Opposition view: Ulster boss backs young stars to shine even brighter after win at Saints

Ulster boss Dan McFarland backed his young guns to get even better after they fired their team past Saints at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

By Tom Vickers
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 7:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th January 2022, 7:34 pm
Michael Lowry was in fine form for Ulster against Saints
Michael Lowry was in fine form for Ulster against Saints

The likes of Robert Baloucoune and Michael Lowry caught the eye as Ulster made their way to a bonus-point 24-20 win in the Champions Cup clash.

It means the men from Belfast are now three from three in the pool stages of this season's competition, while Saints have lost each of their trio of matches.

And Ulster will now look to finish with a flourish at home to Clermont Auvergne next weekend.

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"In terms of the talent that they have and the desire to improve on a week to week basis, it's very exciting," said McFarland of his Ulster side, which had a backline with an average age of just 22.

"Don't get me wrong, they've got a long way to go. These guys are not the finished article, they can be much, much better and they'll get that through experience.

"There's a huge amount of work that the coaches put into that; in understanding the game.

"It's part of the way that we as a group like to coach: thinking about the game and the ifs and whens of what we're trying to do."

Ulster are now guaranteed a place in the last 16 of the Champions Cup.

And with the Six Nations on the horizon, their talented group will look to keep impressing the Ireland coaches.

"Rob (Baloucoune) has been recognised by Andy Farrell, Michael Lowry's been in that conversation, I've chatted with Andy about Ethan McIlroy," McFarland said.

"Obviously Rob got some of the plaudits tonight and Mikey got man of the match, but Ethan has been absolutely tremendous for us.

"He's a really smart rugby player who has got one of the most deadly sidesteps within our squad.

"Obviously James Hume has been producing big performances in big games and I though Stewart Moore played really well tonight.

"Stewart had a really good game in what is a huge pair of boots that Stuart McCloskey left in the changing room for him."