We caught up with the Ulster U18 Club side on Saturday at their game against Ballyclare High School at their Rashee Road grounds.
The High School won by six tries to three but it was a useful run out for the Ulster side who improved as the game progressed.
Ballyclare dominated the opening exchanges, scoring two tries in the first quarter to take a 12 – 0 lead. The Club side came back with a try of their own in the second quarter but the half ended with another try from Ballyclare to take the score to 17 – 7 at the break.
The third quarter also went the way of the High School, who ran in two more scores, but a few changes to the Club team seemed to make a difference and they took the final quarter by two tries to one to give a final score of Ballyclare High 32 Ulster Club U18 17.
So what did we learn?
It was my first real look at Ballyclare High this season, with a full strength side, and they looked pretty useful. This was no friendly knock about and they were well drilled and had an impressive attitude. They are currently ranked 7th in The Front Row Union Rugby Rankings and look good value for their top eight placing.
As for the Club side, once they got their act together they also looked pretty useful with a couple of players standing out. However, it was obvious that they need more game time together and really, all these age grade representative sides should get more game time (and resources) at a more competitive level if Ulster really wants to develop all the talent at their disposal.
We had two photographers at the game so plenty of pics.