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Court Bids Farewell After Eight-Year Ulster Stint

Court Bids Farewell After Eight-Year Ulster Stint

After 154 appearances and eight successful seasons, Tom Court has played his last game for Ulster. As a person and as a player he will certainly be missed by those by Ravenhill.

Tom Court’s time at the province saw him capped for Ireland and represent the British & Irish Lions.

The international prop’s last game at Ravenhill saw him red carded and he, more than anyone, was hoping for an Ulster win against Leinster last weekend, meaning he would have served his suspension and could have pulled on that white shirt one more time.

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“We gave it a few days to sink in after the loss down in Leinster. It is only at the end of this week that I have been thinking – it’s now time to pack up the house and start sorting things out,” admitted Court.

“I guess it is just hanging around and being with the boys before they head off on tour or on holidays. It is about appreciating what you have got here before we leave.

“It is very sad. I didn’t think that I would have been as torn up as I am. I am not going to walk about blubbering and crying – at least not all the time! I was even getting a bit glassy-eyed at the weekend after the match.

“You could see the looks on the guys’ faces – especially a lot of the senior guys like Rory (Best), Johann (Muller) and Ruan (Pienaar) who knew that once again we were so close and it slipped away.

“It is going to be one of those things that you don’t realise how good it was here or what you had here until its over and until you are somewhere else.

“I am looking forward to the new challenge (at London Irish) but it’s only really in the past few days that I have been starting to think about it. I was hoping and wishing that we would get one more game.”

In the past eight years Ulster Rugby has been transformed both on and off the pitch. Court says it is hard to pick out just one favourite moment from his long association with Ulster.

“My first few seasons here were up and down and I was still learning how to play. My first game at the start of the 2006/07 season was good, but I don’t remember it that well,” said the 33-year-old.

“There have been some big wins for Ulster – a couple of the Heineken Cup games, away in Northampton last year and this season with the dominance in the pool stages – I don’t think people appreciate the leaps and bounds that we have made in recent years.

“These are things that no previous Ulster teams have achieved – even the 1999 team – we have achieved things that they didn’t manage.”

He added: “I will miss the little things. The slagging in the gym, the bus trips, the overnight stays. The times at training when there are running jokes and when you try and explain them to other people they look at you like you are speaking a foreign language!

“I will stay in touch with the guys. I am good friends with quite a few of them, even the little things like the road trips down to Ireland camp with people like Andrew Trimble and Paddy Wallace. Those are the things that I will miss.”