Ulster Rugby confirmed the Under 20’s Inter Provincial fixtures and the first four rounds of the European Rugby Champions Cup earlier this week and to tell you the truth, apart from the European trips, I’m probably looking forward to the Under 20’s outings more this season.

All fixtures are now up on Season Fixtures and Results page.

The young Ulster players will take on an Irish Exiles Select, on Friday 21st August, and London Irish, on Wednesday 26th August, before starting the defence of their Inter Provincial title against Munster on Friday 4th September at Queen’s Arena.

Trips to Connacht and Leinster follow on successive Fridays with the times and locations now confirmed as 17:00 at the Sportsground and 19:00 at Donnybrook.

The Under 20’s have been working closely with new coach Joe Barakat since his arrival in early July with much of the emphasis on the game close to the breakdown as well as a reinforcement of the traditional rugby values of discipline and commitment.

With the youngsters more likely to adapt quicker to the new techniques than the “old dogs” in the senior squad I would suggest that you take in these games if you want to get an early glimpse of the proposed short game that Ulster will be looking to develop.

Ulster v Munster, Friday 4th September, 5.00pm, Queen’s Arena
Connacht v Ulster, Friday 11th September, 5.00pm, Sportsground
Leinster v Ulster, Friday 18th September, 7.00pm Donnybrook

It’s not a bad order of fixtures for the senior side in the European Rugby Champions Cup with Oyonnax away before hosting Saracens and Toulouse at Ravenhill.

Three wins must be the target and if they achieve that they should have control of the Pool going into the New Year. An away win against Saracens will certainly be every fans dearest wish and if that’s achieved qualification should be achieved with a home win against Oyonnax – simples!

Round 1: Oyonnax v Ulster, Saturday 14th November, 14:00, Stade Charles Mathon
Round 2: Ulster v Saracens, Friday 20th November, 19:45, Kingspan Stadium
Round 3: Ulster v Toulouse, Friday 11th December, 19:45, Kingspan Stadium
Round 4: Toulouse v Ulster, Sunday 20th December, 14:00, Stade Ernest Wallon
Round 5: Saracens v Ulster, 15/16/17 January, Allianz Park
Round 6: Ulster v Oyonnax, 22/23/24 January, Kingspan Stadium