Jump to main content


Lyttle: It’s Been A Great Experience So Far

Lyttle: It’s Been A Great Experience So Far

Hughes Insurance Academy player Robert Lyttle was largely unknown just four weeks ago, but following five tries in four matches, he is the now a household name among Ulster supporters.

It all started on August 13 when Robert Lyttle marked his senior debut with a well-taken score against Leinster. A week later, he scored two tries after being sprung from the bench for the final 10 minutes against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

He continued his impressive form on home soil. First, with a superb four from four kicking display against Northampton Saints in front of over 13,000 supporters at Kingspan Stadium. Then, he completed a memorable four weeks with another brace of tries after coming on as an early replacement for Craig Gilroy against the Dragons. That GUINNESS PRO12 round 1 match also happened to be his first competitive appearance for the province.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Lyttle and his family are understandably delighted with the impact he has made over the past month. “It’s worked out well for me so far this season, with a few tries and a decent kicking performance,” said the 19-year-old.

“The squad has played well and that has given me some great opportunities, which I have thankfully been able to take. It’s been a great experience for me so far.

“Cousins, aunties, uncles, grannies, granddads were all were watching the games and they have loved it. I’m from a small rural area, we’re all farmers and country folk, so I think everyone was happy to see a local fella doing well.”

The talented utility back, who hails from Donaghcloney, County Down, admits that he was nervous before taking to the pitch for the home encounters with Northampton and the Dragons.

“I have played in some big Schools Cup matches before, but playing for the senior Ulster side is something else. The fans have been really supportive and that has helped to settle my nerves. Being involved when the team is playing well makes it easier, too.”

Lyttle was the 24th man on a number of occasions last season so he was delighted to make his competitive bow and is looking forward to continuing his development.

“I was sort of on the edges of the squad last year and I thought I maybe missed the boat a bit. But I had a good pre-season in terms of training and I’ve been able to take my chances in the pre-season games.

“I haven’t played a match with them yet, but training with Tommy (Bowe) and Trimby (Andrew Trimble) has taught me a lot. Also, playing with Charles (Piutau) has been incredible over the past few weeks, he just oozes class.”

Despite the wealth of experience around him, the Queen’s University star has also relished the opportunity to play along some other youngsters in the senior side.

“Probably the most enjoyable player to play with is Jacob (Stockdale), actually. We have a friendly rivalry; we try to out-score each other and have good, healthy competition. I’m pleased to see Ross Kane go so well on his debut too,” said Lyttle of his Academy colleague, who also played his first competitive game for the senior Ulster team against the Dragons.

So what does Lyttle have planned for the next few weeks, following his recent exploits? “I just want to keep my head down and see what comes. I’m sure I’ll be involved in the ‘A’ matches in the British & Irish Cup, so hopefully I’ll play well, and if there are boys away with Ireland or out injured, I may get more game-time with the senior team,” he added.