End of season depth chart

Talk about the men in white, and everything Ulster!!

Moderator: Moderators

paddybrown
Novice
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2021 10:52 pm

End of season depth chart

Post by paddybrown »

My take on how each position stands at the end of this season, and predictions for next season.

Loosehead: Andrew Warwick, Eric O'Sullivan, Callum Reid.
Warwick made the position his own this season, and O'Sullivan was on the Pro14 Dream Team last season, so we're solid for first and second choice. Didn't see that much of Reid. Jack McGrath is gone, so we'll either have to sign a fourth loosehead, or George Saunderson may get a few appearances from the academy.

Hooker: Rob Herring, John Andrew, Tom Stewart.
Herring is unshakable, but second choice is uncertain. The bigger the game, the longer Dan leaves Herring on. Bradley Roberts has left, and Declan Moore, who had one good appearance on loan, will be back to compete with Andrew and Stewart for second choice.

Tighthead: Marty Moore, Tom O'Toole, Gareth Milasinovich.
Just like loosehead, the top two are solid. Dan clearly didn't want to risk Milasinovich against the Stormers. Ross Kane has gone, and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen is joining next season. Not sure if he's mainly there for depth, or if he'll challenge for starts.

Second Row: Iain Henderson, Alan O'Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Cormac Izuchukwu.
The second row picks itself. Oddly, O'Connor is ahead of Treadwell in the Ulster pecking order, but Treadwell is the one getting picked for Ireland. O'Connor is mister reliable and tackles for days. Treadwell's probably more athletic, but a can be a bit hot-headed and gives away more penalties. Mentioning Sam Carter's name will probably provoke an angry comment from Stand Up, but he's an experienced, reliable squad player. Hopefully Izuchukwu will get some games and kick on his development. Mick Kearney and David O'Connor are gone, Frank Bradshaw Ryan comes in.

Blindside: Marcus Rea, Matty Rea, Greg Jones.
Openside: Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy.
Number 8: Duane Vermeulen, Nick Timoney, David McCann.
Timoney had a very busy season, making more tackles than near enough the whole URC combined, and has added some bulk to his pace. Marcus Rea had a breakthrough season, only really establishing himself as first choice at the end of the year, and finishing the season third in the league for turnovers. If he keeps going like this, an Ireland callup must be on the cards sooner or later. I suspect we'll only have one more season from Vermeulen, and we may see Timoney or McCann getting more time at 8. Hopefully Jordi Murphy can get back to his best and give us a bit more depth at openside. Sean Reidy has departed, Sean Reffell is joining.

Scrum half: John Cooney, Nathan Doak, Dave Shanahan
Out half: Billy Burns, Michael Lowry, Ian Madigan.
When fit, Cooney is still the best scrum half in Ireland. Nathan Doak is good enough that we don't need to worry when Cooney's not available, and Dave Shanahan is as reliable as ever. At 10, I think the plan this season was to rebuild Burns' confidence after his Ireland experience with lots of game time, and give Lowry some experience off the bench. First part of the plan worked well, to the point that Burns was probably over-played, second part was scuppered after Addison's injury when Lowry was needed back at 15. We have more depth at fullback now, so he may play more at 10 next season. Looks like Madge might be being phased out. Jake Flannery, joining from Munster, will add some depth.

Inside centre: Stuart McCloskey, Stewart Moore, Luke Marshall, Angus Curtis.
Outside centre: James Hume, Stewart Moore, Ben Moxham.
McCloskey and Hume have to be the best midfield partnership in Ireland right now, and if either of them isn't available, Stewart Moore can fill in with very little loss of quality. We all want to see Luke Marshall back, and he showed signs of what he can do against the Stormers and the Bulls. Jude Postlethwaite will be promoted on a development contract, and looks handy from what little I've seen of him.

Left wing: Ethan McIlroy, Rob Lyttle, Ben Moxham, Aaron Sexton.
Right wing: Rob Baloucoune, Craig Gilroy, Ben Moxham, Aaron Sexton.
McIlroy was a revelation, but another player who may have been over-played a bit. There were times he looked knackered. Too heavy-legged to finish that break against Munster in the quarter-final. The return of Jacob Stockdale will hopefully mean a little less responsibility on his shoulders. Baloucoune was the best winger in Ireland this season, and his lack of international game time is a crime, but meant we had him for the rearranged fixtures during the international break, so can't complain too much. Lyttle and Gilroy are reliable players. Dan clearly likes Moxham for his versatility, and doesn't quite trust Sexton yet.

Fullback: Michael Lowry, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Ethan McIlroy.
Lowry's just a privilege to watch. Stewart Moore did a great job at fullback at the end of the season, Will Addison will hopefully be back from his latest injury, and Shea O'Brien is joining from City of Armagh, so the extra depth may give Lowry more opportunities at out-half.
Silverstu
Initiate
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:05 am

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Silverstu »

I think for any real progress more of the young guys have got to start stepping up - Tom Stewart and Callum Reid in the front row, Izzy in the second row and McCann/Sheridan/Crothers/McLaughlin in the back row. O'Shea developing at full back could help Lowry shift to 10 and I'd like Sexton to push past Moxham. I think our starting 15 is great and we have some good depth in most places but its little vulnerable to injuries which are inevitable through a season.
Big-al
Lord Chancellor
Posts: 4422
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:20 am

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Big-al »

Flyhalf is the biggest problem yet.

People forget that it was Burns’ very poor pass around 75minutes that gifted the stormers field possession and ulster never got out of their half for the rest of the match. I’m hoping Flannery hits the ground running and can get good Gametime off the bench next season.

I don’t think ulster will lift silverware with Burns at flyhalf.

Cooneys game controlling is suspect also, but we have Doak waiting in the wings, if McFarland would ever use him.

McCann needs to toughen up next season if he wants to get more minutes. Earlier on in the season vs Connacht at the Aviva, he was not concentrating at a breakdown and Connacht counter rucked him off the ball. That shouldn’t be happening to a big man like him. I don’t think it went unnoticed by the coaching staff.

I’m also hopeful of Stewart getting more
meaningful gametime, I think he has the ability to put Herring under serious pressure next season. Reid and Izzy should be aiming to put EOS and Treadwell under pressure. Crothers should be trying to oust himself ahead of Matty Rea and Greg Jones also. He is a smart backrower for the u20’s.

Sextons pace alone should be enough to get him ahead of gilroy and Moxham, but it hasn’t so far, so his defensive side of the game must be weak enough.

Stockdale is the potential big player on the left wing. It’s a RWC season and he will hopefully be reinvigorate, aim to become a key player for Ulster and Ireland again. He has the ability to cut any team to shreds. A rare attacking talent and ulster are lucky to have him.
jean valjean
Red Hand Ambassador
Posts: 2201
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:03 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by jean valjean »

Back row remains our glaringly obvious weakness and I'd go as far to say we have the least depth of any Irish province. Big questions remain over Jordi's legs and we are an injury away from rea and Jones starting. We need mccann and reffel to hit the ground running next season and challenge for the 23. I can't see the depth coming through to prevent us needing a serious NIQ post the world Cup next year.

Sent from my SM-F711B using Tapatalk

Big-al
Lord Chancellor
Posts: 4422
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:20 am

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Big-al »

jean valjean wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:57 pm Back row remains our glaringly obvious weakness and I'd go as far to say we have the least depth of any Irish province. Big questions remain over Jordi's legs and we are an injury away from rea and Jones starting. We need mccann and reffel to hit the ground running next season and challenge for the 23. I can't see the depth coming through to prevent us needing a serious NIQ post the world Cup next year.

Sent from my SM-F711B using Tapatalk
Starting back row is good enough, still lacks an explosive carrier, but one of the best in the league at the breakdown. Marcus Rea is almost a clone of Chris Henry in how he plays. Just a real nuisance.
jean valjean
Red Hand Ambassador
Posts: 2201
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:03 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by jean valjean »

Big-al wrote:
jean valjean wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:57 pm Back row remains our glaringly obvious weakness and I'd go as far to say we have the least depth of any Irish province. Big questions remain over Jordi's legs and we are an injury away from rea and Jones starting. We need mccann and reffel to hit the ground running next season and challenge for the 23. I can't see the depth coming through to prevent us needing a serious NIQ post the world Cup next year.

Sent from my SM-F711B using Tapatalk
Starting back row is good enough, still lacks an explosive carrier, but one of the best in the league at the breakdown. Marcus Rea is almost a clone of Chris Henry in how he plays. Just a real nuisance.
Agree the starting back row is good enough but we have been fortunate with their injury profile. Look how our back three have coped admirably without lowry, Addison and stockdale. Take marcus rea, timoney and Duane out and what are we left with?

Sent from my SM-F711B using Tapatalk

paddybrown
Novice
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2021 10:52 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by paddybrown »

Big-al wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:46 pm Flyhalf is the biggest problem yet.

People forget that it was Burns’ very poor pass around 75minutes that gifted the stormers field possession and ulster never got out of their half for the rest of the match. I’m hoping Flannery hits the ground running and can get good Gametime off the bench next season.

I don’t think ulster will lift silverware with Burns at flyhalf.
He has his qualities and his deficiencies. I think he's a better player than he gets credit for in some quarters. He runs the backline better than any of the alternatives, he has a great range of attacking kicks, but he's a bit flimsy defensively, and his confidence is a bit fragile. He doesn't have the ability to really impose himself on a game the way the best 10s can, but that's what everyone's looking for. In the meantime, we have two 9s who can.
Big-al wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:46 pm McCann needs to toughen up next season if he wants to get more minutes. Earlier on in the season vs Connacht at the Aviva, he was not concentrating at a breakdown and Connacht counter rucked him off the ball. That shouldn’t be happening to a big man like him. I don’t think it went unnoticed by the coaching staff.
A lot of people underperformed in that match against Connacht. But McCann did play in the win against Leinster after that. He's a young guy and will get stronger.
allezlesverres
Novice
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:58 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by allezlesverres »

Big-al wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:46 pm Flyhalf is the biggest problem yet.

People forget that it was Burns’ very poor pass around 75minutes that gifted the stormers field possession and ulster never got out of their half for the rest of the match. I’m hoping Flannery hits the ground running and can get good Gametime off the bench next season.

I agree to a point. Flyhalves in Ireland are generally in a poor place. Sexton aside I dont know that I'd swap BB for any of the other options. He has had some issues but I would give him a bye ball on things like that pass against the stormers (and equally for his poor kicking from hand throughout the game). He was clearly injured and exhausted and should have been subbed shortly after half time. The problem was the lack of faith in the bench. BB was also central to a lot of the good parts of Ulster's performance in the Stormers game.

I think we can win trophies with BB in the team but we need someone to give him competition and/or back up. I dont think Lowry (or Mads) is the answer to that so hopefully Flannery develops quickly.
User avatar
Dave
Rí­ na Cúige Uladh
Posts: 22371
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:27 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Dave »

Stockdale, Baloucoune and Lowry in a back three will be delicious. Of course Jacob has to win his place back. There will be fierce competition in the backline.

The forward stocks are not so abundant with the talent needed . When Hendy doesn't play the drop in quality is stark. Let's hope big Frank can play some ball. I would like to Izzy get some game time. He looked a big ball carrier before he got injured. Some of the 2nd row fundamentals required some tidying but it's that carrying ability we need.

The backrow as mentioned is the perennial issue. Vermeulen, Marcus and Timoney have formed a useful unit. Sean Reffell, could be a very useful signing indeed. A promising openside, a tackle and turnover specialist by all accounts. Certainly one that Sorries wanted to keep. I have high hopes for McCann. I believe his season was reduced due to concussion. Hopefully he is fully recovered. The old summer bulk will benefit him also. These are the 5 guys (not the burger place) I hope to see mostly start. Outside of that it's problematic. Unless an Academy bolter comes through. Perhaps Jordi can get a spring back in his steps too.

Front row, I think is probably a bit unbalanced with the tight head stocks looking stronger. Loose head could turn out to be an issue. Again I'd like to see more from Reid. In fairness the scrum has vastly improved. Warwick and TOT in particular improving no end.

In summary, we are brill.


I have my own tv channel, what have you got?
volvo
Novice
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:15 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by volvo »

Agree with all points raised in these posts and also hoping the young lads push on, would be great as Dave says to get Jacob,Rob and Mikey firing in back three and have to agree even with all our trials and tribulations the Ulster team are Brill. :fleg: :red:
User avatar
HammerTime
Steward
Posts: 925
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:02 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by HammerTime »

Looking back at when Ulster A thrashed Leinster A last year, only Marcus Rea has pushed on to the Ulster team whereas at least 6 of that Leinster A team are in and around the Leinster squad and getting plenty of game time. Pretty poor stuff.
Bart S
Chancellor to the King
Posts: 3917
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:48 am

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Bart S »

Dave wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 3:26 pm Stockdale, Baloucoune and Lowry in a back three will be delicious. Of course Jacob has to win his place back. There will be fierce competition in the backline.

The forward stocks are not so abundant with the talent needed . When Hendy doesn't play the drop in quality is stark. Let's hope big Frank can play some ball. I would like to Izzy get some game time. He looked a big ball carrier before he got injured. Some of the 2nd row fundamentals required some tidying but it's that carrying ability we need.

The backrow as mentioned is the perennial issue. Vermeulen, Marcus and Timoney have formed a useful unit. Sean Reffell, could be a very useful signing indeed. A promising openside, a tackle and turnover specialist by all accounts. Certainly one that Sorries wanted to keep. I have high hopes for McCann. I believe his season was reduced due to concussion. Hopefully he is fully recovered. The old summer bulk will benefit him also. These are the 5 guys (not the burger place) I hope to see mostly start. Outside of that it's problematic. Unless an Academy bolter comes through. Perhaps Jordi can get a spring back in his steps too.

Front row, I think is probably a bit unbalanced with the tight head stocks looking stronger. Loose head could turn out to be an issue. Again I'd like to see more from Reid. In fairness the scrum has vastly improved. Warwick and TOT in particular improving no end.

In summary, we are brill.
Need to throw Will Addison into that back 3 starting mix next season
User avatar
Dave
Rí­ na Cúige Uladh
Posts: 22371
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:27 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Dave »

Bart S wrote:
Dave wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 3:26 pm Stockdale, Baloucoune and Lowry in a back three will be delicious. Of course Jacob has to win his place back. There will be fierce competition in the backline.

The forward stocks are not so abundant with the talent needed . When Hendy doesn't play the drop in quality is stark. Let's hope big Frank can play some ball. I would like to Izzy get some game time. He looked a big ball carrier before he got injured. Some of the 2nd row fundamentals required some tidying but it's that carrying ability we need.

The backrow as mentioned is the perennial issue. Vermeulen, Marcus and Timoney have formed a useful unit. Sean Reffell, could be a very useful signing indeed. A promising openside, a tackle and turnover specialist by all accounts. Certainly one that Sorries wanted to keep. I have high hopes for McCann. I believe his season was reduced due to concussion. Hopefully he is fully recovered. The old summer bulk will benefit him also. These are the 5 guys (not the burger place) I hope to see mostly start. Outside of that it's problematic. Unless an Academy bolter comes through. Perhaps Jordi can get a spring back in his steps too.

Front row, I think is probably a bit unbalanced with the tight head stocks looking stronger. Loose head could turn out to be an issue. Again I'd like to see more from Reid. In fairness the scrum has vastly improved. Warwick and TOT in particular improving no end.

In summary, we are brill.
Need to throw Will Addison into that back 3 starting mix next season
That sentence might injure him...
I have my own tv channel, what have you got?
User avatar
pip14
Red Hand Ambassador
Posts: 2161
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:41 am
Location: Belfast

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by pip14 »

Best Back three for Ulster would be

Stockdale
Baloucoune
Addison
You've got to get your first tackle in early, even if it's late.
User avatar
Dave
Rí­ na Cúige Uladh
Posts: 22371
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:27 pm

Re: End of season depth chart

Post by Dave »

Injured
I have my own tv channel, what have you got?
Post Reply