Ulster U20s started their season in impressive style with a hard fought draw over international opposition at Newforge Country Club.

Kieran Campbell’s team drew 12 all with Italy U20s in a match that was perfect preparation for the upcoming interprovincial series.

Report from Ulster Rugby (link no longer active).

Think this was more of an U19 side for Ulster at the time.

Ulster got on the score sheet first when Ballyclare winger James Beattie finished off a clinical back line move to race clear down the right wing and dot down near the posts.

Former Methodist College Belfast out half Josh Bingham added the extras to put the Province 7-0 up at the break.

The game was highly competitive with Lorcan Dow outstanding in his ball carrying. Thomas Donnan and Toby Boyd were impressive in their first up defence.

The visitors made a positive start to the second half and scored in the left hand corner. The conversion was missed. Ulster fought back well with centre Conor McKee using his boot intelligently to keep the Italians pinned in their 22.

The Province took the lead for the second time mid way through the second half when the Italians overthrew a line out 5 metres from their own line.

Ballynahinch hooker, Zac McCall, was quickest to react, gathering up the loose ball to smash his way over for an unconverted try leaving the home side 12-5 clear.

However, the Italians were stronger in the fourth quarter with their openside and right wing putting in some impressive runs.

Their right winger crossed with 5 minutes to go and the successful conversion denied Ulster the win. However, the U20s can take heart from a strong opening match of the season.

  • Ulster v Exiles (friendly) Friday 22nd August, time TBC, Newforge Country Club
  • Ulster v Connacht Friday 5th September, 7.00pm, Kingspan Stadium
  • Ulster v Leinster Friday 12th September, time TBC, Belfast Harlequins RFC
  • Munster v Ulster Friday 19th / Saturday 20th September, time and venue TBC

Photo credit – Bob Given Photography


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