Ulster's Nathan Doak proud but calm over potential milestone match in Glasgow
The 21-year-old made his debut in the white shirt on New Year’s Day 2021 in an Irish derby against Munster, evoking memories of being a mascot against the same opposition when his dad Neil occupied the Ulster No9 shirt.
Doak has started four of Ulster’s five games this season, coming off the bench in the other.
“Every game is the same don’t make it out to be something that it is not,” reasoned Doak. “The biggest game I played in was Leinster (last 16 of Heineken Cup) away last year and obviously it didn’t go too well for us.
"Playing that game or playing last week at home to the Lions I still have the same responsibilities and same process going into the week.
“It’s still 15 against 15 playing rugby.
“I have a lot of learning to do I’m still only 21 so I really enjoy that side of it so, hopefully, I can keep learning and winning.”
Doak has mixed thoughts on getting to 50 caps so quickly.
“It is obviously quite a nice milestone to hit and it is something that personal I’d be quite delighted with,” he said. “I love playing for Ulster and to get 50 appearances...
"I hope there is a lot more to come now.”
Doak was part of the Wallace side that reached the Schools’ Cup final in 2020 but had to share the trophy as the St Patrick’s Day decider against Royal School Armagh couldn’t be played due to Covid.
In recent weeks three other members of the Lisburn school’s squad - Scott Wilson, Reuben Crothers and Ben Carson – have made their Ulster debuts.
“It is class, I played with Ben Carson and Reuben for eight years and to be playing with them out here actually feels quite natural because I have played with them for so long,” said Doak. “When I kind of step away from it and you sense they are making their debut and what I felt there, hopefully, they feel it is quite nice having someone around them that makes them feel comfortable.
“I know playing with them for the first time in an Ulster jersey made me feel comfortable and a lot of confidence in myself.
"And it’s quite nice with guys you grew up with.”
Glasgow have won 21 of their last 22 games at home while Ulster have only ever won twice at Scotstoun.
“Look at the way Glasgow are playing at the minute it is really exciting stuff, the momentum we have built here we are hoping we can take that on the road,” said Doak. “Over the last few years we have had some big away wins on the road so we want to add this one.
“They are second in the league so if we can get a win over there this weekend that puts us in a nice position for Edinburgh at home.
“They have obviously done really well at home and it is really exciting for us to go over there.
"It sets a good challenge for the team that we want to be and go over there and make it 21 out of 23.
“We are going to prep really well this week and looking forward to it.”