European Professional Club Rugby | All about Ulster Rugby

We continue our overview of the teams involved in the 2022/2023 Champions Cup campaign, with today a focus on the Irish formation of Ulster Rugby, crowned in a recovery in the European Cup, which was recognized in Pool B.

European Cup record

Ulster were Ireland’s first winners of the trophy, beating Colomiers (21-6) in the 1999 final at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. However, since then, the Irish province have gone beyond the quarter-finals only once, in 2011/2012, when they played the final against Leinster Rugby at Twickenham (42-14).

Journey last season

Ulster easily qualified for the knockout stage, reporting all four of their games, with two wins over ASM Clermont Auvergne and Northampton Saints. However, the Irish province did not manage to go further than the round of 16, losing (50-49, aggregate score) against Stade Toulousain, over two legs.

Head Coach

In 2018, Ulster gave 48-year-old Englishman Dan McFarland his first head coaching role after coaching Connacht Rugby forwards, one of his former sides as a player, and assistant coach with Glasgow Warriors and Scotland.

Key players

Ulster’s squad is made up of many Irish internationals, starting with hooker Rob Herring or even the second line and captain Iain Henderson. Third line Nick Timoney is also a valuable player in the pack. Winger Robert Baloucoune scored a hat-trick in the first leg of the Champions Cup Round of 16 against Toulouse last season and will once again be an attacking asset for the Irish province.

Winger Jacob Stockdale is also a try fighter as is center Stuart McCloskey. Meanwhile, full-back Michael Lowry made his first appearance for the Clover XV shirt this year and was also nominated for the EPCR European Player of the Year Award, determining the 2021/2022 edition with three trials. South Africa international and number 8 Duane Vermeulen joined the club last season, while stalwart Rory Sutherland, a Scotland international, provides an additional option at the scrum

Pool opponents

Ulster’s opening game, in Pool B, will be away against Sale Sharks at AJ Bell Stadium on December 11. Sale’s trip to Kingspan Stadium will close Ulster’s group stage on January 21. Between these two meetings, Ulster will find Stade Rochelais, defending champions of the European Cup, on December 17 and January 14, respectively at home and outside.

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