words on this "He told us we weren’t fit enough for how he wanted to play the game." So your thinking on that is also wrong.

Does Dai not want to play running rugby. How does his running rugby differ from what they have played the last few years.

Cardiff can spend as much as Scarlets so that is a problem Cardiff still have of their own making as to why they don't have a good squad.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:42 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
PhilBB wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

Ah, I see your mistakes.

You're confusing the total sum of money owed with the stipulation on how some of it should be spent.

The stipulations can change, but the total sum owed would not.

You're also making the huge mistake of not understanding how secondments work because you're forgetting the missing employee must be covered by another employee, who would require payment.

Ah so you don't want to answer the points, fair enough as I don't think you could anyway.

I've answered the point by noting the money would be there to pay Hill regardless of the stipulation. I can see that you don't want to acknowledge that, of course, just as you don't want to acknowledge that I was right to point out the clubs pay and employ the players, but I was proven right about that, too.

One day you may just learn.
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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:44 pm

Brendan wrote:

Does Dai not want to play running rugby.  How does his running rugby differ from what they have played the last few years.

Cardiff can spend as much as Scarlets so that is a problem Cardiff still have of their own making as to why they don't have a good squad.

Young's rugby has always been based on a quick 'play the ball' as he learned in league. That was the basis of the success he had at the club 2009 and 2010. Mulvhill played a much less speedier version from the breakdown, certainly more marching rugby.

Cardiff can't spend as much as the Scarlets under the terms of the existing contract with the WRU where significant financial losses through salary spend are restricted.

With all due respect, Brendan, there are those closer to Welsh rugby than are you, so are better placed to comment.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:44 pm

Think your style of avoiding and insulting is better suited to twitter.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:47 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Think your style of avoiding and insulting is better suited to twitter.

Except I've avoided nothing. And there's no insult. So why lie?
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:50 pm

You're generally insulting. And you avoided the point. It's ok, I get it.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 1:53 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You're generally insulting. And you avoided the point. It's ok, I get it.

I'll challenge you again, in that case, to write the point that I've avoided.

I find your general desire to be deliberately silly extremely insulting to the chance of an adult and informed debate breaking out, but there we go. That's the role you've taken on yourself to play so whatever gets you through your working day.

See? Insult can be taken by many people in many different ways. For some, it could be the continued lack of reasoned response when facts are presented, compounded by the lack of "Yes, I was wrong" when the facts presented are underpinned by more and more facts and proof. You just prefer trying to be contrary rather than admit the holes in your knowledge. It's ok, I get it, most sports board have a single personality like yours.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 01 Oct 2021, 2:02 pm

How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.


To be fair you're normal grumbles that everyone is about to get the Welsh teams and how bad the WRU are to you by allowing you to have more international players in your team has been dampened by you enjoying a rebranding, even then you were more interested in trawling old posts to try and start a ruckus.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 01 Oct 2021, 2:05 pm

Anyway I'll leave it there as you'll ignore avoid and grumble some more about the Unions.

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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 2:05 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:How would Cardiff do without their players whose 80% of wages are covered by the WRU.  I assume Cory Hill is one of them.  Getting his services for 50% of the time only paying 20% of his wages seems like Cardiff get a better deal than the WRU.

"I've answered the point by noting the money would be there to pay Hill regardless of the stipulation"

I've answered this twice already.

The money from the WRU that must be spent in that way is not additional money. It's part of the payment. The payment would require to be at that level regardless of the stipulation. I've been through this many, many times with you.

Remember?

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Post by PhilBB Fri 01 Oct 2021, 2:06 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Anyway I'll leave it there as you'll ignore avoid and grumble some more about the Unions.

It's a shame that you've slipped from "deliberately contrary" to "deliberately lying" simply because one of your previous contrary ideas has been roundly smashed as untrue.
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