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Ulster 2023/2024 Season

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Don Alfonso
demosthenes
jimbopip
clivemcl
Pot Hale
Kingshu
geoff999rugby
Maine man
Pete330v2
Welshmushroom
Unclear
LeinsterFan4life
carpet baboon
neilthom7
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Post by neilthom7 Mon 16 Oct 2023, 9:02 pm

First topic message reminder :

For the good, the bad and the ugly of Ulster rugby this season. Lets hope mostly good.

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Post by clivemcl Fri 03 Nov 2023, 4:32 pm

Fair argument Geoff. It may be the best thing for Ulster, but is it the best thing for Lowry? Probably not.

That said, what are the chances of Addison actually lasting? Addison is 31 too so not young (his hair also gives it away these days). Although actually, his injuries have kept his mileage down so could be one of those players who keeps going till he's 35 if he can actually stay injury free.

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Post by Maine man Sat 04 Nov 2023, 8:30 pm

Just flicked over to premier sports half time in the studio and they're blaming the Ulster player for causing the head injury in the 2nd minute. Never heard such Love sacks in my life.

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Post by Pete330v2 Mon 06 Nov 2023, 2:08 pm

I was severely gutted at the weekend despite being certain we'd get beat by 7+ points. So now that it's monday and the head has cleared somewhat I can see through the haze of disappointment to see the positives from that game. A mixture of 2nd and 3rd string played with great intensity and the 1stXVers such as Hume looked to have regained some form. It was a game that shouldn't have been won but could have been which is encouraging.
We'll have returning Irish players for the Munster game and hopefully some of the walking wounded from the weekend so should be pretty competitive. I wonder when Cooney's coming back?

Looking forward, very soon we'll have a pack of In a few weeks you might see a pack of Kitshoff, Herring, Moore. Hendo, Treadwell/O'Connor/Sheridan. Ewers, Timoney and McCann. That's not too shabby is it?
Couple that with McCloskey returning to partner Hume and Stockdale, Baloucoune and Addison/Lowry in the back 3, we've got ourself a hell of a side if all things click. Perhaps pessimism is fading.

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Post by carpet baboon Mon 06 Nov 2023, 5:43 pm

Looks like only Addison is ruled out completely, having an MRI on his hamstring. He has no luck at all.

Hume Crothers and French failed HIA on Saturday and now doing the return protocols so doubt they will be available, but you never know

And Mckloskey Henderson and herring are all back.

All the other injuried apart from O'Tool and Moore are back in training so available for selection.

So apart from tight head we are looking ok

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Post by neilthom7 Mon 06 Nov 2023, 7:17 pm

Robert Baloucoune, John Cooney, Angus Curtis, David Ewers, Cormac Izuchukwu, Luke Marshall, Jude Postlethwaite, Jacob Stockdale and Kieran Treadwell are back in training but their availability for selection will be monitored throughout the week so not committing to any of those guys definitely being available, you would assume some will but potentially not all.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 07 Nov 2023, 10:49 am

That was frustrating to lose at the death but to be honest I was very pleasantly surprised we got that close.

Some real pluses:
French at TH put in a performance I did not know he had in him - delighted to be proven wrong
I thought the youngsters Sheridan and McCann along with Timoney were the stand out forwards.
I thought Shanahan had a very decent game (it was noticeable our play slowed when Doak came on)
I also thought Flannery had a very good game and has a n excellent boot on him
For the first 60 mins or so Hume and Moore kept  us in the game with their defensive organistation - Hume in particular (him going off probably cost us the games)

Negatives:
O'Sullivan was weak
Matty Rea was, as usual, largely MIA
Carson sorry to say looked out of his depth. Penalty machine for the opposition.

The back three have mediocre written through them like a stick of rock -
Sexton pace no skill, Moxham is just a big lump, McIlroy skill no pace (I has some hopes for him but he looks like a squad player only to me)
The fall off in class from Lowry, Baloucoune and Stockdale is huge.
Not mentioned Addison because

carpet baboon wrote:Looks like only Addison is ruled out completely, having an MRI on his hamstring. He has no luck at all.

I think we have to say its not bad luck its who he is.
To state he has so much bad luck is no longer the credible.
He has a body that cant cope with top flight rugby.
If true he is being paid on match by match basis it looks like he will be in the queue for the soup kitchens this Christmas.
If he doesn't start a minimum of 10 games this year the plug has to be pulled on his career at Ulster

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 07 Nov 2023, 10:58 am

So
O'Sullivan, Stewart, Warwick, Henderson, O'Connor, Ewers, Timoney, McCann, Doak, Burns, Stockdale, McCloskey, Moore, Baloucoune, Lowry
Subs: Reid, Herring, McGrath, Treadwell, Sheridan, Cooney, Flannery, Postlewaite

would be my call if everyone makes it who is back in training

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Post by Pete330v2 Tue 07 Nov 2023, 11:28 am

I'm going to say this and I know it'll probably put me in a minority but I do not rate Doak one bit. He's just far too ponderous at the base of rucks etc and takes those milliseconds that reduces our overall pace in attack. Happy to be proven wrong though.
As for Addison, I was so excited to see him back but he wasn't up to speed at all and now possibly crocked again. He should be given every chance but if this continues the time is coming very soon to let him go. I truly hope this is just a small niggle and he's back ASAP.

If we can field that side Geoff we we'll be in with a great chance of the win. There's a lot of pedigree, power and IQ in that side.

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 07 Nov 2023, 2:02 pm

I think I have to agree about Addison.

And I thought hope looked like he could be useful. For a tall lad he got low and made some decent tackles and seemed to get around the park well. Not saying world beating but decent cover.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 07 Nov 2023, 4:00 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:I'm going to say this and I know it'll probably put me in a minority but I do not rate Doak one bit. He's just far too ponderous at the base of rucks etc and takes those milliseconds that reduces our overall pace in attack. Happy to be proven wrong though.

I agree.
As I mentioned speed of ball slowed after Shanahan went off.

Doak needs to do less claiming and more playing.
Early praise seems to have gone to his head.

Same happened to Hume last year but he seems to have knuckled down and is now coming back to his best.

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Post by Maine man Tue 07 Nov 2023, 9:53 pm

Is it me or does Doak seem to whinge a lot to the referee? He needs to pull his neck in and concentrate on playing rugby

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 08 Nov 2023, 9:57 am

Absolutely, Doak is constantly whinging to refs and remonstrating at ruck bases instead of getting quick ball going. I hope you're right Geoff and that he can rein it in and follow Hume's example, he's got talent he can't utilise it if his head's up his own cornhole.

On Hume, with him looking to be regaining some sparkle I cannot wait to see him and his old partner in crime Big Stu back together. They compliment each other so well and Hume works much better with (no sniggering) McCloskey inside him.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 08 Nov 2023, 10:25 am

Agreed McCloskey and Hume are definitely the first choice centres.
With Moore, Marshall (when fit) as well as Postlewaite (who is going to be an absolute star) we are very strong at 12 and 13.

Difficult to see what Curtis or Carson bring to the party.

As mentioned before the back three is far more of a concern as we really fall off a cliff quality wise after the first choice selection.
Makes me think we may see some of the 4 back three youngsters in the Academy given a go later in the season against the Welsh teams and Benetton

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Post by Maine man Wed 08 Nov 2023, 10:42 am

Send an SOS to Rob Lyttle. Cracking player treated shabbily imo

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 08 Nov 2023, 11:44 am

Maine man wrote:Send an SOS to Rob Lyttle. Cracking player treated shabbily imo

+1

A better player than Moxham, McIlroy or Sexton and by some margin

He had a better boot on him than any of them, he was more dangerous in attack then any of them,
he had better positional sense than any of them

No brainer

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 09 Nov 2023, 9:13 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
Maine man wrote:Send an SOS to Rob Lyttle. Cracking player treated shabbily imo

+1

A better player than Moxham, McIlroy or Sexton and by some margin

He had a better boot on him than any of them, he was more dangerous in attack then any of them,
he had better positional sense than any of them

No brainer

Lyttle's treatment has always left me utterly confused. If it were up to me I'd have cast Sexton and Moxham aside in order to make Rob a better offer. Sexton has pace and nothing else. He's a sprinter, not a rugby player. Moxham is all brawn no brains. Lyttle would have been the far better option and a great squad player. The mind boggles and every time I see Sexton and Moxham take to the field it boggles all over again.

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 09 Nov 2023, 11:31 am

I can only assume it was cheeper to keep sexton moxham and mcllroy than it was to keep lyttle .And they decided having 3 players were better than just one.
Lyttle was a decent place kicker aswell

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Post by Maine man Thu 09 Nov 2023, 12:31 pm

Ulster v Munster, BKT United Rugby Championship Round 4, Friday 10 November, 7.35pm (Live on BBC NI, RTE, Viaplay and URC.tv

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Rob Baloucoune, Stewart Moore, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Tom Stewart (C), Greg McGrath, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, David McCann, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Reid, Scott Wilson, Iain Henderson, Dave Ewers, John Cooney, Jake Flannery, Jude Postlethwaite

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 09 Nov 2023, 1:12 pm

Munster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Alex Nankivell, Seán O’Brien; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron (C), John Ryan; Edwin Edogbo, Fineen Wycherley; Alex Kendellen, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, Stephen Archer, Tom Ahern, Brian Gleeson, Paddy Patterson, Rory Scannell, Ben O’Connor.

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 09 Nov 2023, 1:14 pm

Two pretty much fully loaded sides. I wouldn't want to try and count the bruises after this one. Should be a cracker on the new super duper surface.

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 09 Nov 2023, 1:29 pm

Who's Scott Wilson?

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Post by Pot Hale Thu 09 Nov 2023, 2:13 pm

Oli Jager?

Anyone? Anyone?
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Post by Maine man Thu 09 Nov 2023, 2:13 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Who's Scott Wilson?

Was wondering that myself

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Post by Pot Hale Thu 09 Nov 2023, 2:18 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Who's Scott Wilson?

Second year academy prop.
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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 10 Nov 2023, 9:41 am

Pot Hale wrote:Oli Jager?

Anyone?   Anyone?

He'll surely go to Leinster to replace Alllallallalalllllalatoa

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 10 Nov 2023, 11:29 am

Pete330v2 wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:Oli Jager?

Anyone?   Anyone?

He'll surely go to Leinster to replace Alllallallalalllllalatoa

Scratch that, Munster have nabbed him it would seem.

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 10 Nov 2023, 7:45 pm

It's going to be a long night

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 10 Nov 2023, 7:51 pm

That didn't look good at all. Hope he's ok

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 10 Nov 2023, 7:54 pm

Looked like he got hit in the head twice. Once by the chest and then the knee on the way down.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 10 Nov 2023, 8:29 pm

That was surely a penalty try. The act that got the yellow card stopped a try from being scored

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Post by clivemcl Sat 11 Nov 2023, 5:15 pm

Nasty one for McIlroy. I actually think the fist collision to the head was the forearm of Barron, before the brunt of it from the other tackler, and then the knee... then the ground. Nasty, but ultimately no real foul play in my book.

Yea, by the letter of the law, the card was appropriate, but it highlights the fact that there are areas of the game where laws are simply not applied.
High tackles and no arms tackles are often not penalised when a player is diving for the line, or in at the corner, or if its a clearcut at the ruck - head contact with shoulder happens at the ruck frequently but nobody bats an eyelid.


Anyway, fantastic to get that win - I though Munster had the game won for most of it.
Herring and the lads butchered a few of our attacking line outs and I had kinda assumed its asn't going to be our night.

Somehow we did it.

Stockdale got lucky with that bounce - why he let it bounce, I've no idea. Great to see Cooney back.

McCann looks a great prospect.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 13 Nov 2023, 11:33 am

That was a very credible performance - especially after the first 20 mins when our scrum was minced.
To be fair to McGrath he knuckled down and steady the ship.
In the second half we were comfortably better up front.
O'Sullivan has Archer for breakfast - chewed him and and spat him out with ease.
Scott Wilson - I knew he was big, I also knew he was highly rated but the expectation was not to come through till next year.
Needs must and he was thrown in at the deep end and delivered.
We must not go overboard and having Henderson and Ewers behind you is a huge help but even so.
Powerful in the loose.

McCann MOTM and comfortably so - that was a 'Andy Farrell look what I can do performance'
Timoney again the leader in the backrow
Marcus Rea largely anonymous - very disappointing
Doak again frustrates - Shanahan has out performed him in the last two weeks.

There were two 10s on display and the one who went to the World Cup was outplayed.
Moore and Postlewaite again emphasized the strength we have in the centre as the backup players.
I thought Stockdale was very good, Baloucoune did not see enough of the ball.

It was not a yellow card.

To end on a little controversy - I do not see the hype over Coomber.
Yes a big powerful lad but he goes missing too often for me - he did on Friday.
He will be 26 in a few weeks - he has one cap against the USA and 10 mins against Japan for a reason.
Andy Farrell is not convinced - neither am I .
McCann and Timoney out performed him

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Post by carpet baboon Mon 13 Nov 2023, 7:29 pm

Can we see McCann taking over POMs green 6 shirt? He's developing as a right nuisance at the breakdown, finds himself out on the wing in attack, good in the lineout, just needs to develope his sh:thousery

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Post by clivemcl Tue 14 Nov 2023, 1:35 pm

Has anyone been following Coney’s new instagram account?

Firstly - awesome to see somebody at the top level making time to coach others.
Secondly - some very open and honest insight into his mentality and his training/struggles that we wouldn’t tend to get from top level rugby pro’s

(Unless you count POM and his gardening 😂)

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 14 Nov 2023, 6:36 pm

Ethan McIlroy got a concussion and a facial fracture on Friday night. So I'd expect he won't be involved for a few weeks anyways

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 15 Nov 2023, 11:25 am

Hopefully Lowry is fit.
If not Moore at 15 and Postlewaite or Hume partnering McCloskey in the centre.

Backs will be fine - but we need a performance from 9
Backrow - jsut dont pick anyone called Rea or Jones and we will be fine - any 3 from McCann, Ewers, Timoney and Sheridan wil get the job done.
As long as Hendy is fit the 2nd row will be fine, as will hooker.
Warwick and O'Sullivan cover LH (wonder when Kitshoff turns up ?)

So it comes down to TH - French, McGrath, Wilson - which two to pick?

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Post by Maine man Wed 15 Nov 2023, 2:39 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Hopefully Lowry is fit.
If not Moore at 15 and Postlewaite or Hume partnering McCloskey in the centre.

Backs will be fine - but we need a performance from 9
Backrow - jsut dont pick anyone called Rea or Jones and we will be fine - any 3 from McCann, Ewers, Timoney and Sheridan wil get the job done.
As long as Hendy is fit the 2nd row will be fine, as will hooker.
Warwick and O'Sullivan cover LH (wonder when Kitshoff turns up ?)

So it comes down to TH - French, McGrath, Wilson - which two to pick?

For 9, I'd like to see Cooney back in. Came off the bench last week.
Back row of Ewers, McCann and Timoney.
I'd start Wilson with McGrath coming off the bench. As you said Geoff, backs will be fine especially if Lowry is available.

What's the latest on Addison and his MRI scan?

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 16 Nov 2023, 11:29 am

McCann is definitely the man of the moment. I hope he can maintain this and believe strongly that he will. He has a place on the Irish squad written all over him. Brilliant to see from a player we've all watched develop over that last few years.

Kitshoff is rumoured to be arriving for the Edinburgh game but that's only a rumour plucked from the ether. My mate's "rumours" usually are Ulster 2023/2024 Season - Page 2 1f600
Moore is bound to be close to being in the running for selection.

As Geoff has said, the back will be fine, we have loads of very talented young players along with the experienced guys to hold things together.

Things do look brighter that I expected and the season has already exceeded my expectations. I said on here we could well see us only getting a couple of wins on the run up to Xmas, I'm a different person now, that version of me has gone.

On Wilson, not only an exciting young prop but all round good guy too. Apparently one young fan asked him for his boots and he gave him one of them. The young fan's father said the little lad went to bed with the boot. Imagine having kids hero worshipping you when you're just a child yourself. Crazy!!

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Post by Kingshu Thu 16 Nov 2023, 12:45 pm

(15-9) Stewart Moore, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Jake Flannery, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Scott Wilson, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (C), Dave Ewers, Reuben Crothers, David McCann.

Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Marty Moore, Harry Sheridan, Lorcan McLoughlin, John Cooney, Billy Burns, Mike Lowry.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Thu 16 Nov 2023, 1:22 pm

I think this is the first time I've ever credited a Dan McFarland team selection. That looks really exciting! I think Ulster have been crying out for a backrow like Crothers. Also fair play to Wilson, he must be ripping it up in training.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 16 Nov 2023, 1:50 pm

Agreed top selection

Rotating well:

Rests - Timoney, Stewart, O'Sullivan (partial), Burns (partial)
Rewarding - Wilson, Flannery, MCann
Given another chance - Crothers
Returnees - Hume, M. Moore, Lowry
Introducing - MCLoughlin

No complaints, just need Doak to get his finger out now


Last edited by geoff999rugby on Thu 16 Nov 2023, 3:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 16 Nov 2023, 3:24 pm

It's fantastic to see young Wilson being rewarded, he's living the dream. It's definitely a very exciting selection. Bring on tomorrow night especially because all day I thought it was wednesday......bonus!!

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 16 Nov 2023, 4:26 pm

Interesting to see how Mcloughlin gets on. Thought he was very good in the U20s

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 18 Nov 2023, 12:18 pm

Horrible weather but a wins a win.


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Post by neilthom7 Sat 18 Nov 2023, 4:09 pm

They were so poor in the first half, picked it up a bit in the second hafl though. Awful weather but they need to be able to play in bad weather too.

Doak was far too slow round the ruck and made some really poor decisions. Wilson looks like he is a guy to bring off the bench, a rampaging runner in the open. Great to see Marty Moore back, they have missed him something shocking at scrum time.

Kitshoff landed in Belfast today so you would assume he will become available soon

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Post by Pete330v2 Mon 20 Nov 2023, 9:20 am

Kitshoff-Herring-Moore - That's not a bad front row at all and with the likes of Hendy, Treaders, Ewers etc. offering a helping hand there should be no reason why we can't mix it with the very best at scrum time. Lineout time is a whole different world but that can be fixed.

Anyway, Friday night's offering was a bit of a let down. The weather can be a great leveler and all that but a win is a win, time to move on from that. I did notice that the rain wasn't draining from the pitch surface very quickly, the entire field looked like a shallow puddle. Is that a feature of these plastic pitches?

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 20 Nov 2023, 12:07 pm

What your first choice 15?

I'd go with:
Kitshoff, Herring, Moore, Henderson, O'Connor, Ewers, Timoney, McCann
Cooney, Burns, Stockdale, McCloskey, Hume, Baloucoune, Lowry
Bench: O'Sullivan, Stewart, O'Toole, Treadwell, Sheridan, Doak, Flannery, Moore

That is real impact from the bench

O'Sullivan has nudged ahead of Warwick for me
Herring just back back has, just, a better all round game that Stewart but in truth there is next to nothing in it.
Stewart, O'Toole, Treadwell are all perfect impact players
Backrow picks itself
Doak hasn't fully delivered, I'd go with Cooney.
Flannery a good 10 backup
Moore means we can cover every position 11 to 15.
Addison sadly cannot be considered given being injured is his normal condition


Last edited by geoff999rugby on Wed 22 Nov 2023, 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 21 Nov 2023, 12:18 pm

Kitshoff and O'Toole both training this week

On another note there are no Leinster born players
who came direct or made the full Leinster Academy at Ulster

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Post by clivemcl Wed 22 Nov 2023, 1:39 pm

Was going to say Cooney - but I see you said 'direct'. Fair play. Was Timony not full academy at Leinster? I must confess my knowledge of when exactly certain younger players arrived in our setup is not great!

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 22 Nov 2023, 2:42 pm

"What your first choice 15?"

To save my typing it's exactly who you named Geoff.

It's one hell of a good side in anyone's books.

On another note I see Wilson made the URC team of the week. That's one he can put on his wall.

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