Friday 14 December 2018

'I don't think it's career suicide to go there' - Bernard Jackman says Ulster can bounce back next season

15 September 2017; Dragons Head Coach Bernard Jackman prior to the Guinness PRO14 Round 3 match between Dragons and Connacht at Rodney Parade in Newport, Wales. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
15 September 2017; Dragons Head Coach Bernard Jackman prior to the Guinness PRO14 Round 3 match between Dragons and Connacht at Rodney Parade in Newport, Wales. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

Bernard Jackman thinks Ulster are in a good position to bounce back from a nightmare season.

The northern province look set to miss out on the Guinness PRO 14 playoffs, and will have to beat the Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium to secure Champions Cup rugby next year.

Ulster also failed to get out of their Champions Cup pool for the fourth consecutive season, which saw Director of Rugby Les Kiss depart after Christmas with head coach Jono Gibbes to follow him out the door in the summer.

As well as that, Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding had their contracts revoked following the Belfast rape trial, with some fans backing the move while others were left dissatisfied.

There have now been reports that the IRFU want Leinster to send one of their young out-halves, Ross Byrne or Joey Carbery, north to replace Jackson, which has prompted a debate about Ulster's future.

Brian O'Driscoll called the province a 'basket case' but Dragons Director of Rugby Bernard Jackman thinks that there are reasons for optimism going forward.

Speaking on Game On on 2FM, Jackman said that it wouldn't be 'career suicide' for either player to move to Ulster.

"There's been a massive backlash and criticism of where Ulster are at but they're a team who are consistently in the Champions Cup," he said.

"I don't think they've ever been in the Challenge Cup, and they're on track to be in the Champions Cup again next year.

"They've got a state-of-the art training facility, they've got a state-of-the art stadium. They've got a passionate fanbase. They've got history.

"If you were a betting man, you'd say Ulster are going to be in a lot better position in 24 months time or 12 months time than they are now.

"I don't think it's career suicide to go to Ulster. You've got to back Ulster to sort themselves out. Look at the quality foreign players they've got in Piutau and Deysel. They've just been a bit unlucky with injuries. They do need reinforcements but you've got to say the board in Ulster will continue to recruit. They've brought in Jordi Murphy, which could be a great signing. Marty Moore could give them a bit of stability at prop.

"I'm not saying Joey Carbery or Ross Byrne should go but everyone's jumping on the bandwagon and saying Ulster are an absolute shambles and they've certainly not had a good season.

"But you would have to believe that in a couple of weeks time, they'll sign a good head coach and they'll get back on track to rebuilding.

"They have a lot of foundations in place to suggest that over the next two or three years, they can get back."

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