UR-2021.22-Programme-Lions

ulsterrugbydigital

ULSTER

Official Match Day Programme

v EMIRATES

LIONS

Fri 15 Oct 2021, 7.35pm

Kingspan Stadium


In this Issue

Welcome back to Kingspan Stadium, the home of Ulster Rugby,

where tonight the Ulster squad welcomes Emirates Lions for the fourth round of the

United Rugby Championship.

After a home win last week against Benetton Rugby, Ulster will look to maintain their

winning ways. This was the third win in a row for the Ulster men and this evening, they will

clash with the South African giants who will be keen to make up for their defeat last week

against Glasgow Warriors. This promises to be an exciting encounter.

On behalf of the entire Ulster Rugby and Kingspan community, we would like to extend the

warmest of welcomes to our visitors and we have no doubt the loyal crowd in Kingspan

Stadium will provide stirring support for the Ulster team.

Finally, on behalf of Kingspan, I would like to wish the Ulster Rugby squad and management

team the very best of luck. To Ulster’s committed fans, enjoy the game, lead the way and

help ensure that this is an evening to remember at Kingspan Stadium.

10

32

16

5 President’s

Welcome

Our Virtual

Mascot

7

10

Player Interview:

Mike Lowry

16 Squad

Profiles

22 Team

Line-ups

24

26

Girls’ Rugby

Super Series

Emirates Lions

Ones To Watch

29 Half-time

Exhibition Games

30

32

36

40

Last Time

Out

Behind The Player

Sorcha Mac Laimhin

Player Interview:

Mick Kearney

Lions Will Not

Sleep Tonight

46 Referees’

News

40

3


President’s

Welcome

Welcome to Round 4 of the United Rugby

Championship, and our third home fixture

for the Ulster men this season.

I would also like to give a warm welcome to

our opponents this evening, the Emirates

Lions, who are playing their first game here

at Kingspan Stadium. They come into this

game having been narrowly defeated by

Glasgow Warriors. They will be keen to pick

up a win but Ulster have prepared well for

this challenge.

Last Friday, Rob Herring marked his doublecentury

for Ulster with a try which was

just reward for his excellent performance

against Benetton. The reception he received

as he took the field with his daughter Milly

was fantastic; a proud occasion for him and

his family.

Tonight’s game is a special occasion for

Mike Lowry, as he is set to make his 50th

appearance for the province if called upon –

a fantastic achievement for a player who is

only 23 years of age, and reflects the talented

player he is. Congratulations Mike, and good

luck this evening!

Ulster’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool Stage

fixture details were confirmed last Thursday.

The team will first travel to Stade Marcel-

Michelin to take on ASM Clermont Auvergne

on Saturday 11 December at 5.30pm (UK /

Irish time). The following Friday 17 December,

Ulster will host Northampton Saints at

Kingspan Stadium at 8pm.

Ulster hit the road again for the third

Round on Sunday 16 January, and will face

Northampton Saints at cinch Stadium at

Franklin’s Gardens, with a 3.15pm kickoff.

Six days later, they are back home for

their final pool game versus ASM Clermont

Auvergne at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday

22 January. All of Ulster’s pool stage games

will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

Last weekend marked the beginning of the

first-ever Super Series, a new programme

designed to provide 15-a-side playing

opportunities for U16 and U18 girls. Local clubs

who don’t currently have the playing numbers

have been grouped together on a regional

basis, with Ulster Rugby staff facilitating joint

training sessions and matches.

The objective of the Super Series is to grow

the profile of girls’ rugby through providing

regular match opportunities, eventually

increasing the playing numbers of the clubs

involved. Ulster Rugby Development Staff will

also use these sessions to identify individuals

with potential, and help them to progress

along the player pathway. This is a hugely

exciting programme which will no doubt bear

fruit in the coming years as players progress

and the pool of players grows.

I hope you enjoy the game this evening,

and thank you for your support!

Gary Leslie

President, IRFU Ulster Branch

5


Virtual

Mascot

Name: Ethan Martindale

Age: 7

From: Bangor

Ethan loves watching Ulster and loves

going to Kingspan Stadium to cheer

the team on. He is a big fan of the

Bangor boys, Craig Gilroy and Stuart

McCloskey, but his favourite player is

Jacob Stockdale.

Ethan enjoys playing mini rugby at

Bangor with all his friends.

7


WEAR IT

TOGETHER

CEO

Welcome

Welcome to Round 1 of the new United

Rugby Championship, and the first

competitive game of the 21/22 season.

I also extend a warm welcome to tonight’s

opponents, Glasgow Warriors. They clinched

an impressive win away to Worcester

Warriors a fortnight ago, so I am sure Dan

McFarland and the squad know how tough a

challenge this opening Round will be.

The URC brings an exciting new level of

competition, combining the top South

African clubs – Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers,

Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks - with the

Guinness PRO14 to create a world-class 16-

team league. We are very excited about the

season ahead in this new Championship.

Last week, we were delighted to announce

the signing of South African World Cup

winner, Duane Vermeulen, who will join Ulster

following the Autumn Tests. I think it’s safe to

say how excited we all are to have a player

of Duane’s calibre and experience added to

our back row and squad. We can’t wait to

welcome him into the fold in November.

Congratulations to the eleven Ulster players

who took part in Sunday’s Irish Rugby camp

in preparation for the upcoming Autumn

Nations Series. Well done to Will Addison,

Robert Baloucoune, SHOP ONLINE Billy Burns, James

Hume, Stuart www.ulsterrugbyshop.com

McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale,

Iain Henderson, Click and Rob collect Herring, available Eric O’Sullivan,

Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney.

SHOP OPENING HOURS

9am-5pm Tuesday to Friday

9am-4pm Saturday

Kathryn Dane, Neve Jones and Brittany

Hogan have been part of the Ireland team

UlsterRugby.com

competing for a place in next year’s Rugby

World Cup – after a narrow defeat to Spain

and superb victory over Italy, it all comes

down to the final Qualifier versus Scotland

tomorrow (5pm UK / Irish time, Stadio

Lanfranchi Stadium). Best of luck to our

three players and the rest of the women in

green!

The Deloitte Ulster Senior Women’s team

concluded their Vodafone Interprovincial

campaign two weeks ago, with a hardearned

draw against a tough Connacht side.

Well done to all the coaches and players who

were involved in the match-day teams and

the wider training squad.

It has been great to have Ulster feature

strongly in the current Development Inter-

Pro fixtures at the IRFU High Performance

Centre. Our young talent have missed out on

so much club and representative rugby over

the last 18 months, so it’s fantastic they’re

getting the chance to shine for their province.

NEW SEASON HOME KIT

On the domestic front, it’s wonderful to see

club and schools’ rugby make a return to

competitive action over the last couple of

weeks – it’s set to be a bumper season ahead

PRE-ORDER

Jonny Petrie

NOW

CEO Ulster Rugby

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Mike Lowry

At only 23, Mike Lowry is set to make his

50th appearance for the province if called

upon on Friday evening.

You’re approaching your 50th appearance

for Ulster! How does that feel?

where we want to get to. Yes, we’re happy

with what we’ve done so far but we know

where we want to reach. We still have a bit

of work to do but if you said at the start

of the season that we’d be three from three

and 15 points on the board, we’d take it!

50 50

50 50

50 50

Full Back

20/08/1998

170cm

76kg

49

It’s an absolute honour. It’s flown in from my

first cap and now coming up to 50. I played

a lot of rugby last year which definitely

helped but I didn’t think I was close to

that number until I checked recently. It’s a

pleasure and an honour to have reached 50

caps for my province.

You’re part of the leadership group within

the squad – can you tell us a little about

that and as a young player, how valuable is

it to you and your development to be part

of that group?

Yeah, I feel like I have a massive role to play

being in the leadership group and the role

I have as an outside half, you need to be a

bit of a leader on and off the pitch. Because

we have such a young cluster of players

coming through, I felt like I was one of the

leaders of that young group. I would help

those younger ones coming through while

also being the connection between the

older guys and the younger guys. I felt I

wanted to be part of that leadership group.

Dan had a conversation with the existing

leadership group and one of the players

in that group asked if I wanted to be a

part of it as a younger player. I think they

thought it would be good to have me in

there going forward. It helps to relay things

to the younger lads or if we have a strategy

meeting about a game coming up, being

one of those voices that people can listen

to. If anyone needs a bit of help, I can do my

best to do that.

How have you found the start to Ulster’s

season so far?

We’ve got full points since the start of the

season; we’re three from three but we feel

our best rugby is yet to be played. There are

signs there but I think we’re still not exactly

What can you take from the game against

Benetton into this week ahead of the

Emirates Lions?

We had a review of the Benetton game and

we need to be better in certain areas like

holding onto the ball better. Hopefully we can

show that on Friday night here against the

Emirates Lions. We usually take things from

the review of the game before to bring into

the next week and improve on certain areas.

Does not having played Emirates Lions

before change your preparations at all?

It’s definitely different if you haven’t played

against a certain player before. You can do

all the video analysis you like in a build-up

to a match, but it is different. You don’t

know exactly what they’re going to do.

It’s definitely a challenge but by the same

measure, so will they, which is a positive.

They have a massive pack with big strong

lads as well as fast backs, so they have a

mixture of threats. If we can speed the

game and play our sort of game rather than

playing into theirs, it will hopefully lead to

a good performance and ultimately, a win.

How much are you enjoying having

supporters back at Kingspan Stadium?

It’s been brilliant. In our first game against

Glasgow Warriors, we walked around the

pitch after the game for the first time in

such a long time, applauding the crowd. It

was such a special feeling seeing friends

and family in the stands again. It makes

such a difference, and a difference for

the opposition as well! We’ve loved every

minute of having fans back and being able

to see your best mates in the crowd again.

11


BALLYGOWAN – OFFICIAL HYDRATION

PARTNER OF ULSTER RUGBY

‘Walk To’ Clubs Recognised for #NeverStopCompeting with Bank Of Ireland

The challenge was open to anyone of any

ability, and in addition to chasing down the

steps total, we encouraged participants to

support the spirit of the campaign, to:

• Get out and get active again as lockdown

restrictions ease.

• Re-engage with your local rugby club,

teams, players and volunteers as the

domestic game returns.

• Promote general well-being in your local

community.

Members of the rugby community smashed

the 9,102,342-step target (the equivalent of

walking from Kingspan Stadium to every

club in Ulster and back), walking a total of

12,177,007 steps!

The winning clubs have demonstrated that

their activities aligned with the spirit of both

the ‘Walk To’ and #NeverStopCompeting

campaigns. #NeverStopCompeting celebrates

the good that comes from competition, how it

fuels us and connects us, and pushes us past

whatever stands in our way.

Congratulations to the following clubs who

have received £500 worth of worth of Gilbert

Rugby equipment packs from Ulster Rugby:

Ards RFC

Ards RFC was the club who accumulated

the highest number of steps. Richard

McNeilly and Paddy McGrattan both took

the first and second spots for most steps in

the male category. Paddy also undertook a

walking challenge alongside Stephen Nutt

from Kingspan Stadium to the home of Ards

RFC, Hamilton Park on Friday 30 April.

Malone RFC

Aidan Kee from Malone RFC took the top spot

for most steps in the Under-18 age group.

Aidan, along with his dad Colin, contributed

over 600,000 steps to the ‘Walk To’ challenge.

Malone had 12 participants in total, who

helped put the club in 2nd spot overall.

Grosvenor RFC

Grosvenor RFC set up a walking group in line

with government social distancing measures,

contributing steps both individually and with

friends and family. Grosvenor members also

submitted the most entries and the club

placed third for number of steps.

Virginia RFC

David O’Daly and Cathy Weston set

themselves a challenge in a bid to raise funds

for equipment for the club. Over the course

of the last couple of months, Dave and Cathy

walked from Virginia to Kingspan Stadium

and back. They smashed their target by

30km and raised over €600 for the club.

Thanks to their steps logged, along with

other members, the club came 4th overall.

Belfast Harlequins RFC

Hilary McLean from Belfast Harlequins RFC

notched up the most steps in the Over-65s

age group, while also placing first for the

number of steps submitted by a female.

Thanks to Hilary’s contribution, the club was

fifth for overall steps logged. .

A huge well-done also goes to all participants

and clubs who took part.

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13


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Dan Soper

Assistant Coach

Jared Payne

Defence Coach

Craig

Gilroy

Iain

Henderson

Rob

Herring

James

Hume

Dan McFarland

Head Coach

Roddy Grant

Forwards Coach

Craig Newby

Skills Coach

Wing

11/03/1991

183cm

91kg

196

10

Lock

21/02/1992

198cm

116kg

121

63

Hooker

27/04/1990

185cm

105kg

200

22

Centre

07/09/1998

188cm

95kg

44

1

Will

Addison

Utility Back

20/08/1992

185cm

95kg

25

5

Sam

Carter

Lock

10/09/1989

201cm

116kg

26

AUS 16

John

Andrew

Hooker

26/05/1993

180cm

100kg

87

John

Cooney

Scrum Half

01/05/1990

178cm

85kg

85

11

Robert

Baloucoune

Wing

19/08/1997

193cm

92kg

30

1

Angus

Curtis

Fly Half / Centre

26/03/1998

178cm

88kg

14

Billy

Burns

Fly Half

13/06/1994

183cm

87kg

53

7

Nathan

Doak

Scrum Half

17/12/2001

185cm

87kg

5

Cormac

Izuchukwu

Lock

28/01/2000

201cm

117kg

6

Michael

Lowry

Full Back

20/08/1998

170cm

76kg

49

Greg

Jones

Back Row

13/01/1996

196cm

108kg

27

Rob

Lyttle

Wing

28/01/1997

175cm

85kg

47

Ross

Kane

Prop

14/10/1994

180cm

118kg

53

Ian

Madigan

Fly Half

21/03/1989

178cm

89kg

24

30

Mick

Kearney

Lock

29/03/1991

198cm

116 kg

3

Luke

Marshall

Centre

03/03/1991

180cm

99kg

144

11

Senior Squad

UlsterRugby.com

17


Prop

11/10/1989

185cm

118kg

17

56

Jack

McGrath

Prop

15/12/1992

191cm

134kg

6

Gareth

Milasinovich

Prop

01/03/1991

178cm

123kg

61

10

Marty

Moore

Centre

08/08/1999

183cm

90kg

17

Stewart

Moore

Back Row

22/04/1991

188cm

102kg

48

30

Jordi

Murphy

Lock

10/09/1992

196cm

110kg

136

Alan

O’Connor

Lock / Back Row

19/05/1995

193cm

107kg

15

David

O’Connor

Prop

30/11/1995

185cm

117kg

68

1

Eric

O’Sullivan

Prop

23/09/1998

185cm

123kg

64

1

Tom

O’Toole

Full Back / Wing

10/08/2000

188cm

86kg

18

Ethan

McIlroy

Back Row

13/06/2000

193cm

108kg

8

David

McCann

Centre

06/08/1992

193cm

110kg

141

6

Stuart

McCloskey

Senior Squad

Back Row

01/08/1995

188cm

114kg

84

1

Nick

Timoney

Lock

06/11/1995

198cm

115kg

109

3

Kieran

Treadwell

Prop

12/03/1991

178cm

116kg

139

Andrew

Warwick

Back Row

08/09/1997

188cm

108kg

5

Marcus

Rea

Back Row

21/09/1993

193cm

110kg

67

Matthew

Rea

Hooker

04/01/1996

175cm

104Kg

8

Bradley

Roberts

Wing/Full Back

03/04/1996

191cm

102kg

83

35

Jacob

Stockdale

Scrum Half

20/06/1993

175cm

77kg

73

David

Shanahan

Hooker

11/01/2001

183cm

103kg

-

Tom

Stewart

Wing

24/08/200

188cm

94kg

1

Aaron

Sexton

Prop

06/01/1999

183cm

117kg

7

Callum

Reid

Back Row

10/05/1989

183cm

102kg

147

2

Sean

Reidy

19

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21


1 Warwick 2 Herring 3 O’Toole

1 Sithole 2 Visagie 3 Sadie

C

4 O’Connor

5 Carter

4 Schoeman

5 Nothnagel

6 Rea

8 McCann 7 Timoney

6 Sangweni

8 Straeuli 7 Tshituka

9 Doak

9 Warner

11 McIlroy

10 Burns

11 Maxwane

10 Viljoen

C

12 Moore

12 Odendaal

REPLACEMENTS

REPLACEMENTS

16 B Roberts

16 PJ Botha

17 E O’Sullivan

13 Hume

17 R Dreyer

13 Rass

18 R Kane

18 A Ntlabakanye

19 K Treadwell

19 W van der Sluys

20 S Reidy

21 D Shanahan

15 Addison

14 Gilroy

20 E Tshituka

21 M van den Berg

15 Rossouw

14 Pienaar

22 M Lowry

23 B Moxham

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

Assistant Referees: Robert O’Sullivan, Dermot Blake (both IRFU)

TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)

22 F Zeilinga

23 W Simelane

UlsterRugby.com

23


SUPER SERIES

IT’S ALL

KICKING

Round 1 of our new programme for girls

kicked off last Sunday with a total of 217

players taking part. 134 U16s & 83 U18s

came together from 27 clubs to hold 6

games right across the province.

OFF

The Super Series takes clubs and groups

them together on a regional basis, allowing

them to compete in 15-a-side games with

Ulster Rugby staff facilitating joint training

sessions and matches.

The objective of the Super Series is to

grow the profile of girls’ rugby through

providing regular match opportunities,

eventually increasing the playing numbers

of the clubs involved.

Enniskillen and Virginia will compete as

standalone teams, while 25 clubs will form

the four regional sides:

Eastern Panthers

Ards, Ballynahinch, Bangor, Cooke,

Donaghadee and Malone

North East Lightning

Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrick, Larne,

Ophir, Rainey and Randalstown

North West Eagles

City of Derry, Finn Valley, Inishowen,

Letterkenny and Limavady

Southern Stars

Banbridge, City of Armagh, Dungannon,

Lurgan, Monaghan, Newry and Portadown

The 2nd round will take place on the

24 October, with further details to

be confirmed.

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UlsterRugby.com 25


Ones to Watch

Sibahle “Rabz” Maxwane

14/08/1995 185cm 90kg

Vincent Tshituka

The 26 yeard old Winger has a weath of experience

and has featured against Ulster before, back in the

2019/20 season, with his former club, Toyota Cheetahs.

Maxwane was their top metre-maker at that stage.

A certain threat, the Winger has plenty of speed and

provides great cover for the back-field .

10/09/1998 194cm 109kg

Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the 23

year old Back Row is a threat to any defense. Tshituka is

a fantastic competitor at the breakdown and a ferocious

ball carrier, often seen to be striding through tackles or

simplying pushing defenders to the ground.

EW Viljoen

09/05/1995 195cm 100kg

Born in Bloemfontein, the 26 year old Fly Half joined the

Lions in 2020, having previously played for Leicester

Tigers, Stormers and the Western Province.

Last week, Viljoen scored all of the Emirates Lions’ points

against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun, striking the ball

with pin-point accuracy.

NAME POSITION DOB HEIGHT WEIGHT

PJ Botha Hooker 20/01/1998 180cm 105kg

Morne Brandon Hooker 25/11/2000 183cm 105kg

Ruan Dreyer Prop 16/09/1990 185cm 115kg

Jannie Du Plessis Prop 16/11/1982 188cm 121kg

Francke Horn, Back Row 24/5/1999 190cm 106kg

Pieter Jansen van Vuren Lock 2/04/1991 194cm 108kg

Jaco Kriel Back Row 21/08/1989 184cm 101kg

Morgan Naude Prop 11/08/1998 181cm 104kg

Reinhard Nothnagel Lock 25/09/1997 201cm 117kg

Asenathi Ntlabakanye Prop 15/04/1999 183cm 153kg

Carlu Sadie Prop 07/05/1997 184cm 143kg

Sibusiso Sangweni Back Row 27/11/2000 188cm 102kg

Ruben Schoeman Lock 14/03/1996 198cm 120kg

Sti Sithole Prop 31/03/1993 180cm 114kg

Ruhan Straeuli No.8 04/11/1998 193cm 111kg

Emmanuel Tshituka Back Row 16/06/2000 193cm 106kg

Vincent Tshituka Back Row 10/09/1998 194cm 109kg

Wilhelm van der Sluys Lock 14/08/1991 188cm 110kg

Jaco Visagie Hooker 08/07/1992 188cm 107kg

Eddie Fouche Fly Half 04/09/1997 185cm 92kg

Jordan Hendrikse Fly Half 28/06/2001 186cm 89kg

Sibahle Maxwane Wing 14/08/1995 185cm 90kg

Matt More Centre 25/11/1998 192cm 101kg

Burger Odendaal Centre 15/04/1993 187cm 99kg

Stean Pienaar Wing 13/5/1997 178cm 97kg

Manuel Rass Centre 19/04/1998 174cm 86kg

Divan Rossouw Wing 12/03/1996 187cm 93kg

Wandisile Simelane Centre 21/03/1998 180cm 92kg

Ginter Smuts Scrum Half 07/09/1998 175cm 86kg

Jamba Ulengo Wing 07/01/1990 188cm 102kg

Morne Van den Berg Scrum Half 24/10/1997 174cm 82kg

EW Viljoen Fullback 09/05/1995 195cm 100kg

Andre Warner Scrum Half 02/09/1993 184cm 93kg

Fred Zeilinga Fly Half 11/12/1992 175cm 82kg

Previous Rounds

Zebre 26-38 Emirates Lions

Scarlets 36-13 Emirates Lions

Glasgow 13-9 Emirates Lions

27


Half-Time Disability Rugby

Exhibition Games

Players

1 Owen Pickett

Players

1 Jo Jo Berry

2 Josh Kernoghan

2 Henry Berry

3 Daniel Oslter

3 Caleb Stuart

4 Daniel Purse

4 Samantha Smallwood

Ballyclare Hares

(Over 15s)

5 James Dorman

6 Leon Hawthorne

Donaghadee Seaside

Sharkies (Over 15s)

5 Toby Ellsmere

6 Matthew Ireland

Coaches

1 Kris James

7 Christopher Hawthorne

8 Paul Field

Coaches

1 Alan McGimpsey

7 Baily Allen

8 Patrick Brown

2 Gary Dorman

9 Matthew Davidson

2 Erin McGimpsey

9 Jo Brown

3 Tommy Scott

10 Fintan McErlean

3 Andrew Tait

10

Club Colours:

Red, Blue, Yellow

11 Kaden James

12 Alfie Moore

Club Colours:

Red / Green

11

12

Players

Players

1 Carter McRoberts

1 Caitlin Hammond

2 Ben Collins

2 Rachael Booth

3 Alex Stuart

3 Darly Lappin

4 Jackson McCormack

4 J J Galway

Donaghadee Seaside

Sharkies (Under 15s)

5 Frazer Currie

6 Niall Lawson

Cougars

(Under 15s)

5 Kenzi turtle

6 Conor Nickle

Coaches

1 Hanna Blaney

7

8

Coaches

1 Patrica Logan

7

8

2 Bobby McCallister

9

2 Pete Brown

9

3

10

3 Mark Ellsmere

10

Club Colours:

Red / Green

11

12

Club Colours:

Blue

11

12

LIVE STATS

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29


Last Time Out

28 - 8

Rob Herring got a second bite at the cherry

five minutes from half-time, stretching out

the arm from the advancing Ulster maul to

get the try. Nathan Doak made no mistake

with the conversion.

Benetton looked to put early pressure on

Ulster in the second half, but again discipline

let them down and Ulster were able to

eat back into the visitors’ territory. Benetton

eventually got out of trouble through

a penalty.

The Italian side again tested Ulster’s

defences and looked like they might

score before Ulster turned the ball over,

but it was deemed to be illegally-so

and James Hume was sent to the bin.

Benetton then pounced through winger,

Ratuva Tavuyara in the corner. Marin was

unable to land the conversion.

Ulster got themselves into a good position

with a scrum, but Benetton forced the

penalty against the head and were able to

exit from their half. Ulster remained patient,

and momentum in the scrum shifted back

their way. The hosts went through the

phases and Player of the Match, Nathan

Doak spotted his chance to go himself

to secure the bonus-point in the dying

minutes of the game. He took his personal

tally to 18 points when he coolly slotted the

conversion to see out the game.

Full-time score:

Ulster 28 - 8 Benetton

Watch

Highlights

Ulster claimed their third win from three

games, and secured maximum points

after defeating Benetton 28-8 at Kingspan

Stadium last Friday evening.

Most of the opening few minutes were

played in the middle of the park with neither

side having any clear scoring opportunities.

Benetton however were first on the board

with a Leonardo Marin penalty in the

7th minute.

Ulster struck again just four minutes later,

after a nice loop movement between Nathan

Doak, Rob Herring and David McCann,

allowing the Number Eight through the gap

and send Doak through for Ulster’s second.

The scrum-half drilled the ball over to

convert his try.

Some ill-discipline from Benetton inside

their own half allowed Ulster and Billy Burns

to pin them back for the attacking line-out.

Double-centurion, Rob Herring looked to

have scored from the Ulster maul but after a

TMO check, referee AJ Jacobs deemed it to

be no try due to an Ulster obstruction.

Benetton went down to fourteen with Ivan

Nemer being sent to the bin for not rolling

away, and Ulster capitalised on the man

advantage in the 22nd minute. Billy Burns

made a beautifully weighted cross-field kick

which Craig Gilroy gathered and dotted

down for his 67th try.

UlsterRugby.com

31


Behind the Player

Sorcha Mac Laimhin

In our series, Behind the Player in association

with Deloitte, Ulster’s Senior Women

players share a little bit about themselves

and their rugby careers.

This week, the spotlight turns to Cooke and

Ulster prop, Sorcha Mac Laimhin, who is

retiring from provincial rugby.

Tell us a little about your rugby pathway.

I first started playing rugby when I moved

to Northern Ireland and went to university

at Queen’s. My big sister played when she

was at university and my dad was a rugby

referee throughout my childhood, so I knew

it was a good social environment. I wanted

to make some friends, so I went along to the

Freshers’ Fair and found the rugby team to

sign up. I just wanted to join for the fun of it

and to make friends. I didn’t know too much

about playing rugby other than having to

pass the ball backwards! I really enjoyed a

couple of seasons learning about the game

and playing with Queen’s Women.

In my second year at Queen’s in 2008, I

played a match against Cavan and after

the game, my coach told me that the Ulster

coaches wanted me to go to training.

I didn’t think I was very good or that it

would be something I could pursue. It was

a totally different environment to club

training. That was the start of taking rugby

a bit more seriously and trying to improve!

I played in a friendly against the Army

and was like a rabbit in the head lights!

The following season, I was asked to

go back and got my first cap for Ulster

against Connacht.

After Queen’s I transferred to Belfast

Harlequins where the coach, Nathan

Moore was really keen to get another

women’s team into the All-Ireland League.

He talent-spotted the likes of Ashleigh

Orchard (Baxter) and Nikki Caughey. We

had a couple of cracking seasons there but

unfortunately couldn’t get that promotion

into the AIL. A number of us went to

different clubs which was a real shame. It’s

great now that Harlequins have a strong

women’s section again and are doing well.

It was at that point that I moved to Cooke

where I’ve been playing since 2012.

What has been the best advice you’ve

received?

The best advice I’ve been given has been to be

coachable. It’s important that you go into any

training session hoping to learn something

and without any arrogance that you know it

all already. Every coach and players around

you bring their own experiences and you’re

always able to learn. Go in with an open mind

and be eager to learn. You’ll definitely grow

and go far.

What advice would you give to a young girl

or woman who is thinking about taking

up rugby?

I just think, “go and give it a shot!”.

Jump in with both feet and you’ll

really enjoy it. If you want to

push right ahead and try to

represent your province or

even country, there are so

many great people who

can give you advice and

support. The first place to

start is your local rugby

club; find it, get down

there and if there isn’t

a girls’ or women’s

team, start one and

throw yourself into it.

You won’t look back;

rugby is a great sport,

and the community

is incredible. You

make some of the

best friends you’ll

ever have. Just get

involved.

Prop

2/12/1989

UlsterRugby.com

33


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Mick Kearney

The second row spoke to the media earlier

this week about how he’s been settling in at

the province.

How are you settling in at Ulster?

I’ve settled in really well. It’s been thoroughly

enjoyable for me just to get back into an Irish

set-up. Italy was a brilliant experience from a

rugby, lifestyle and cultural point-of-view but

being an Irish lad, the craic and the other side

of that is the intensity and ambition within

the environment is fantastic to be part of.

I’d hang around with most of the lads; it’s a

really inclusive, open group and there are no

cliques. That’s not to say there were cliques

in any of the previous environments I was in!

The Ulster group is very welcoming; you can

throw a message into the WhatsApp group

to say you’re going for a bit of lunch and 20

lads could get back to you. If I was to pick a

couple of players out, I’d pal around with Alan

O’Connor, Marty Moore and John Andrew

quite a bit, but there are no favourites!

How did your move to Ulster come about?

I came back from Italy and there wasn’t really

much around that really excited me. I had

worked with Dan in the past at Connacht

close to ten years ago now, so I came home,

kept fit and set a date and after that I’d

move on if nothing came up. One person’s

misfortune is another person’s luck; Dan got

in touch to say they needed a second row.

Every game is a trial and a chance to impress.

If you don’t go out and perform, it’s just a trial

and nothing more. I’ve tried to approach it

from a day-to-day mentality. If you watch

the NFL documentary, “Hard Knocks”, they

can get a rattle on the door on any given day

and you’re either claimed by a team or you’re

gone. I’ve tried to have a similar mentality

with this whole experience and that has

made it really enjoyable.

Did you speak to your former Zebre teammate,

Ian Nagle who spent some time at

Ulster, before your move?

I did. Ian had an unbelievably positive

experience here before he went to Zebre.

We would have spoken about it over the last

two years. He said it was the most positive

experience of his whole career, so for him to

say that having been at the likes of Munster

and Leinster, London Irish and Zebre, that

was all I needed to hear. We’d be very good

friends and I trust his opinion on a lot of

big decisions. Once I’d heard that, it was a

no-brainer.

How do you feel the start of the season has

gone from a team perspective?

It’s an outcome business from a performance

point-of-view. We’ve got 15 points which is

great but there have been meetings we’ve

sat in following the game where there’s been

a lot of frustration in terms of what we could

have achieved in each game. We probably

haven’t put the full package together just yet.

There’s a real excitement around the group

to put the full package together. The first

three weeks have gone well from an outcome

perspective, but we’re still challenging each

other every day to try and put it all together

and have a more complete performance.

What was it like to play against your former

team-mates in Zebre two weeks ago?

Playing against the Zebre lads was great;

they definitely had a target on me! I got a

few messages from them during the week

saying that there were going to be a few

shots coming my way! It was good to catch

up with those guys; the results haven’t gone

their way but they’re an unbelievably hardworking

bunch of guys who show up every

day and put the shoulder to the wheel. I’ve

so much time for them as a group so it was

great to see them again.

Lock

29/03/1991

198cm

116 kg

3

UlsterRugby.com

37


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39


and strengthening for the much tougher

games ahead.

Other teams are now bleeding back into

their squads those who had busy summer

schedules at international and Lions level,

and Ulster will hope it can soon line out with

skipper Iain Henderson, Jacob Stockdale,

Robert Baloucoune and John Cooney, just

three of an extraordinary casualty list.

With Kieran Treadwell, David O’Connor,

Rob Lyttle and Eric O’Sullivan back in full

training, McFarland’s selection options

improve and the already feisty competition

for places in a team which is itching to

prove itself as a one of the of the most

gifted and robust in Europe. Jack McGrath,

Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall, on

Lions Will Not Sleep Tonight!

Something is stirring in our new United

Rugby Championship, and Ulster will

hope that it is thoroughly prepared for a

very new kind of challenge at Kingspan

Stadium this evening.

After three rounds of the new competition,

the four newcomers from South Africa

– without the aid of their international

players - have stumbled rather than strode

into rugby battle. There was certainly no

denying the proven pedigree of the Sharks,

Bulls, Stormers and Lions, but their early

forays in the northern hemisphere hardly

suggested they were sporting monoliths

to fear.

But last weekend the Sharks, with one Ruan

Pienaar prominent, inflicted an impressive

defeat on the Ospreys. The Bulls, with a

certain Marcell Coetzee in the back row,

saw off Cardiff at the Arms Park, and the

Guest article:

Rod Nawn

Stormers took two valuable points from a

20-20 draw in Edinburgh.

The Lions, also in the middle of a European

‘swing,’ considered themselves more than a

little unfortunate to leave Scotstoun on the

wrong side of a 13-9 defeat to Glasgow.

So, it is a wounded group of players which

arrives at Kingspan Stadium, determined

to bring Ulster’s unblemished start to the

campaign to an end – though the visitors

understand their hosts would appear to be

a much more resilient and focussed side

than for some time.

Dan McFarland will have minutely studied

the Lions’ strengths and potential frailties,

and Ulster Defence Coach Jared Payne has

spoken with real clarity about the physical

challenge which awaits his charges this

evening. Furthermore, Payne believes

this is a good time to take on the South

Africans teams who will pose an even more

sophisticated threat in their own conditions

next year when Ulster travel to the Stormers

and to the Bulls.

So, this evening home supporters will

get their first glimpse of the new boys on

the URC block, and it should be quite an

occasion for fans who won’t be able to

see their favourites in home action for

another two months as the competition

takes them to Connacht, Leinster and the

Ospreys in the league, then to Clermont in

the Champions Cup, before Northampton

arrives in Belfast just before Christmas in

the elite European tournament.

Throw in the Autumn international schedule

and regulars at home will hope, and believe,

that the team will face a hugely busy and

challenging end of the year and January

with URC ambitions intact, and momentum

gained helping to mount a serious challenge

in the Champions Cup despite being drawn

in such a tough group.

But for this weekend the focus of Head

Coach McFarland, his assistants and players

will most certainly be on extending its

winning run by caging the Lions. In the

process they will want to take those forward

steps in performance which have been

admirably consistent in terms of results but,

as all in the camp accept, need refinement

their returns to action, will only further

deepen the talent pool, so supporters can

genuinely harbour hopes of a lengthy and

fruitful season for the men in white.

But to this evening. Lions Head Coach Ivan

van Rooyen has one of the shrewdest brains

in the sport, and even at this early stage his

depleted squad tops the South African URC

pool, opening its mini tour of Europe with

an opening round win at Zebre.

The physicality of which McFarland and

41


Payne have spoken is amply represented

by the presence of Ruhan Straeuli, Emanuel

Tshituka, Sti Sithole, PJ Botha, Jaco Kriel

and Ruben Schoeman, and the attacking

strings are usually pulled by EW Viljoen and

the darting scrum-half Andre Warner.

A muscular midfield could feature Manuel

Rass and Burger Odendaal, and the scoring

threat often centres on a back three

of Divan Rossouw, Stean Pienaar and

Sibahle Maxwane.

The bumps and bruises picked up and

Glasgow might see ‘Cash’ van Rooyen

roll the dice again, and some less familiar

names could get their first taste of the URC,

but one thing can be assured: the Lions will

start with real energy and hope to use a

renowned maul and scrum to effect against

a home team which boasts its own strong

credentials in those departments.

Ulster has set its stall out clearly this season

with its use of the penalty to the corner

and the consequent lineout setting up

the driving maul. It has been an effective

weapon for a long time, but an improving

tactic which has been executed successfully

with great frequency. The Lions will be

aware of the danger there, and the hosts’

efficiency in lineout and scrummage.

The South African team is not as energetic or

consistence in the loose so the breakdown, as

ever, will be a key area tonight. The turnover

count in Ulster’s favour is dramatically ‘up’

this year, and Nick Timoney, Sean Reidy, Rob

Herring are just a few of the forwads who

have become expert in this department.

McFarland will shortly have a roster at

almost full strength, and he will welcome

the selection headaches that might seem

to create. He will pick sides he feels are

well-equipped to take on any and each

opposition and his players know that when

given their chance, they can cement their

places in his longer-term plans.

It is indeed a squad game, and it is no longer

possible, in many cases, to distinguish

between first and second-choice sides.

The arrival of the Lions at Kingspan Stadium

marks a new chapter in the development

of a league competition which started two

decades ago as the Celtic League and has

developed through its various names into

a truly international and financially settled

tournament with even larger ambitions.

With maximum points from its first three

games and sitting just behind Munster in

what is arguably the most demanding pool

of all – made up of the four Irish provinces

– Ulster has built a platform for yearnedfor

success in a tangible form. It is not an

overstatement to believe that this season, in

the URC and in Europe, could be the making

of this particular squad of Ulster players,

individuals who share the public’s craving

for a title, a trophy.

The Lions will prove a test in all departments

of the game, and more lessons will be learned

by the Ulster management and players, but

in the jungle of modern rugby, Ulster appear

balanced and level-headed enough to take

another important stride.

Supporters will await the side’s return

to action in Belfast in December with an

expectation of a happy Christmas!

CONNACHT

v ULSTER

SAT 23 OCT 5.15PM | AVIVA STADIUM

Tickets available at connachtrugby.ie

UlsterRugby.com 43


Ulster Rugby Academy

Azur

Allison

Back Row

19/04/1999

191cm

106kg

1

Ben

Carson

Centre

24/02/2002

183cm

100kg

-

Reuben

Crothers

Flanker

29/01/2001

185cm

96kg

-

Lewis

Finlay

Scrum Half

19/01/2000

168cm

74kg

-

James

Humphreys

Fly Half

11/04/2001

185cm

80kg

-

James

McCormick

Hooker

08/01/2002

180cm

103kg

-

Conor

McKee

Scrum Half

20/03/2001

183cm

87kg

-

CADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

CADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

CADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

CADEMY Jude ACADEMY Conor ACADEMY

George

Postlethwaite Rankin Saunderson

CADEMY Centre

ACADEMY Full Back ACADEMY

Prop

03/04/2002 27/05/2001

11/01/2001

CADEMY 193cm ACADEMY 185cm

ACADEMY

191cm

101kg

89kg

118kg

CADEMY - ACADEMY - ACADEMY

-

CADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

UlsterRugby.com

CADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

Ben

Moxham

Wing

06/09/2001

191cm

97kg

6

Harry

Sheridan

Lock/Back Row

21/09/2001

196cm

111kg

-


Ulster Society of Rugby

Football Referees’ News

We welcome Mike Adamson (SRU) and his

team of officials to Kingspan Stadium this

evening for this Round 4 fixture in the URC.

Mike is only one of a team of eight officials

involved in the game. As well as the three

on field officials, there is also a TMO, a citing

commissioner, a timekeeper and a fourth

and fifth official. So what do they all do?

Citing commissioner – this is an independent

person who will watch the game and look

for any potential acts of foul play. Each

team also has a certain length of time

(usually 48 hours after the final whistle) to

report any issues to the commissioner after

the game. These are then dealt with by a

judicial panel.

Timekeeper – he/she is in communication

with the referee and stops and starts

the stadium clock as and when required.

Remember that a game of rugby does

not necessarily end when the clock hits

80 minutes. It stops when the ball next

becomes dead (see quiz on right).

TMO – assists the referee with on field

decisions such as grounding of the ball and

foul play. Look out for a feature on this role

in a future match programme!

Perhaps the most difficult role of any of

the match officials is that of the 4th and

5th official! Not only do they need to keep

the technical zones tidy and the personnel

within them calm, they also control the

replacements coming on and off the pitch,

along with timing sin bins, blood injuries,

Head Injury Assessments and liaising with

the broadcaster over replacements. And

then there is the post-match paperwork!

There is never a quiet night!

If you could see yourself in one of those

roles, why not consider taking up refereeing

where you could progress to become an

official in the professional game?

If interested, please contact

Richard Kerr

Referee Development Manager

richard.kerr@irfu.ie | 07493 868388

Quick-fire Law quiz:

1. When does a half end?

2. When can a referee not play

advantage?

3. What is the minimum width of

a pitch?

4. How many players are required to

form a maul?

5. The ball bounces off the corner post

and rolls into in goal. An attacking

player touches it down. Decision?

Answers:

1. When the ball becomes dead after time has expired unless:

- A scrum, lineout or restart kick following a try or

touchdown awarded before time has expired has not been

completed

- The referee awards a free kick or penalty

- A penalty is kicked into touch without first being tapped.

- A try has been scored in which case a conversion can be

taken

2. When the ball or player in possession of the ball touches

the referee;

The ball comes out of either end of the tunnel at a scrum;

A scrum is wheeled through 90 degrees;

A player in a scrum is forced upwards;

A quick throw, free kick or penalty is taken incorrectly;

The ball is made dead;

It would be dangerous to play on;

It is suspected that a player is seriously injured

3. 68 metres

4. At least three – the ball carrier and at least one from

each team

5. Award a try

Rugby World Cup 2023

Ireland Match Breaks

Register

UlsterRugby.com 47


Important:

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all supporters,

Ulster Rugby would ask all supporters to follow the latest public health

guidance in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.

Please DO NOT attend Kingspan Stadium if you are

experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

RAVENHILL PARK GARDENS

SPIRIT OF ‘99

THE 1924

PROMENADE 1

PROMENADE 2

ONSLOW PARADE

TURNSTILES

Clean Hands Keep Distance Wear Face Covering

ABBEY AUTOLINE FAMILY STAND

FOOD

VILLAGE

ADMIN’

BUILDING

When travelling around the Stadium, please wear a face covering,

make use of hand sanitisation stations, and be distance-aware and

respectful of other supporters.

EAST TERRACE

A&L GOODBODY LOUNGE / VIP BOXES

ISOLATION

ROOM

C-19 MEDIC

Respect Policy

Stadium Facilities

TURNSTILES

We are passionate

in our support

We are silent during kicks

at goal

We respect the match

officials’ decisions

We drink

responsibly

Catering

The Food Village will be in operation,

serving a variety of cuisines, while the

Cool FM Crew provide the soundtrack to

the evening.

All five public bars will be in operation, with

one-way queueing and no mingling indoors.

Audio descriptive match commentary to

enhance the match experience for people

affected by sight or hearing loss will be

available. Earpieces can be collected from

the admin building reception prior to the

game, or you can book your equipment by

calling Jen on (028) 9049 3222.

We do not tolerate

abusive or discriminatory

language

We respect opposition

players, management

& supporters

We are mindful

of our language

INCIDENT HOTLINE

07790

200 200

Kukri Store

The Kukri Store will be open from 6.05pm

until 30 minutes post-match.

OUR Club

The activity centre for our Junior Season

Ticket holders will not be in operation for

this fixture.

UlsterRugby.com

49


Thank You!

FIXTURES

Ulster Rugby wish to thank all of our sponsors

and partners for their continued support.

Main Sponsor

Kit Sponsor

Official Sponsors

Domestic Sponsors

Official Partners

Official On-kit Sponsors

H Glasgow Fri 24 Sep W 35-29 URC

A Zebre Sat 2 Oct W 3-36 URC

H Benetton Fri 8 Oct W 28-8 URC

H Emirates Lions Fri 15 Oct 7.35pm URC

A Connacht Sat 23 Oct 7.35pm URC

A Leinster Sat 27 Nov 8.00pm URC

A Ospreys Sat 4 Dec 3.00pm URC

A Clermont Sat 11 Dec 6.30pm HCC

H Northampton Saints Fri 17 Dec 8.00pm HCC

H Connacht Sun 26 Dec 5.15pm URC

H Leinster Sat 1 Jan 7.35pm URC

A Munster Sat 8 Jan 7.35pm URC

A Northampton Saints Sun 16 Jan 3.15pm HCC

H Clermont Sat 22 Jan 5.30pm HCC

H Scarlets w/o 28-30 Jan URC

A Dragons w/o 18-20 Feb URC

H Cardiff w/o 4-6 Mar URC

A DHL Stormers w/o 25-27 Mar URC

A Vodacom Bulls w/o 1-3 Apr URC

H Munster w/o 22-24 Apr URC

A Edinburgh w/o 29 Apr-1 May URC

H Cell C Sharks w/o 20-22 May URC

BACK

TOGETHER

UlsterRugby.com 51


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