Ulster Rugby vs Saracens


Ulster A got their 2015/16 British & Irish Cup campaign off to a positive start, defeating English Championship side Bristol by 30 points to 5 at Kingspan Stadium last Friday night.

“We definitely want to have a go this year and we want to win silverware, the coaches Alex (Codling) and Kieran (Campbell) are very professional. We did our homework and we got a good result.” Patterson’s midfield partnership with Mark Best was one of many highlights for the Ulster A side last Friday. “We defended well and we had also worked hard in training on defence all week. We also both got on the score sheet, which was brilliant.” Patterson was joined in the A team by Ballymena colleagues Alan O’Connor, John Andrew, Clive Ross, Stephen Mulholland and Rodger McBurney: “We were all so happy to play together for the A team; it shows Ballymena’s form is good and we brought it into the A team. We all played well, it’s great having those people you know and play with week in and week out around you. It just shows the All Ireland League is a good level to play at and you will get spotted if you are in good form. Luckily since the start of the season I have been in good form so I’m just happy to take each game as it comes and try my best in whatever shirt I have on.” JOHNNY McPHILLIPS Johnny McPhillips has played for England at U18 level and was part of the Newcastle Falcons Academy, but with his father hailing from East Belfast, when Ulster came calling it was an easy decision to move to Belfast. “I’m full Irish, my mum grew up in Waterford; she moved to England when she was 20 and my dad grew up in Ballyhackamore. Mum and dad both love Ireland and Irish rugby, in the household when I was younger they were always supporting Ireland,” said McPhillips. “One of the main reasons I wanted to come here was academics; to combine rugby with university. The way Ulster have set up the Hughes Insurance Academy provides a training schedule around education, and that was really important to me. I was fortunate to get a very good education at school level and I wanted to continue that at university and the way Ulster link that in was a real attraction. Apart from that it’s a massive European

This week we caught up with two young and exceptionally talented members of last Friday’s team; Man of the Match Callum Patterson and and Hughes Insurance Academy star Johnny McPhillips. CALLUM PATTERSON As a script goes Callum Patterson couldn’t have written it any better; the centre missed most of last season due to a broken arm but on Friday night he was the star of the show for Ulster A. The Ballymena midfielder scored one of three tries in the 30-5 victory over Bristol, won a turnover on the ground that led to another score and won Man of the Match, while across the city his cousin Steven Davis scored the winner for Northern Ireland against Latvia at Windsor Park. “I’m over the moon for my cousin Steven Davis. I came off the pitch and just found out he had scored at Windsor Park and I scored at Kingspan Stadium, so it was a great family feeling,” said Patterson. Focusing on his own team’s success... “I’m totally over the moon and over the moon for the boys as well, we knew we had to put in a performance and we did that, we were pretty clinical and I thought it was a great team effort.” Bristol are top of the English Championship and they may have rested some of their big names like Dwayne Peel and Gavin Henson, but they were blown away by a clinical performance by the home team… “You can only play what is in front of you, Bristol were coming off the back of a few defeats but they are still a good Championship side and I’m sure they will come good but I thought we deserved the win and it was a good team effort all round. We knew the first 20 minutes would be tough, as we were playing against the wind in the first half. We gave away a couple of penalties at scrum time but we got the ship steadied and 30 unanswered points was a super effort. It is always good to score just before half time because the momentum changes, the buzz is good and I thought it was a huge turning point in the game.



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