Think its about time this thread saw the light of day!
They say good news comes in threes, and today was evidence of that as Ulster secured the future of three of their most promising players with new contracts.
Baffled that there isn't much activity from the Ulster lads on here, hopefully starting this thread will draw yee out of the woodwork?
Massive game this weekend.
No word on Pienaars injury? Didnt seem too bad.
Great news on all 3. Really hope Tuohy gets a chance in the 6 nations as he's been outstanding for the last few months. McAllister too has done exceptionally well for such a young prop and should get good game time during the 6 nations with Court likely to be involved with Ireland.
Massive game on Saturday. A win an Ulster can at last qualify for the knock out stages of the Heineken,
They were right to tie Spence down quick smart. The English clubs would be sniffing around within the next 12 months other wise.
Conor O Shea was waxing lyrical about Griffen and Spence during Connachts game last thursday. There was an embarrassing silence when it was suggested that he might want to lure one of them to Quins.
Great news on Spence and McAllister.
I think Cave will struggle to get his jersey back off Spence when he returns.
The good news though is that they offer completely different options. I like the way home grown players are bearing a bit of fruit for Ulster too as their schools system is right up there with Leinster's, they just seem to drop off a bit.
With Jackson, Luke Marshall and James McKinney all showing as decent prospects at 10 and in Marshall's case as a 12 or 13, if these guys progress properly we are set fair in the creativity department. With Spence, Cave and Whitten already in place, Michael Allen also at 13 could yet prove a seriously good player. He is one of the quickest centres I've seen recently.
Even with McAllister at loose head, we are still short of good props, tight head in particular, and brutally big, strong second rows coming through. Adam Macklin might eventually make good but from what I've seen of him before his injury he has a lot to do to be a pro tight head. Fitzpatrick and Cronin are average - not bad - just not top class so far.
There is a horrible rumour Ulster will replace B.J. Botha with Timmy Ryan who, let's face it, has been pretty hopeless in Toulon and Newcastle. Let's hope it's not true.
He's gotten absolutely hammered in the English Premiership this season, but in fairness, Cian Healy looks like two different players for Leinster and Ireland, so it's tough to preform in such a weak pack, so maybe Ryan isn't all bad.
Wouldn't be surprised if he came home, as we need all our tightheads in Ireland, but can't see him making any Irish team on his performances this season (Hagan is the most promising young fella imo).
As for thread, really happy to see an Ulster thread. We don't get nearly enough talk from the lads up north on here, so would be great to see more and more Ulster fans involved in the forum.
Absolutely vital weekend of Rugby ahead for Ulster. They've a real chance of getting a decent spot for the HEC QF if they can push forward.
Its encouraging to see their youngsters having no problem stepping into the mantle too. We may not hear about them as early as we do from other provinces, and there's less of a fuss about them. I think its a super reflection on the coaches and I can see a big growth in Ulster rugby in the next 3/4 years.
If Tim Ryan comes home and doesn't go to Munster surely there'll be some very angry southerners around the place... I mean at least Ulster have Tom Court!
Ulster are my second team (family all from there) so I'm delighted to see this thread rear its head. Have a feeling more Ulster fans will come out of the woodwork as their youths come into the team and they start to improve. Have a feeling this year may come a little early, but I do think Ulster will be winning major trophies in the next 5 years.
This southerner for one wouldn't be in the slightest bit bothered if Ryan didn't come back. No offence Tim I'm sure you're a lovely lad and all that.
What's happened to Ryan Caldwell? He was playing really well at the start of the season but seems to have fallen of the face of the earth since November.
...Wouldn't be surprised if he came home, as we need all our tightheads in Ireland, but can't see him making any Irish team on his performances this season (Hagan is the most promising young fella imo)...
What about John Andress at Harlequinns? He's from Belfast and plays prop (tighthead too I think). Does anyone know anything about him?
Definitely agree it would be good to see our tightheads back home.
Behind Muller, Tuohy and Barker nowadays.
ULSTER Squad (v Biarritz Olympique) - Backs (12): Adam D'Arcy, David McIlwaine, Jamie Smith, Mark McCrea, Andrew Trimble, Simon Danielli, Paddy Wallace, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar.
Forwards (17): Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Jerry Cronin, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Rory Best, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Dan Tuohy, Johann Muller, Thomas Anderson, Chris Henry, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg, Stephen Ferris.
Think i'm right in saying that if Ulster beat Biarritz and deprive the French of a bonus point then a BP win in Aironi will see them progress whatever Biarritz do against Bath. So here's hoping for a win on Saturday. Can't see Ulster scoring 4 tries but could see them depriving Biarritz of losing BP. May well depend on what French team turns up.