Wednesday 19 June 2019

Ulster hoping Stockdale and Best will be back to face Connacht

Ulster's Rory Best. Photo: Sportsfile
Ulster's Rory Best. Photo: Sportsfile

Jonathan Bradley

In the wake of their 64-7 capitulation to Munster, Ulster will hope to welcome back the cavalry for their hosting of Connacht on Friday night.

Neither captain Rory Best nor his fellow Irish star Jacob Stockdale have had any game time for the province so far this season, but both have resumed full training and are expected to be back to face the westerners.

"Rory and Jacob have both been targeting Connacht," said head coach Dan McFarland. "We'll find out definitively this week but we're hopeful that they'll both be available. We've a couple of senior guys coming back in. We'll be a lot better."

Ulster will have to endure a difficult DVD session as they look to move on from their biggest defeat without sweeping the problems it highlighted under the carpet.

"We'd a lot of young fellas out there," admitted McFarland. "Two new caps and two new starts. There's a lot of guys who are very experienced in the club that weren't (in Munster).

"It's a six-day turnaround and Connacht needs our total focus. But as a coaching staff we don't write that off, as a support staff we don't write that off.

"We do the analysis and see what we need to deal with now and how much we focus on Connacht."

After an abrupt end to their unbeaten start to the campaign, the province were offered a reminder of how much work is still to be done, but McFarland added that nobody in Kingspan Stadium was getting carried away with their previously strong opening to the campaign.

"There were a lot guys with a lot of experience that retired at the end of last season. Coming in there was always a rebuild process. There were things that I wanted to see and that I did see. But (on Saturday) we were tested and it demonstrated that there's a long way to go."

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Dublin hurlers come of age, who will stand up for Offaly and Anthony Cunningham's unique record

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport