Just like his Ulster team-mate and close friend Rory Best last week, Bryan Young will make his first start for Ireland tomorrow. IrishRugby.ie profiles the Ballymena clubman whose nickname 'Bear' sits perfectly with his reputation as a strong scrummager.
BRYAN YOUNG (Ballymena/Ulster):
Born: June 11, 1981
Height: 187cm/6ft 1in
Weight: 110kg/17st 4lbs
Ulster Caps: 45; Points: 0
Ireland Caps: 3 (v New Zealand (sub), Australia (sub), South Africa (sub)); Points: 0
- Is in his fourth full season with Ulster. He made his debut for the province against Connacht in April 2002 and has been capped a total of 45 times - 35 in the Magners League, 8 in the Heineken Cup and 2 in the Celtic Cup - but is yet to score a try
- His three Ireland caps to date have all been as a replacement, equating to just 42 minutes of game-time. Young was twice capped on the 2006 summer tour, against New Zealand and Australia and he came off the bench last week, replacing Marcus Horan against South Africa
- Educated at the Ballymena Academy, Young made two appearances for the Ireland 'A' side last spring against France and England. His international experience has included stints with Ireland Schools, Under-19s and Under-21s. Coaches sensed his leadership qualities early on, and he captained Ireland at both Schools and U-19 level
- Young has skippered Ballymena RFC in 2003/04 - he won an AIB League title with them in '03 - and his brother Bob is following in his footsteps this term by leading the Braidmen into battle. A true modern day prop, the 25-year-old can operate on either the loosehead or tighthead side of the scrum but has a preference for loosehead
- Cites Robbie Kempson, the former Ulster and Springbok prop, as a player he had great respect for and learnt a lot from. From the current Ulster set-up, Justin Harrison and Simon Best, who has "talked him through a lot of games", have been big influences. His sporting heroes include Lance Armstrong, Roy Keane and Michael Jordan
...Young on the attack against South Africa...
YOUNG - QUOTES:
"I had to put my hand on my heart to stop it jumping out of my chest (when I found out about starting against Australia). I didn't really expect it. Eddie (O'Sullivan) read out the team in a different order. He generally starts with number one.
"That morning he started at 15 and then went from one to nine. When I heard my name I was in shock while obviously pleased at the same time. I just had to get my headset on for training and forget about it. Rory Best gave me a handshake to congratulate me while the meeting was still going on.
"Rory's a phenomenal scrummager. It helps to have someone like that there alongside you. We work together, bounce things off one another. If he is struggling then I'll get him going and vice versa. It's good to have that relationship.
"It all happened very quickly (for me with Ulster) last season. I have always worked hard, as I have been told working hard brings you rewards. I think it was a combination of hard work, being older and a bit of luck. I learnt a lot throughout the season, and I felt that my body was more ready for the season. I felt stronger, more able to cope with the demands.
"(On his versatility at the scrum) it's difficult to move backwards and forwards but it's easier to move from tighthead to loosehead. There are a few less things to consider. It's about getting my mindset right and being ready for it."
Exclusive Access, Tickets, Competitions and Much More