Andy Warwick ticking all the right boxes and more with Ulster

Ulster's Andy Warwick in action against Munster
Ulster's Andy Warwick in action against Munster

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe believes prop Andy Warwick has a big future in the game.

Due to injury the Ballymena front rower was pressed into action at tight head prop against British Lion Cian Healy in the Leinster game and held his own.

He followed that up with another strong performance in the victory over Munster at Thomond Park.

And coach Mark Anscombe, event with Ricky Lutton returning for this weekend’s semi-final against Leinster in Dublin may turn to the youngster again.

Anscombe said: “I can’t say enough about that man (Warwick).

“He is a loose head who has been impressive at training during the later course of the year.

“It is his dogged attitude, the way he goes about doing things, he was scrummaging a lot early on against John Afoa and John has been really impressed with him.

“He just goes about his work and there is no complication with Andrew. Then when the issue came up and the other three tight heads were gone last week what do we do?

“It’s just his determination and dogged attitude which was why we considered him as a tighthead, two weeks in a row how to hell has he done that?

“You would think he is a natural tighthead who has played all his life there,” enthused Anscombe.

The head coach added: “To have someone in the academy that is a young fellow that we can look forward to the rest of this year and next year knowing that he can now play comfortably on both sides of the scrum is a gem.

“I think we have just unearthed a little diamond in our bag.”

Anscombe also had wholesome praise for Callum Black after his performance at Thomond Park in the 19-17 win over Munster last Saturday.

“I would go as far to say Callum Black is the second best scrummaging loose head in Ireland, he has been superb for us all year.

“He came back last week after being out of action for four or five weeks. He was one man down in support at the scrum and he held our scrum up against Leinster and he did the same against Munster to the extent that we pushed them back a couple of times.

“Callum is just one of those guys that just goes about his work and I think he has been outstanding.”

Anscombe was philosophical about the players leaving Ravenhill in the summer.

“A couple might be leaving because it is their decision, but the one that I would be most regretful of all about losing is Sean Doyle.

“I think he has the potential to be an outstanding loose forward but we were always going to have our work cut out to keep him especially when a Super XV team came knocking.”

“You have got to understand with Sean learning and growing here and working into the structures and the way rugby is played here.

“He has grown up all his life under Super XV rugby and it is like a young man who has played here all his life playing for Ulster, Leinster or Munster and growing up you want to do that, he has always wanted to play Super XV because that is home for him and he will be hard to replace.”