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Harlequins ace Dass is backed to dazzle Twickenham

By Rob Cole

Cambridge University skipper Don Stevens is tipping former Ulster Under-19 and Ravens back-row man Daniel Dass to shine in next week's Varsity Match at Twickenham.

While Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts and ex-Munster and Ireland 'A' lock Ian Nagle have been grabbing all the attention within the Light Blues ranks in the build-up to the 134th clash with Oxford next Thursday, it has been Dass' dynamic performances that have made the difference.

It was the 20-year-old's last-gasp try that earned Cambridge a victory over the Crawshay's Welsh XV and he also played a starring role in the comeback victory over the Steele-Bodger's XV in the final game before Twickenham.

Dass, who learned his rugby at Mallusk Primary School, Newtownabbey and Belfast Royal Academy, is reading economics at St Catharine's College.

He won his first Blue as a 69th-minute replacement last year in Cambridge's record 43-6 defeat.

This year, he has been one of the first names down on the team sheet at Grange Road and has made it into the side along with former Ulster Schools' U18 hooker Max Montgomery.

Educated at Bangor Grammar School, 20-year-old Montgomery was also a 69th-minute replacement in last year's game.

Stevens said: "Daniel has been playing out of his skin throughout this season and has really developed since last year.

"He has benefited from working hard with our new strength and conditioning coach and it is clear that he has become much more powerful.

"For someone who is quite quiet and reserved off the field, he certainly comes alive once he gets onto the pitch.

"His driving play with ball in hand, as well as his scavenging on the floor, have been excellent for us and we are hoping for more of the same at Twickenham."

Dass is a member of the Belfast Harlequins club, while Montgomery plays for the Donaghadee club when he is at home.

There is a third Northern Ireland connection within the Cambridge match-day squad with hooker Paddy Calvert, from Down High School, appearing among the replacements for the second time having won a Blue in 2013.

Nagle appears in the second row to make it four Irishmen in the side.

He is completing an MBA in business studies before returning to the professional rugby scene next year.

Belfast Telegraph

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