| 12.7°C Dublin

McFarland: Nevin would have loved to be part of this group

Close

Nevin Spence’s eight-year anniversary was a timely reminder to all of the province’s current players to appreciate the good times they are experiencing

Nevin Spence’s eight-year anniversary was a timely reminder to all of the province’s current players to appreciate the good times they are experiencing

Nevin Spence’s eight-year anniversary was a timely reminder to all of the province’s current players to appreciate the good times they are experiencing

The Ulster squad took a moment yesterday to acknowledge the eight-year anniversary of the tragic death of Nevin Spence.

The former Ulster centre, who lost his life along with his father Noel and brother Graham in a farming accident in 2012, is forever remembered around Ravenhill.

However, even in such a big week for the club, it was important to pause and reflect on one of their own who was taken far too soon.

The dressing-room may have changed a lot since Spence's days, yet his memory lives on, even through people like head coach Dan McFarland who didn't even know the hugely popular midfielder.

McFarland's squad have been licking their wounds this week following their PRO14 final defeat to Leinster, but with Toulouse lying in wait on Sunday, Spence's anniversary was a timely reminder to all of the province's current players to appreciate the good times they are experiencing.

"We had a moment today to remember Nevin in the way that the guys want to remember Nevin," McFarland said.

"That's run by the guys who obviously knew Nevin really well. We set aside whatever time those guys feel is necessary to do that. It is a really poignant moment.

"One of the points the guys made to me as I was chatting to them was that Nevin would have absolutely loved it in this group because of the way they approach the game and their attitude and their bleeding for the jersey.

"I didn't know Nevin on a personal level, but when guys are talking about him like that, you obviously really wish that he could have been here to share it with us."

Memories of Spence may be present this week but McFarland won't focus on his anniversary for motivation ahead of the weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final clash in France.

Rugby Newsletter

Subscribe to 'The Collision' for a weekly update from Rugby Correspondent Ruaidhri O'Connor and the best writing from our expert team Issued every Friday morning

This field is required

"In terms of using it this week, no, that sits in its own place," the Ulster boss maintained.

"It wouldn't be right to use that. It is what it is and it sits in its own place as a part of the history of this club - a very sad part of the history of this club."

Ulster are sweating over the fitness of Marcell Coetzee for the Toulouse game as the talismanic South African is struggling with a couple of knocks.

It is hoped that No8 Coetzee will  recover in time as McFarland looks to pick his players up for what promises to be an exacting test.

"It does pose a big challenge for us, technically how you go about working the gain line against their style of carriers, but also how we go about breaking down their defence," McFarland added.

"They have a lot of big guys and big guys tend to fill space well without actually needing that much width. But they also have a really hard press defence on the edge which shuts down your runners. The off-load game is not something that we've necessarily faced since playing Connacht.

"Their nine (Antoine Dupont) is arguably the best nine in the world and their 10 (Romain Ntamack) is some player as well. And in Cheslin Kolbe they've got a threat that everybody talks about, so there is a lot of things there that we've got to focus on."


Most Watched





Privacy