The teams have been announced for this afternoon’s British and Irish Cup Quarter Final between Bedford Blues and Ulster A. Kick off 3:00 pm.
The management team of Kieran Campbell and Willie Anderson have largely stuck with their tried and tested troops from the pool matches and have included some promising youngsters. Angus Curtis and James Hume join from Ireland U20’s recent Six Nations campaign and Alexander Clarke, son of former coach Allen Clarke, will make his competitive début for the A team should he start from the bench.
Curtis, along with wing forward Matthew Agnew were amongst the star performers for the Ireland U20’s and they are joined in the squad by fellow Ireland U20 players Angus Kernoghan and Matthew Dalton in the starting line up and Tom O’Toole, Jonny Stewart and the aforementioned James Hume on the bench. Other recent Ireland U20 graduates include Adam McBurney and Greg jones from the highly successful 2016 vintage and Marcus Rea and Jack Regan from the 2017 campaign.
So far in the campaign Ulster have scored 21 tries, with 13 (including one penalty try) coming from the forwards and 8 from the backs. Hooker Adam McBurney leads the way with 5 tries and the Ballymena youngster makes a welcome return to the squad after missing the last couple of rounds through injury. However, up front, the star players have been “veterans” Pete Browne and Clive Ross who have completely bought into the team and have led thier young teammates by example.
Their experience will be called upon in what should be a difficult game against the Blues. The English Premiership side sit third in their league behind the impressive Ealing Trailfinders and, the runaway leaders, “moneybags” Bristol. Outside of the Trailfinders, Bedford have largely held their own against the other English Premiership sides featuring in the B&I Quarterfinals and they come into this game on the back of three successive wins in the league while Ulster A have been largely twiddling their thumbs competitively since the end of January!
That additional experience, game time and home advantage should give Bedford a decisive edge in this one. However, I like what Campbell and Anderson have been doing this season and they have worked hard to create a team ethos within this group. Given the performances of the Ulster senior side this set of players genuinely have something to play for and that might just be enough to push them over the finishing line and into a semi – final, more than likely away to Ealing Trailfinders.
|Bedford Blues||Ulster A|
|Rich Lane||15||Jack Owens|
|Howard Packman||14||Angus Kernohan|
|Rory Hutchinson||13||Callum Patterson|
|Michael Le Bourgeois ©||12||Angus Curtis|
|Dean Adamson||11||Aaron Cairns|
|Will Hooley||10||Peter Nelson|
|Jordan Burns||9||David Shanahan|
|Sean McCarthy||1||Tommy O’Hagan|
|Jacob Fields||2||Adam McBurney|
|Dave Spelman||3||Ross Kane ©|
|Jordan Onojaife||4||Matthew Dalton|
|Will Carrick-Smith||5||Pete Browne|
|Alex Rae||6||Marcus Rea|
|Huw Worthington||7||Clive Ross|
|Jarad Williams||8||Greg Jones|
|George Edgson||16||Alexander Clarke|
|Camilo Parilli-Ocampo||17||Eric O’Sullivan|
|Alex Penny||18||Tom O’Toole|
|Paul Tupai||19||Jack Regan|
|Justin Blanchet||20||Matthew Agnew|
|Lee Dickson||21||Jonny Stewart|
|Harry Sheppard||22||James Hume|