Olding reaching for new heights
Fans hoping to attend next year’s World Cup will know by the end of the month if they have gotten their golden ticket, but the players will have to wait that bit longer.
There are those who can be confident enough to keep September and October 2015 clear on their schedules, but for others the next nine months are all about booking their place in Joe Schmidt’s final squad.
Nothing was decided last weekend, but first impressions count and, in front of two members of Ireland’s back-room team, Ulster’s Stuart Olding did more than most to make his mark.
Against the Scarlets, the inside-centre was his team’s star attraction, making a series of line breaks and terrorising the Welsh side.
Les Kiss, currently in temporary charge of Ulster, is enough of a fan to have handed Olding his first cap against the United States in 2013, while Simon Easterby can only have been impressed with what he saw.
“I was really happy with last week. The pitch and weather suited my style of rugby and everything seemed to fall into place,” said the Belfast native, who missed most of last season with a knee injury.
“I worked alongside Les in America. It was for only two weeks, now that we have him here at Ulster it has been really good and I have learned a lot from him. He has brought a fresh new environment to Ulster,” Olding commented.
“I want to play even better than before I was injured.
“That will hopefully give me a starting position at Ulster and, from there, I hope to be involved in Ireland camps for November and, of course, it would be brilliant to be involved in the World Cup,” he added.
Having put on some needed weight while still managing to retain his speed, Olding looks well placed to put last season’s woes behind him.
Tickets for next year's World Cup will not be sold on a first come, first served basis but instead will be allocated by ballot if matches are oversubscribed.
Registration opens tomorrow morning and applications will be taken until September 29. Prices for Ireland's four pool games range from €50-€250, with children's tickets available for €15 for all four pool matches.
Ireland kick off their campaign against Canada at the Millennium Stadium on September 19 next year before facing Romania, Italy and France.
See tickets.rugbyworldcup.com for further information.