Ulster 'A' out but not finished in Celtic Cup as they bid for fifth win

Robert Baloucoune
Robert Baloucoune

Ulster 'A' will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce as they conclude their Celtic Cup campaign against Connacht at the Sportsground on Sunday afternoon.

Kieran Campbell’s side are already out of the competition but will be confident of victory in Galway against the Eagles who are yet to win a game.

Winger Robert Baloucoune has enjoyed the initial Celtic Cup campaign.

“We just want to finish strong and play well, it’s been a good experience and we’ve come off winning three games now, we’re looking forward to playing Connacht next week and improving on our performances,” stated Baloucoune.

“I haven’t any tries hopefully I’ll get a few against Connacht to finish it off.”

“We’re confidently building, the first two games we lost but we’re bouncing back, last week against the Ospreys was a good performance and we were really strong.”

“We’re really looking forward to playing Connacht with the seniors coming down they really help you improve and improve the performance of the team, it’s really helpful playing along with them.”

“It’s all about building on our performances, we know what we can do and we’re looking forward to showing people what we can do.”

Baloucoune is part of the Irish 7s set up and he feels it has benefited his full game

“It’s a bit of a difference but it’s helped me with my defence, changing from one to another is a bit weird but I enjoy it.”

“There is a lot more running in Sevens but and a lot more fitness I still play wing for both of them and it’s all about space but it’s not too different.”

“There will be a stage where I have to choose as the travelling between 7s and Ulster is quite hard, up and down to Dublin and between Belfast and Enniskillen as well.”

"Sevens sees you passing and tackling and if you can do that you’re sorted and you can bring those skills to XV’s as well.

Baloucoune is joined in a youthful back three by Aaron Sexton and Iwan Hughes, James Hum and Ben Power are in midfield with Jonny Stewart and Johnny McPhillips forming the halfback partnership.

Tighthead prop Tom O’Toole drops down from the seniors, Peter Cooper is on the loose head side with Zac McCall in the middle of the front row.

Clive Ross is in the back row with captain Marcus Rea.

Ulster: Iwan Hughes*; Robert Baloucoune*, James Hume*, Ben Power, Aaron Sexton; Johnny McPhillips, Jonny Stewart; Peter Cooper, Zack McCall*, Tom O’Toole, Matthew Dalton*, Caleb Montgomery, Clive Ross, Marcus Rea (captain)*, Greg Jones;

Replacements:: Claytan Milligan, Corrie Barrett, Campbell Classon, Alex Thompson, Matthew Agnew*, Michael Stronge, Bruce Houston*, Graham Curtis*.

* denotes Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy player