Ulster’s Charles Piutau out to impress against Scarlets

Ulster's Charles Piutau
Ulster's Charles Piutau

Charles Piutau was not only Ulster’s summer marquee signing but the former All Black was the Pro12 League’s biggest arrival.

Capped 16 times by New Zealand, Piutau gave up a world cup winners medal and the chance to play against the British and Irish Lions next summer to swap his native Auckland for Belfast.

As a result he will become a marked man in the Pro12 but he feels if teams double up on him and pay the full back special attention it will benefit Ulster.

“It could be a positive for my team if I pass the ball I’m sure they will be in space.

“ In the past I have come up against teams that will put an extra man on you and will find ways and tactics to keep you out of the game so I just have to think of other ideas to get my team mates involved,” said Piutau.

“I don’t see it as pressure or expectation, as a rugby player I know all I need to do is my role and that is what I try to do to the best of my ability whether I have the ball in my hand or not.

“Or if it is defence it is just enjoying it and having fun but at the same time making sure I’m playing my part for the team.”

Piutau had plenty of time to access Ulster as he deal was signed 16 months before he arrived at Kingspan Stadium and he is enjoy life in Belfast.

“The big thing for me was finding out how the players around me tick and what their attributes are and what their skill sets are and trying to work together with them and try to compliment them out on the field.

“So far it is early stages but there are a few works on that I can still get better.”

After helping Ulster to a bonus point win on the opening night Piutau had to sit out last week’s victory in Treviso.

“It’s always hard, you always want to be out there playing with your team mates it is part of rugby and throughout the season I may pick up a few niggles so I just have to stay positive.

“I got it in training just playing kicks with Andrew Trimble.”

Piutau is hoping to help Ulster win their first three league games in a season since 2012 when they face the Scarlets at home tonight and he will come up against some familiar faces from his Auckland days.

“I have played with Hadleigh Parkes and I have been coached by Wayne Pivac I know those two people quite well.

“I respect Wayne highly, he had a lot of involvement in the early stages of my career and I am very thankful for that.

“I’ve heard the Scarlets have a lot of strike power in their backline and although they haven’t won their last two games the potential.

“ They can play and that makes them even more dangerous that they haven’t won yet and they will be hoping to put on a performance they believe they can do.

“I heard their back three are great counter attackers, so I will have to be prepared for that - but I will also be looking to attack.”