Before a ball has been kicked and two weeks ahead of Ulster’s 2012-13 curtain-raising friendly — away to Bayonne on August 9 — new openside Sean Doyle has stated his intention to create a few sparks.
That’s hardly surprising; the 23-year-old gave up his job as an electrician in Sydney in a bid to make the grade as a professional with Ulster.
“I didn’t come here for the sightseeing or the weather; I came here to play rugby,” said Australian Doyle who is Irish-qualified through his grandfather from County Clare.
It was as a result of things not happening quickly enough that the flanker decided to come north of the equator.
“I think I was pretty close to making that next step back home, but I wasn’t going to sit there and wait for it and Ulster gave me the opportunity so I’ve come over to make the most of it,” said Doyle who has played for Waratahs ‘A’ and Western Force ‘A’.
“Being Irish-qualified, I looked into getting an Irish passport and got it sorted,” he revealed, adding that it was his manager who “put me in touch with Ulster”.
“Leaving my family and everything like that was tough. It was hard to leave my club team — I was captaining them and we were sitting second in the table, but at the end of the day it wasn’t a hard decision to leave.”
Already he has settled in well.
“The people are great — all the boys are good ‘craic’ as they like to call it. They’re all looking after me and taking me out to see a few things. Everyone else I’ve met has been really nice, too,” said Doyle.
And the standard of rugby he has seen in pre-season has convinced him that he has made a good move.
“The rugby has been great so far and I’m enjoying playing with such a professional outfit,” said Doyle. “The training and facilities here are very good and the coaching staff are really on the ball and we’re all working towards the same goal.”
And he has been impressed by new Ulster coach Mark Anscombe, describing the New Zealander as having “a very smart rugby brain.”
“He’s pretty straight down the line and doesn’t beat about the bush, which is the way it should be,” was Doyle’s description of the Kiwi. “He’s had a lot of emphasis on the ruck at the minute which is good, I like that.
“There’s lots of rucking in a game so if you can be effective at that, you’ve got a good chance of winning.”