Belfast Telegraph

Forget last time, Ulster Rugby have a job to do: Sean Doyle

By Michael Sadlier

Sean Doyle's heart must have sunk all the way to his brightly coloured boots when he was put on media day duty.

After considerable banter from his team-mates and also much activity on Twitter over his exuberant swallow-dive for his first Ulster try last Saturday – Ulster's fifth of seven on a night when the scores flowed – he now had to re-live the moment all over again.

"Yeah it was a lot of fun," the Irish qualified openside flanker, who hails from Sydney, says with a broad smile.

"I was just so excited," he remarks about the line opening up for him on what was also his Heineken Cup debut for Ulster since coming over last season.

"I realised I'd a bit of time and space so I just dived in for a bit of fun.

"I think most people enjoyed it but I got quite a bit of stick from the boys about it.

"If I get chances to score I'll take them but I'm really there to tackle and bring energy around the park," he adds clearly keen to move on.

Despite all the slagging, though, Doyle earned his reward in the first back-to-back Heineken Cup clash with Treviso as the former A-squad player for the Waratahs and Western Force put himself about at Ravenhill and topped last Saturday's official tackle statistics with 18 hits to his name, two more than fellow flanker Robbie Diack.

The 24-year-old was naturally pleased with his performance, a situation which came about because of the need to recalibrate the back row through the combination of Chris Henry, Iain Henderson and Nick Williams being sidelined with injury.

And yet for all his hard graft there are still areas for the specialist openside to work on.

"For myself, well, you've got to be critical and if you don't you get complacent. You can always improve on one or two things and you have to be hard on yourself.

"You can look at every single play you're involved in and find something wrong with it and if you don't get found out that particular time you just might be next time," is how Doyle sums up his impressive efforts at the breakdown which alongside Diack's strength and Roger Wilson's ball-carrying ability gave Ulster the ideal back row blend.

Now in his second season at Ravenhill and wants to make up for lost time after his first was entirely wrecked by a broken leg suffered in a club game with Dungannon, the loneliness of living in a new place and his long rehab summed up by: "Last year, I'm glad it's behind me."

Doyle has now sensed an opportunity to show what he can do and he intends to back this up when the Pool five leaders recommence hostilities in the return game at Treviso tomorrow.

"They'll come out looking to right a few wrongs and we've got to be ready for it," he says.

"We've got to come out firing like we did last week otherwise it could easily get ugly over there.

"Not many sides have put them away at home easily, and that applies to either of the Italian sides as we struggled over in Zebre a couple of weeks ago," cautions Doyle.

"We can set ourselves up for a really strong back end to the Heineken pool rounds if we do a job on these guys over there."

"We just need to go there and really do a good job on them."

Belfast Telegraph


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