Sunday 22 September 2019

Ulster loan star Nagle settling into life at his latest provincial home

Ian Nagle: Mixed emotions. Photo: Sportsfile
Ian Nagle: Mixed emotions. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Ian Nagle may enjoy facing Connacht more than the other interprovincial derbies, given it's the only time he's not playing against a former team.

The former Munster second-row took time out of the game and joined Leinster on his return and this season he's joined the small band of professional players to have represented three of the four provinces by moving to Ulster on loan.

Iain Henderson's injury issues have opened the door to some first-team action and he was delighted to play his role in the win over his home province of Munster last Friday night.

Having also played for Newcastle Falcons and London Irish along the way, the Corkman is well used to settling into new surrounds and he's excited by what Ulster can achieve this season.

"I've such fond memories of my time in Munster that, definitely it might sound strange, but I want to play well to show respect to an extent," he said of the 19-12 win.

"It's great to get a victory against Munster because Ulster's my club now and I want to contribute everything I can to the club that I'm with.

"At the same time, I'll always be a Munster fan at heart. So it's mixed emotions.

"It has been a very easy transition. I'm really taken aback by how good the facilities are, the attention to detail from the coaches, how young the squad is - I probably wasn't aware of that before I came up.

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"There's a really good sense of excitement in the group and it's good to be part of that."

The Munster match was Nagle's third appearance for the team, having suffered a badly timed rib injury shortly after arriving.

Now he feels like he is contributing to a team that is gathering momentum as they shift their thinking towards Friday's clash with the western province.

"I suppose a lot of teams are playing fairly similarly these days," he said of adapting to Dan McFarland's set-up.

"In terms of style of play, it's not a huge jump from what we were doing at Leinster, just different terminology.

"The lineout calls is the most difficult part of it and just getting used to players and different combinations.

"That (Connacht) will be a huge one now. I think these interpros are a really important block. Like Dan said during the week, you look after your own house first and facing the other provinces is important for lads competing for national honours.

"I hope (it will be physical). I think that's what we want. From the last few weeks here, we're relishing that physicality and testing ourselves. The forwards have really started coming together."

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