Neil McComb, Ulster Rugby

Neil McComb puts in a top-notch performance for Ulster. Picture from rugbypicture.co.uk

Ulster displayed pace, power and precision in abundance in this pre season friendly as they comfortably dispatched a strong Harlequins side on Friday night.

Try machine Craig Gilroy opened the scoring, dotting down after an 80 yard foot rush. A reasonably hairy Humphreys added a conversion and a penalty to give Ulster a 10 – 5 lead at the break.

A jinking run and chip ahead saw Paul Marshall go in for Ulster’s second, converted by Humphreys, shortly after the restart and Willie Faloon powered over towards the end to make the game safe. Replacement out half Patrick Jackson pushed the conversion wide leaving the final score Ulster 22 Harlequins 0.

The post match buzz was all about an impressive display from this young Ulster side with Paul Marshall getting the plaudits for a fine individual performance with his trademark breaks and constant sniping keeping the Quins defence honest, though, in truth, all the team performed and looked a notch above their English opponents.

I was particularly impressed with the second row paring of Stevenson and McComb who both added a combative edge in second row, going about their work without too much fuss. It was a pleasing revival for McComb in particular, who I though was well off the pace last season, but the big man looks well up for it this year.

Scrums were good, lineouts were good and the backs looked sharp with Cave in particular looking back to his best.  Delightful little cameo from Ian Whitten when he came on, some zip in those passes!

All in all a good night at the office. Roll on Glasgow!

Match pictures by rugbypicture.co.uk. Click here.

ULSTER: (15-9) Adam D’Arcy; Conor Gaston, Darren Cave, Nevin Spence, Craig Gilroy; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall. (1-8) Paddy McAllister, Andi Kyriacou, Jerry Cronin, Lewis Stevenson, Neil McComb, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry (c). (16-26) John Bruns, Callum Black, Adam Macklin, Tim Barker, Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Ian Porter, Patrick Jackson, Ian Whitten, Lule Marshall, Peter Nelson.

HARLEQUINS: (15-9) M Brown; R Chisholm, G Lowe, J Turner-Hall, U Monye; N Evans, K Dickson. (1-8) J Marler, J Gray, J Johnston, O Kohn, G Robson, C Robshaw (c), W Skinner, T Guest. (16-27) C Brooker, M Lambert, T Fairbrother, P Browne, C York, R Bolt, R Clegg, C Walker, L Wallace, S Smith, B Urdapilleta, C Matthews

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