Ulster bid to lure Mike Blair from Edinburgh with £300,000-a-year offer

Discussion in 'Guinness Pro12' started by snoopy snoopy dog dog, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    Isaac Boss has been terrific for them but Mike Blair would be a massive signing for Ulster. The other names being heavily linked with a move to Belfast are Johann Muller the (ex?) Springbok 2nd Row, Ruan Pienaar as a utility back (and probable starting fulback), Dwayne Peel and Xavier Rush. Muller is supposedly a done deal.
     
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  3. bristol-iain

    bristol-iain Guest

    Where's all the money come from if they want to sign these players as I'd have guessed that Ulster were behind Leinster and Munster in terms of spare wonga.
     
  4. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (bristol-iain @ Jan 24 2010, 01:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    They have been. I know that a few months ago Mike Reid their chief executive, left his post. Indications are that he was pushed out because Ulster were underperforming financially. Perhaps the new CEO has brought in a lot of sponsorship which Reid failed to do and David Humphreys as director of rugby has been working hard on selling Ulster to potential new signings. Word is that the IRFU have released more funding to the nordies too.

    Assuming these deals come off, Ulster could line up like this next year:

    15. Ruan Pienaar
    14. Andrew Trimble
    13. Darren Cave
    12. Paddy Wallace
    11. Simon Danielli
    10. Ian Humphreys
    9. Mike Blair
    1. Tom Court
    2. Rory Best
    3. BJ Botha
    4. Dan Tuohy
    5. Johann Muller
    6. Stephen Ferris
    7. Chris Henry
    8. Xavier Rush

    They'd be contenders for the Magners League and a good bet for the Heineken Cup quarter final at least.

    Chances are that they'd have to "cut" their other non-Irish players which may mean Clinton Schifcofske, Tamaiti Horua and Timoci Nagusa are on the way out. Simon Danielli may also be in trouble in that case since it's unclear whether or not the IRFU has imposed a restriction of 5 or 6 non Ireland qualified players on the provinces. BJ Botha could also be on his way back to South Africa since he's hinted he wants his place in the World Cup squad and needs to return home to secure that.
     
  5. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 24 2010, 01:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    They have been. I know that a few months ago Mike Reid their chief executive, left his post. Indications are that he was pushed out because Ulster were underperforming financially. Perhaps the new CEO has brought in a lot of sponsorship which Reid failed to do and David Humphreys as director of rugby has been working hard on selling Ulster to potential new signings. Word is that the IRFU have released more funding to the nordies too.

    Assuming these deals come off, Ulster could line up like this next year:

    15. Ruan Pienaar
    14. Andrew Trimble
    13. Darren Cave
    12. Paddy Wallace
    11. Simon Danielli
    10. Ian Humphreys
    9. Mike Blair
    1. Tom Court
    2. Rory Best
    3. BJ Botha
    4. Dan Tuohy
    5. Johann Muller
    6. Stephen Ferris
    7. Chris Henry
    8. Xavier Rush

    They'd be contenders for the Magners League and a good bet for the Heineken Cup quarter final at least.

    Chances are that they'd have to "cut" their other non-Irish players which may mean Clinton Schifcofske, Tamaiti Horua and Timoci Nagusa are on the way out. Simon Danielli may also be in trouble in that case since it's unclear whether or not the IRFU has imposed a restriction of 5 or 6 non Ireland qualified players on the provinces. BJ Botha could also be on his way back to South Africa since he's hinted he wants his place in the World Cup squad and needs to return home to secure that.
    [/b][/quote]

    Why're Leinster looking for Boss...they have Reddan.

    I don't like the idea of bringing Rush in when Ulster already have a load of backrows! Pollock is a great player and I don't see why he'd be dropped. Unless he wants to get back to his Munster roots...or start some.
     
  6. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Jan 24 2010, 01:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Competition for places is healthy and Reddan will likely miss a lot of games due to international "rest" periods.

    Bringing John Fogarty over from Connacht last season brought the best out of Bernard Jackman during the Heineken Cup winning campaign. This year it's bringing the best out of Fogarty. I believe bringing Isaac Boss in from Ulster would have the same effect on both his and Eoin Reddan's performances.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    This I agree with. Chris Henry plays his best rugby at 8 and Robbie Diack is a great backup. Pollock and Faloon are more than good enough at openside and their competition for the 7 shirt is propelling both to a higher level. If Ulster are to recruit a backrow, a backup for Stephen Ferris is most needed in my opinion.
     
  7. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 24 2010, 02:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Competition for places is healthy and Reddan will likely miss a lot of games due to international "rest" periods.

    Bringing John Fogarty over from Connacht last season brought the best out of Bernard Jackman during the Heineken Cup winning campaign. This year it's bringing the best out of Fogarty. I believe bringing Isaac Boss in from Ulster would have the same effect on both his and Eoin Reddan's performances.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    This I agree with. Chris Henry plays his best rugby at 8 and Robbie Diack is a great backup. Pollock and Faloon are more than good enough at openside and their competition for the 7 shirt is propelling both to a higher level. If Ulster are to recruit a backrow, a backup for Stephen Ferris is most needed in my opinion.
    [/b][/quote]
    But thing is as said in paper Boss wants to move to improve international chances and Reddan isn't a starter for Ireland and not even guaranteed a bench spot so like it hardly due to rest periods. And even if it was then they wouldn't sign Boss as he will cost a bit too much for a bench player.

    But where is all this about Xavier Rush moving I didn't see this, but rumour in Limerick is if Howlett leaves Munster may bring in 2 big names from France (not French players) 1 rumoured to be a utility back, and the other a #8.
    In my opinion we need a prop and maybe a back row player.
    F.Steyn name was mentioned but that isn't true as he is 1 player we don't need as all his positions are covered but we need a back 3 player. But Ulster signing all these players but IF Connacht shock us and win Amlin Cup wont they replace Ulster in H'Cup next year???
     
  8. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (munstermuffin @ Jan 24 2010, 04:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Players with international contracts are restricted in the number of games they can play for their province. Reddan has an international contract. Boss probably feels going head to head with a rival gives him a better chance of impressing Declan Kidney. Also with Joe Schmidt coming in next season, he won't have any pre-conceived ideas as to who his top scrum half is and Boss probably thinks he can take the jersey.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    On Ulster fansites for the last week or so and here yesterday.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    No. There'll be four Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup in that case. The top 3 Magners League finishers from Ireland get in automatically as would the winner of the Amlin. If the winner of the Amlin Cup has already qualified, their spot goes to the next highest Irish non-qualifier ie if Connacht win the Amlin, they're in if they hadn't qualified via the league. If they had qualified via the league, Ulster, Munster or Leinster get the additional Irish spot.

    Also, if Leinster or Munster win the Heineken Cup, Ireland will have 4 representatives in that competition in 2010/11.
     
  9. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 24 2010, 05:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Players with international contracts are restricted in the number of games they can play for their province. Reddan has an international contract. Boss probably feels going head to head with a rival gives him a better chance of impressing Declan Kidney. Also with Joe Schmidt coming in next season, he won't have any pre-conceived ideas as to who his top scrum half is and Boss probably thinks he can take the jersey.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    On Ulster fansites for the last week or so and here yesterday.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    No. There'll be four Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup in that case. The top 3 Magners League finishers from Ireland get in automatically as would the winner of the Amlin. If the winner of the Amlin Cup has already qualified, their spot goes to the next highest Irish non-qualifier ie if Connacht win the Amlin, they're in if they hadn't qualified via the league. If they had qualified via the league, Ulster, Munster or Leinster get the additional Irish spot.

    Also, if Leinster or Munster win the Heineken Cup, Ireland will have 4 representatives in that competition in 2010/11.
    [/b][/quote]


    We could win both and put Shannon in!!





    (that was a joke btw).
     
  10. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 24 2010, 05:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Players with international contracts are restricted in the number of games they can play for their province. Reddan has an international contract. Boss probably feels going head to head with a rival gives him a better chance of impressing Declan Kidney. Also with Joe Schmidt coming in next season, he won't have any pre-conceived ideas as to who his top scrum half is and Boss probably thinks he can take the jersey.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    On Ulster fansites for the last week or so and here yesterday.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    No. There'll be four Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup in that case. The top 3 Magners League finishers from Ireland get in automatically as would the winner of the Amlin. If the winner of the Amlin Cup has already qualified, their spot goes to the next highest Irish non-qualifier ie if Connacht win the Amlin, they're in if they hadn't qualified via the league. If they had qualified via the league, Ulster, Munster or Leinster get the additional Irish spot.

    Also, if Leinster or Munster win the Heineken Cup, Ireland will have 4 representatives in that competition in 2010/11.
    [/b][/quote]
    Did that just come in to effect from this season the 4 representitives.
    I know players with international contract are restricted but if you play in an Autumn International that counts as a game and like Reddan is unlikely to play for Ireland except the odd game against a weaker nation.

    But I think Schmidt may prefer Boss as I just think he more of an attacking threat although would Schmidt not be given a say on if Boss comes in.
     
  11. The BBC said yesterday that Ulster's interest in Mike Blair might be fading for a variety of reasons. Combined with Dwayne Peel re-signing for Sale and Isaac Boss leaving for Leinster, Ulster look to be very short on quality scrum halves. Paul Marshall had a chance and didn't impress while Cillian Willis isn't viewed as more than a backup seemingly.

    They have been linked with another scrum half now although he's not in the same league as Blair or Peel:
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    Cushion was an Ireland club international who took the plunge and signed a pro deal with Plymouth for this season. I don't know much about him but Ulster's scouting of relatively cheap talent over the last 2 years has been excellent. I'd have to assume he'd be a backup primarily although if Ulster don't manage to sign a marquee name, he may be thrust into a 4 way battle with Marshall, Willis and Ian Porter, an academy player who recently signed a 1 year deal with the province.
     
  12. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Guest

    If they have no scrumhalf for next season they can easily poach a quality one from one of the other provinces, Paul O'Donohoe, Peter Stringer/Duncan Williams or Frank Murphy.

    If they are going to sign Pienaar they could always just play him in his best position too and kill two birds with one stone, but they do need a fullback as well.

    I'm not sure who they could go for at fullback to be honest?
     
  13. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MunsterMan @ Jan 30 2010, 11:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Murphy mightn't be a bad call at scrum half since he and Humphreys struck up a partnership while at Leicester.

    David Kearney was on their radar last season as a back three player. I wonder whether or not he'd be interested in a move north now.
     
  14. cyRil

    cyRil Guest

    I love how Snoop said Pienaar would probably be starting full-back; like he wouldn't walk into the Ulster team in any of 3 positions.
     
  15. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (cyRil of Ospreylia @ Jan 30 2010, 05:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I think you misread my use of the word probably. I'm not saying he'd struggle to beat any of the incumbants out of their spot; he'd easily be their best 9, 10 or 15 but 15 is where he'd be most needed. Schifcofske doesn't cut it, Cunningham is past it and Smith isn't ready yet. Pienaar would be a massive upgrade at fullback. The IRFU probably wouldn't allow Ulster sign a non-Irish qualified 10 so Pienaar would be restricted in his appearances in that position for that reason. At 9, Peel and Blair were linked so playing Pienaar there would be stupid, assuming one of those players signed.

    That's why I thought he'd be signed as fullback. Of course now that Peel is off the market and interest in Blair is waivering, Pienaar could just as easily be brought in as Ulster's new 9. As far as I'm aware that's Pienaar's favourite position.
     
  16. munster

    munster Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 30 2010, 07:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I think you misread my use of the word probably. I'm not saying he'd struggle to beat any of the incumbants out of their spot; he'd easily be their best 9, 10 or 15 but 15 is where he'd be most needed. Schifcofske doesn't cut it, Cunningham is past it and Smith isn't ready yet. Pienaar would be a massive upgrade at fullback. The IRFU probably wouldn't allow Ulster sign a non-Irish qualified 10 so Pienaar would be restricted in his appearances in that position for that reason. At 9, Peel and Blair were linked so playing Pienaar there would be stupid, assuming one of those players signed.

    That's why I thought he'd be signed as fullback. Of course now that Peel is off the market and interest in Blair is waivering, Pienaar could just as easily be brought in as Ulster's new 9. As far as I'm aware that's Pienaar's favourite position.
    [/b][/quote]
    Even if he does play at 10 who would place kick... so I think fullback would be the smartest choice and he would control their defense very well from there and also offer a second tactical kicking option like Munster have done with Warwick...
     
  17. cyRil

    cyRil Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 30 2010, 07:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I think you misread my use of the word probably. I'm not saying he'd struggle to beat any of the incumbants out of their spot; he'd easily be their best 9, 10 or 15 but 15 is where he'd be most needed. Schifcofske doesn't cut it, Cunningham is past it and Smith isn't ready yet. Pienaar would be a massive upgrade at fullback. The IRFU probably wouldn't allow Ulster sign a non-Irish qualified 10 so Pienaar would be restricted in his appearances in that position for that reason. At 9, Peel and Blair were linked so playing Pienaar there would be stupid, assuming one of those players signed.

    That's why I thought he'd be signed as fullback. Of course now that Peel is off the market and interest in Blair is waivering, Pienaar could just as easily be brought in as Ulster's new 9. As far as I'm aware that's Pienaar's favourite position.
    [/b][/quote]
    Fair enough pal! My bad!
     
  18. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MunsterMachine @ Jan 30 2010, 07:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I think you misread my use of the word probably. I'm not saying he'd struggle to beat any of the incumbants out of their spot; he'd easily be their best 9, 10 or 15 but 15 is where he'd be most needed. Schifcofske doesn't cut it, Cunningham is past it and Smith isn't ready yet. Pienaar would be a massive upgrade at fullback. The IRFU probably wouldn't allow Ulster sign a non-Irish qualified 10 so Pienaar would be restricted in his appearances in that position for that reason. At 9, Peel and Blair were linked so playing Pienaar there would be stupid, assuming one of those players signed.

    That's why I thought he'd be signed as fullback. Of course now that Peel is off the market and interest in Blair is waivering, Pienaar could just as easily be brought in as Ulster's new 9. As far as I'm aware that's Pienaar's favourite position.
    [/b][/quote]
    Even if he does play at 10 who would place kick... so I think fullback would be the smartest choice and he would control their defense very well from there and also offer a second tactical kicking option like Munster have done with Warwick...
    [/b][/quote]

    ????

    Anyway, Ruan Pienaar would make a fantastic 9,10 or 15 for Ulster, but why would he want to move there to Belfast instead of say, Perpignan or any French team? Is the salary cap really going to hinder the French clubs that much?
     
  19. Blair stays with Edinburgh:
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
     
  20. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MunsterMan @ Jan 30 2010, 08:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I think you misread my use of the word probably. I'm not saying he'd struggle to beat any of the incumbants out of their spot; he'd easily be their best 9, 10 or 15 but 15 is where he'd be most needed. Schifcofske doesn't cut it, Cunningham is past it and Smith isn't ready yet. Pienaar would be a massive upgrade at fullback. The IRFU probably wouldn't allow Ulster sign a non-Irish qualified 10 so Pienaar would be restricted in his appearances in that position for that reason. At 9, Peel and Blair were linked so playing Pienaar there would be stupid, assuming one of those players signed.

    That's why I thought he'd be signed as fullback. Of course now that Peel is off the market and interest in Blair is waivering, Pienaar could just as easily be brought in as Ulster's new 9. As far as I'm aware that's Pienaar's favourite position.
    [/b][/quote]
    Even if he does play at 10 who would place kick... so I think fullback would be the smartest choice and he would control their defense very well from there and also offer a second tactical kicking option like Munster have done with Warwick...
    [/b][/quote]

    ????

    Anyway, Ruan Pienaar would make a fantastic 9,10 or 15 for Ulster, but why would he want to move there to Belfast instead of say, Perpignan or any French team? Is the salary cap really going to hinder the French clubs that much?
    [/b][/quote]

    it doesn't look like it will as the cap is being set at the maximum levels we're seeing now, so there's still plenty of leeway for other sides to pick up quality players for big bucks. Even the quotas being introduced on overseas players aren't going to make a difference.
     
  21. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    http://www.ulsterrugby.com/11352.php

    Johann Muller confirmed. There'll be a bit of competition, with Caldwell apparantly the main second row un Ulster and Touhy in very good form.
     
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