Belfast Telegraph

RaboDirect Pro12: D’Arcy vows to get Ulster back on song

By Michael Sadlier

It's all a bit awkward really. He sips his coffee and exhales before moving into position to field the tricky question that’s just been kicked his way.

You see, the must-win encounter with the Scarlets will only be the fifth time Adam D’Arcy has been in a competitive starting line up this season and the circumstances of his elevation back into the team have hardly been down to Ulster simply being unable to keep him out; rather an unforeseen injury situation, an attempt to turn a winger into a full-back and the somewhat slow progress of a certain temporary signing's visa approval at the UK Border Agency.

“It’s been frustrating,” D’Arcy says regarding his lack of starts and more frequent interventions off the bench.

“But sometimes you’ve just got to accept that and wait for the opportunity and once you’re given the opportunity to start you take it,” he states.

The 26-year-old Irish qualified Australian began the season wearing the Ulster number 15 shirt but he knew that Jared Payne’s arrival would likely see him move aside.

However, Payne’s season-ending injury changed everything for Ulster even though that wasn’t quite the case for D’Arcy who, after coming off the bench for the crocked Payne to play most of Ulster’s miserable defeat to Treviso, back in October, then had to continue his replacement duties while Simon Danielli was given four starts in the unfamiliar position of full-back.

On top of all that, D’Arcy also had to absorb the temporary signing of Stefan Terblanche which, when the South African veteran can tog out after his visa application process is finally completed, is also likely to consign last season's first choice full-back to more bench duty just when he would want to be showcasing what he can offer.

Still, whatever pans out for him, D’Arcy did at least remind Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin of his ability to attack thanks to his cameo — off the bench of course — against Clermont, when his counter-attack and subsequent skinning of Regan King helped create the match-winning score for Ian Humphreys.

Since then, of course, it’s been two defeats without bonus points from two outings — against Leicester Tigers in Europe and Glasgow in the PRO12 League.

“It was hard to take that we walked out of there (Firhill) with nothing,” D’Arcy says. “With 20 minutes to go it was 9-9 and we were probably playing the better rugby. But at the same time we made errors in that last 20 minutes that we shouldn’t have made.

“They deserved it and we didn’t play well in general.”

He’s not wrong there, though D’Arcy is adamant that Ulster’s slump in League form is not a crisis.

“We’ve lost more games than we’ve won and there’s no hiding that fact,” he added. “But at the same time we’re not out of the Heineken Cup, we’re not out of the PRO12 and there’s plenty of time to get things right.”

He talks about the positive attitudes and quality performances at training and how the squad must now bring the whole package to a match situation.

“It’s not one big thing that we’re missing. We’ve got the players, we’ve got the patterns and we’ve got the confidence,” he states.

“It’s just about one little thing that can turn a match, one little thing that can turn your way.

“In terms of December and the next few games, well they’re massive and we have to be at our best but this is the part of the season to be involved in.”

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