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Rugby

27th Apr 2018

‘I don’t think it’s career suicide for players to go to Ulster’

Jack O'Toole

Former Leinster hooker and Newport-Gwent Dragons coach Bernard Jackman has defended the attractiveness of Ulster Rugby as a club for prospective players.

Leinster pivots Joey Carbery and Ross Byrne have both been linked with a move to the northern province this week as the club continue to search for a replacement to former fly-half Paddy Jackson.

Jackson and ex-teammate Stuart Olding both had their Ulster and IRFU contracts revoked earlier this month and the subsequent public reaction to their trial, the banning of news journalists from press conference and the province’s underwhelming performance this season has created a general malaise around the club in recent weeks but Jackman predicts that the province will be in a much better place in 12 months time.

“There’s been a massive backlash and criticism of where Ulster are at but they’re a team who are consistently in the Champions Cup,” Jackman told RTE 2FM’s Game On.

“I don’t think they’ve ever been in the Challenge Cup, and they’re on track to be in the Champions Cup again next year.

“They’ve got a state-of-the art training facility, they’ve got a state-of-the art stadium. They’ve got a passionate fanbase. They’ve got history.

“If you were a betting man, you’d say Ulster are going to be in a lot better position in 24 months time or 12 months time than they are now.

“I don’t think it’s career suicide to go to Ulster. You’ve got to back Ulster to sort themselves out. Look at the quality foreign players they’ve got in Piutau and Deysel.

“They’ve just been a bit unlucky with injuries. They do need reinforcements but you’ve got to say the board in Ulster will continue to recruit. They’ve brought in Jordi Murphy, which could be a great signing. Marty Moore could give them a bit of stability at prop.

“I’m not saying Joey Carbery or Ross Byrne should go but everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon and saying Ulster are an absolute shambles and they’ve certainly not had a good season.

“But you would have to believe that in a couple of weeks time, they’ll sign a good head coach and they’ll get back on track to rebuilding.

“They have a lot of foundations in place to suggest that over the next two or three years, they can get back.”

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