Ulster Rugby v Benetton Rugby

We extend a special welcome to the Benetton officers, management, supporters and players this evening. We hope you all have a very enjoyable experience here in Ulster. After eight rounds of this year’s Championship, Ulster are currently second in Conference B, one point ahead of our near neighbours Leinster. Following tonight’s game, we face an away trip to Dragons next Friday before back-to-back Champions Cup showdowns with Harlequins. With no rugby for Ulster over the past two weekends, the focus for many has been on the Autumn internationals, with Ireland recording a comprehensive victory over South Africa, followed by a narrow win against Fiji. Congratulations to Ireland, and particular mention to the six Ulster players who have contributed so prominently. Ireland’s final series game is against Argentina tomorrow evening at the Aviva Stadium, and we wish them well. The Ulster Bank League also returns this weekend with a full programme of fixtures. Of the 12 Ulster teams involved, 6 are currently occupying places in the top 4 of their respective divisions, which is very encouraging. Within Ulster, it is a big weekend for club cup competitions, with fixtures in the Crawford Cup, Crawford Plate, Forster Cup and Forster Plate. We also have the semi-finals of the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup where Ballymoney, City of Armagh 2nd XV, Ballynahinch 2nd XV and Malone 2nd XV will all be vying for a place in the final at Kingspan Stadium next month. As always, we would encourage you to get out and support your local club. Congratulations to Ballymena and City of Armagh who have booked their place in the First Trust Senior Cup Final, as Ballymena accounted for the champions from the past three years, Ballynahinch, and the Armagh men saw off Malone to set up an intriguing final on December 19th at Kingspan Stadium. On Monday afternoon, we had a fantastic turnout for the launch of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Rugby competitions. It was particularly pleasing to see the Girls Schools’ Cup and High Schools’ competitions represented along with the Schools’ Cup 1st XV captains, and we look forward to another thrilling few months of schools rugby. Next Sunday 3rd December the Ulster Women will kick-off their Inter- Provincial campaign with a home tie against Leinster at Dromore RFC. All support for the team would be greatly appreciated, and once again we wish them the best of good luck. Finally, it is our pleasure to be acknowledging the Danske Bank Ulster U18 Schools’ team at half-time this evening, in recognition for their tremendous achievement of winning the Schools’ Inter-Provincial series, the first Ulster team to do so in 12 years. I’m sure you will show them your appreciation at half-time. SUFTUM! Graffin Parke President IRFU (Ulster Branch) As President of the IRFU Ulster Branch, it gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone to Kingspan Stadium for tonight’s Round 9 game in the Guinness PRO14 Championship against Benetton Rugby. PRESIDENT’S WELCOME


IRFU ULSTER BRANCH 2017/18 OFFICERS Graffin Parke President Stephen Elliott Senior Vice President Gary Leslie Junior Vice President Denis Gardiner Honorary Secretary Michael Boyd Honorary Treasurer Greg Irwin Competitions Secretary EXECUTIVE TEAM Shane Logan Chief Executive Chris Webster Domestic Rugby Manager Audrey Robinson Financial Controller Fiona Hampton Head of Sales & Marketing Les Kiss

Director of Rugby Bryn Cunningham Operations Director

Kingspan Stadium, 134 Mount Merrion Avenue Belfast, BT6 0FT T +44 (0)28 9049 3222 ulsterrugby.com



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