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Vote for Ulster's team of the decade: Who was the province's greatest loosehead prop of the 2010s?

Scroll down to cast your vote on the number one shirt

The three players in the running for the number one jersey in our Ulster Team of the Decade arer (l-r) Tom Court, Callum Black and Eric O'Sullivan.
The three players in the running for the number one jersey in our Ulster Team of the Decade arer (l-r) Tom Court, Callum Black and Eric O'Sullivan.
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

As the decade draws to a close, we're looking back at an eventful ten years at Kingspan Stadium.

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How eventful? When it all began, Ulster's first game of the 2010s saw then-coach Brian McLaughlin lead his side to a win over Munster in what was then the Magners League at what was then Ravenhill with no member of what was then a match-day 22 still turning out for the province today.

Vote for the rest of the positions here: Hooker - Tighthead prop - Locks - Blindside flanker

Over the next three weeks we'll be asking you to help us pick our Ulster team of the decade, starting with the loosehead position:

1. Tom Court

A one-time Olympic hopeful in the shotput, Australian Tom Court came to rugby only in his mid-twenties but his rise through the ranks was swift.

Just two years on from first picking up the oval ball at university he was signed by Ulster in 2006, coming onto their radar thanks to his Limerick-born grandfather. Initially getting reps at tight-head, he switched to the loose once the province signed South African BJ Botha and made the number one jersey his own and coming to the attention of then Ireland coach Declan Kidney.

He won the first of his 32 Ireland caps in the 2009 Grand Slam campaign, and came on as a blood-sub in the Cardiff-clincher. The Brisbane native always felt more valued within Ulster than on the national stage however, most notably after unfairly being forced to carry the can for the shambolic 2012 loss to England in Twickenham.

Court actually played some of his best rugby in the white jersey the next season, earning an Ireland recall for the tour of the USA and Canada in the summer of 2013 before getting a shock call to bench for the British and Irish Lions.

A hugely popular figure with fans and team-mates alike, he left Ulster in 2014, finishing his career with three years at London Irish.

Ulster's Tom Court

2. Callum Black

Born in Washington D.C and educated at the famous Hartbury College in England, Callum Black had already racked up plenty of air-miles by the time he landed in Ulster back in 2011.

Irish-qualified through his Belfast-born grandfather he had pulled on the green jersey at various underage levels, playing under-21s with the likes of Johnny Sexton, Devin Toner and good friends Dan Tuohy and Darren Cave. Initially used as a back-up to Tom Court, became a regular starter once the Irish international left for London Irish.

Found his opportunities more limited under Les Kiss but was had regained his spot and was in a good run of form by the time he departed in the summer of 2018.

Rejoining his old side Worcester, Black remains at the coalface at Sixways where the English-side can field a full front-row of former Ulstermen with Niall Annett and Conor Carey also in situ. Still has an influence in Belfast where Guilt Trip, the coffee shop he owns with Cave, has been providing the masses with their caffeine and donuts fix since 2017.

Callum Black

3. Eric O'Sullivan

Eric O'Sullivan has played only 34 times for Ulster to date but there is little doubt that his 2018/19 campaign was one of the very best put in for the province by a loosehead this decade.

A native of Dublin, he found himself on the outside looking in when Leinster Academy places were handed out but got his chance after impressing at Trinity during a time when Ulster's A side was desperately short of bodies in the propping department.

A fine example of seizing an opportunity, O'Sullivan turned that emergency call-up into an Academy contract and, after a first season spent in the unfamiliar confines of Banbridge RFC, he quickly caught the eye of new head coach Dan McFarland in the summer of 2018.

He made his debut in the first game of that next season, becoming a mainstay in the side and saving his best performances for the run to the European quarter-finals. A former back-rower, he's become known for his prodigious work-rate and was tipped as a possible future international by none other than Joe Schmidt this time last year.

Eric O’Sullivan has made a big start to his Ulster career.

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