6 Nations 2024

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Dharper
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by Dharper »

A few thoughts in no real order:

Stu was excellent, very mature performance, didn’t force anything. Super solid in defence, without being destructive. Dovetailed with henshaw and Crowley superbly in midfield. Beautiful passing, with a couple of sumptuous offloads added in which didn’t “feel” risky or forced. Big parts to play in tries without going for glory himself or silly handling errors. Very very good.

The backrow was interesting and was as expected for me. Baird I thought was v good. Conan was really physical - good carrying a good performance. Doris did a decent job at 7, but not at his normal superb standard for me today. The backrow was unbalanced, and ok v italy it functioned, but Doris is almost wasted there at 7. I’d have liked to have seen him against a top 7 to really see how good he is there. VdF prob needs a breather but personally I’m not a fan of doris being the backup.
AF must be happy though because if pom unfit for wales he can go baird Doris or even beirne at 6 with Doris/Conan at 8 depending which way he wants to go.

Crowley was excellent again (I’m not bothered re the kicks) he’s an attacking 10, who suits the high tempo ire operate at. The wind appeared to be an issue for most of the game re kicking.

I think certainly v wales you could start Bealham no problem. I hope not, but furlong may be on a slow decline with injuries and mileage catching him up. I’d be tempted to rest him v wales and get him ready for twickenham. Without disrespecting wales there is sufficient experience or depth to cover most positions and no need to take risks re players fitness with sterner challenges in the last 2 weeks.

Game started to break up with all the changes, but good to see ire bedding back into the game with 10 to go. Overall an impressive performance - despite personel changes we can still play that same dynamic fast and skilled game. Ire are playing Rugby several levels above any other team in the competition, an absolute joy to watch.

Whether he’s was MOTM or not, I thought lowe again was v good. His kicking wasn’t as prominent as we were generally dominating and looking to keep possession. Nicely taken try demonstrating real strength. He is a very good defensive reader, nigh on every single game he gets into the passing channel getting interceptions or preventing overlaps with shooting out tackles.
All those question marks over him a few yrs ago have generally been answered. (I won’t raise any obvious comparisons). He is a v important player for ire.
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solidarity
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by solidarity »

For me, more than any individual standing out, the team seemed to purr like a finelr tuned motor, apart from a bit in the second half.
justinr73
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by justinr73 »

Agree the word for Stu was mature.

More influential than he’s been for Ulster this season.

They couldn’t put him down.

I’d argue that the overhead ‘offload’ with three players hanging on to him was a pass!

I wouldn’t agree that Byrne was poor when he came on.

Everything obviously went wrong for Larmour and, whilst he was probably trying too hard, he’s short of international class.
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by Jetstream »

Lurgan Lad wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:24 pm Thought Larmour was our worst player, came on and seemed to make mistake after mistake. Nash appears to have taken his opportunity, but after him and Lowe there aren't many wingers putting their hands up. Also thought Byrne was poor when he came on.
The Ulster guys played pretty well, if understated roles. McCloskey has much better distribution skills than probably any other centre Ireland has, had a really good game.
I like Larmour but he had a poor outing. Casey generally was poor, putting one kick out on the full and taking too much time on the ball at rucks. Gibson Park was a huge upgrade and if I was going to Twickenham, I would have Murray on the bench.
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big mervyn
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by big mervyn »

justinr73 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:02 pm Great stuff by the wee fella doing the singing.

Did that fat mascot not want to be there or something?
Brown-nose Lowe gave his medal to Farrell's son.

He really should have given it to the wee lad who was the de facto MOTM in the eyes of the public. First time we've "won" the anthems since Croke Park
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by Dharper »

big mervyn wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:30 pm
justinr73 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:02 pm Great stuff by the wee fella doing the singing.

Did that fat mascot not want to be there or something?
Brown-nose Lowe gave his medal to Farrell's son.

He really should have given it to the wee lad who was the de facto MOTM in the eyes of the public. First time we've "won" the anthems since Croke Park
Proper belted it out, absolutely brilliant. Fully agreed, hopefully he was squared off with some merchandise. Even AF when they cut to the box had a big smile on his face. Pretty sure that environment would do the right thing by him.
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big mervyn
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by big mervyn »

Stu made a few 6N teams of the week and rightly so

Planet rugby
It's staggering to think that McCloskey is Ireland's third choice inside centre but he did everything he could to advance his claims in an impressive outing.

The Independent
What depth Ireland have in their centres. Robbie Henshaw could easily have made our selection and could yet retain the 13 shirt even if Garry Ringrose is fit for round three. But let’s give some shine to McCloskey, who has always managed to stand up in a tough season for Ulster and seemed to enjoy being back in Irish green.
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by Neill_M »

Louis Lynagh named in the Italian squad v France now his move to Benetton is confirmed.
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Columbo
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

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I have to say I was expecting this to be a tougher tournament for Ireland - 3 potentially tough games to go, but you have to say Ireland look a cut above so far. Farrell seems to be a phenomenal coach, in fact the whole ticket just seem to be absolutely on it. It seems like whatever Irish team gets selected, even if apparently disrupted by injuries etc, just has such clarity of purpose - they know how they’re going to beat teams, and technical execution is always so good they’re always giving themselves chances to score.

The obvious risks or pitfalls for Ireland imo are scrum, and also I would say half-back. Porter is a class player but I think rightly or wrongly a lot of refs have his technique on their radar, and we don’t have any great pipeline at loosehead at all.. definitely an area of concern for the next couple of years. Eng had a field day on irelands scrum 2 years ago, which is one thing that always causes me to be nervy about that fixture! I’m also not entirely convinced by our options at 9, JGP in fairness has been very good, and when we’re reliably generating sub 3 sec ruck ball he’s in his element, but if the oppo manages to snarl our ball up he can struggle - and I’m not at all convinced by Casey so far. I don’t even think he’s been great for Munster, he’s error prone and he has this undeserved reputation for being lightning-quick around the breakdown, he’s actually often quite slow to get to the ball and make his mind up.

Crowley is also a bit error-prone, but his instincts are very good, and I think he’ll mature nicely. I thought Byrne was good at the weekend as well.

On a separate note, the vibes around the Ireland camp continue to be class - I thought it was noticeably the best-vibe camp in that Netflix doc, and that still seems to be the case. Quite a contrast with ulster, where the vibes have been grim and going downwards all season..
..one more thing
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by jean valjean »

Makes you wonder how a team that comes together a few times a year, can have a pattern of play that others can slot into seamlessly and be effective.
Yes, the players are on a higher level but the coaching message and tactics are so clear and concise. Ulster make more than 4 changes and it looks like they haven't met before at times.
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solidarity
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

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Dharper
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

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Columbo wrote: Wed Feb 14, 2024 6:01 pm I have to say I was expecting this to be a tougher tournament for Ireland - 3 potentially tough games to go, but you have to say Ireland look a cut above so far. Farrell seems to be a phenomenal coach, in fact the whole ticket just seem to be absolutely on it. It seems like whatever Irish team gets selected, even if apparently disrupted by injuries etc, just has such clarity of purpose - they know how they’re going to beat teams, and technical execution is always so good they’re always giving themselves chances to score.

The obvious risks or pitfalls for Ireland imo are scrum, and also I would say half-back. Porter is a class player but I think rightly or wrongly a lot of refs have his technique on their radar, and we don’t have any great pipeline at loosehead at all.. definitely an area of concern for the next couple of years. Eng had a field day on irelands scrum 2 years ago, which is one thing that always causes me to be nervy about that fixture! I’m also not entirely convinced by our options at 9, JGP in fairness has been very good, and when we’re reliably generating sub 3 sec ruck ball he’s in his element, but if the oppo manages to snarl our ball up he can struggle - and I’m not at all convinced by Casey so far. I don’t even think he’s been great for Munster, he’s error prone and he has this undeserved reputation for being lightning-quick around the breakdown, he’s actually often quite slow to get to the ball and make his mind up.

Crowley is also a bit error-prone, but his instincts are very good, and I think he’ll mature nicely. I thought Byrne was good at the weekend as well.

On a separate note, the vibes around the Ireland camp continue to be class - I thought it was noticeably the best-vibe camp in that Netflix doc, and that still seems to be the case. Quite a contrast with ulster, where the vibes have been grim and going downwards all season..
Agree with an awful lot of that.

I’d say currently the way Ire play the scrum risk is mitigated to a degree as the handling in the last 18mths is frankly the best I’ve seen consistently from an ire side from late 80s onwards. First error v fr was mccarthy in the 24thmin v France….when we deliberately starved them, says it all.
The development of mccarthy in the row will boost the scrum. LH is an issue. TH less so….Jager has the potential to bypass tot relatively quickly. Bealham is launching a soft coupe. I’m starting to get v concerned re furlong, I think mileage has caught up with him. Ironically bealham may just prolong his career with rotation.

The synopsis re 9 is pretty accurate. I think Farrell is very clear in what he wants, Casey suits the style, not necessarily the best around and yes he is error prone but still young. JGP was pretty Ave back in the day, not anymore, he is our heartbeat….the change in tempo and flow was clear when he came on. It took the best nz performance in 3 yrs, an a nigh on unbeatable fr pack 2022 to blitz the breakdown.

Personally I’d love a clear natural 7 backup to VdF, quality enough to end the Doris or Pom at 7….they can do a job, but I think it clearly isn’t as smooth as a natural 7.

15 will sort itself out with Nash freeing up Hansen & JOB to be that backup and importantly getting gametime when Keenan is fit.

Yes undoubtedly the players are better, with quality provincial coaching….but the light is damnin on UR. A clear out is long overdue. There has been an acceptance of mediocrity and recontracting of mediocrity. Dan calls Izzy out for lateness, then u see he has a 3yr contract?….a total lack of accountability and respect.

The ire players love the environment-let’s be honest that hasn’t been the case at ulster for yrs. I just hope there is a young POM in the ur group, and that a young Billy big horlix, is feck off out the door if they are disruptive to put a marker down.

As an aside admittedly it’s a soundbite potentially part of a bigger conversation, but I’m disappointed on what’s been put out in the media re the Olympic 7s. Timoney and definitely Balacoune should Both should be saying “ur are currently tom kite we need to do our best to turn the ship around that’s my only focus”…to be fair timoney has been class. Balacoune has been brad pitt, frankly if he continues at this level clearly under his potential I’d let him go at the end of his contract….accepting mediocrity is an absolute cancer in a squad looking to improve.
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by Dharper »

Re 6ns standards it’s been crap, in fact a really poor watch.

I think wales are in real trouble they don’t have a good front 5. Yes it’s a rebuild but I actually think they may have to go down the Scot route and find some saffers or argies re props.

Eng issue is borthwick, his philosophy is conservative, they have they players undoubtedly. The guy is set in his ways. Is there stuff happening behind closed doors re training maybe….but it’s 12mths Farrell took.

I think fr strategy is wrong pack is too big, too slow, they need to play faster. Danty has been disappointing….fr are….blunt!
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solidarity
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

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Dharper wrote: Thu Feb 15, 2024 8:45 pm Re 6ns standards it’s been crap, in fact a really poor watch.

I think wales are in real trouble they don’t have a good front 5. Yes it’s a rebuild but I actually think they may have to go down the Scot route and find some saffers or argies re props.

Eng issue is borthwick, his philosophy is conservative, they have they players undoubtedly. The guy is set in his ways. Is there stuff happening behind closed doors re training maybe….but it’s 12mths Farrell took.

I think fr strategy is wrong pack is too big, too slow, they need to play faster. Danty has been disappointing….fr are….blunt!
Yep to all that, and that's why Ireland look a street ahead of everyone else.
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Columbo
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Re: 6 Nations 2024

Post by Columbo »

Dharper wrote:Personally I’d love a clear natural 7 backup to VdF, quality enough to end the Doris or Pom at 7….they can do a job, but I think it clearly isn’t as smooth as a natural 7.

15 will sort itself out with Nash freeing up Hansen & JOB to be that backup and importantly getting gametime when Keenan is fit.
Yes there’s no out and out 7 cover in the squad at the minute, but I think we have options - Doris obviously, but Timoney for one could do a job there, and despite sounding off on another thread about over-hyped Munster players, one guy who isn’t over-hyped IMO is Hodnett, who I think is an outstanding player who could easily have made the 6N squad. Also Scott Penny, if we could ever get him some game time (which in practice probably means him, or another couple of Leinster back rows, moving to other provinces). Ditto Connors. So good options there..

15 is interesting because Keenan has been so ever-present. Also because he has slowly but surely increased his influence on the way irlenad play. It was really noticeable against Italy just how much he was getting on the ball, including stepping up as first receiver. He’s more or less irreplaceable like for like - Frawley is probably as close as we have. But like you say Hansen and JOB seem to be the designated back-ups when fit, and I agree that the current media panic over him is overblown, and it’ll work its way out.
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