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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 formerly known as Sam Fri 07 Jun 2024, 1:32 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Which kind of confirms he is a running back not a kicking one.
For Penalties thats fine - we have Cooney and Doak
However we really suffer because Burns kicking out of hand is poor distance wise.

Need to employ the likes of Stockdale, Hume, Moore and McCloskey more - they all have big boots.

I think Morgan is good off the tee. Certainly from some stat I saw somewhere suggested he had a better kicking percentage than Brett Cameron the 'Canes first choice 10 and likely AB squad member for this summer.

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Post by clivemcl Fri 07 Jun 2024, 3:16 pm

The goal kicking would be a nice bonus but not overly necessary. Cooney is as good as it gets these days, and if he's not starting it'll be Doak who can do a job off the tee too if needed.

Running attacking 10... that could really be the thing that kicks this squad on. I'm remembering how we used to enjoy watching Paddy do that.

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 07 Jun 2024, 3:33 pm

John Cooney has the highest percentage in rugby this season. All rugby. There's nobody getting near that kicking tee at Ulster, he's not called the slot machine for nothing.
Another thing from the Red Hand podcast I forgot to mention. There are a couple of props names going about but they weren't revealed on the pod. Nice to know they're at least hunting.

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Post by clivemcl Fri 07 Jun 2024, 4:04 pm

I'm sure many of you will be appalled by how few times I've been to the Aviva, but last few times I've went I've just driven and hoped to find parking. It has been unpleasantly stressful.

Help me out - what are least stressful/simplest ways to get to Aviva for those planning to drive home again that night?
Bus/train/park and ride etc?

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Post by Pete330v2 Fri 07 Jun 2024, 8:22 pm

I do the stress free option. Drive into Malahide, park at the dart station and buy a day ticket for the dart. Brings you to the stadium.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 07 Jun 2024, 8:33 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:I do the stress free option. Drive into Malahide, park at the dart station and buy a day ticket for the dart. Brings you to the stadium.
That is by far the best option.

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Post by clivemcl Fri 07 Jun 2024, 9:39 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:I do the stress free option. Drive into Malahide, park at the dart station and buy a day ticket for the dart. Brings you to the stadium.

Good man, this is what I thought as I knew there was a stop at the stadium. But when I went and tried to research today I couldn’t easily find evidence of that dart route.

You can’t buy tickets online for it I take it? How frequent do they run, and is it more frequent when events are on?

Also heard you can park at a nearby jockey club for ten euro.

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 08 Jun 2024, 7:28 pm

Not to be. Once Izzy went off so did our chances of an upset. Jones has all the effort in the world, but he's just not big enough to make an impact at this level.
Before KO I thought today's game would be perfect for Stewart Moore to stake a claim at fullback, but he just was a little too relaxed at times. Lowry's tackling today was brilliant and showed despite his size he can cope with the big lads running at him.
McCann should be capped this summer, and if I was Farrell I would bring Izzy and Sheridan on tour too.
All in all the score didn't reflect how well we played and I'm hopeful for next season.
Just wish Addison was staying

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Post by Unclear Sat 08 Jun 2024, 8:30 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Not to be. Once Izzy went off so did our chances of an upset. Jones has all the effort in the world, but he's just not big enough to make an impact at this level.
Before KO I thought today's game would be perfect for Stewart Moore to stake a claim at fullback, but he just was a little too relaxed at times. Lowry's tackling today was brilliant and showed despite his size he can cope with the big lads running at him.
McCann should be capped this summer, and if I was Farrell I would bring Izzy and Sheridan on tour too.
All in all the score didn't reflect how well we played and I'm hopeful for next season.
Just wish Addison was staying

Agree with all of that. McElroy was good when he came on, but isn't in the same class as Addison when fit. But that was always the problem, how much of the time was he actually fit? Definitely things to work with for next season and it was also good to see Stockdale's continued return to some form. The set piece was a problem, not sure how much was down to a lack of actual second rows, but the scrum looks like it will continue to a weakness.

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Post by Kingshu Sat 08 Jun 2024, 9:59 pm

Unclear wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Not to be. Once Izzy went off so did our chances of an upset. Jones has all the effort in the world, but he's just not big enough to make an impact at this level.
Before KO I thought today's game would be perfect for Stewart Moore to stake a claim at fullback, but he just was a little too relaxed at times. Lowry's tackling today was brilliant and showed despite his size he can cope with the big lads running at him.
McCann should be capped this summer, and if I was Farrell I would bring Izzy and Sheridan on tour too.
All in all the score didn't reflect how well we played and I'm hopeful for next season.
Just wish Addison was staying

Agree with all of that.  McElroy was good when he came on, but isn't in the same class as Addison when fit.  But that was always the problem, how much of the time was he actually fit?  Definitely things to work with for next season and it was also good to see Stockdale's continued return to some form.  The set piece was a problem, not sure how much was down to a lack of actual second rows, but the scrum looks like it will continue to a weakness.

We do have Duffy coming in as a dedicated Scrum coach next season, so hopefully we see improvement on it. Think also today the two locks had less than 20 starts a lock in total between them, and Jones 0 starts at lock. So the scrum was always going to be a weakness, would have been much better with a senior lock there to help like Henderson.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 09 Jun 2024, 11:23 am

I thought that was a very credible performance, especially without Hendo, AOC, Treadwell and Izzy (for most of the match)
and most did well.

In Izzy, McCann, Sheridan and Wilson we have some very special forwards developing.
They all should be regulars in future Ireland squads

I would also think Matty Rea deserves some praise - in the last few weeks he has put in some very good performances

The one exception is Stewart Moore who was absolutely awful.
Did he have soap on his hands?
Did he think tackling was optional?


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Post by clivemcl Sun 09 Jun 2024, 11:35 am

Did somebody say here recently that we’ve kicked less since Murphy came in? Well not yesterday!

It’s always tougher to assess when watching in person, but agreed, Moore didn’t have his best outing.

I was a bit perplexed by the kicking when we had possession in the Leinster half. Watching on tv, did it feel like that was an effective strategy?

To me it just felt like we weren’t having much of a go at them.

I did feel a few calls didn’t go out way.
I thought it looked like a high tackle in Timoney when he dived fir the line in first half.

I thought the high hit penalty against Addison was pretty harsh.

Was Addison blocked in his chip and chase which led to a Leinster score a few phases later?

There was a knock on call in a lineout which to me looked like the ball went straight up from the contact from … Sheridan I think.

Also, thought I saw Cooney receive a high fend to the head in the run up to another Leinster try.

I’ll maybe watch it back later and see. I’m very aware I’m just being a bad loser. Just getting it out of my system as I was surrounded by a sea of blue at the game where I couldn’t fully express myself. Very Happy

We didn’t have the same expectations as we’ve had in previous years, so the result didn’t sting just so bad on this occasion. Nice to see us put up a bit of a fight and a few nice tries.

Doaks kick pass. I thought it was miss kicked at first. Well played. And Lowry is lighting!

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Post by carpet baboon Sun 09 Jun 2024, 2:42 pm

Moore has the talent but he needs to show he can do all the basics well.
For all the stick zebo got over the years he did all the basics very well, passing tackling kicking were never questioned. If Moore has international aspirations he needs to show he can do the simple stuff for a full 80 not the odd bit here and there

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Post by Unclear Sun 09 Jun 2024, 3:58 pm

Agree that Moore had a poor enough game despite the try. The contrast in his tackling technique and success to Lowery's was stark. I'm sure the coaches will be having words tomorrow.

Clive, on the refereeing I think the only decision that was questionable was the penalty on Doris for dropping the maul just before half time. For me it was cynical and stopped a clear try scoring opportunity so should have been yellow and penalty try. Mr Brace thought different and I'll just have to agree to disagree with him. It did feel like the ball bounced to Leinster's advantage more than to us, and by that I do mean the random nature of deflections etc rather than the outcome of actual 50/50 decisions, so don't feel your natural bias is in anyway wrong Hug

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Post by Pete330v2 Mon 10 Jun 2024, 9:47 am

I'm rarely content with an Ulster loss even when facing Leinster at home. That however was pretty pleasing, there was no lack of effort despite the adversity thrown at the squad. Going down to the bare bones at 2nd row before a ball was touched was hard enough but to lose the now rampaging Izzy so early was gutting. There were a few lucky bounces of the ball that went Leinster's way and there no doubt what so ever that Doris should have seen yellow and a penalty try awarded. For those reasons I am adding a converted try to Ulster and removing the James Lowe fluky bounce try. So the score was actually 36 - 27, there doesn't that feel better?  Ulster 2023/2024 Season - Page 20 1f60a

Moore is one of the few players that hasn't been invigorated by McFarland's exit. He's still on cruise control but has a lot more and better to offer. A full preseason with Murphy etc will hopefully fix that. Fingers crossed.

P.S. Did anyone hear the names of any front rowers being banded about as alluded to on the red hand podcast?

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Post by clivemcl Mon 10 Jun 2024, 12:00 pm

Na, I'm going to double down. It's a clear forearm to the face of Timoney and surely stops him from getting over the line. And would have had Ulster leading the game ten minutes in.

And even though they went to TMO and slo mo, the officials seemed only concerned with the grounding of the ball.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, they need to enforce the laws on high hits in all parts of the game - not ignoring it at the try line.

Couple of things - at home, that replay get's the crowd vocal. It's a sad truth, but refs are swayed by home crowds. But secondly, Timoney needs to be more vocal when that happens. And Herring too.

The Dorris one was annoying too - to simply get to repeat your line out is not enough punishment. (and we don't even win it!  Ulster 2023/2024 Season - Page 20 1f624 )

But for me the Timoney one was 5/7 points left on the table because nobody pleaded to the ref.

It was 10min into first half if anyone wants another look.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 10 Jun 2024, 4:14 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:

P.S. Did anyone hear the names of any front rowers being banded about as alluded to on the red hand podcast?

Sadly nno - seems to be a radio silence on that one

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 11 Jun 2024, 6:19 pm

So t'other forum saying we are looking at a loosehead and backrow

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 11 Jun 2024, 6:19 pm

Personally I think we could do with an extra centre as well

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 11 Jun 2024, 6:20 pm

Could they be from the disbanded Ozzie team?

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 12 Jun 2024, 10:00 am

Whatever the case we've gone from not being able to sign anyone to having signed a promising outhalf and looking for a loosie and backrower. Obviously they won't be anything close to marquee signings but still better than what we had been expecting.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 12 Jun 2024, 11:40 am

Read Munster were declined a NIQ LH, but it was Belly telly, and had linked Ulster and Munster to Ed Byrne, so not sure if there is truerh in it. But I think it will be TH and IRFU make ToT play certain number games at LH, to test that experiment.

Wonder would lock be better than a BR?

And think we need to shop for IQ backs.

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 12 Jun 2024, 2:10 pm

I was thinking about loosies and suddenly I thought wouldn't it be a laugh if we signed Daniel Brennan after how his Da's career ended but I see he's signed from Toulon. Laugh over.

I think if we're looking for a BR the best option would be a BR/Lock kind of player given how things ended up in that final game. Beggars can't be choosers though, I'd be happy with a ball carrying back rower or a rampaging lock to compliment Izzy.

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Post by Don Alfonso Wed 12 Jun 2024, 2:44 pm

Slightly surprised that we're looking for a back row rather than a second row. Especially if Izzy stays at 6. Sheridan is great but relatively small, O'Connor's getting on and Henderson's barely available.

At BR, we've McCann, Timoney, Izzy. Rea Sr (who they do seem to be happy enough covering 2nd row in fairness), Rea Jr, Reffell, Crothers, McLoughlin, McNabney and Ward coming through. Hopes is a good technical player but still slight.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 12 Jun 2024, 5:39 pm

Looks to me we are building up a small group of back five forwards

Izzy, Sheridan, Matty Rea
I wonder if any new player is seen in the same way.

I agree a big hefty lock is what we really need

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Post by Don Alfonso Wed 12 Jun 2024, 7:37 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Looks to me we are building up a small group of back five forwards

Izzy, Sheridan, Matty Rea
I wonder if any new player is seen in the same way.

I agree a big hefty lock is what we really need

McNabney's the right size but he seems much more explosive and powerful, and I doubt they want to lose that by putting him that at 2nd row rather than number 8.

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Post by Kingshu Thu 13 Jun 2024, 4:53 pm

The club has confirmed the 43 professional players who will represent the province in the season ahead.

Following news that fly-half, Aidan Morgan, and winger, Werner Kok, will call Belfast home from next season onwards, Ulster Rugby can today announce contract renewals for seven Senior Men’s players – Ben Carson, Reuben Crothers, Conor McKee, Marty Moore, Eric O’Sullivan, Matty Rea and David Shanahan – as it confirms the squad for the 2024/25 campaign.

James Humphreys also makes the move from the Ulster Rugby Academy into the Senior set-up with a new 1-year Development contract. James McCormick receives a 1-year extension to his current Development contract.

With a 43-strong squad, made up of 38 Senior and five Development players, 34 of whom were developed through the provincial Player Pathway, Richie Murphy can boast to 42 Irish-Qualified players amongst his ranks.

On the confirmed professional squad for next season, Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment, Bryn Cunningham, said:

“Following the successful completion of our recruitment process, we are confident that we have laid the foundations for what we want to achieve from next season onwards, with the opportunity to further shape and strengthen the squad where required in 2025/26.

“At Ulster Rugby, we have been clear on our focus to bring through young, homegrown talent into the Senior set-up, and compliment this with strategic recruitment, which is clear to see from the 43 players signed-up for 2024/25.

“There is also the opportunity to showcase what we have been building through the Ulster Rugby Player Pathway over a number of years, and I’m looking forward to this hard work and investment paying dividends for the province.”

Head Coach, Richie Murphy, added:

“Following a very enjoyable couple of months at Ulster, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a new season with a strong squad who are ambitious in their goals for the year ahead.

“We have a great crop of young guys coming through into the Senior set-up who will cut their teeth alongside the experienced leaders in the group.

“This is only the beginning for us and, together with the Support Staff, I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that will come our way.”

Ulster Rugby Senior Men’s Squad 2024/25
LH Prop
Eric O’Sullivan* (IQ)
Callum Reid* (IQ)
Andrew Warwick* (IQ)

TH Prop
Marty Moore (IQ)
Tom O’Toole* (IQ)
Scott Wilson* (IQ)

Hooker
Rob Herring (IQ)
John Andrew* (IQ)
Tom Stewart* (IQ)
James McCormick* (IQ)

Lock
Iain Henderson* (Captain) (IQ)
Alan O’Connor* (IQ)
Harry Sheridan* (IQ)
Kieran Treadwell (IQ)
Cormac Izuchukwu* (IQ)

Backrow
Lorcan McLoughlin* (IQ)
James McNabney* (IQ)
Marcus Rea* (IQ)
Matty Rea*(IQ)
Sean Reffell (IQ)
Nick Timoney* (IQ)
Reuben Crothers* (IQ)
David McCann* (IQ)

Scrumhalf
John Cooney (IQ)
Nathan Doak* (IQ)
Michael McDonald (IQ)
Conor McKee* (IQ)
David Shanahan* (IQ)

Outhalf
James Humphreys* (IQ)
Jake Flannery (IQ)
Aidan Morgan (IQ)

Centre
Ben Carson* (IQ)
James Hume* (IQ)
Stewart Moore* (IQ)
Jude Postlethwaite* (IQ)
Stuart McCloskey* (IQ)

Back Three
Rob Baloucoune*(IQ)
Jacob Stockdale* (IQ)
Aaron Sexton* (IQ)
Ben Moxham* (IQ)
Ethan McIlroy* (IQ)
Werner Kok
Mike Lowry* (IQ)
* denotes players developed through the Ulster Rugby Player Pathway – with (IQ) listed beside Irish-Qualified players. Development players are in italics.

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Post by Kingshu Thu 13 Jun 2024, 4:53 pm

Wonder if thats it settled and there aren't the two extra NIQs we hoped for coming?

Maybe RM doesn't want to sign any NIQ on 2/3 year contracts untill he's had a year with the squad and is sure where they are needed?

Maybe we'll get a couple one season jokers like JTA and Sutherland?

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 13 Jun 2024, 5:26 pm

Interesting Carson retained.
Interesting Humphreys gets a contract but Saunderson doesn't

As to any new players I'm not sure that they ever were going to be NIQ.


What I am sure about is we will not get by with only those 6 props next season
unless one or more of Boal, Doak and Boyd do a Wilson and make the step up from nowhere.

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 13 Jun 2024, 5:33 pm

Have to say not really seen mini Humphreys play. Does he have potential? Or is this a let's get his dad happy before we ask for some NIQ props?

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 13 Jun 2024, 5:36 pm

Also Ben Carson any chance Richie can make him better than distinctly average?

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 13 Jun 2024, 7:13 pm

For me Humphreys, Carson, McKee and Sexton are the 4 contracts I just dont get.
I suppose a 10 can be a late developer but for the other three its a no from me.

We are short in the front five and seriously short at prop

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 14 Jun 2024, 11:29 am

Very interesting comments from David Humphreys (paraphrased)

- Playing games in Croke Park will stop after RDS refurbishment is complete
- Residency players like Aki, JPG and Lowe are the end of the line - 5 years residency has closed that
- We need to diversify in the search for players into non rugby areas
- No player will ever be forced to move from one Province to another
- However a player doing so, and as a consequence is getting reduced 1st XV rugby,
  will be viewed as a player lacking International ambition

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 14 Jun 2024, 11:48 am

I do agree with reaching out into non traditional rugby areas.

And I do agree with players not willing to move lacking a bit of ambition. I know in my job to get promotion it was expected you would move to different locations. Waiting for dead man's shoes never worked.
But I assume there would be one or two players who actually don't have international aspirations and are happy with the day job.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 14 Jun 2024, 1:38 pm

Ulster Rugby Academy Squad 2024-25

Year 1:

Forwards:
Bryn Ward (Back-Row)
James McKillop (Back-Row)

Backs:
Jack Murphy (Fly-Half)
Clarke Logan (Scrum-Half)
Sam Berman (Centre)
Jonathan Scott (Centre)
Wilhelm De Klerk (Centre)

Year 2:
Forwards:
Cameron Doak (Prop)
Jack Boal (Prop)
Jacob Boyd (Prop)
Zac Solomon (Hooker)
Henry Walker (Hooker)
Charlie Irvine (Lock)
Josh Stevens (Back-Row)
Tom Brigg (Back-Row)

Backs:
Ethan Graham (Wing/ Full-Back)
Ben McFarlane (Wing/Full-Back)
Lukas Kenny (Wing)

Year 3:
Forwards:
Joe Hopes (Lock)

Backs:
Rory Telfer (Full-Back)

20 players - 2 more than last year
1 player droped from the Acacemy
George Saunderson - Prop

So we have ended up with:
39 Full Contracts
 4 Development Contracts (Wilson, McNabney, McLoughlin, McCormick)
20 Academy players


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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 14 Jun 2024, 1:46 pm

So we have in the Academy:

3 Props
2 Hookers
2 Locks
4 Backrowers
1 Scrum Half
1 Fly Half
3 Centres
4 Wing/Full Back

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Post by Unclear Fri 14 Jun 2024, 1:50 pm

Thanks for that Geoff, we are really going to need some of the young lads to step up this year. There's lots of potential, hopefully with Murphy in charge he will enable it to be realised.

Has someone got Joe Hopes on the Ulster fry diet? He looked good for the U20s if a bit lightweight, and second row is one of the many areas we lack depth.

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 14 Jun 2024, 1:56 pm

See below 👇


Last edited by carpet baboon on Fri 14 Jun 2024, 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 14 Jun 2024, 1:59 pm

End of last season Northampton reviewed what was one of there weaknesses and it was the physicality of the team.
The solution was simple.
"For the first six-week 'block', the Northampton squad underwent between six and eight weights sessions per week, with most of the lifting at around 90 per cent of players' maximum effort. There were two rugby sessions, one on a Tuesday and one on a Friday, after a skills session on the Monday."
We could do with following their example

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 14 Jun 2024, 2:06 pm

Wasn't De Klerk a 10 up untill Richie played him at 13 this year? Or am I imagining that?

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 14 Jun 2024, 3:10 pm

Just checked Humphreys is a Development contract so its 38 Full contracts and 5 Development.

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Post by carpet baboon Fri 14 Jun 2024, 3:26 pm

I would like to see Bryn Ward get some game time this year.
6 foot and listed at 17st but has some pace on him and good hands. Aggressive at the breakdown too
In the u20s six nations I thought he completely outplayed his opposite number Pepper who is touted in the press as England's next great openside

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 18 Jun 2024, 5:54 pm

All things being equal, and we know gravity is real, then how is McCann not in the Ireland squad?
Don't get me wrong happy that Izzy has been called up. But McCann has been excellent nearly all season

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 18 Jun 2024, 7:24 pm

Bit bizarre our best backrower doesn't make the squad.
He has to captain Emerging Ireland

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 18 Jun 2024, 7:42 pm

For me he's our best 6 to replace POM. Lineout, breakdown and can play 7 if needed. Plus he's developing a good bit of Poopie

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 18 Jun 2024, 10:10 pm

carpet baboon wrote:I would like to see Bryn Ward get some game time this year.
6 foot and listed at 17st but has some pace on him and  good hands. Aggressive at the breakdown too
In the u20s six nations I thought he completely outplayed his opposite number Pepper who is touted in the press as England's next great openside

Pollock not Pepper. Pollock's very flashy, he's either going to be sensational or get found out for not having the grit and basics at senior level. Pepper's the opposite.

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 18 Jun 2024, 10:45 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:I would like to see Bryn Ward get some game time this year.
6 foot and listed at 17st but has some pace on him and  good hands. Aggressive at the breakdown too
In the u20s six nations I thought he completely outplayed his opposite number Pepper who is touted in the press as England's next great openside

Pollock not Pepper. Pollock's very flashy, he's either going to be sensational or get found out for not having the grit and basics at senior level. Pepper's the opposite.

My apologies to Pepper.

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 19 Jun 2024, 9:42 am

carpet baboon wrote:All things being equal, and we know gravity is real, then how is McCann not in the Ireland squad?
Don't get me wrong happy that Izzy has been called up. But McCann has been excellent nearly all season

There aren't just Ulster players that can feel a bit aggrieved at not being selected for the tour. Coombes could sit alongside McCann in that category but sometimes the face just doesn't fit, John Cooney being the best example of this for some time. In regards to John Cooney, has Caollin Blade played better than him this season? I would say not and Blade does not dictate the game like Cooney can. Is Cooney the future for Ireland as quoted by so many on social media? No but neither is Blade and it's something of a moot point IMO as you should play your current best in the now, not prospective bests. In that respect I think Cooney has an even greater reason to feel aggrieved at his non selection, once again the face does not fit. How does Blade's face fit though???????

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 19 Jun 2024, 10:44 am

Coombes is the most overrated player in Irish rugby.

Fortunately Farrell seems to agree with me.

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 19 Jun 2024, 11:40 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Coombes is the most overrated player in Irish rugby.

Fortunately Farrell seems to agree with me.

Despite what Munster fans think he has hit a bit of a flat patch but if he could gain form again I reckon he could challenge for a place. He looked like he was heading for a high ceiling, destined to become a permanent place in the Irish reckoning but I agree Geoff, he's being very overrated by those Munster faithful. I do think he'd be worth including though to assess if he's hit his ceiling or just needs added motivational input to go one better. I do think he may have missed the backrow boat with our own Izzy looking like the only one of the hopefuls that could step into the Irish backrow, in particular to replace POM.

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