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Ulster ready for Cardiff clash

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Ulster ready for Cardiff clash

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News

Dan McFarland’s side go into this Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship Round 15 fixture versus Cardiff Rugby on a high after defeating Cell C Sharks last weekend in Durban.

After doing the double on South African soil this season – a first for a Northern hemisphere team in the URC – Ulster will be looking to back it up with a win in Cardiff Arms Park.

Currently sat in third place with 49 points, the Ulster men will continue their push to secure home advantage in the play-off stages, in an increasingly tightly-contested league table.

Cardiff, who ended a three-match losing streak at home by defeating Benetton 30-13 in Round 14, will be keen to get what points they can from Saturday’s game, given they are currently sat in ninth position, which puts their hopes of continuing into the knockout stages of the competition at risk.

Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, reinforced in this week’s media briefing how important table rankings are at this point in the season:

We always want to be in control of our own destiny, and not have to look at other results when it comes to where we’re going to finish in the league. When we’re winning, it’s in our hands. We want to find ourselves in the position of having a home play-off game.”

Rob Herring returns from Ireland duty to skipper Ulster

Hooker, Rob Herring, who recently started against France for Ireland, is back from international duty to lead the Ulster men. He is joined in the front row by two fellow internationals in Scotland’s loosehead prop, Rory Sutherland, and tighthead, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, who earned three caps for Samoa in the most recent Autumn Nations series.

Ireland international, Kieran Treadwell, who was called into the Irish set-up for last week’s fixture against Italy, is named in the second row alongside Wallaby, Sam Carter.

With RBAI qualifying for the Danske Bank Schools Cup final this week, their former schoolboy captain in 2018, Dave McCann, is named in the back row alongside fellow Ulster Rugby Academy graduate, Marcus Rea, who led the URC stats for turnovers in the 2021-22 season. The Number Eight jersey belongs to Nick Timoney, who was responsible for the bonus point try last time out against Cardiff.

The pairing of Nathan Doak and Billy Burns that saw Ulster secure a 35-5 home win over the DHL Stormers in Round 13 is back together again, with the 21-year-old scrum-half responsible for scoring nine points when the Welsh men were last in Belfast.

Stewart Moore, who was crowned Player of the Match this time last year against Cardiff, is named in the midfield alongside James Hume, who was responsible for an intercept try that same night.

A young back three sees Jacob Stockdale, involved with Ireland in this year’s Guinness Six Nations campaign, link-up with Mike Lowry, who retains his place at full back from last week’s win, together with Ben Moxham who comes in as a change on the wing.

Forward replacements this week include Tom Stewart, the only player last weekend in the URC to score a brace of tries, along with Callum Reid, Gareth Milasinovich, Alan O’Connor, and one of the top tacklers from the win over the Cell C Sharks, Harry Sheridan. On the bench for the backs, John Cooney is joined by Jude Postlethwaite, who could earn his first Ulster cap if called upon, and Ethan McIlroy.

Ulster team to play Cardiff Rugby, BKT United Rugby Championship Round 15, Saturday 4 March at Cardiff Arms Park (KO 7 35pm), live on ViaPlay and URC.tv.

(15-9): Mike Lowry, Ben Moxham, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8): Rory Sutherland, Rob Herring (Captain), Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Dave McCann, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Callum Reid, Gareth Milasinovich, Alan O’Connor, Harry Sheridan, John Cooney, Jude Postlethwaite, Ethan McIlroy.

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


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Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

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Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

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Ulster Rugby and the IRFU can confirm that Dan McFarland will step down from his position as Head Coach.

After joining the club in 2018, McFarland has been the longest-serving Head Coach for the province in the professional era, with the club reliably securing play-off rugby in URC and EPCR competitions during his time at the helm, including reaching the PRO14 final in 2020.

Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, said:

“We would like to thank Dan for his determination in driving forward the professional squad over the past six seasons, and I would like to wish him and his family the best for the future on behalf of all at Ulster Rugby.”

The change to the Senior Men’s coaching set-up is with immediate effect, with Ireland U20s Head Coach, Richie Murphy, to link-up with the province as interim Head Coach until the end of this season following the Under-20s Six Nations. Bryn Cunningham, Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment at Ulster Rugby, will also assume greater management responsibilities within the performance function during this time.

Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, will oversee operations next week ahead of Ulster facing Dragons at Kingspan Stadium in Round 11 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Petrie continued: “With Richie coming to Ulster in the coming weeks, ahead of the squad travelling to South Africa, our focus will be on consistently performing to the best of our abilities at this crucial time of the year.”

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


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Edinburgh snap up Tigers lock

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Lock Carmichael joins from Tigers

Edinburgh Rugby today secured the signing of promising 20-year-old Leicester Tigers lock Rob Carmichael on a three-year deal.

The 6ft 11in second-row arrived in the capital today on an initial loan until the end of the season, before the long-term move becomes permanent this summer.

Carmichael was born and raised in Hong Kong after his Scottish father, and English/Welsh mother, emigrated to Asia just under 30 years ago. He came through the ranks at Sandy Bay RFC before the family returned to the UK in 2019.

That year he joined the Tigers academy, making two Premiership Cup appearances alongside representing England U20, remaining eligible for Scotland by ancestry.

On joining Edinburgh Rugby, Carmichael said: “This is a massive move for me and an incredible opportunity I’ve been given. I’m delighted to join and I’m really glad I’ve been able to make the move to Edinburgh early on loan. I’ve only heard great things about the club.

“I’ve wanted to live in Scotland my whole life so I’m glad I’m able to make the move now. Edinburgh is an incredible city, while my parents and whole extended family are really excited that I’ve joined a Scottish club.”

Combining education with an academy contract at Tigers, Carmichael played BUCS Super Rugby at University of Nottingham where he studied Sports Science.

The towering lock was named in the England U20 squad for the 2023 U20 Six Nations where he featured in all five fixtures for the Red Roses.

Carmichael continued: “I’ve got a lot to learn about Edinburgh. I’ve only visited a couple of times but everything I’ve heard about the city and the club has been really positive. I couldn’t be more excited to move up.

“I think it’s going to be great for my development and I can’t wait to learn off the experienced second-rows at the club. I just want to add as much as I can to the team and see how much I can improve as a player. I know I’ve got loads to learn.”

Carmichael linked up with the club’s senior squad today as preparations continue for Edinburgh Rugby’s next BKT United Rugby Championship match against Ospreys at Hive Stadium on Friday 1 March.

Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We’re delighted to welcome Rob [Carmichael] to the club. He’s a player with great raw ability who has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level.

“We’ve been looking at Rob for a while given his Scotland links and we’re thankful to Tigers who’ve released him on an initial loan. He’ll be able to get his feet in the door and hit the ground running ahead of joining on a long-term deal this summer.”

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Ulster ready for Ospreys challenge in Wales

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Ulster ready for Ospreys challenge in Wales

4 minutes ago

Fixture News

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, has named his Ulster side to take on the Ospreys at Swansea.com Stadium in Round 10 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

The province returns to action in the URC for the first time since defeating league leaders, Leinster Rugby, at the RDS Arena on New Year’s Day.

Ireland internationals Iain Henderson, Jacob Stockdale, Tom Stewart and Nick Timoney are back with the team, following their release from the Ireland team’s Guinness Six Nations camp.

The experienced front row sees Andrew Warwick start at loosehead, with John Andrew at hooker and Marty Moore starting at tighthead prop.

In the second row, Academy products, Harry Sheridan and skipper Iain Henderson, pair up as Ulster’s locks.

The back row sees David McCann start at blindside flanker. Marcus Rea starts at openside flanker, with Ireland international, Nick Timoney, starting at eight, as Ulster aim to win the battle at the breakdown in Swansea.

McFarland opts for the talented half-back pairing of Nathan Doak at scrum-half and Jake Flannery at ten.

Jacob Stockdale returns from international camp to start on the left wing as he hopes to continue his try-scoring form, with the winger having dotted down six tries this season in the URC so far.

The young and dynamic centre partnership sees Jude Postlethwaite join James Hume in the engine room of the backfield.

Mike Lowry starts on the right wing, with Will Addison completing the backfield at full-back.

Ulster can call on a wealth of talent and experience from the bench, with a 5:3 split that features a two time Rugby World Cup winner and a current Ireland international.

Tom Stewart is named on the bench as he returns from Ireland duty for the match.

Springbok prop, Steven Kitshoff, is named alongside Scott Wilson, Cormac Izuchukwu, Matty Rea, Dave Shanahan, Luke Marshall and Ethan McIlroy to complete Ulster’s replacement options.

Ospreys v Ulster, Round 10 of the BKT United Rugby Championship, Sunday 18 February, 3pm, Swansea.com Stadium (live on ViaPlay and URC.tv).

With the URC celebrating the people and communities behind the professional players competing in the league through its Origin Round this week, Ulster Rugby recognises the important role of clubs and schools in player development, with 11 of this weekend’s starting 15 having come through the Ulster pathway.

(15-9) Will Addison (Upper Eden RFC), Mike Lowry (Dromore RFC), James Hume (Instonians RFC), Jude Postlethwaite (Lisburn RFC), Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch RFC), Jake Flannery (Kilfeacle RFC), Nathan Doak (Lisburn RFC);

(1-8) Andrew Warwick (Ballymena RFC), John Andrew (Ballymena RFC), Marty Moore (Barnhall RFC), Harry Sheridan (Civil Service RFC), Iain Henderson (C) (Belfast Academy RFC), David McCann (Cooke RFC), Marcus Rea (Ballymena RFC), Nick Timoney (Blackrock RFC).

Replacements: Tom Stewart (Belfast Academy RFC), Steven Kitshoff (Maties RFC), Scott Wilson (Dromore RFC), Cormac Izuchukwu (Tullamore RFC), Matty Rea (Ballymena RFC), Dave Shanahan (Clontarf RFC), Luke Marshall (Ballymena RFC), Ethan McIlroy (Ballynahinch RFC).

For more info on #GrassrootsToGreatness, visit the URC website.

*For the URC Origin Round, details of each player’s first club are listed above.

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


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