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Playing for Ulster still means the world to Trimble

By Jonathan Bradley

Andrew Trimble was able to find solace at Kingspan Stadium last week after the heartbreak of missing out on World Cup selection.

The Ulster wing was controversially omitted from Joe Schmidt's 31-man panel for the tournament last Tuesday but was swiftly back in Neil Doak's side for the Pro12 opener against Ospreys three days later.

The 30-year-old was instrumental in the build up to Stuart McCloskey's try during what turned into a bonus-point win in Belfast and he received a rapturous reception from the home crowd.

"Some of the crowd were maybe pleased to see me again and some of them were just feeling sorry for me because of the news last week," laughed Trimble.

"A lot of it was sympathy driven; I didn't want to milk it too long.

"I love playing for Ulster Rugby and it means the world to me.

"To get that much support means a lot.

"It's been 10 months since I've got myself in a white shirt and there hasn't been a day gone by when I haven't missed it.

"I love getting out on a Friday night, love getting the crowd going, love being part of a team and love being part of a big performance like we put together on Friday night."

Reflecting on what was a tumultuous week in his career, Trimble continued: "Even before that it's been a bit of a roller coaster.

"The Wales game, getting back playing for Ireland again was unbelievable.

"I felt like I put together a nice 35 minutes of rugby. Then the depths of thinking I was in trouble again whenever I went off injured and then I got the good news.

"Every low there's been a high straight after, so it's been a bit of a roller coaster.

"I think in my career, a reasonably long career at this stage, I've gotten used to it.

"I've got used to taking good news and used to taking bad news and as long as you don't get too excited with the good news and too down with the bad news.

"From my point of view, the silver lining was just getting back here into a white shirt."

Trimble will expect to be in the number 14 jersey again when Ulster travel to west Wales for a meeting with Scarlets and has called for the side to replicate the energy of last week's performance.

"Our physicality was the difference (against the Ospreys)," he said.

"I want us to become a team that doesn't just perform well at home and don't just get our intensity up whenever we're at home and whenever we're comfortable but whenever we go away from home.

"We've to go to Parc y Scarlets and the place is a little bit empty and not much of an atmosphere, but if we bring that intensity there then that'll be something."

Despite ending up with hooker John Andrew featuring on the wing, Ulster came through their opening contest with a relatively clean bill of health.

Paul Marshall was seen icing his hamstring on the bench but his substitution was seen as merely a precautionary measure, while back-rowers Roger Wilson and Nick Williams both emerged from their first action of the year with nothing more than bumps and bruises.

They should be boosted by the return of Robbie Diack who missed the Ospreys game after being forced to skip training last week thanks to a course of antibiotics.

The situation regarding Ulster's out-halves remains less clear, however.

Sam Windsor was training towards the end of last week despite an achilles problem so may come back into the mix while Ian Humphreys' hamstring will continue to be a cause for concern as Saturday approaches.

Peter Nelson proved to be a more than able deputy in the number 10 jersey against Ospreys and gives Doak another option.

Belfast Telegraph


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