It’s a huge season for Ulster and Kristian Ross will be with us every step of the way…
Bliss. That's what we will call it. Friday September 5th 2013, after a long sporting summer that included a Lions win in Australia under Warren Gatland, the rugby has finally returned, the RaboPRO12 is back, and the pent up excitement that has built during pre season will finally be unleashed when Ulster take on the Dragons in their second season under Mark Anscombe at Rodney Parade.
It’s a huge season for Ulster and every fan not just in the nine counties, but in Ireland and the rest of Europe knows it. This will be Anscombe’s second attempt at glory, after coming so close last season by being ousted by Leinster at the RDS in the PRO12 final, just like the season before that when the boys in blue beat the Ulstermen in the Heineken Cup final. However it has to be noted, Ulster matured last season, not just in a minor way, but massively. The opening of the season was as we all know, a try fest and up until December the province was still unbeaten.
Even after injuries to big players and a dip in form in the earlier months of 2013, Ulster still went on and made the PRO12 final with minimal ease. Yes, they were beaten, but they finished top of the regular season programme like true champions, and had some truly outstanding victories on the way. It was an emotional rollercoaster from day one of the season, ups and downs, highs such as a first win over Leinster at the RDS since the 90’s and lows such as the passing of brave Nevin Spence, who will always be remembered as someone who every time he wore the white jersey showed the attributes and superb attitude that Ulster Rugby is all about.
Saying farewell to last season, changes are starting to be seen in Belfast. The completion of two new stands in the development of Ravenhill has seen the capacity increase and when the project is finally finished, Ulster fans will see their team play in a fantastic stadium that no doubt the heart and soul of the old stands will be taken forward as fans take their brand new seats. New Ravenhill was christened with a brilliant win over Leinster in pre season, a late Ian Porter try sealing the win. Porter is one of Anscombe’s acquisitions that has previously played for the province, and although the head coach hasn't added big names into his squad, he has installed faith in returning players such as James McKinney and David McIlwaine.
Ulster finished off the pre season with a disappointing defeat to Leicester Tigers, although who did play a very talented squad. And in terms of talent it will be the key figures of last years squad that will once again have to rise to the occasion, players such as Nick Williams, Andrew Trimble and Ruan Pienaar as well as Tommy Bowe when he returns injury. Ulster fans were certainly buoyed when it was announced that Stephen Ferris would be staying to the end of the year at least, a return for him would certainly be something to make any fan smile.
The PRO12 clock has ticked down, and the start is almost upon us again. Ulster this season must look to go that one step further and finally get rid of that ’’nearly’’ tag. The Heineken Cup campaign will hopefully be a successful one after the disappointment of going out against Saracens last year. All in all, it has to be outlined, highlighted and told : Mark Anscombe has a quality squad, that possess fantastic skill and abilities and that have what it takes to become Celtic League champions. The one word that Anscombe and me alike as well as every other fan will be thinking over this campaign is this : DELIVER
The time has come.... so let us begin.
Stand Up For The Ulstermen
I'm Kristian. 19. And my mind is filled with rugby shaped thoughts. Supporting Ulster Rugby, Newcastle Falcons and of course the mighty Ireland. Tommy Bowe is the MAN !!!! SUFTUM.