Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Being right not always easy: Trimble

Ulster are spoilt for choice when it comes to men to occupy the number 14 jersey.

Take your pick from Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy, all three of them international players. That's an embarrassment of riches.

Being right-handed and footed, each prefers to play on that side. It's pure instinct, it's what feels most natural. But they will, of course, wear 11 if required. Inclusion on the left is a lot better than omission.

At a time when high-profile personalities are tutored in the art of side-stepping straight-on questions, 28-year-old Trimble dares to tell it like it is.

It's good to meet a man who is not afraid to voice his genuine opinion rather than give glib, say-nothing answers.

So while some players talk about competition for places being great for them and their rivals for the job, too, Trimble differs by highlighting the accompanying stress.

Typically he makes no bones about the fact that being involved in a three-man fight for two Ulster berths is high pressure. Yet paradoxically he concedes that there may be benefits.

"It's not the sort of place where you want to find yourself, though it could be something that's actually quite good for all three of us," he admits.

"But it's a difficult place to find yourself. You put yourself under a lot more pressure in training and games, everything.

"That probably takes a little more out of you, but I think I'm probably a better player as a result.

"Whenever you're under pressure you know that if you're starting you'll be playing out of your skin because you have to be.

"There's so much competition there. Tommy and Gilly are just unbelievable players so that means you have to play at that level to have any chance of playing in a white shirt. It's tough, but I think it's probably really good for all of us."

As well as differing in their styles as wingers, all three offer other options; Bowe and Gilroy can play full-back while Trimble has featured in the centre.

"Yeah, there's a little bit of versatility there, but I wouldn't want to try second-guessing Mark (Anscombe, the Ulster coach). I don't know what he's thinking about the three of us – I haven't a clue, really," Trimble says.

But there is no such doubt when it comes to stating his belief as to where he feels he has most to offer.

"Happiest at 14," he says." I just feel I've got used to that position. I prefer to defend on that side, it just feels more comfortable. Restarts, chasing or receiving box-kicks – you're leading with your right, which is your natural side.

"But then all three of us prefer 14. None of us would choose to be on the left."

Tomorrow night in Galway, British & Irish Lion Bowe will be on the right wing once again and with Gilroy sidelined by a groin strain, that means Trimble will wear the jersey he admits he nor either of his rivals would choose.

He mightn't want it, but will he be found wanting wearing it? No chance.

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