Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Ulster

Poll: Who is Ulster's best inside centre of the last decade?

Who is Ulster's best inside centre of the last decade?
Who is Ulster's best inside centre of the last decade?
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

As we go through Ulster's Team of the Decade, it's now time to decide the inside centre.

Rugby round up Newsletter

Game previews, plus expert insights and exclusive commentary from the Belfast Telegraph sports team.

Voting will close at 12 noon on Thursday (December 19) so make sure you have your say on all positions before then: Loosehead prop - Hooker - Tighthead prop - Locks - Blindside flanker - Openside flanker - Number eight - Scrum-half - Fly-half - Wingers - Outside centre - Full-back

Scroll down through the three options have and have your say in the poll:

1. Paddy Wallace

http://inm-test-be-migration-ece4-belfast-01.bluebillywig.lan:8085/migrator/ws/publication/independentBelfast/resource/binary/657072
Paddy Wallace
 

A winner of 30 caps for Ireland, Wallace was a fixture in Ulster's midfield for years as well playing full-back and out-half.

His debut came closer to the turn of the last decade, in 2001, than this and was a replacement in the Grand Slam win of 2009.

Despite a run of injuries he remained a regular with Ulster until his retirement in 2014 and by the time he decided to hang up his boots nobody had made more than his 189 outings for the side.

A prodigiously talented footballer, Wallace's vision and guile saw him as a stand-out for almost 15 years.

2. Stuart McCloskey

Ulster Harlequins.jpg
Stuart McCloskey in action against Harlequins
 

The side's current inside centre, McCloskey possess a physicality rare in an Ulster backline. Nicknamed the Bangor Bulldozer for his ability to get across the gainline, his emergence into the Ulster set-up came after a late growth spurt in school saw him move from scrum-half, to ten, and then eventually centre.

His eye for an offload is another aspect to his game while recent weeks have brought an added emphasis to his kicking game too, creating two tries with grubber kicks.

Made his Ulster debut in February of 2014 against the Dragons, the first of 115 in a white jersey. His Ireland debut would follow two years later against England in Twickenham and had added two more caps since but was left out of the wider World Cup panel.

3. Nevin Spence

2017-09-15_new_34618586_I8.JPG
Nevin Spence in action
 

After coming to rugby at Dromore High and Wallace, Nevin Spence made his debut for the province in 2010, the first of 42 in the white jersey.

Having put in a string of promising performances in the green jersey at underage and Irish Wolfhounds level, he had been called into the training squad ahead of the 2011 Six Nations by Declan Kidney, the same year he was named Young Irish Player of the Year.

He died in a farming accident on 15th September 2012 along with his brother Graham and his father Noel. His last game of rugby had been three days prior for the Ulster 'A' side against Munster. His memory lives on at Ulster with the Nevin Spence Centre at Kingspan Stadium while his famous try against Bath is another of the province's most famous this decade.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph