The Ulster squad are in Cassen and Biarritz this week for a four day pre-season training camp, as new head coach Brian McLaughlin continues preparations for the province’s Magners League and Heineken Cup campaigns.
The focus of Ulster’s training camp this week will be to build team skills and blend individual players into a strong, cohesive team unit, now that the full squad, including all internationals, are back in training.
The squad will train for two days in Cassen, at a specialist sports centre, with strength and conditioning coaches Jonny Davis and Paul Hatton putting the players through rigorous strength and conditioning exercises.
Meanwhile, head coach Brian McLaughlin, forwards coach Jeremy Davidson and backs specialist Neil Doak will work on skills and team structure.
The squad will then head to Biarritz for a training match against Bayonne RFC on Wednesday.
The match will be an opportunity for younger squad members, plus those players involved in the High Performance Academy group who travelled, to get in some game-time and transfer the skills they have learnt in the pre-season, to a match setting.
The friendly will involve rolling substitutions, to allow all 26 selected players to get a run-out.
Thursday will be a rehab and recovery day, before they head back to Belfast for the last stages of pre-season training which include two home friendlies against Newcastle Falcons (August 21) and Viadana (August 26) and an away trip to Worcester Warriors (August 28).
Click here to view a video of the Ulster squad’s recent training session at Barnett Demesne in Belfast.