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ULSTER

Official Match Day Programme

v CONNACHT

Fri 4 Feb 2022, 8.15pm

Kingspan Stadium


In this Issue

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

where tonight the Ulster squad welcomes rival province, Connacht Rugby

for the eighth round of the United Rugby Championship.

A win for the Ulster men tonight would see them return to the top of the

URC standings - albeit with an extra game played - while Connacht will be

focused on getting back to winning ways after a tough loss against Glasgow last weekend.

An all-Irish affair promises a well fought battle between two highly motivated sides.

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

22

35

5 President’s

Welcome

7

10

Our Virtual

Mascot

Player Interview:

Rob Lytlte

16 Squad

Profiles

20 Team

Line-ups

22

Open Trials

Girls’ 7s

24 Connacht

Ones To Watch

27 Half-time

Exhibition Games

Last Time

28 Out

32 Q&A:

Billy Burns

35

38

44

Shanahan, Postlethwaite

& Moxham Commit

Ulster to See Off

Friend or Foe

Clogher Valley

win AI Junior Cup

46 Referees’

News

44

3


President’s

Welcome

Welcome to the re-scheduled Round 8

fixture in the United Rugby Championship,

and the third home game in a row at

Kingspan Stadium.

I would like to welcome our provincial rivals,

Connacht, who come off the back of a

tough defeat by Glasgow Warriors at The

Sportsground last weekend, so they will be

sure to put in a response which Ulster will

have to be prepared for.

Ulster claimed a bonus-point victory over

Scarlets last Friday evening, putting them

in a great position in the URC table, which

I’m sure they will want to build upon this

evening. Congratulations must go to Rob

Lyttle on making his 50th appearance for

the Ulster men last Friday!

Earlier this week, we were bolstered by

the news that David Shanahan has signed

a two-year contract extension with Ulster,

with Ben Moxham being promoted to a

senior contract next season, and Jude

Postlethwaite being awarded with a

Development contract followed by a 3-year

senior contract. Hooker Declan Moore, who

impressed during his short-term loan from

Munster, will join Ulster on a two-year deal.

Welcome, Declan!

Congratulations to the seven young Ulster

players who have been selected in the

Irish Under-20s Six Nations squad. Reuben

Crothers will have the honour of captaining the

side for this campaign. Best of luck to Reuben,

Josh Hanlon, Adam McNamee, John Glasgow,

James McCormick, James McNabney, and

Scott Wilson in their campaign.

A huge well-done and congratulations to

James Hume, who has been selected in

the Ireland Men’s match-day squad to face

Wales on Saturday. Hopefully we will see

him making his Guinness Six Nations debut

after putting in phenomenal performances

for Ulster.

Last Saturday saw an all-Ulster final

between Clogher Valley and Ballyclare in

the Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup, with

Clogher Valley edging out the win to

claim the Cup for the first time in front

of a 3,000-strong crowd at Kingspan

Stadium. What a fantastic advert for junior

rugby displayed by both sides, and my

congratulations go to Clogher Valley.

As the club and schools’ competitions

progress, I’d like to remind everyone of

our #respectURgame campaign and our

updated Code of Conduct. Thank you in

advance for championing this message.

Enjoy the game and SUFTUM.

Gary Leslie

President, IRFU Ulster Branch

5


Virtual

Mascot

Name: Finley Copeland

Age: 10

From: Banbridge

Today Finley celebrates his 10th birthday with

his family here at Kingspan Stadium.

Finley loves celebrating tries at

Kingspan Stadium by cheering and waving his

flag. Oh and he really likes a pre-match burger!

When he’s not supporting Ulster, he is playing

for Banbridge RFC.

Favourite Player: Nathan Doak

7


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, Billy Burns, James

Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale,

Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan,

Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney.

Kathryn Dane, Neve Jones and Brittany

Hogan have been part of the Ireland team

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.

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

Jonny Petrie

CEO Ulster Rugby

THE BIGGEST NAMES.

ALL THE GAMES.

THE BIGGEST GAMES.

EVERY ROUND.

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50 50 50 50

50 50 50 50

50 50 50 50

50 5

Rob Lyttle

50

50

Wing

28/01/1997

175cm

85kg

50

The winger notched up his 50th

appearance for the Ulster men last Friday

against the Scarlets, and he’s looking

forward to the challenge Connacht will

bring to Kingspan Stadium.

Congratulations Rob on your 50th Ulster

appearance and on your birthday! How did

it feel to run out in front of a home crowd?

It was pretty special in front of everybody

for my 50th cap. I think it had been about

two-and-a-half years since I last played in

front of a full Kingspan Stadium crowd; I

got injured and then COVID hit, so it’s been

a long time since I played at home, so that

was special in itself. My family were there,

and it was my son’s first time ever watching

me play for Ulster, so that was special

getting to hold him after the game.

If you can cast your mind back, which of

those 50 appearances stand out for you as

favourite memories?

Your debut is always special, but apart

from that, beating Edinburgh in the semifinal

of the Guinness PRO14 was surreal. I

got Player of the Match, so it was a special

day. We played Munster on New Year’s Day

in 2018 and I scored the bonus-point try in

the last minute in the game; that is one that

definitely stands out!

How much are you enjoying being part of

an exciting young group of backs?

It’s class. Apart from Billy [Burns], I was one

of the oldest players in the back line last

weekend, which I hadn’t thought about! It’s

fantastic playing with guys who have come

through the same pathway I have. It’s a very

talented group and it’s exciting to see where

we’ll go in the next couple of seasons.

Going into this week, how is the mood in

the squad?

Any time we play an Inter-Pro, it’s a special

game. We need to back-up the performance

from last week. When we played Connacht

at Aviva Stadium, we didn’t cover ourselves

in any glory, so we owe them one and will

try to right the wrongs of that day.

It’s a big Inter-Pro fixture this week against

Connacht, we’re sure it won’t take much to

motivate the squad for this game?

It’ll take no motivation at all. Connacht

are a very good side and that game at

Aviva Stadium, we had a taste of our own

medicine. We have to play well to beat

them so there will be no extra motivation

needed at all.

Connacht have a brilliant team all-round.

Tiernan O’Halloran is a stand-out back,

and Jack Carty, if he’s released by Ireland.

They’ve got multiple threats in the back

line – Alex Wootton is a great player

and Sammy Arnold too. It should be an

exciting game.

How important is it to you as a player to

have the home crowd behind you?

It’s a massive driving factor for us. When we

get on the front foot playing against teams,

we can really hear the team behind us, so

I imagine it’s very intimidating for other

teams. We really value the crowd getting

behind us; it spurs us on to do well and

ultimately get the win.

11


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2 HEMISPHERES,

1 LEAGUE

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Exclusive offers

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Premium opinion

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Match highlights &

exclusive video content

WWW.UNITEDRUGBY.COM/MYURC


SENIOR

SQUAD

Head Coach: Dan McFarland

Will

Addison

John

Andrew

Rob

Herring

James

Hume

Cormac

Izuchukwu

Greg

Jones

Assistant Coach: Dan Soper

Forwards Coach: Roddy Grant

Defence Coach: Jared Payne

Skills Coach: Craig Newby

Utility Back

20/08/1992

185cm

95kg

26

5

Hooker

26/05/1993

180cm

100kg

90

Hooker

27/04/1990

185cm

105kg

208

23

Centre

07/09/1998

188cm

95kg

52

1

Lock

28/01/2000

201cm

117kg

6

Back Row

13/01/1996

196cm

108kg

35

Robert

Baloucoune

Wing

19/08/1997

193cm

92kg

35

2

Angus

Curtis

Fly Half / Centre

26/03/1998

178cm

88kg

18

Billy

Burns

Fly Half

13/06/1994

183cm

87kg

63

7

Nathan

Doak

Scrum Half

17/12/2001

185cm

87kg

14

Sam

Carter

Lock

10/09/1989

201cm

116kg

34

AUS 16

Craig

Gilroy

Wing

11/03/1991

183cm

91kg

204

10

John

Cooney

Scrum Half

01/05/1990

178cm

85kg

90

11

Iain

Henderson

Lock

21/02/1992

198cm

116kg

122

65

Ross

Kane

Prop

14/10/1994

180cm

118kg

58

Ian

Madigan

Fly Half

21/03/1989

178cm

89kg

26

30

Mick

Kearney

Lock

29/03/1991

198cm

116 kg

6

Luke

Marshall

Centre

03/03/1991

180cm

99kg

144

11

Mike

Lowry

Full Back

20/08/1998

170cm

76kg

58

David

McCann

Back Row

13/06/2000

193cm

108kg

13

Rob

Lyttle

Wing

28/01/1997

175cm

85kg

50

Stuart

McCloskey

Centre

06/08/1992

193cm

110kg

146

6

SENIOR SQUAD

ulster.rugby

15


Prop

11/10/1989

185cm

118kg

23

56

Jack

McGrath

Prop

15/12/1992

191cm

134kg

7

Gareth

Milasinovich

Prop

01/03/1991

178cm

123kg

67

10

Marty

Moore

Centre

08/08/1999

183cm

90kg

22

Stewart

Moore

Back Row

22/04/1991

188cm

102kg

48

30

Jordi

Murphy

Lock

10/09/1992

196cm

110kg

146

Alan

O’Connor

Lock / Back Row

19/05/1995

193cm

107kg

15

David

O’Connor

Prop

30/11/1995

185cm

117kg

75

1

Eric

O’Sullivan

Prop

23/09/1998

185cm

123kg

72

2

Tom

O’Toole

Full Back/Wing

10/08/2000

188cm

86kg

28

Ethan

McIlroy

Back Row

08/09/1997

188cm

108kg

13

Marcus

Rea

Wing/Centre

06/09/2001

191cm

97kg

11

Ben

Moxham

Back Row

01/08/1995

188cm

114kg

93

2

Nick

Timoney

Lock

06/11/1995

198cm

115kg

117

3

Kieran

Treadwell

Prop

12/03/1991

178cm

116kg

146

Andrew

Warwick

Back Row

21/09/1993

193cm

110kg

69

Matthew

Rea

Hooker

04/01/1996

175cm

104Kg

13

WAL 1

Bradley

Roberts

Wing/Full Back

03/04/1996

191cm

102kg

83

35

Jacob

Stockdale

Scrum Half

20/06/1993

175cm

77kg

78

David

Shanahan

Hooker

11/01/2001

183cm

103kg

1

Tom

Stewart

Wing

24/08/200

188cm

94kg

2

Aaron

Sexton

Prop

06/01/1999

183cm

117kg

7

Callum

Reid

Back Row

10/05/1989

183cm

102kg

150

2

Sean

Reidy

Back Row

03/07/1986

193cm

120kg

6

SA 60

Duane

Vermeulen

SENIOR SQUAD

17

ulster.rugby


Available Now

gilbertrugby.com

THE SPIRIT OF

UNITED RUGBY

CHAMPIONSHIP.

Enjoy responsibly

DISCOVER THE SPIRIT WITHIN |

#SAVOURTHEMOMENT

The oval trim design is a registered trademark of Gilbert Rugby.

19


1 Warwick

2 Andrew 3 Milasinovic

1 Buckley 2 Delahunt 3 Tuimauga

C

4 O’Connor 5 Carter

4 Murray 5 Dowling

C

6 Jones 8 Vermeulen

7 Rea

6 Prendergast 8 Butler

7 Oliver

9 Doak

OFFICIALS

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

Assistant Referees: Andrew Cole, Paul Haycock

TMO: Joy Neville

9 Marmion

11 McIlroy

10 Burns

11 Wootton

10 Fitzgerald

REPLACEMENTS

REPLACEMENTS

16 D Moore

12 McCloskey

16 J Murphy

12 Daly

17 C Reid

17 J Guggan

18 R Kane

18 G McGrath

19 M Kearney

13 Curtis

19 L Fifita

13 Arnold

20 N Timoney

20 P Boyle

21 D Shanahan

21 C Reilly

22 B Moxham

14 Baloucoune

22 C Forde

14 Sullivan

23 R Lyttle

15 Lowry

23 O McNulty

15 Porch

ulster.rugby

21


Ulster Rugby

to hold

open 7s trials

for U16 & U18 Girls

IT’S ALL

KICKING

Ulster Rugby is set to host three open trial

sessions for U16 and U18 girls in Rugby 7s.

The sessions take place at the following

locations:

• Newforge Country Club, Belfast

Thu 17 Feb, 12pm-2pm

• Letterkenny IT, Co. Donegal

Sat 19 Feb, 11am-4pm

• The Peace Link, Clones, Co. Monaghan

Sun 20 Feb, 12pm-3pm

Numbers at each session will be capped

and registration is required to confirm

attendance. Girls born in 2004/05 (U18)

or 2006/07 (U16) can register now at

ulster.rugby/7sopentrials.

Rugby 7s is a variant of the sport involving

7 players per side playing shortened games

made up of 7-minute halves. It tends to be

faster-paced than traditional 15-a-side rugby,

featuring exciting and high-scoring games.

The speed and simplicity of 7s makes it

attractive to players already familiar with

15s rugby, and also newcomers with a solid/

moderate/above average level of athleticism

and fitness.

These trials will give players the chance to

showcase their talent and skill and are seen

as a hugely important part of our ongoing

growth of the women and girls’ game.

This will be the first time Ulster Rugby has

staged open trials at these age groups,

and the aim is to attract a large number of

players to each session.

Ulster is inviting girls in either age bracket

to take part in the trials, regardless of their

experience in rugby.

The sessions themselves will involve various

exercises to assess the skills and abilities of

each player. Following the trials, players will

be selected to enter a 6-week training block

ahead of representing Ulster in a series interprovincial

7s games at the end of April.

Ulster Rugby Women & Girls’ Rugby

Development Manager, Eliza Downey said:

“These open trials mark an exciting time for

Ulster Rugby around the continued growth

and development of the Women & Girls’

game.

“It not only creates an opportunity for

our players within the sport to challenge

themselves, but also provides a welcome

entry point into the game for athletes

from different sports who can bring their

transferable skills into the world of rugby.”

WATCH VIDEO

OFF

COOL FM

THE OFFICIAL

SOUNDTRACK

OF ULSTER

RUGBY

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

ulster.rugby 23


Ones to Watch

Sammy Arnold

08/04/1996 181cm 102kg

Niall Murray

The ex-Ulsterman, made his debut for Ulster against

Dragons back in 2015, at just 18 years old.

Arnold since spent several years at Munster, before

joining Connacht in 2020.

In this season’s United Rugby Championship,

Arnold has scored 3 tries for his province.

13/10/1999 199cm 111kg

Murray is in his second full season with the Connacht

senior squad following a breakthrough year as an

Academy player in 2019/20. The 22-year-old lock has

already made eight appearances for Connacht this

season, including the October victory over Ulster at

Aviva Stadium where he played the full 80 minutes and

also touched down for a try.

Cian Prendergast

23/02/2000 194cm 112kg

Another young forward, last season was Prendergast’s

breakout year, making 10 senior appearances and

winning the Connacht Academy Player of the Year

along with a new senior contract.

The back row has a 97% tackle success rate in this

season’s Unitied Rugby Championship and therefore

could challege Ulster’s attacking line.

NAME POSITION DOB HEIGHT WEIGHT

Aki Bundee Centre 07/04/1990 178cm 102kg

Arnold Sammy Centre 08/04/1996 181cm 102kg

Aungier Jack Prop 20/11/1998 188cm 120kg

Bealham Finlay Prop 09/10/1991 189cm 121kg

Blade Caolin Scrum-Half 29/04/1994 169cm 80kg

Bolton Shayne Centre 29/06/2000 - -

Boyle Paul Back Row 14/01/1997 190cm 107kg

Buckley Denis Prop 09/08/1990 176cm 107kg

Burke Matthew Prop 04/02/1997 180cm 108kg

Butler Jarrad Back Row 20/07/1991 185cm 105kg

Carty Jack Fly Half 31/08/1992 183cm 88kg

Daly Tom Centre 31/07/1993 191cm 107kg

Delahunt Shane Hooker 02/02/1994 187cm 111kg

Dillane Ultan Lock 09/11/1993 196cm 113kg

Dowling Oisin Lock 23/06/1997 197cm 109kg

Duggan Jordan Prop 07/01/1998 187cm 114kg

Farrell Tom Centre 10/01/1993 190cm 107kg

Fifita Leva Lock 29/07/1989 - -

Fitzgerald Conor Out-Half 30/09/1997 185cm 90kg

Hansen Mack Back Three 27/03/1998 - -

Healy Matt Back Three 14/03/1989 184cm 94kg

Heffernan Dave Hooker 31/01/1991 187cm 110kg

Illo Sam Prop 16/02/2001 - -

Marmion Kieran Scrum-Half 11/02/1992 176cm 82kg

Masterson Eoghan Back Row 05/04/1993 193cm 107kg

Masterson Sean Back Row 27/01/1998 191cm 105kg

McGrath Greg Prop 21/01/1997 - -

McNulty Oran Back Three 16/01/2000 178cm 90kg

Murray Niall Lock 13/10/1999 199cm 111kg

Murphy Jonny Hooker 06/09/1992 178cm 101kg

O'Donnell Ben Back Three 14/08/1995 189cm 92kg

O'Halloran Tiernan Back Three 26/02/1991 190cm 94kg

Oliver Conor Back Row 21/09/1995 182cm 102kg

Papali'i Abraham Back Row 20/06/1993 192cm 122kg

Porch John Back Three 04/03/1994 186cm 86kg

Prendergast Cian Lock/Back Row 23/02/2000 194cm 112kg

Reilly Colm Scrum-Half 09/08/1999 176cm 78kg

Robb Peter Centre 19/07/1994 189cm 106kg

Robertson-McCoy Dominic Prop 10/11/1993 188cm 119kg

Sullivan Peter Back Three 15/05/1998 187cm 99kg

Thornbury Gavin Lock 19/10/1993 203cm 116kg

Tierney-Martin Dylan Hooker 20/06/1999 - -

Tuimauga Tietie Prop 05/08/1993 192cm 124kg

Wootton Alex Back Three 07/07/1994 185cm 96kg

Recent Results

Connacht 20-42 Glasgow Warriors

Stade Francais 37-31 Connacht

Connacht 28-29 Leicester Tigers

25


Half-Time Exhibition Games

Letterkenny RFC

Coaches

1 Michael Grant

2 Gerard Lannon

3 Gordon Curley

Club Colours:

Black / Amber

Players

1 Rian McMahon

2 Andrew Flanagan

3 Padraig Gallagher

4 Daragh Curley

5 Lucas McDevitt

6 Sean-Michael McNally-Grant

7 Aaron Blake

8 Conor Lannon

9 Logan McClintock

10 Eoghan Sweeney

11 Fionn Gallagher

12 Ronan McAteer

Dungannon Dragons

Coaches

1 Richard Eccles

2 Ashley Clarke

3 Julian Costelloe

Club Colours:

Blue / White

Players

1 Joel Clarke

2 Sam Eccles

3 Andy Eccles

4 Charlie Costelloe

5 Charlie Espie

6 Charlie Stinson

7 Jake Law

8 Eli Hill

9 Nico Hadden

10 Ollie Cassells

11 Ben Ferguson

12 Jack Edwards

AbbeyAutoline Family Stand End

Players

1 Liam McMonagle

Players

1 Max Blair

2 David McCurry

2 Oscar Black

Coaches

1 Mark Hylands

2

3

Limavady RFC

3 Darragh McCloskey

4 Darragh O’Kane

5 Louis Gault

6 Adam McGerty

7 Arthur Hylands

8 Danny Holmes

9 Alex Campbell

10 Toby Baird

Lurgan RFC

Coaches

1 Peter Blair

2 Peter McMichael

3 Gary Robinson

3 Aydan Byrne

4 Will Cunningham

5 Ryan Ferguson

6 Vaughn Hamilton

7 Lewis Irwin

8 Seth Martin

9 James Matthews

10 Noah McMichael

Memorial Stand End

Club Colours:

Black / Red

11 Ewan Brennan

12 Finlay Scott

Club Colours:

Black/ Yellow / Red

11 Jack Robinson

12 James Wilson

LIVE STATS

27


It didn’t take long for Ulster to reply, however.

They had a penalty five metres out, which

Duane Vermeulen picked up and drove

towards the line. Angus Curtis cut a great

line to collect the pass from Nathan Doak to

burrow over. Doak added the extras to draw

level before the break.

Ulster’s second try came through Sam

Carter, who muscled over under a pile of

Ulster bodies in the corner, after a series of

pick-and-goes. The flags stayed down on

the tricky conversion attempt.

Scarlets were made to work hard for their

second try by a robust Ulster defence. After

several phases and patient play, Kemsley

Mathias was the man to get over for the

Welsh side.

Last Time Out

Friday 28 January, 7.35pm

Ulster returned to URC action with a bonuspoint

victory over Scarlets at Kingspan

Stadium last Friday night.

It took only three minutes for the hosts to

get on the scoreboard, and Nathan Doak

was the man to land the penalty to put

Ulster 3 points up.

Ulster threatened early, when Billy Burns

made a superb intercept and break down

field for their first chance. He kicked the

ball through and was able to swallow up

Tom Rogers who made the gather, but the

visitors did well to retain possession.

Scarlets brought the scores level through

the boot of out-half, Dan Jones, after Ulster

were penalised for not rolling away.

Ulster had a golden opportunity after Shaun

Evans was penalised for going off his feet

and Billy Burns kicked to touch for the lineout.

The Ulster maul powered over the line

but the Scarlets defence did well to hold

John Andrew up for the goal-line drop-out.

27 - 15

The visitors had a chance of their own when

Ryan Conbeer made a break down the left

wing, but Greg Jones tracked back superbly

to make the steal.

Scarlets had the benefit of a man advantage

after Craig Gilroy was yellow-carded for a

high hit on Tom Rogers, and soon scored

through tighthead, Samson Lee. Dan Jones

added the conversion to put the visiting side

7 points ahead.

The men in white had a great chance on 46

minutes when Ethan McIlroy made a searing

break, passing inside to Nathan Doak who

kicked the ball through, but the covering

Scarlets defence beat Doak to it by the

fingertips to ground the ball over the line.

Watch

Post-Match

Interview

with Billy Burns

Just three minutes later, Ulster responded

through Gareth Milasinovich who showed

great strength to drive over over for his first

try and Doak drilled over the conversion.

The tails were now up and the Ulster men

claimed their bonus-point try, after a brilliant

run by Billy Burns who offloaded just before

he was bundled into touch, with a flick of the

ball from the boot of Nathan Doak, to Craig

Gilroy who dotted down in the corner.

Ulster were able to see out the remaining ten

minutes to notch up five match points in the

URC table.

Full-time score:

Ulster 27 - 15 Scarlets

Watch

Highlights

ulster.rugby

29


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Q&A

Billy Burns

Favourite try you’ve scored for Ulster?

Against Connacht at home - 2020

One thing you can’t live without?

My daughter and sweets

Favourite 2021/22 Ulster kit

(White/Red/Yellow)?

Yellow Kit

Most used app on your phone?

Wordle

Favourite moment of career so far?

Most used emoji?

Playing at Bath against my brother –

Freddie Burns

Favourite Film

The great Gatsby

If you had to be stuck on an island with

a teammate?

Any habits or rituals before a game?

It’s a secret

Best player you have played with?

John Afoa

Duane Vermeulen

Q&A

Apart from rugby, what other sports do

you like?

Formula 1

Fly Half

13/06/1994

183cm

87kg

63

7

ulster.rugby

33


ULSTER v

CARDIFF

FRI 4 MAR, 7.35PM | KINGSPAN STADIUM

ulster.rugby

Shanahan, Postlethwaite and Moxham

commit to Ulster as Moore signs on

Ulster has been bolstered by four more

players putting pen to paper for the

province, including hooker, Declan

Moore, who officially makes the move

from Munster Rugby next season.

A product of the Ulster Academy

programme, Dublin-born, David Shanahan,

is a livewire scrum-half known for his speed,

excellent support lines, and try-scoring

ability. The 28-year-old has notched up 78

appearances for the Ulster men, and is set

to continue to bring his experience to the

club with a new two-year contract.

Former RBAI pupil, 19-year-old, Jude

Postlethwaite, was the leading try-scorer

in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup

in 2020, earning him a nomination for the

competition’s Player of the Year. He joined

the Ulster Rugby Academy in 2021 having

already featured in the Ireland Under-20

Six Nations squad and represented Ireland

at Sevens.

The Lisburn native, who has also enjoyed

success as part of the Ulster ‘A’ squad,

is known for his physicality and pace,

and he will continue to bring this to the

province with a new deal that sees him

sign a Development contract next season,

followed by a 3-year Senior contract.

A product of the province’s player

pathway, 20-year-old, Ben Moxham

made his Senior debut versus Connacht

in December 2020 and has since made

a further ten appearances for Ulster. The

Larne man’s speed, skills, and athleticism,

which have already been showcased

on an international stage for the Ireland

Under-20s and Ireland Sevens, resulted

in his Academy contract recently being

upgraded to a Development contract for

the rest of this season. He will be further

promoted to a Senior contract next year.

New-Zealand born, and Irish-qualified,

Declan Moore has recently joined-up with

the Ulster squad from Munster Rugby as

short-term injury cover, and has already

impressed in training.

The 25-year-old hooker, who grew up in

Australia, made his Senior debut for Munster

in their Heineken Champions Cup Round 1

fixture versus Wasps, having already lined

out for Shannon RFC in the AIL and Munster

‘A’, this season. He is now signed-up to

Ulster for the upcoming two seasons.

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37


It’s that time of the rugby year again,

when, for the next two months, supporters

can sate their appetites with a feast of

club and international action.

The Six Nations Championship kicks off this

weekend with Ireland facing champions

Wales in Dublin, while Ulster continues its

determined progress in the United Rugby

Championship with this evening’s rearranged

derby against Connacht.

Given the comparatively spartan diet over

Christmas and New Year, when fans had

hoped to see Connacht and Leinster arrive

at Kingspan Stadium, the next few weeks

will provide non-stop opportunities to

demonstrate robust but non-threatening

partisanship.

Both Ulster and Connacht have players

involved with the Irish squad and the

respective coaches will hope their charges

get an opportunity to shine in the green

jersey. So as Iain Henderson, Rob Herring

and the latest recruits to Andy Farrell’s

armoury aim to make their international

mark, so too will Connacht’s Jack Carty,

Guest article:

Rod Nawn

Ulster to See Off Friend or Foe?

Finlay Belham, Bundee Aki and others

regarded as the spine of Head Coach Andy

Friend’s impressive outfit.

Fans of both sides this evening will be as

one tomorrow when Ireland takes to the

Aviva Stadium pitch, but of immediate

concern is this inter-pro battle which finds

itself in an unusual part of the fixture list.

International calls do disrupt selection

but management teams know the hurdles

which come down the track and can plan

better for that circumstance whereas

injuries are not as specifically predictable.

Both Friend and his Ulster counterpart

Dan McFarland will have factored in

reduced access to familiar talent and will,

earnestly, believe their work in deepening

their playing resources will minimise the

absences with Ireland.

Of course, during the Six Nations, Farrell

will release some players back to their

clubs to ensure they are match-ready, but

Friend and McFarland will look, in the main,

to those who were on duty last weekend.

Ulster’s home bonus-point win over the

Scarlets demonstrated that the team can

adapt, that the refreshing instinct for attack

is allied to an ability to take part in what

McFarland called ‘an arm-wrestle’, to go

toe-to-toe in the more physical aspects of

the game. The huge improvement in the

setpiece, the consistent success from ruck

and maul, is testament to the work the

coaching team has done with the group.

Connacht might not be perceived as having

quite the range of Ulster, but it plays to its

strengths in terms of individual players

and traditional strategies and tactics. On

and off the pitch Connacht has had to

battle for its very existence, and that it is

now an established and successful force is

down to the character and persistence of

its Western roots and the efforts of officials

and coaches who fought off challenges on

many fronts.

Dan McFarland has a real understanding

of the drive and determination at the

Sportsground in Galway, having enjoyed

success as a player and then an eager and

gifted coach.

Andy Friend has built on the successes

which climaxed in Connacht’s PRO12 title in

2016 under Pat Lam, and the squad today

is one which is constantly being deepened,

and the imminent arrival of Josh Murphy

from Leinster evidences its drawing power

to elite players.

Just what Ulster faces this evening is clear:

a focussed and well-coached team with

proven strengths in all departments.

Sam Arnold, once of this parish, has

flourished under Friend’s guidance in

midfield, and his regular pairing with

Bundee Aki has stiffened Connacht’s

backline as a defensive unit which can

launch attacks from anywhere. Arnold is off

to Top 14 side Brive next season when he

will be working for Jeremy Davidson.

Tom Farrell is another centre option who is

familiar with the demands of top-class club

rugby and will probably be an important

figure tonight at Kingspan Stadium.

Alex Wooton is a prolific try-scoring wing,

Tiernan O’Halloran a dependable, talented

full-back, and scrum-half Kieran Marmion is

an Irish international who vies with another

skilled operator in Caolin Blade for the No.9

jersey.

In the pack, hooker Dave Heffernan and

props Tiete Tuimaiga and Denis Buckley

will provide the Ulster front row with a

rugged test, while Ultan Dillane’s presence

is a huge bonus as he would normally

have been required in the Irish squad. He

is decided his immediate rugby future will

be abroad but he’ll want to impose himself

as effectively as always in the scrum and in

the loose.

Jarrad Butler is a back rower with a wellmerited

reputation at the breakdown and

the contest with Marcus Rea and Duane

Vermeulen will be key to the outcome of a

URC game which is already shaping up, for

ulster.rugby

39


oth sides, as a ‘must-win’.

High-flying Glasgow emerged from

The Sportsground last weekend with a

thumping win and Connacht will be in the

mood to show that result was a blip and

that it is quite capable of refreshing its own

targets in the league.

It will not have gone unnoticed that in

November an Ulster team ‘on a roll’ travelled

to the Aviva Stadium to meet Connacht

and left Dublin thoroughly out-thought and

outplayed in the Westerners’ 36-11 win.

McFarland said then that his players had

come up well short, that they knew more

work was needed and real focus required.

His respect for what his former Province

can do is without qualification and while

relishing locking coaching horns with Friend

he knows that the block of five games in the

international window might well define the

team’s challenge for the title.

He will rely on many of those who

performed so fully against the Scarlets and

he will have taken quiet satisfaction in the

seamless integration of the youngsters he’s

helped develop. Ben Moxham and Angus

Curtis, along with the in-form Ethan McIlroy,

pledged their futures to Ulster, following

a raft of players which would hopefully

secure the progress Ulster has made in

recent years.

Some will be involved this evening, and of

the more established and experienced, Billy

Burns has been at his most impressive in

recent weeks, his game management vital

in the European wins at Northampton and

against Clermont. John Cooney and Nathan

Doak are high-class scrum-halves each of

whom have gelled well with Burns, while

McIlroy, Craig Gilroy and Rob Lyttle were

eye-catching figures in defence and in

attack against the Scarlets.

Vermeulen’s arrival has imbued the backrow

with a remarkable fortitude, the

Springbok relishes the unheralded work

up front and been central to important

turnovers on many crucial occasions. He

offers Rea, Greg Jones and David McCann

an inexhaustible example of intelligence

and concentration in the breakaway unit,

while Alan O’Connor and Sam Carter have

been a sterling second-row partnership,

making the absence of Iain Henderson and

Kieran Treadwell far from damaging.

Marty Moore’s misfortunes continue and

the international prop is ruled out by

concussion, but Eric O’Sullivan, Andrew

Warwick, John Andrew and Bradley

Roberts are just some of those front-row

options available to Ulster.

Inter-pros are always intriguing, but this

game is part of a larger picture now.

Bragging rights will be but a small incentive

for two sides chasing URC success, but for

Ulster fans the momentum of the last month

is something they crave is maintained.

A big crowd, two professional Irish outfits

and all that victory would mean to either

side assures of another raucous start to a

big rugby weekend..

BALLYGOWAN – OFFICIAL HYDRATION

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ulster.rugby

41


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

-

Conor

Rankin

Full Back

27/05/2001

185cm

89kg

-

ulster.rugby

James

McCormick

Hooker

08/01/2002

180cm

103kg

-

George

Saunderson

Prop

11/01/2001

191cm

118kg

-

Conor

McKee

Scrum Half

20/03/2001

183cm

87kg

-

Harry

Sheridan

Lock/Back Row

21/09/2001

196cm

111kg

-

Jude

Postlethwaite

Centre

03/04/2002

193cm

101kg

-

ACADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

ACADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

ACADEMY ACADEMY ACADEMY

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Clogher Valley beat Ballyclare to secure

All-Ireland Junior Cup

Clogher Valley scored 10 points in the

last eight minutes to beat Ballyclare in an

exciting Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup final

at Kingspan Stadium last Saturday evening.

Ballyclare 11 - 13 Clogher Valley

Scorers: Ballyclare: Try: Scott Martin; Pens:

Mark Jackson 2

Clogher Valley: Try: Neil Henderson; Con:

Paul Armstrong; Pens: Paul Armstrong 2

HT: Ballyclare 11 - 3 Clogher Valley

The old adage is you have to lose one to win

one, and the success for the County Tyrone

club was made all the sweeter after they

lost the decider by a point eight years ago

to Enniscorthy.

Captain Paul Armstrong landed a long

range penalty as the clock ticked into the

red to put Clogher in front for the first time

in Saturday’s Ulster derby, and that was

enough to win the trophy.

Clogher wasted the first scoring opportunity

of the game on six minutes. After winning a

scrum penalty just outside the Ballyclare 22,

they went for the corner but out-half David

Maxwell kicked the ball dead.

They spurned another scoring chance six

minutes later when Ballyclare were guilty of

not rolling away from a tackle in their own

22. Clogher kicked to the corner but the

throw at the resulting lineout was crooked.

With their first sortie into the Clogher 22,

Ballyclare took the lead in the 19th minute.

Full-back Mark Jackson slotted over a

penalty after the pack had rumbled forward

from a lineout before the ball was spun out

to the backs.

Clogher replied immediately after the

Antrim side were punished in the shadows

of their own posts. Centre Armstrong

landed the simple kick to make it three

points apiece.

Jackson had the chance to restore

Ballyclare’s lead but was off target with a

long range penalty, before making amends

with a 27th-minute effort from right in front

of the posts.

Ballyclare got the game’s opening try six

minutes later. Initially they were denied

when winger Scott Martin dropped the

ball over the line, via a cross-field kick from

Matthew McDowell.

However, play was called back for a

penalty and Mike Orchin-McKeever’s men

turned down a kick at the posts, using the

subsequent lineout to drive up close to

the whitewash.

The ball was fed to out-half McDowell again

and he launched a kick out to the left wing

where Martin outjumped Clogher’s Ewan

Haire to catch the ball and touch down.

After McDowell’s missed conversion,

Clogher finished the first half strongly but

again could not turn pressure into points.

They forced a five-metre scrum, number 8

Callum Smyton broke from the base and

surged for the line but was stopped short.

In their eagerness to recycle the ball quickly,

Clogher knocked on.

Leading 11-3 at half-time, Ballyclare were

denied a second try in the 47th minute.

From a 50:22 kick, the forwards won the

lineout, driving powerfully for the line, but

referee Padraic Reidy adjudged that the

ball was not grounded.

As the Clogher pressure grew, Ballyclare

had replacement prop Harry Mawhinney

yellow carded for infringing at a ruck with

13 minutes remaining.

Stephen Bothwell’s charges kicked to the

corner, the forwards set up a driving maul

that looked like going over the whitewash

but they knocked on at the crucial moment.

Clogher gave themselves a lifeline with

four minutes left, having earned a series of

penalties in the Ballyclare 22.

Flanker David Sinton was stopped on the

line but prop Neil Henderson rumbled

over from close range, with Armstrong

converting to make it a one-point game.

Fittingly, it was Armstrong, Clogher’s

talismanic captain, who then landed the

decisive penalty to spark wild celebrations for

his never-say-die team at Ulster Rugby HQ.

Ballyclare: Mark Jackson; Owen Kirk, Joel

McBride (Capt), Matthew McCullough,

Scott Martin; Matthew McDowell, James

Creighton; Dean Jones, Matthew Coulter,

Jack Black, Josh Young, Grant Bartley, Ross

Johnston, Aaron Playfair, Jack Gamble.

Replacements: Adam Barron, Ricky Lutton,

Harry Mawhinney, Ryan Tweed, Matthew

Robson, Angus Robson, Ross Patterson,

Matthew Fitzgerald.

Clogher Valley: Ewan Haire; Stuart Brown,

Paul Armstrong (Capt), Reece Smyton,

Regan Wilkinson; David Maxwell, Matthew

Bothwell; Michael Treanor, Kyle Cobane,

Neil Henderson, Eugene McKenna, David

Sharkey, David Stinson, Aaron Dunwoody,

Callum Smyton.

Replacements: Adam Boles, Joel Busby,

Rodney Bennett, Jamie Allen, Richard

Primrose, Neil Trotter, Aaron Crawford,

Ryan Wilson.

Referee: Padraic Reidy (IRFU)

ulster.rugby

45


Ulster Society of Rugby

Football Referees

with Richard Kerr

We welcome Andrew Brace (IRFU) and his

team of officials to the Kingspan Stadium for

this evening’s URC match against Connacht.

Over the next two match programmes we will

profile Ulster Rugby’s Referee Development

Manager, Richard Kerr, focusing on his role as

a referee and also looking at what his day to

day job entails.

In this programme we will focus on Richard’s

refereeing career.

Club: Coleraine was the club that I grew up in

but when I took up refereeing, I affiliated to

Cookstown RFC as I was teaching in the local

High School and the club had no referees.

When the Cookstown club folded, I joined

City of Armagh RFC as I now live nearby.

Rugby background:

Rugby has always been my favourite sport

and I have many fond memories at Sandel

Lodge where my Dad played. I played mini

rugby at Coleraine, and in my early years

at Coleraine Inst (now Coleraine Grammar

School), but athletics took over and I found

that I was a much better middle distance

runner than a rugby player! Some people

probably wish I had stuck to the running!

At the same time, my Dad had taken the

then-traditional route into refereeing by

playing into his late thirties before taking

up the whistle. I used to follow him around

the clubs in the ‘North West corridor’ on

Saturdays and often enjoyed running touch

for him when nobody else volunteered.

I had a brief return to playing when I came

back from University but having watched my

Dad referee for a few years, I thought that I

should give it a go.

I suppose refereeing was in my blood from

an early age.

How long have you been a member of the

USRFR?

I joined the USRFR in August 2001 when I

attended a course in the old bar area of the

then-Ravenhill grounds. I think that makes

this my 21st season, and I have enjoyed

every minute!

What level have you refereed at?

It’s fair to say that I have refereed at a much

higher level than I was ever going to play at. I

was fortunate to get onto the IRFU National

Panel in 2003 after only two seasons. I

think I am correct in saying that myself and

George Clancy are the two longest-serving

referees on the panel. I never quite reached

the heights that George did, but I have given

19 years’ service to the All-Ireland League,

something I am extremely proud of. I have

had the opportunity to be involved in two

World Cups - Touch Judge in the 2007 U19

World Cup which was held in Belfast, and

4th official at the Women’s World Cup which

was also held in Ireland in 2017. The two

highest-profile games that I refereed were

a European U18 final between France and

England in 2009 and our Schools’ Cup final

in 2012.

It has also been an absolute honour to be

appointed to numerous European and Celtic

League (now URC) games as a touch judge/

assistant referee over the years.

What is your current role within the USRFR

and how long have you been doing it?

I have been the Referee Development

Manager for Ulster Rugby/IRFU since

September 2018. It’s job I absolutely love and

I will chat more about this in the next match

programme.

What advice would you give to anyone who

is thinking about becoming a referee?

Don’t hold back – just do it. Whilst I had a

decent rugby knowledge having been around

the game so much as a child, I never played

the game to any real level. You definitely need

a knowledge of the game but there are so

many other skills and attributes required. We

will be running a big recruitment campaign

ahead of next season so please get in touch

if you have any interest.

How has refereeing changed over the years?

I think the biggest change, certainly at the top

level, is just how professional it has become.

Since I started in 2001, the IRFU always had

a few contracted referees e.g. Alain Rolland,

Alan Lewis, Donal Courtney and our own

Simon McDowell. It’s hard to believe that they

all had full time jobs but were still expected

to travel around Europe and beyond. There

was definitely a lot more craic in those days

and I could tell you stories about European

adventures - but I will maybe leave those for

another day!

As the game has moved on, so too has

refereeing and the IRFU now have four fulltime

elite professional referees in Andrew

Brace, Franck Murphy, Joy Neville and our

own Chris Busby. They simply had to go

pro due to the time commitments and the

expectations.

I have seen a lot of change, and of course still

hear about all the ‘good old day’ stories from

some of our wise old former referees such as

Jim Irvine, Denis Templeton, Stephen Hilditch

and Brian Stirling.

Have you any other comments about

refereeing?

I will touch on these two points next time but

I really want to highlight the following:

1. Rugby is made up of so many volunteers

and it is often very easy to forget that the

individual who turns up on their own on a

Saturday morning or afternoon is a fellow

human being. They will make mistakes, as I

have made my fair share of them over the

years, but without a referee there would

quite simply be no game.

2. The USRFR would not function without

the many volunteers who sit on the

various committees, from management

to selection. Without this dedicated team

there would simply be no referees!

In the next programme, we will focus on

Richard’s role as Referee Development

Manager and how he has been involved in

the #respectURgame campaign.

If interested in hearing more, please contact

Richard Kerr

Referee Development Manager

richard.kerr@irfu.ie | 07493 868 388

Follow the laws

of the game

Accept the referee’s

decision

Win with humility,

lose with dignity

Remember who you

represent

Please be respectful

of players’ abilities

Respect your

opponents

Zero tolerance for

abuse / harassment

47


HOME

FIXTURES

CARDIFF

FRI 4 MAR, 7.35PM

LEINSTER

SAT 12 MAR, 7.35PM

TOULOUSE

w/o 15-17 APR, TBC

Rugby World Cup 2023

Ireland Match Breaks

MUNSTER

FRI 22 APR, 7.35PM

CELL C SHARKS

w/o 20-22 MAY, TBC

ulster.rugby/buytickets

ulster.rugby

49


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

We are passionate

in our support

We do not tolerate

abusive or discriminatory

language

Clean Hands Keep Distance Wear Face Covering

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.

Respect Policy

We are silent during kicks

at goal

We respect opposition

players, management

& supporters

We respect the match

officials’ decisions

We are mindful

of our language

We drink

responsibly

INCIDENT HOTLINE

07790

200 200

ABBEY AUTOLINE FAMILY STAND

Stadium Facilities

Catering

EAST TERRACE

A&L GOODBODY LOUNGE / VIP BOXES

The Food Village will be in operation,

serving a variety of cuisines, while the Cool

FM Crew will provide the soundtrack for

the evening.

A new stretch tent has been added to the

Fan Zone, where supporters can make use

of the Express Bar and enjoy a covered,

well ventilated space.

All five public bars will also be in operation,

with live entertainment in the Clubhouse Bar.

Kukri Store

The Kukri Store will be open from gates

open until 30 minutes after full-time.

ISOLATION

ROOM

C-19 MEDIC

FOOD

VILLAGE

TURNSTILES

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.

OUR Club

The activity centre for our Junior Season

Ticket holders will not be in operation for

this fixture.

ADMIN’

BUILDING

ulster.rugby

51


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 W 26-10 URC

A Connacht Sat 23 Oct L 36-11 URC

A Leinster Sat 27 Nov W 10-20 URC

A Ospreys Sat 4 Dec L 19-13 URC

A Clermont Sat 11 Dec W 23-29 HCC

H Northampton Saints Fri 17 Dec W 27-22 HCC

A Munster Sat 8 Jan L 18-13 URC

A Northampton Saints Sun 16 Jan W 20-24 HCC

H Clermont Sat 22 Jan W 34-31 HCC

H Scarlets Fri 28 Jan W 27-15 URC

H Connacht Fri 4 Feb 8.15pm URC

A Dragons Sun 20 Feb 2.00pm URC

H Cardiff Fri 4 Mar 7.35pm URC

H Leinster Sat 12 Mar 7.35PM URC

A DHL Stormers Sat 26 Mar 1.00pm URC

A Vodacom Bulls Sat 2 Apr 1.00pm URC

A Toulouse 8-10 Apr TBC HCC

H Toulouse 15-17 Apr TBC HCC

H Munster Fri 22 Apr 7.35pm URC

A Edinburgh Sat 30 Apr 7.35pm URC

H Cell C Sharks 20-22 May TBC URC

BACK

TOGETHER

UK/Ire Time

UlsterRugby.com 53


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