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On-loan Ian Nagle hoping to make switch from Leinster to Ulster permanent

 

Hanging around: Ulster’s loanee second row Ian Nagle
Hanging around: Ulster’s loanee second row Ian Nagle

By Michael Sadlier

Last Saturday was a particularly strange one for Ian Nagle.

Ulster taking on Leinster and the 30-year-old lock found himself caught with a foot in both camps.

But not only that, he couldn't even play due to having been loaned out by Leinster to be part of Dan McFarland's squad, the understanding being that loan players cannot take on the sides who have put them out there.

So, he could only look on as the drama unfolded in Dublin.

But who to support and did it really matter in what was, essentially, a no-lose situation for him?

"Now that I'm in Ulster I wanted Ulster to win," he diplomatically revealed, though it would appear that the much-travelled Munster native may be about to become a permanent member of the Kingspan squad.

For the time being, though, Nagle is keen to be involved again in Ulster's PRO14 run-in, starting with tomorrow's trip to Glasgow, though he will also have to sit out their final fixture at home to Leinster.

With Ulster sitting second in Conference B, four points ahead of nearest chasers Benetton Rugby, the games at Glasgow and Edinburgh - the Scottish capital's side are seven points adrift of the province - are critical encounters with the play-offs now almost upon us.

"It's knockout rugby now for the rest of the season, to some extent," says Nagle.

"Glasgow, which is a huge game, then Edinburgh, Leinster again, and then hopefully it's three knockout games.

"It's going to be tough to put the last result (the European quarter-final defeat to Leinster) at the back of our minds, but at the same time we can take a huge amount of confidence in how we played.

"We could easily have come out the right side of it.

"But we're building momentum at the right time of the season and we're on a real upward trajectory - last Saturday was our first loss in eight games - and I think we can carry that momentum into the last part of the season," states Nagle.

And as for the notion that Ulster are generally in a good place and moving forward in the right direction, Nagle is all for buying into that.

"The term 'transition period' is thrown around a lot but it's a really exciting time to be part of Ulster Rugby.

"Did they get the right coaches for the job? In my opinion, definitely, and they're really getting the best out of the players and a lot of the young players are feeding off this.

"The result of that was seen last Saturday, in how the young players expressed themselves and the confidence that was clearly there," he stated.

"I think this (last weekend) will be a trigger point for the years to come and that we can go on to win trophies."

We? Sounds like he's going to be sticking around.

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