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Roger Wilson raring to go: Ready to leave upheaval in the past and deliver for Ulster Rugby

By Niall Crozier

Roger Wilson has been around long enough to know that nothing in the world of professional sport stands still for very long.

September 21 will be the Ulster No 8's 33rd birthday and having been a pro since 2003 he has been through enough to know that change goes with the territory.

So with the start of the competitive season now just 17 days away, he is philosophical at the end of what has been a summer of massive upheaval within Ulster Rugby.

As he sees it, players play while administrators administer. Each play their part.

"Obviously there has been quite a lot of change, but it happens in all sports," Wilson reasoned.

"It will happen to every player in some stage of their career that there will be wholesale changes in management or within the playing squad."

That said, he admitted to having been surprised by the exits of Director of Rugby David Humphreys and coach Mark Anscombe in quick succession.

"For me personally it was a shock – I'd no idea it was coming," he revealed.

"But whenever you look back on it, it's sport, so it's not a huge shock if you think about it.

"Most contracts now are done in two or three years so there's changes all the time. You've just got to get on with it from a playing point of view.

"It hasn't been disruptive at all," he insisted.

"We'll knuckle down and see how things go once we get into a few games."

As a player detached from affairs off-stage, his focus is on what happens on the pitch rather than on things over which he has no control.

"From a playing point of view you just want to play; you don't have any involvement in this sort of thing.

"Obviously the players are the ones who are going to be asked the questions, but from my point of view you'd rather let people up above tell the answers more than anything.

"I just want to get out, start another season and get on with it again."

Asked about goals for the forthcoming season, Wilson was guarded, stressing that Ulster's players have not made a rod with which to be beaten, either by themselves or others.

"The players set themselves very high standards," was his reply when asked about expectations and what the Ulster fans might expect in 2014-15.

"We don't tend to do too much goal-setting any more. It's sort of an old school thing to do where you sit down and say 'We want to finish second in the league and qualify from our group'.

"At the end of the day we're at a stage now where we're expected to be able to win any game we play in – and if we don't we're obviously going to be disappointed.

"So I don't think there are any goals. Obviously there's a youngish element to the squad this year which is great for the appetite and hunger, but in terms of actual goal-setting I suppose we'll leave that up to the supporters and the journalists."

Meanwhile, BBC NI has just signed a four-season deal to provide live coverage of Ulster's Guinness PRO12 matches.

In the league section of the PRO12, BBC NI will have live coverage of all of Ulster's home and away matches not selected for broadcast by Sky.

And those matches which Sky televises will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster.

In addition, BBC NI has secured live TV coverage of any play-off match involving Ulster – including the final.

Shane Glynn, BBC Sport NI editor, said: "It's the beginning of a new era for Ulster, with a new coach and a group of new and exciting signings to replace some of the experienced players who retired or moved on at the end of last season.

"It's shaping up to be a fascinating season and we'll bring audiences live coverage of every match, on TV or radio."

Belfast Telegraph


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