I'm worried...should I be worried?

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I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » July 9th, 2014, 5:06 pm

First of all, I'm by no means saying that we're in deep trouble, but the more I think about Ireland next season the more worried I get. It's not that I think we'll be a disaster but I've lost the optimism I had after the French game and am not sure we can kick on from how we did last season.

The coaches are the first thing. Losing Plumtree is massive, no disrespect to whoever replaces him but all I can think of when I read the thread about his replacement is how much we're going to miss him. He transformed our set piece, made the maul a weapon again, and offered little technical things that were just brilliant. I'm kind of guessing here about his contribution, but given how much we've seen of Joe/Feek coached teams over the years, it's probably fair to attribute a lot (including, partly, the scrum) of it to him.

The next thing is Kiss double jobbing at Ulster. It may not be an issue at all but it worries me and the uncertainty over how long he'll be needed up there does nobody any favours. This is very much looking at it negatively but it's not just about his workload, the situation up there could have a negative impact on the players' form and that obviously impacts Ireland.

As for the team itself, I'd have thought tighthead and the centre were the big areas to improve after the 6N. Moore missed Argentina so is still yet to start a test and at this stage it doesn't look like anyone else will emerge as a contender for the WC. Actually, hooker worries me too. Best is great but it's been a long time since Strauss played well and whilst Cronin has improved, his throwing can still be dodgy and he won't have Plumtree coaching him.

For the centres, Henshaw and Payne look to be the chosen ones as regards taking over at 13. Big fan of Henshaw and do think he'll turn out to be brilliant there, but he too missed the Argentina tour and is yet to start a test at 13 (I think, pretty sure he started at 15 last summer and I wouldn't exactly count the tour anyway). His style is exactly what we need IMO, but pinning all our hopes on someone so young who was so brutally exposed in a brief cameo in November and didn't play in the 6N is hardly ideal. The reason I say we're pinning our hopes on him is because I just don't see Payne as a 13 at international level, and even if he does play relatively well, I think we're far more in need of power and physicality there than the skills he brings. Plus focussing on 13 ignores that we need to improve at 12 as well. Darce had a great 6N for the most part but we looked toothless in midfield at times and I think Joe came up with a plan to negate that and our lack of ball carriers, that's not something I think we can repeat with the same success next season. As much as I like Marshall, his injury record has to be a concern, and whilst I think Olding is the heir apparent at 12, he's rumoured to be moving to 15 next season.

The lack of ball carriers and size in general is a concern. I know we'll have SOB back but he's not the carrier he was and is a marked man anyway. Don't get me wrong, the guy is world class, but I don't quite see him skittling people at international level on a consistent basis. Henderson is developing into a good option for us too. Looking at the size of the players that England, France, SA, NZ, and Australia have introduced recently is frightening though. As good as Joe is at rotating the squad when necessary and despite having more depth than ever, I think the physical demands on us are greater than other sides. I'd back us to beat any team on a one off basis, but beating a few of them throughout a tournament, not so much.

As I said, it's far from doom and gloom, I just struggle to see how we're going to kick on. I've absolute faith in Joe and think he'll add more to our attack next year, and not just because SOB and Henderson can add to our physicality. We already saw him using the wingers in midfield more as the season went on. It didn't always work but we've great options out wide and I've no doubt that will come in time. We've also got a very settled side with a good age profile who have won a 6N, that should all stand to us. I guess what I'm hoping for is that I can be convinced that we'll improve on our deficiencies!
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby Oldschool » July 9th, 2014, 7:51 pm

I haven't read your post just the title but the way to think about worry is this.
Find something to be worried about asap because if you don't, something that really needs to be worried about will find you.
Be worried be very worried.
Hope that helps.
If it doesn't then Don't worry be Happy.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby ichabodscrane » July 9th, 2014, 8:44 pm

1) Healy, McGrath, Cronin, Killer

2) Best, Strauss, Cronin, Casey, Varley

3) Ross, Furlong, Moore, Ryan and a few other possibilities at Ulster & Connacht.

Locks: O'Connell, Tuohy, Toner, Ryan, McCarthy, Henderson, Foley, DOC (plus a few up and coming lads at Connacht and Leinster).

Back Row: Jamie, SOB, O'Mahony, Henry, Copeland, Dougal, (Ryan & Henderson at 6 if needed) Diack, Kevin McLoughlin, Dippy, TOD, Murphy.

Wing: McFadden, Kearney, Trimble, Bowe, Gilroy, Luke, Zebo, Earls (and a few up and coming youngsters).

Centre: Henshaw, D'arcy, Luke (if fit), Bowe (a possibility), Reid & Madigan @12 and Payne. Sheridan & Mulchrone in the future if they leave London Irish. The centres at the last two U20 JWC impressed.

Fly half: Sexton, Jackson, Madigan, Keatley, Hanrahan.

Scrum half: Murray, Reddan, Boss, McGrath, Harte, Marmion.

Fullback: R Kearney, Payne, Gilroy, Zebo, Jones and again a few youngsters at Ulster & Connacht.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby ichabodscrane » July 9th, 2014, 8:45 pm

One word: Xanax ;)
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby ronk » July 9th, 2014, 9:27 pm

The Ireland backs coach is getting direct daily access to the Ulster team and backline. Yeah, I'm bricking it.

Munster are improving, Ulster could go either way, Leinster are strong and even Connacht are contributing. That's good news.

We won a trophy with an away win in France and we're playing a power game that's completely in phase with the direction of the modern game. Even Australia have a former prop coaching them.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » July 9th, 2014, 10:23 pm

ronk wrote:The Ireland backs coach is getting direct daily access to the Ulster team and backline. Yeah, I'm bricking it.

Munster are improving, Ulster could go either way, Leinster are strong and even Connacht are contributing. That's good news.

We won a trophy with an away win in France and we're playing a power game that's completely in phase with the direction of the modern game. Even Australia have a former prop coaching them.


Kiss ain't the backs coach, he's the defence coach...and Ulster already have a defence coach.

As I said, it's not that we're in a bad place, I'm just worried about whether we can kick on or not. Obviously I've outlined a few things but my biggest worry is that a lack of firepower could see more games like the England one where we're strangled into submission. That'll be fine against lesser teams but in terms of retaining the 6N, can't see it.

Fully aware that I'm looking at this very negatively, Henshaw gets MOTM in the first game of the autumn series and I'll look like a tool.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » July 9th, 2014, 10:23 pm

Oldschool wrote:I haven't read your post just the title but the way to think about worry is this.
Find something to be worried about asap because if you don't, something that really needs to be worried about will find you.
Be worried be very worried.
Hope that helps.
If it doesn't then Don't worry be Happy.


:lol:

You may well be right!
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby ronk » July 10th, 2014, 1:18 am

LeRouxIsPHat wrote:
ronk wrote:The Ireland backs coach is getting direct daily access to the Ulster team and backline. Yeah, I'm bricking it.

Munster are improving, Ulster could go either way, Leinster are strong and even Connacht are contributing. That's good news.

We won a trophy with an away win in France and we're playing a power game that's completely in phase with the direction of the modern game. Even Australia have a former prop coaching them.


Kiss ain't the backs coach, he's the defence coach...and Ulster already have a defence coach.

As I said, it's not that we're in a bad place, I'm just worried about whether we can kick on or not. Obviously I've outlined a few things but my biggest worry is that a lack of firepower could see more games like the England one where we're strangled into submission. That'll be fine against lesser teams but in terms of retaining the 6N, can't see it.

Fully aware that I'm looking at this very negatively, Henshaw gets MOTM in the first game of the autumn series and I'll look like a tool.


And we're working on the weak areas. We have the power and are moving in that direction. We're in a far better place than we were a year ago and we're building.

Do I worry that it might not work out, sure, we're not a powerhouse of the game so we're going to have to rely on a few things going our way. We're a good side with some good players who can go damage if they can stay fit and keep form. Schmidt is vastly better than his predecessors at adapting around his available options.

One of the things we can guess he's working hard on is getting the defensive patterns to take pressure off the 13. BOD took on a lot. Trying to get someone else to play the exact same role will lead to doom. This also makes it an opportunity to develop our game in other areas.

I'm less worried about tighthead than I've been in over 10 years, probably closer to 15. Actually if Nathan White can show form and stay fit I'd go longer than that.

Centre, well BOD was asked to stay on a year so that was part of the plan.

We have guys like Varley further down the depth chart at hooker, so we manage there if we have problems.

The one issue I worry about is that Schmidt never really did much hiring of coaches at Leinster. Plumtree was a coup, but Schmidt ran a small team mostly using guys who were already there. There's now an opportunity to bring in someone. Hopefully we can get some real talent in.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby ronk » July 10th, 2014, 1:26 am

Or the short version: yes, but probably a little less than usual.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby Tricky Dicky » July 10th, 2014, 9:58 pm

It might be good if Henshaw was given a season at Connacht to get used to playing 13 instead of fullback. Bowe would be a fairly similar presence to Henshaw and has played 13. If Bowe played 13 it would also mean that Trimble and Zebo could be retained as wingers. Trouble is he probably won't play outside centre for Ulster.

I agree that there could be a lack of ball-carriers in the pack. IMO the answer would be to play SOB at no. 8 but Heaslip seems to be undroppable so that won't happen (barring injury)
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby offshorerules » July 12th, 2014, 10:29 am

I thought last year Paul O'Connell looked less impressive than usual and am wondering if he has started to decline. Now that would be something to worry about.
"POC will not be going to Toulon" - All Blacks nil » May 27th, 2015, 12:18 am
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » July 14th, 2014, 12:21 pm

offshorerules wrote:I thought last year Paul O'Connell looked less impressive than usual and am wondering if he has started to decline. Now that would be something to worry about.


I don't think he's as consistently brilliant as he was but he's still had some outstanding performances recently. Hopefully the increase in second row options will mean that he can be managed better and really perform when he does play.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » July 14th, 2014, 12:24 pm

Having spent a hungover Sunday afternoon watching the end of the French game again, my optimism has partially been restored. Some areas do still concern me but we really do have a very impressive squad all round. The impact the bench had in that game was huge and most of those players are at a really good age.
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Re: I'm worried...should I be worried?

Postby offshorerules » July 14th, 2014, 12:37 pm

LeRouxIsPHat wrote:Having spent a hungover Sunday afternoon watching the end of the French game again, my optimism has partially been restored. Some areas do still concern me but we really do have a very impressive squad all round. The impact the bench had in that game was huge and most of those players are at a really good age.


Glad to hear you're feeling better.
"POC will not be going to Toulon" - All Blacks nil » May 27th, 2015, 12:18 am
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