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Angus Kernohan reflects on 'unbelievable' first Ulster try after monumental rise

By Adam McKendry

When he missed out on a place in the Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy over the summer, Angus Kernohan didn't sit around and feel sorry for himself - he got to work.

And boy has it paid off.

After impressing enough to earn a start in pre-season against Gloucester, and then scoring a try against Wasps a week later, Kernohan then found himself on the bench for Ulster's season opener at home to the Scarlets, a position he has held for all three of their games so far.

A couple of weeks ago he put pen to paper and agreed to join the Academy, and on Sunday afternoon he passed another milestone as he dotted down for his first competitive Ulster try against the Southern Kings.

For someone who, at the start of August, was probably resigning himself to playing another season for Ballymena in the All-Ireland League, it's safe to say that Kernohan is doing a lot of things right.

Having swapped Eaton Park for the Mandela Bay Stadium, the 19-year-old says he's thrilled with how the season has gone so far.

"It's been really good, as I said earlier in the season it's been a great experience over the summer. I've learned so much and I'm just trying to absorb it all," said Kernohan.

"When there are great leaders in the team and guys like Henry Speight who's phenomenal, he teaches you so much and he's so humble, it's really easy to learn from them.

"Because it's a team sport it's easy to focus on everyone else as well and not concentrate on yourself too much."

The try itself was almost a carbon copy of the one he scored against Wasps in pre-season, the pacy winger breaking down the blindside off the back of a ruck when the space opened up - the only difference being it was off a maul in Coventry.

It's that kind of vision to spot that space that has set Kernohan apart - he has shown wisdom beyond his years and has slipped seamlessly into the Ulster set-up.

"We were playing a lot in their 22 and were building a lot of pressure, and they folded around the corner and left a lot of space, so I just shouted to Dave Shanahan, 'Hit me! Hit me!' and fortunately he did and I got over in the corner," he explained.

"It was unbelievable, it really was. It's nice to be in South Africa, it's slightly different than playing in Belfast! The weather was beautiful and you can't ask much more for a game of rugby.

"It was great to be out there on the pitch with 14 other guys who are supporting you and want the best for you, so it was great to do it as a team, and when you're at a stadium like this it's easy to get carried away, but we knew if we drove the standard as a team then it was going to be a difficult game but it was a game we could control.

"I think we executed our game plan well, obviously there'll be things to work on but overall we're happy."

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