Marty Moore keeping faith in Ulster plan

Ulster’s season is due to come to an end on Saturday evening against Edinburgh in the Rainbow Cup.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 5:55 am

The new competition hasn’t gone well for Dan McFarland’s side - three defeats and the cancellation of the Scarlets game at the weekend due to four players in the squad testing positive for Covid-19 means Ulster are bottom of the league table.

The team has also had to contend with the new experimental rules as the captain challenge has gone against Ulster on two occasions, Connacht ultimately won the game at Kingspan Stadium when they were awarded a penalty that the officials missed which eventually led to the deciding try and against Leinster Iain Henderson had his challenge for a dangerous tackle on Robert Baloucoune by Robbie Henshaw turned down.

Ulster did benefit from the new red card law after Will Addison was sent off against Munster when, instead of being down to 14 men for the rest of the game, they were allowed to bring a replacement on after 20 minutes.

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Ulster’s Marty Moore. Pic by PA.

The other new rule regards five-metre scrums in that if an attacking side is held up over the line instead of being rewarded with a five-metre scrum the defensive side now has a drop out.

Ulster tight head prop Marty Moore naturally would prefer the five-metre scrum in those situations.

“It is a trial so I don’t know if it will be here to stay but I think that anytime there is a chance for a five-metre scrum I think I would rather have the opportunity to do that because that is where I get my place in the team on the basis of that, so big long kicks down the field really don’t suit me as much as the five metre,” said Moore. “Defensively, maybe yeah, you have been defending for quite a while in that zone, maybe it is not the worst not to have to pack down but at the same time I think it probably takes away a little bit from the attacking advantage.

“Obviously it makes life a lot easier from the defensive side of things, you look at teams already trying to ride tackles a little bit to try to manufacture a hold up over the line, it is a dangerous sort of tactic but teams are doing it.”

One of Ulster’s most potent attacking weapons this season has been their rolling maul and Moore is hoping the five-metre scrum rule won’t hinder the team.

“Hopefully it won’t affect the rolling maul too much because if you maul effective and teams hold you up they are usually illegal enter at the side because they have to be behind the back foot, it is more the pick and go game and the in-tight game that it affects.

“We are a strong mauling side and we have only had a few games in the competition and it hasn’t affected us this far and, hopefully, it won’t have too much of an impact in that part of the game.

“I think it is more the in-tight carrying that you have to be extra mindful.

“In the past on a 50-50 you would really go for the line and know you would retain the ball but it is in the back of your mind now that possession will be lost if you are not 100 per cent there.”

q Edinburgh Rugby have confirmed a player has started a period of self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

A small group of potential contacts have been identified and they are also isolating while none of the individuals affected will be named to respect medical confidentiality.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “Today’s (Monday) training at the club has been cancelled as a precaution and the entire squad and playing staff were tested early this morning (Monday).

“Further updates on the squad will be issued as appropriate.

“The club continues to operate an extensive health and safety coronavirus mitigation plan and follow all respective health guidance aligned through Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group.

“The club’s Guinness PRO14 match against Ulster at BT Murrayfield this Saturday (5 June) is still scheduled to go ahead as planned.”

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