Tuohy happy to raise the bar even higher
Big Dan Tuohy is fast emerging as a quality second row.
He looked the part when up against some good company in the Heineken Cup, most notably Bath and Stade Francais.
As modest and unassuming as the day is long, the quiet and softly spoken Tuohy, whose father’s family hails from Limerick — that hotbed of Irish rugby — has wasted little time in settling into his surroundings at Ravenhill after a move from Exeter.
He thoroughly enjoyed his time there and was sorry to leave, but has now made the transition with the greatest of ease, helped by the fact that he already knew both Darren Cave and Paul Marshall from Ireland Under-21 days.
You can tell by talking to him that he's loving life in Northern Ireland and he is quick to acknowledge the contribution of the Ulster coaching staff and in particular Brian McLaughlin and Jeremy Davidson.
His recent form has been noted at a higher level, but Tuohy is content to keep focused and that means maintaining a high level of performance with Ulster.
“It's encouraging to know that you are doing okay, but my whole focus is on keeping my place with Ulster and maintaining a very high level of performance,” he said.
“I believe that Ulster will keep performing well and that players will, in time, be recognised by the national selectors, but let's keep things in perspective.”
Tuohy has rubbed shoulders with Jonathan Sexton, Devin Toner and Sean O'Brien and is genuinely delighted with their progress, but not surprised.
“All three guys have worked their socks off and are now reaping the rewards. It's indicative of just what can be achieved,” he said.
Tuohy was signed by Matt Williams and has really blossomed under the new management team led by Brian McLaughlin.
In a week when the RBS Six Nations Championship overshadows everything else, Tuohy is more taken up with what the future holds for Ulster.
“For us now our objective has to be to finish in the top four of the Magners League,” he added.
“You could see just how desperate we were to get that fourth try against Bath over there but it wasn't to be. Sometimes things like that aren't meant to be, especially when you consider some of the crazy results on the last round of Heineken matches.”