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URC 23/24 Round 1

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carpet baboon
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URC 23/24 Round 1 Empty URC 23/24 Round 1

Post by neilthom7 Mon 16 Oct 2023, 9:11 pm

The World Cup may still be on but the URC is back this weekend to get rolling again. With 16 teams once again full of the hope a new season brings. Will an Irish side lift it again? Will South Africa reclaim it? Will Wales, Italy or Scotland find a championship winner? Well it's time to get started finding out.

Saturday 21st October 2023

Zebre Parma v Ulster
Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma – KO 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Live on: Sky Italy, Viaplay, SuperSport, Flo Sports & URC TV

Connacht v Ospreys
The Sportsground, Galway – KO 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
Live on: TG4, S4C, Viaplay, SuperSport, Flo Sports & URC TV

Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg – KO 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Live on: SuperSport, Viaplay, Flo Sports & URC TV

Dragons RFC v Edinburgh Rugby
Rodney Parade, Newport – KO 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Live on: Viaplay, SuperSport, Flo Sports & URC TV

Cardiff Rugby v Benetton
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff – KO 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Live on: S4C, Viaplay, SuperSport, Flo Sports & URC TV

Munster v Hollywoodbets Sharks
Thomond Park, Limerick – KO 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Live on: TG4, SuperSport, Viaplay, Flo Sports & URC TV

Sunday, 22nd October 2023

Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria – KO 14.00 IRE & UK / 15.00 ITA & SA
Live on: SuperSport, BBC Wales, Viaplay, Flo Sports & URC TV

Glasgow Warriors v Leinster
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow – KO 16.00 IRE & UK / 17.00 ITA & SA
Live on: Viaplay RTÉ, SuperSport, Flo Sports & URC TV

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 16 Oct 2023, 9:31 pm

Thanks for doing this again.

That Hollywoodbets Sharks just looks a mess, when you see it written down ha.

Working Saturday afternoon, so can't get myself to Rodney Parade. Dragons have to start the season well, as they have a bit of a positive atmosphere around again and Flanagan has had a full summer with them, so no excuses.

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Post by neilthom7 Mon 16 Oct 2023, 9:40 pm

I actually thought it was spelt wrong until I Googled it lol bit of a mouthful

It's a good home game to get started with, Edinburgh won't have their internationals back yet either so should hamper them a bit.

From an Ulster perspective, I'm genuinely not sure what to expect. The end to last season was deflating, I don't foresee a miraculous change in play given the coaching has stayed the same and the pre-season hasn't been great either. They should of course still beat Zebre having said that but where it goes from there is anyones guess.

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Post by Oakdene Tue 17 Oct 2023, 11:06 am

Not looking forward to us going out to South Africa at the beginning of the season, it's sad to think that 2 bonus points would be considered a decent return.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 17 Oct 2023, 5:30 pm

Edinburgh will be bringing back some of the WC squad for this weekend by all accounts. Sebastien, Skinner, Ritchie and Healy will all be available.

Scarlets flew out Hardy and Lousi for the SA tour.

Guessing a bunch of other teams will bring back some of the players who didnt feature much at the WC.

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 17 Oct 2023, 8:04 pm

Ulster confirmed none of the Irish players will be available to them for another 3 and a half weeks so I'd assume that is the same for any Irish players who went to the World Cup

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Post by neilthom7 Tue 17 Oct 2023, 9:19 pm

Qualification for Champions Cup has officially changed. Will be the top 8 teams now (unless someone outside top 8 wins champions or challenge cup), no more guaranteed places.

https://www.unitedrugby.com/latest/news/meritocracy-qualification-will-make-urc-stronger

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 18 Oct 2023, 10:43 am

Was about time. Think it will make the URC even more competitive this year.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed 18 Oct 2023, 5:06 pm

Leinster on a Sunday road game at Glasgow to kick things off. I'm not even expecting a LBP out of that fixture. We're head-coachless too for the next little while too (and he then has to integrate into the setup / set out his stall & tone for his new approach). Lots of variables. Interested to see how some of the younger lads do with the step up. But no points for Leinster from this weekend is my expectation.

Do Zebre pinch an early win hosting Ulster? hope so, a win would do them wonders.
Connacht v Ospreys could be a cracker (there might even be horizontal rain).
Lions v Stormers is a derby but Stormers should have too much.
Edinburgh and Bennetton with road wins to kick things off.
Munster & Bulls to boss their home fixtures after cagey starts get up the table ahead of the pack?

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 18 Oct 2023, 5:34 pm

My predictions for this weekend:-

Zebre vs Ulster - Ulster by 10 points
Connacht vs Ospreys - Connacht by 6 points
Dragons vs Edinburgh - Dragons by 3 points
Lions vs Stormers - Stormers by 15 points
Cardiff vs Treviso - Treviso by 5 points
Munster vs Sharks - Munster by 3 points
Bulls vs Scarlets - Bulls by 20 points
Glasgow vs Leinster - Glasgow by 7 points

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 18 Oct 2023, 5:42 pm

Looking at the changes on the fixture lists again SA sides have moved some games again. I wish all rounds had to be played at the same time. Nobody had fixtures on the 6th of Jan so they could have moved an entire round in that slot if needed. Same is true for the 27th Jan.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Fri 20 Oct 2023, 2:16 pm

Munster: Shane Daly; Andrew Conway, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell, Calvin Nash; Joey Carbery, Ethan Coughlan; Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer; Edwin Edogbo, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O'Donoghue (C), Alex Kendellen, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Scott Buckley, Kieran Ryan, John Ryan, Tom Ahern, Brian Gleeson, Neil Cronin, Alex Nankivell, Shay McCarthy.

Leinster: Ciarán Frawley; Tommy O'Brien, Liam Turner, Charlie Ngatai, Jordan Larmour; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath; Jack Boyle, John McKee, Thomas Clarkson; Ross Molony, Jason Jenkins; Max Deegan, Scott Penny (capt), James Culhane.
Replacements: Lee Barron, Paddy McCarthy, Rory McGuire, Brian Deeny, Rhys Ruddock, Cormac Foley, Sam Prendergast, Will Connors.


Connacht: Andrew Smith; Diarmuid Kilgallen, Tom Farrell, Cathal Forde, Byron Ralston; JJ Hanrahan, Caolin Blade (capt); Denis Buckley, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Jack Aungier; Oisín Dowling, Joe Joyce; Cian Prendergast, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Jarrad Butler.
Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, Peter Dooley, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Niall Murray, Seán O'Brien, Colm Reilly, Jack Carty, Liam McNamara.

Ulster: Will Addison; Mike Lowry, James Hume, Angus Curtis, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, Nathan Doak; Andrew Warwick, Ton Stewart (capt), Greg McGrath; Matty Rea, Kieran Treadwell; Dave Ewers, Marcus Rea, David McCann.
Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Reid, James French, Cormac Izuchukwu, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Billy Burns, Stewart Moore.

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Post by Welshmushroom Fri 20 Oct 2023, 4:33 pm

Some crazy strong lineups from sides this weekend.

Bulls team looks really strong while Scarlets don't look great in the tight 5. Think they will get smashed by Bulls.

Stormers side looks strong as well. Lions side is physical though so this won't be a cakewalk. Still think Stormers will have to much for them though.

Zebre's lineup actually looks good. I'm starting to think Ulster might have a tough opener.

Glasgow really caught me out. Very Strong side. Think Leinster might struggle to win this away from home. Could be the pick of the games this weekend though as Leinster have some good players on show as well.

Munster pick about as good a team as they have available. Having seen the Sharks lineup I think Munster will win this comfortably.

Think those 5 teams have the best lineups this weekend by some distance.


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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 12:58 pm

Craig Gilroy has found himself a job commentating for Viaplay on the Zebre and Ulster game

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 1:40 pm

Jonny Bell is stealing a living as Ulster's defence coach

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 21 Oct 2023, 1:46 pm

It's not so much our defence isn't very good, for most of this half we just haven't had any.
There seems to be no actual plan in defence.
"Just run about and tackle someone" Bell shouts as he takes a sip of tea.

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 21 Oct 2023, 1:48 pm

Wasn't his knee in touch?

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 1:49 pm

Zebre lead Ulster 26-21 at half time.

Ulster some great flashes in attack but the rest of their game has been abysmal and the defence has been even worse than that.  

It's a long season for Ulster ahead


Last edited by neilthom7 on Sat 21 Oct 2023, 1:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 1:51 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Wasn't his knee in touch?

It did look like it, I'm surprised the TMO never looked at it, it looked like when he touched it down his knee was over the back of the in goal line. It's very tight, would need another angle to be sure but he might just be in

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:05 pm

It's going to be a very very verrrry long season.
We need some new voices in the coaching team.
Shame we didn't go all out to get Felix Jones

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:05 pm

Well we thought before the season that Ulster might be rubbish, we were pessimistic about it all and as it turns out looks like we were right

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:07 pm

That's the second time Treadwell has gone through and there have been zero players there to support him, they are way off the pace

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:09 pm

We have 15 players on the pitch but I don't see a team at all

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:25 pm

The subs have made a big difference

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:35 pm

Struggling against the weakest side in the league.
6 tries by Zebre so far !!!

Our starting team was stupidly weak - arrogance.
We are not good enough to be arrogant.
Subs saving the day - maybe

Doesn't bode well for the season
Bulls will be a different prospect next week.

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Post by Welshmushroom Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:39 pm

Lucchin has been a real thorn in Ulsters side. Also that Zebre 10 has had a pretty good game in attack.

Its a close game now

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Post by Welshmushroom Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:51 pm

Ulster lucky there in the end....not sure why Zebre didnt scrum again to get another penatly after the yellow card....

Feel a bit bad for Zebre as they played much better rugby than Ulster today.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:52 pm

Lucky lucky.

We will be nowhere near the top 4.

Zebre dumb - should have stuck with scrums.
We are not credible at TH without Moore and O'Toole

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:53 pm

Well top 8 is clearly out of the question.
We won, but better teams will put us away.
Need a massive massive improvement in defence.
To many players started today who clearly ain't at the level we need

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 2:53 pm

Good in attack, subs made a difference, Treadwell played well, Flannery did okay.

The defence was non existent, Jonny Bell should be fired for that game alone.

Dan McFarland has to take a lot of blame for that too, the team picked was poor and he is in the end responsible for his coaches too and some of them clearly aren't good enough

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:02 pm

I turned on at the end, to try and get on for Dragons' game. Can't believe Zebre tapped at the end. Seemed mad.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:09 pm

Sexy try Dragons

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:18 pm

Ospreys getting smashed by Connacht early on!

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:19 pm

Should really be 20-0 Connacht after 15 mins but they just fluffed the finish close to the line. Ospreys look poor.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:28 pm

Try on debut for Baldwin. Finished it well, as the cross kick was a little tricky. Lovely conversion Cai Evans.

14-0 to your Dragons, my Dragons, our Dragons.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:32 pm

Dragons look pretty sharp, but just blew a lineout in Edinburgh's 22 and then compound the error with a scrum penalty.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:40 pm

14-3 Dragons. Bit of a lazy penalty to give away by Ben Carter.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:55 pm

Bit harsh on Dragons at the end? Would love to see more replays of that.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 3:58 pm

Ah well, if our local reporter says clear knock on, I’ll let the referoo off.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 4:11 pm

Ospreys fighting back into this Connacht game now

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 4:35 pm

Well Dragons look like they are going to Dragons it up. Cai Evans is looking a bit groggy too. Reed to ten, AOB to fullback.

17-16.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 21 Oct 2023, 4:44 pm

It must be a mental thing with the Dragons. So many times we get into leads but can’t see a game out. Please let this not be one of those times!

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 4:45 pm

17-19. Defo shat the bed.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 21 Oct 2023, 4:46 pm

Ffs.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 21 Oct 2023, 5:10 pm

Ospreys did fight back but too much to do. Got a bonus point though for the 4 tries. Connacht win 34-26

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 21 Oct 2023, 5:17 pm

Second half was very poor. I think halftime killed Dragons a bit, but they have to be better than that. Supposed to be a wave of positivity with Dai.

Never mind, only Cardiff next week. Dragons never shat the bed against them.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 21 Oct 2023, 7:09 pm

Christ, one of the worst tackles ever there by the Cardiff player on 78 mins. Red card, no question, and gave away a kick in front of the posts to win the game for Benetton. What an idiot!

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sat 21 Oct 2023, 7:13 pm

Great start by the Welsh regions picard - 3 straight losses! 2 at home after leading most of the game (Dragons and Cardiff) and one starting very poorly and leaving it late to scrape a losing 4 try BP (Ospreys). Bleak.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 21 Oct 2023, 7:20 pm

I think this might confirm a season of dross for the Welsh regions, probably the worst in years actually. For years they required significant investment into coaching and playing staff, but it’s all been cut. Some of the lineups I read looked quite weak. Cardiff still playing around with putting back-row forwards at 2nd row.

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Post by Welshmushroom Sun 22 Oct 2023, 6:10 pm

My predictions below were not to bad
Zebre vs Ulster             - Ulster by 10 points - Ulster won by 4 points
Connacht vs Ospreys     - Connacht by 6 points - Connacht won by 8 points
Dragons vs Edinburgh   - Dragons by 3 points - Edinburgh won by 5 points (I let my bias cloud my judgement here I think)
Lions        vs Stormers  - Stormers by 15 points - Stormers won by 2 points
Cardiff vs Treviso          - Treviso by 5 points - Treviso won by 1 point
Munster vs Sharks        - Munster by 3 points - Munster won by 14 points
Bulls        vs Scarlets     - Bulls by 20 points - Bulls won by 41 points
Glasgow vs Leinster       - Glasgow by 7 points - Glasgow won by 18 points

So I managed to pick 7 out of 8 match winners. Granted the points difference in some cases was big. Not a bad effort though

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