I think he might be, or at least plans of qualifying for them (though that might've been Chris Leck that said that?)
Fraser McKenzie is incredibly similar to Cox though, so Scotland are set with him (I think he would've been starting alongside Gray by the end of the Six Nations if he hadn't have dislocated his shoulder before the tournament)
Cannot agree entirely with the comments on Edinburgh's disregard for the Rabo Direct league. We have had to blood our back up players - to see what they are made of. It hasn't worked and we are building now for next season, with some good signings.
Keep the faith.....
Thought Ulster missed Henry badly today around the breakdown. Rennie and Denton were excellent and Ulster really struggled to hold onto the ball in the rucks. Ferris playing one-legged didn't help either.
An average game with many too errors but loads of enthusiasm and some huge hits......still think the Final is to be held tomorrow and that Ulster will not pose that much of a problem to either Clermont or Leinster at Twickenham! Ulster only won today by virtue of Pineaar, who is Yach's only challenger for title of world best 9, against an Edinburgh side who could not hold the crucial ball, gave away far too many penalties and had a scrum which was underwhelming....and I am half Scottish!!
PS would take Poite any day over Rolland, Clancy (who had a good game today by the way) Pearson et al any time!
wow you guys heaping a lot of praise on Pienaar, I wonder...
Hmm... Any saffers been following/watching him this season? Is he a contender? I mean it's him or Hougaard...
Brilliant match. So much louder than any Leinster match, as it's been said Pienaar was immense, Paddy Jackson was better than iHumph would have been the only disappointment was that Paul Marshall never got on.
Also had great half time entertainment of a load of pissed Edinburgh fans harassing by declaring him the sexiest man in the Aviva and trying to set him up with the old ones in front of us and then at the end of the match they tried to throw him onto the pitch.
"Out to O'Driscoll"
"O'Driscoll around Davies, He's wrong footed Cuthbert"
I wasnt paying a huge ammount of attention to the match because the Edinburgh fans beside me who were very drunk were quite entertaining. They kept grabbing my friend and throwing him around and I may have joined in. They also got a kiss blown at them by an Edinburgh player when they lifted their kilts There antics even got me on tv for a brief second. All in all it was a really enjoyable match, even if the quality wasnt great
It was Dolan (munster4life). When th final whistle came they were gently punching him when he was in a head-lock, while trying to pick hin up.
Pity it wasn't one of you two how close did cmac get to Marshall before the stewards stopped him?
How do people think Faloon got on?
Looked poor enough to me at the game. I'm not sure I'm a reliable witness though, my nerves were as tight as a drum, and you miss stuff there.
Commiserations to Edinburgh, things just went against them at every crucial moment, and they scared the crap out of me.
However, Ulster were as much their own enemy as Edinburgh ever were. I'm bloody pleased that Ulster managed to do what needed to be done, as clearly the pressure had got to them, and I kinda get the feeling that the effort needed for Munster made it their final. That was nowhere near our best - defence was pourous, counter-rucking poor, clinical touch missing... but there we go. We won. That's the main thing. Whether it was ugly just doesn't matter too much.
Whoever said we missed Henry was spot on. Although I called that before hand.
Laidlaw's a useful wee bastard.
Snoopy - it did appear that you were criticising him. What I'd say, both in response to you and others, is there's still a bit of a difference between HC and International. At international level, Court is no great shakes. At HC/Rabble Pro, Court is dominant. Week in, week out, I expect parity from him and am not surprised when he starts to send the other guy backwards. Including at tighthead actually. I also expect - and get - a useful shift in the loose. Fitzpatrick likewise, I'm not sure I'd recommend him for Ireland, but when he steps onto a pitch for Ulster I more or less stop worrying about the scrum. It's a shame he's so injury prone, who knows where he'd be if he wasn't. He does his job. The props Ulster sent out today are tenuous as international standard players, but there's a very limited list of teams I'd fear in the scrum with them for Ulster.
Finally and most importantly... most Ulster fans I know wrote this season off in the HC when they saw the group. Now we're in the final. It doesn't matter how the deed was done. Whether we can win, well, lets see.
Smart by Ulster giving Piennar a lengthy contract before new IRFU NIQ rules came/come in.
He really is giving Ulster a massive edge and well has a good composure too.
I still expect Ulster to be beaten in final but don't think it's impossible for them to win it.
damn! I absolutely forgot that it was rugby weekend and it just hit me few moments ago... then i saw the score I wanted to watch this so much..ugh. oh well at least i remembered it before clermont v leinster.
how was the game ? according to the score it was closer than most people anticipated am I right ?
I actually wasn't that impressed by Laidlaw. Even though he was great in some things like his goal kicking and ripping, i thought he ran out of ideas easily and threw some woeful passes.
It was actually pretty okay up to the 60th minute or something. Edinburgh's handling was godawful but it was an reasonably entertaining match.
Toko, I'd say it was an absorbing game, but never a great one. Today's the big one for that.
Welshglory - Half the time he never needed to run out of ideas! His option taking around the gainline had us in serious problems imo.
Pyschic Duck - Probably, not certainly.
On a slight tangent, Ireland's decision not to play any midweek games in New Zealand is absurd. The ability to take, say, Declan Fitzpatrick over there and experience that sort of thing, learn how much fitter he needs to be and so on would be brilliant for Irish rugby. Instead they'll play three games
I suppose we're both holding Decla Fitzpatrick to different standards. You like him as a backup for Ulster who can do a job when called upon without getting dismantled. At that, he's quite capable. I'm viewing him, probably unreasonably, in the context of what Ireland need. To me he's not international standard but I'd love if he could get to that level.
Did anyone read Stuart Barnes' piece in the Sunday Times today about how Michael Bradley should be the next Ireland coach?! Basically he said Edinburgh's performances in the Heineken Cup this season mean Bradley is perfect for the job. What he didn't mention was that Edinburgh came out of a weak pool, beat a badly selected Toulouse team and are second from bottom of the Pro 12. He's a very, very average coach. It was also lost on Barnes that Ulster came through a group with Clermont and Leicester, knocked Munster out of the tournament away from home and are coached by an Irishman not afraid to make ballsy calls like the flyhalf selection and his choice of tighthead.
I'd take Brian McLoughlin before I'd consider Michael Bradley as Declan Kidney's successor. Of course I'd take Joe Schmidt ahead of both of them!
That's fair, although I'd rate him a bit higher than that for Ulster. Obviously for Ireland's needs he's not there yet, but given the gaping black hole there, might be an option for development. Although, honestly, I'd probably skip him go straight to Macklin if I wanted an Ulster tighthead to develop as an international. Fitzpatrick could reach Mike Ross levels of quality, but Macklin could be one of the new breed of all-singing all-dancing all-action props.
You can't take Sir, we need him for the Academy! :P
Have to agree with Snoop here,
Bradley fluked his way to a Heineken SF.
They had a shocking group that felt like none of teams wanted to be in Europe, beat a clumsy and badly selected Toulouse team and well the Rabo is showing that they just aren't as good as being made.
In contrast of other teams:
Ulster have had a tough group, won in Thomond and well got lucky in fact they had hand semi final.
Leinster had an ok group but battled well and even an easy QF but showed their worth today and are best in Europe at moment.
Clermont had same group as Ulster and beat Sarries away in QF and really rattled Leinster today.
The gulf in difference of class is hguge
but their tactic against Toulouse was just up and under, and it worked
and they did exactly the same tactic against Ulster as well, the few times they spread it out wide Ross Ford or somebody would get in the way and drop it
but let's face it, Edinburgh would have never gotten out of the group Ulster had
I really do rate that Talai fellow at 8 though ,
But the bits I did notice seemed very poor quality rugby, not only in handling, but also with tackling and support play. The only positive point was Pienaar's kicking, which was excellent.
The fact that Edinburgh couldn't even score any points when they had a man advantage was testimony to their paucity of ideas, really. Once they went more than a score behind, I never expected them to recover.
Having been to see Toulouse vs Quins before Xmas, I'm staggered that neither of those sides managed to make it through to the semis. I'd have expected either of them to have been able to comfortably beat either of Saturda's teams. But that's cup rugby, I suppose.