Jump to main content


Addison Buoyed By ‘Competitiveness And Ambition’ In Ulster Squad

Addison Buoyed By ‘Competitiveness And Ambition’ In Ulster Squad

Two tries in the final quarter against Wasps, coupled with new head coach Dan McFarland’s arrival in Belfast, have given Ulster a timely boost ahead of next Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 opener at home to the Scarlets.


WASPS 31 ULSTER 14, Ricoh Arena
Scorers: Wasps: Tries: Nathan Hughes 3, Nizaam Carr, Zurabi Zhvania; Cons: Billy Searle 3
Ulster: Tries: Nick Timoney, Angus Kernohan; Cons: Johnny McPhillips 2

HT: Wasps 19 Ulster 0

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

A hat-trick from number 8 Nathan Hughes inspired Wasps’ 31-14 win over Ulster in Coventry on Friday night, but the province’s new full-back Will Addison says they will ‘be stronger for it’ heading into their round 1 clash with the Scarlets.

“Wasps are one of the top teams in England, they’re a fast, physical side and when they get over the gain-line they’re a tough team to stop,” the Irish-qualified back told Ulster Rugby TV afterwards. “We had a lot of young players playing again who are just going to learn and learn.

“We’ll be stronger for it coming into the Scarlets this week. It’s great preparation. Having chatted to Peely (assistant coach Dwayne Peel), it looks like the Scarlets will have all of their Welsh big guys playing as they didn’t tour with them during the summer. They’re one of the top teams in the PRO14 and Europe and we’ve had great preparation this week playing one of the top teams in England.

“Week on week, it’s been building. What Peely and JP (defence coach Jared Payne) have done has been brilliant, bedding in a couple of young guys during pre-season. I’m sure they’ll have appearances during the season, which will be great for them. I’ve really enjoyed throwing myself into the mix in pre-season and it looks like we’ve got some good things out of it.

“I’m really buoyed by what we’ve done tonight even though we didn’t win. i think the competitiveness and the ambition we’ve got in the squad, we’ll be turning up on Monday morning very motivated to get a win next Saturday when the PRO14 kicks off.”

Fielding a more experienced starting XV than Ulster, Wasps got off the mark in the seventh minute when a well-placed cross-field kick found Hughes in the left corner to touch down. He added his second score on the quarter hour mark with an opportunistic pick-and-go from the base of a ruck.

Out-half Billy Searle converted and also added the extras to flanker Nizaam Carr’s 18th-minute try which saw him run in from the left after being found with a huge skip pass. Ulster had it all to do at 19-0 down and a quarter of the match played.

As tempers started to flare, Marcell Coetzee, who made a welcome return for Ulster after twelve months out injured due to recurrent knee problems, saw yellow for his part in a scuffle on the half hour mark. Wasps captain Joe Launchbury suffered the same fate six minutes later.

A frustrating first half for the visitors drew to a close with Ulster coming away scoreless following three attacking lineouts inside the opposition 22 in the final minutes. They fell further behind six minutes after the interval, with replacement prop Zurabi Zhvania crashing over from close range and Searle converting.

As play became more open, Ulster found a footing in the game and a driving lineout maul forced Wasps back to their own try-line before play was shifted left for the waiting Nick Timoney to dot down. Johnny McPhillips expertly added the touchline conversion.

Hughes provided Wasps’ response as he powered over in the left corner for his third try, but the Ulstermen fought to the final whistle and were rewarded in the 79th minute. Their 19-year-old winger Angus Kernohan crossed for his first Ulster try at senior level, which McPhillips converted.

Last season’s PRO14 runners-up, the Scarlets, are the visitors to Kingspan Stadium next Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm) when Ulster get their competitive season underway. To purchase tickets for the game, click here or contact the Ulster Rugby ticket office for more information – tel: (028) 9049 3222 (option 2).

WASPS: Rob Miller; Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Juan de Jongh, Josh Bassett; Billy Searle, Dan Robson; Ben Harris, Tom Cruse, Kieran Brookes, Joe Launchbury (capt), Will Rowlands, Nizaam Carr; Joe Atkinson, Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: Tommy Taylor, Zurabi Zhvania, Will Stuart, James Gaskell, Thomas Young, Craig Hampson, Michael le Bourgeois, Gaby Lovobalavu, Marcus Watson, Charlie Matthews, Ashley Johnson.

ULSTER: Will Addison; Craig Gilroy, Stewart Moore, Stuart McCloskey, Angus Kernohan; Johnny McPhillips, Jonny Stewart; Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor (capt), Kieran Treadwell; Marcell Coetzee, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alex Thompson, Caleb Montgomery, David Shanahan, Angus Curtis, Darren Cave, Greg Jones, Chris Henry, Jack Owens.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU)