Robbie Diack has become a valuable member of the Ulster squad this season due to his versatility – and that’s likely to be shown again tomorrow night at Ravenhill against The Ospreys in the PRO12 when he will probably start at No 8.
The Irish qualified South African loose forward has played in all back five positions of the pack and has even taken on calling the line outs and he is enjoying his rugby.
“I think the last couple of season’s I have been at No8 and this season I have had the opportunity to play at four, five, six, seven and eight which has been fantastic for me and I have enjoyed the opportunity to grow my confidence in those positions,” said Diack.
“I haven’t played a lot at lock or seven I’ve had the opportunity to play there a few times there this season and it has been really good for me. I’ve enjoyed the games and the opportunities and I’ve enjoyed the fact that I have been learning a new position, it adds a new dimension to my game knowing I can cover the back five.
“I have played a lot of rugby at No6 and No8 and I’d really like to play any of those two positions. In this environment with this team and this squad anywhere you can get a game is a privilege but I’m most comfortable at six or eight.”
Diack put the hard work in during the pre season but was cut down early with injury, since he return he has stayed injury free.
“I had that injury at the start of the season, it was frustrating and came at a bad time after a good pre season and a good start to the season. I have been really fortunate with injury so far and I’m just hoping I can stay that way because there are some massive games coming up.
“This block of four games is going to be crucial for us and there are some big games that I want to be involved in.”
Due to injury and representative call ups Ulster could be missing up to 18 players for the Ospreys game but Diack feels it’s a chance for others to step up to the plate.
“With regards to missing some players I think it’s a great opportunity for more players to step up who maybe haven’t had much chance this season. We always emphasize the fact we have a strong squad and we have a lot of depth, this will be an opportunity for some young players at Ravenhill and some guys on the fringes, I’m sure they will bring the enthusiasm, energy and skill required.”
Ulster have already beaten the Ospreys in Wales this season but Diack knows it will be a tough night at the office.
“It’s going to be a massive game, I watched them play against Harlequins the other week and they still have a great side even though they have lost a couple to Wales, they have a strong pack and some very exciting back line players.
“To play the reigning champions at Ravenhill on Friday it’s not going to get much bigger than that.”
Ulster missed out on a home quarter final in the Heineken Cup on tries scored but with a 12 point cushion over third placed Leinster Diack feels it’s paramount Ulster get a home semi final in the league.
“It is still quite a bit away but we have done the hard work but we have mentioned there is no point in doing the hard work if we are not going to back it up in the next four games.
“These games are crucial for us going forward, we have done the work but there is plenty more to be done.”