Vote for Ulster's team of the decade: Who is the province's top outside centre of the 2010s?
We're almost finished our quest to piece together Ulster Rugby's team of the decade. Today is the turn of the outside centres.
Rugby round up Newsletter
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 - Inside centre - Full-back
Scroll down through the three options to have your say:
1. Darren Cave
Ulster Rugby’s record appearance holder - a distinction he shares with Andrew Trimble, few men have embodied what it means to play for the province more than Darren Cave over the past decade. Retiring only at the end of last season, Cave’s organisation and defensive qualities were a crucial aspect of the backline’s best days while his distribution was often under-rated too.
Moments such as his hat-trick against Leicester Tigers at Kingspan Stadium are obvious stand-outs but his performance last year against Leinster in the Champions Cup quarter-final off the back of very little rugby was a sign of his enduring quality. Would have no doubt won more than his 11 caps if it wasn’t for his Test career significantly over-lapping with a certain Brian O’Driscoll can still count a World Cup in 2015 and a tour of New Zealand among notable career achievements.
2. Luke Marshall
Having emerged as an inside centre back in 2010, and indeed played ten during his school days at Ballymena Academy, Luke Marshall has underwent something of a re-invention to become a regular in the 13 jersey over the latter half of the decade.
While at one stage it looked as if his Ulster days may have been numbered under Les Kiss, returned with a strong run of form and a pair of memorable performances against Toulouse in the 2015/16 season to force his way back in and has been something of a mainstay ever since.
Having originally had to contend with the presence of Gordon D’Arcy in the national side, Marshall made his debut in 2012 and started the second Test of the Joe Schmidt era but has found himself in and out the panel in recent seasons, his last cap coming on the summer tour to Japan in 2017. Missed most of last season due to a torn ACL but returned for the last handful of games and has been one of Dan McFarland’s form players this season.
3. Will Addison
There remains a feeling that there is still so much to come from Will Addison in an Ulster jersey but the early returns have been highly promising.
A player that possesses the ability to spark genuine panic in an opposition defence when carrying the ball in his hands, his versatility makes him an option right across the back-line but his partnership with Stuart McCloskey has a real highlight of the province’s run to the Champions Cup quarter-finals. A back-injury curtailed his first season in Irish rugby but still managed to make his Ireland debut in the November Test series and at one stage was on standby for the World Cup panel.
A frustratingly stop-start season this time around will resume once his current four-game expires.
Belfast Telegraph Digital