Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

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hugonaut
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Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by hugonaut »

This will be our third fixture against Ulster this season, and it's first plays second in the conference in the final match of the regular season. Sounds like an interesting scenario, but in fact it's just a dead rubber ... our fourth, having secured first place in the conference on 1st March. We're sixteen points ahead of Ulster, and in turn, they're six points ahead of Treviso. Neither team has anything tangible to play for.

Forwards [1-8]: Jack McGrath, Bryan Byrne, Andrew Porter, Jack Dunne [A], Ryan Baird [A], Josh Murphy, Scott Penny [A], Caelan Doris
Backs [9-15]: Jamison Gibson-Park, Noel Reid, Fergus McFadden, Conor O'Brien, Joe Tomane, Adam Byrne, Dave Kearney
Subs [16-23]: Ronan Kelleher [A], Pete Dooley, Vakh Abdeladze, Will Connors, Hugh O'Sullivan [A], Ciaran Frawley [A], Rory O'Loughlin, Barry Daly

Pack Selection
An unconventional 4-4 split on the bench - with Cronin, Molony, Kearney, van der Flier and Leavy [and Dowling, apparently] all injured, we're shy forwards. We're particularly shy at lock. We don't have any good reason to play any of the pack who featured against Toulouse. It's the end of the season: rust isn't the issue, rest is. Caelan Doris is the exception, because he was a late call-up for the semi-final squad and very likely won't feature in the final.

It's a pack shy of experience, but long on athletic ability - Baird, Dunne, Penny and Doris are all kids, but all very talented. There's a lot of lineout options there, but the onus will be on the front rowers to hit rucks, because outside the small numbers there's not a lot of weight.

McGrath
Porter and McGrath get a chance to play for places on the bench. Jack hasn't been himself this season, but he played almost half an hour in the win against New Zealand in November and started against Italy in the Six Nations at the end of February ... he hasn't had a complete mare. He has a massive body of work to his name - Six Nations wins, Lions tests, Heineken Cups, 50 test caps – and has played on the biggest stages.

There's a huge gap in experience between himself and Ed Byrne, and there's also a big, big size difference: Jack is listed in the semi-final matchday program at 120kg, Ed at 110kg. Against that Saracens pack, I think size and experience have a really important role to play. If Jack doesn't go well against Ulster, the decision makes itself; if he does, it gives us a valuable option.

Porter
I didn't think I'd be saying this, but it's a toss-up between Porter and Bent for the No18 jersey, and Bent is the man in possession. Mako is a nightmare opponent for any tighthead. He went 63' minutes against Munster and Tadgh went 66' against Toulouse, so they might cancel each other out. What Porter gives us in energy, he tends to give away in penalties, specifically at scrum time ... but he's a physical monster, and a stronger, more efficient tackler than Bent. He has to match and exceed what Bent did against Toulouse, strictly in terms of his own performance. He's capable of it, so it's a good position for us to be in.

Outside Back Sub [No23]
I think there's also a decision to make about the No23 jersey. Locko gives us good versatility, but he didn't do well against Ulster before coming off injured. Ferg gives us the same positional cover as Locko, but weighted towards wing rather than centre, with the added plusses of being hugely experienced and a goal-kicking option. He's also a savage competitor - Locko may be the next Ferg, but Ferg is the original. On the downside, he has missed a lot of rugby this season. Joe Tomane's last two performances have put him in the picture as providing versatility and impact. It seemed unlikely only a month ago, but he has been good in April. He has started games at 11 [2no.], 12 [4no.], 13 [1no.] & 14 [1no.] this season, which is an ideal background ... but he was so iffy in most of them. However, form is form - if he has a good hit-out against Ulster, he's definitely in the mix. DK is in the best form of any of them, and has buckets of experience - he's won the Six Nations and played in the World Cup – but he doesn't offer cover in the centres.

Audition for Bench
When I looked down the subs list against Toulouse, it didn't fill me with confidence - not enough test caps, not enough big match experience, not enough size and not really even enough form [bar Deegan]. It turns out that the lads who came on did themselves justice, and James Tracy and Michael Bent played exceptionally well. However, I think we need more of everything against a machine like Saracens: more caps, more experience, more size and more impact. So the match against Ulster is a real audition for the bench against Saracens.

mildlyinterested
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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by mildlyinterested »

Porter missed yesterday due to injury, so unsure if he is available for this

Dowling traveled to US with A team but didn't play, could be either injury related or they didn't want to risk him getting injured, i'm unsure.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by LeRouxIsPHat »

I'd make a couple of changes to it but by and large I like the look of that team and would like to see them play. I agree with your thinking on Jack and hope he steps up. It'd be a shame if his Leinster career ended with a whimper after being so good for us over the years. Would love if Connors got another shot too, he (understandably) wasn't great in his last appearance.

Repeating myself here but Penny is one guy who I wouldn't mind pushing a bit in terms of his development. Usually I hate when that happens but our circumstances are a bit unusual (Leavy and Josh injured, SOB not able to play every game) but he looks ready and we might be one injury away from wanting him to be involved in a Pro14 semi, and I'd happily have him benching if that was the case.

I don't mean to keep saying this but people seemed to have missed the fact that Tomane played 13 against Treviso. Named at 12 but himself and COB didn't line up like that.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by wixfjord »

Would be great to get Molony back for this. Would give us another option for the finals push.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by artaneboy »

hugonaut wrote:This will be our third fixture against Ulster this season, and it's first plays second in the conference in the final match of the regular season. Sounds like an interesting scenario, but in fact it's just a dead rubber ... our fourth, having secured first place in the conference on 1st March. We're sixteen points ahead of Ulster, and in turn, they're six points ahead of Treviso. Neither team has anything tangible to play for.

Forwards [1-8]: Jack McGrath, Bryan Byrne, Andrew Porter, Jack Dunne [A], Ryan Baird [A], Josh Murphy, Scott Penny [A], Caelan Doris
Backs [9-15]: Jamison Gibson-Park, Noel Reid, Fergus McFadden, Conor O'Brien, Joe Tomane, Adam Byrne, Dave Kearney
Subs [16-23]: Ronan Kelleher [A], Pete Dooley, Vakh Abdeladze, Will Connors, Hugh O'Sullivan [A], Ciaran Frawley [A], Rory O'Loughlin, Barry Daly

Pack Selection
An unconventional 4-4 split on the bench - with Cronin, Molony, Kearney, van der Flier and Leavy [and Dowling, apparently] all injured, we're shy forwards. We're particularly shy at lock. We don't have any good reason to play any of the pack who featured against Toulouse. It's the end of the season: rust isn't the issue, rest is. Caelan Doris is the exception, because he was a late call-up for the semi-final squad and very likely won't feature in the final.

It's a pack shy of experience, but long on athletic ability - Baird, Dunne, Penny and Doris are all kids, but all very talented. There's a lot of lineout options there, but the onus will be on the front rowers to hit rucks, because outside the small numbers there's not a lot of weight.

McGrath
Porter and McGrath get a chance to play for places on the bench. Jack hasn't been himself this season, but he played almost half an hour in the win against New Zealand in November and started against Italy in the Six Nations at the end of February ... he hasn't had a complete mare. He has a massive body of work to his name - Six Nations wins, Lions tests, Heineken Cups, 50 test caps – and has played on the biggest stages.

There's a huge gap in experience between himself and Ed Byrne, and there's also a big, big size difference: Jack is listed in the semi-final matchday program at 120kg, Ed at 110kg. Against that Saracens pack, I think size and experience have a really important role to play. If Jack doesn't go well against Ulster, the decision makes itself; if he does, it gives us a valuable option.

Porter
I didn't think I'd be saying this, but it's a toss-up between Porter and Bent for the No18 jersey, and Bent is the man in possession. Mako is a nightmare opponent for any tighthead. He went 63' minutes against Munster and Tadgh went 66' against Toulouse, so they might cancel each other out. What Porter gives us in energy, he tends to give away in penalties, specifically at scrum time ... but he's a physical monster, and a stronger, more efficient tackler than Bent. He has to match and exceed what Bent did against Toulouse, strictly in terms of his own performance. He's capable of it, so it's a good position for us to be in.

Outside Back Sub [No23]
I think there's also a decision to make about the No23 jersey. Locko gives us good versatility, but he didn't do well against Ulster before coming off injured. Ferg gives us the same positional cover as Locko, but weighted towards wing rather than centre, with the added plusses of being hugely experienced and a goal-kicking option. He's also a savage competitor - Locko may be the next Ferg, but Ferg is the original. On the downside, he has missed a lot of rugby this season. Joe Tomane's last two performances have put him in the picture as providing versatility and impact. It seemed unlikely only a month ago, but he has been good in April. He has started games at 11 [2no.], 12 [4no.], 13 [1no.] & 14 [1no.] this season, which is an ideal background ... but he was so iffy in most of them. However, form is form - if he has a good hit-out against Ulster, he's definitely in the mix. DK is in the best form of any of them, and has buckets of experience - he's won the Six Nations and played in the World Cup – but he doesn't offer cover in the centres.

Audition for Bench
When I looked down the subs list against Toulouse, it didn't fill me with confidence - not enough test caps, not enough big match experience, not enough size and not really even enough form [bar Deegan]. It turns out that the lads who came on did themselves justice, and James Tracy and Michael Bent played exceptionally well. However, I think we need more of everything against a machine like Saracens: more caps, more experience, more size and more impact. So the match against Ulster is a real audition for the bench against Saracens.
Great post. We were all aware already that this was a dead rubber- but an opportunity for some players to make the final squad. But that focus on the key positions makes that Ravenhill match an intriguing watch.

Where are we now on the ‘2 from 3’ Kolpak directive? I don’t think we can leave Lowe out now- but Fardy is nearly undroppable also. I think we are going to have to risk Hughie O’S- imperfect as that will be by way of reassurance for such a huge match.


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nopeare
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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by nopeare »

artaneboy wrote:Where are we now on the ‘2 from 3’ Kolpak directive? I don’t think we can leave Lowe out now- but Fardy is nearly undroppable also. I think we are going to have to risk Hughie O’S- imperfect as that will be by way of reassurance for such a huge match.
I agree that Lowe and fardy should get the nod, which surely means Hugh should be starting this for game time.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by leinster23 »

If we're going to have O'Sullivan on the bench for the European final then he needs to play nearly 80 minutes here.

I'd agree with the above about McGrath, and also that we should use the backline to give players the chance to audition for the 23 shirt against Saracens.

The player in contention to start against Saracens I'd pick here is Ruddock (if he's available), I don't think he's played since Ulster. If he plays here and looks good I'd start him, otherwise I'd go for Fardy.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by hugonaut »

leinster23 wrote:If we're going to have O'Sullivan on the bench for the European final then he needs to play nearly 80 minutes here.

I'd agree with the above about McGrath, and also that we should use the backline to give players the chance to audition for the 23 shirt against Saracens.

The player in contention to start against Saracens I'd pick here is Ruddock (if he's available), I don't think he's played since Ulster. If he plays here and looks good I'd start him, otherwise I'd go for Fardy.
You are right about Ruddock. Good point. He didn't play in the Six Nations at all, so has played very little rugby in 2019 - only 5 games in 15 weeks. We could easily fit him in at No6, which would allow us a more rational 5-3 split on the bench, with Josh Murphy in the No19 jersey.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by paddyor »

artaneboy wrote:Great post. We were all aware already that this was a dead rubber- but an opportunity for some players to make the final squad. But that focus on the key positions makes that Ravenhill match an intriguing watch.

Where are we now on the ‘2 from 3’ Kolpak directive? I don’t think we can leave Lowe out now- but Fardy is nearly undroppable also. I think we are going to have to risk Hughie O’S- imperfect as that will be by way of reassurance for such a huge match.
We can't drop Fardy for the rest of the season unless Molony makes a comeback(except for a game like this maybe) so I think he'll be saved for a final. The choice is JCB or Lowe really. My guess is Josh Murphy will be making another appearance in the 2nd row(as the senior lock) with one of the academy lads(Baird, Dowling or Dunne) and maybe a senior lock on the bench, though I suppose we could completely throw this game and just throw the young lads in which is kind of what we did last year. Just seems like this is what mgt are driving at with Murphy. The 6'4 6,4 option.

@hugo
Isn't Penny a kind of break glass in case of emergency option due to some U20s minutes limit?
Ruddock's tackle stats consistently too low for me to be taken seriously as a Six Nations blindside..... Ruddock's defensive stats don't stack up. - All Blacks Nil, Jan 15th, 2014
England A 8 - 14 Ireland A, 25th Jan 2014
Ruddock(c) 19/2 Tackles

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by mildlyinterested »

Leinster injury update:

- Cronin's quad injury to be assessed this week
- Decision to be made on Porter [pec] and JGP [hamstring] later in the week
- Adam Byrne [quad] to miss rest of season
- Ruddock [ill] entering graduated return to play protocols.
- Molony [back] could return this week.
Last edited by mildlyinterested on April 23rd, 2019, 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hugonaut
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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by hugonaut »

mildlyinterested wrote:Leinster injury update:

- Cronin's quad injury to be assessed this week
- Decision to be made on Porter [pec] and JGP [hamstring] later in the week
- Adam Byrne [quad] to miss rest of season
- Ruddock [ill] entering graduated return to play protocols.
Tough break for Adam. He has been playing well since December and now misses out the business end of the season, i.e. the reason you play well from December through to April. Opens the door for The Ferg Supreme, who had the same disappointment last season.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by mildlyinterested »

Ruddock out this week too:
The flanker — again unavailable this week — felt unwell during the pre-game captain’s run but when asked if he had, in fact, suffered a concussion in the build-up to the Toulouse game, Fogarty said Ruddock just didn’t feel right.

“In a game like that semi-final, we need to make sure everyone is 100% so they can commit hard to it,” Fogarty explained. “Rhys didn’t feel quite right so they pulled him. That’s pretty much it, he wasn’t 100%. They’re going to assess him again this week.”
https://www.the42.ie/sean-cronin-leinst ... =shortlink

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by cormac »

George Clancy is the ref
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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by Jackie Brown »

cormac wrote:George Clancy is the ref
Great...

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by joooooe »

This match is a dead rubber and the various interviews in today's papers show that the coaches have been sent out to try to drum up some support.

However, this needn't be the case. It has been suggested previously that the old inter-provincial cup could be contested within the current structures of the Pro14; the 4 provinces play each other home and away each season anyway, would it be so hard to produce a table to reflect performance in just these fixtures? Edinburgh and Glasgow play for the 1872 Cup so I can't imagine the league would have much of an objection, particularly when you consider that it would add some extra spice to fixtures such as this.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by mildlyinterested »

looks like Dowling trained today so expect him to start.

I wonder if Nick Mc will get one final leinster appearance..

trinity exams this week, will that affect players like Jack Dunne?

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by ronk »

joooooe wrote:This match is a dead rubber and the various interviews in today's papers show that the coaches have been sent out to try to drum up some support.

However, this needn't be the case. It has been suggested previously that the old inter-provincial cup could be contested within the current structures of the Pro14; the 4 provinces play each other home and away each season anyway, would it be so hard to produce a table to reflect performance in just these fixtures? Edinburgh and Glasgow play for the 1872 Cup so I can't imagine the league would have much of an objection, particularly when you consider that it would add some extra spice to fixtures such as this.
It wouldn’t make a difference.

A very conscious decision was made not to report an inter pro table derived from the Celtic League and to discourage all discussion of it. I don’t expect that to change.

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by neill_m »

joooooe wrote:This match is a dead rubber and the various interviews in today's papers show that the coaches have been sent out to try to drum up some support.

However, this needn't be the case. It has been suggested previously that the old inter-provincial cup could be contested within the current structures of the Pro14; the 4 provinces play each other home and away each season anyway, would it be so hard to produce a table to reflect performance in just these fixtures? Edinburgh and Glasgow play for the 1872 Cup so I can't imagine the league would have much of an objection, particularly when you consider that it would add some extra spice to fixtures such as this.
A very unoffical table would look like:

Leinster 5 18
Munster 5 15
Connacht 5 11
Ulster 5 5

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by arsebiscuits1 »

paddyor wrote:
artaneboy wrote:Great post. We were all aware already that this was a dead rubber- but an opportunity for some players to make the final squad. But that focus on the key positions makes that Ravenhill match an intriguing watch.

Where are we now on the ‘2 from 3’ Kolpak directive? I don’t think we can leave Lowe out now- but Fardy is nearly undroppable also. I think we are going to have to risk Hughie O’S- imperfect as that will be by way of reassurance for such a huge match.
We can't drop Fardy for the rest of the season unless Molony makes a comeback(except for a game like this maybe) so I think he'll be saved for a final. The choice is JCB or Lowe really. My guess is Josh Murphy will be making another appearance in the 2nd row(as the senior lock) with one of the academy lads(Baird, Dowling or Dunne) and maybe a senior lock on the bench, though I suppose we could completely throw this game and just throw the young lads in which is kind of what we did last year. Just seems like this is what mgt are driving at with Murphy. The 6'4 6,4 option.

@hugo
Isn't Penny a kind of break glass in case of emergency option due to some U20s minutes limit?

Under 20s guys can only play 25 games a year as Penny references here https://www.the42.ie/scott-penny-leinst ... 8-Feb2019/

I don't think it's a minutes thing as such.

He'd definitely be nearing that.

We had about 8 A games and he would have been involved in all or most, 5 under 20s 6 nations games, 5 senior games, was there any warm up games etc he would have been involved in? Would warm up games even count?

Given you play to a finish position in the JWC he will be pencilled in for another 6 games too.
He's gotten awfully fond of that brick

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Re: Leinster @ Ulster, Sat 27 Apr 17:15 KO

Post by cormac »

Penny has played 6 Leinster A matches in the Celtic Cup + 5 starts for Leinster in the Pro14.

It's also a max of 5 games in the JWC. 3 pool matches plus 2 more to determine final finishing position.
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