Centre Stuart McCloskey enjoyed his Ulster debut as he was pressed into action earlier than expected in the bonus point win over the Dragons at Ravenhill, WRITES CIARAN DONAGHY.
An injury to Irish centre Luke Marshall after 20 minutes gave McCloskey his opportunity.
“I didn’t see myself getting 60 minutes before the game started,” said McCloskey.
“I really enjoyed it, it was a lot faster than anything I’d played before but I’ve been training with the seniors for most of the year so it wasn’t too bad.
“I’ve maybe played 10 games for the Ravens so that helped me to make that step up, I think we had a good night and the Dragons had a bad one, we got a few tries and kept the momentum going.”
“The guys trained hard and there was good focus this week, it wasn’t our intention to get the bonus point but once we scored a couple of tries we could.
Due to injury Ulster finished the game with two flankers on the wings and Jared Payne at out half.
“It was a surprise and I thought I was going to have to play at 10 at one stage and I wouldn’t have been too fond of that, they did the job well for two backrowers going onto the wing.”
McCloskey was delighted to finally earn his first cap.
“I have had a few close calls this year and I was just happy to get out there and it was more of a relief and it’s the first one under the belt.”
“I was out for the Ospreys game when I compressed my knee joint playing for Dungannon against Trinity but it only kept me out for a week.”
“I was just trying to put in a good performance and try and get my name in the hat for select but it depends on Ireland selection but I think I showed what I could do.”
“I thought I was in for a try a couple of times, if Hendy (Iain Henderson) had of given it at the end and I sort of tripped going for a Cavey (Darren Cave) chip there were a couple I thought I could have got but there will be other nights hopefully.”