All in the scrum

Mon, Apr 30, 2012, 01:00

Compiled  by JOHN O'SULLIVAN

Delivering for some special fans: And now they can all look forward to May 19th

THE MAN on the PA at the Aviva Stadium announced the attendance as 45,147 for Saturday’s Heineken Cup semi-final between Ulster and Edinburgh, but on the evidence of the spaces, particularly at premium level, that figure might have related more to ticket sales rather than those that pushed their way through the turnstiles on the day.

What can not be disputed, though, is the volume of noise and the kaleidoscope of colours which the Ulster supporters lent to the occasion. Several times during the match they were on their feet to bellow out the familiar Ravenhill anthem Stand Up For The Ulstermen.

Ulster hooker Rory Best summed up what their backing had meant during the course of the match. “This is massive for Ulster rugby. It has been talked about so much in recent weeks and the support has been immense. There is a group of us – Nigel Brady, Stephen Ferris, Declan Fitzpatrick, Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trimble – that have come through a lot of dark days and stuck around to try to get to an occasion like this. And the support we have all had has been absolutely fantastic.”

PEDRIE WANNENBURG may be leaving Ulster for France at the end of the season but there is little doubt that he has won the hearts and minds of the Ulster supporters, with whom he celebrated (left) on Saturday.

Many of them changed their avatars on the Twitter social media site to pictures of Wannenburg.


“There’s great enthusiasm, and our sports people generally have been leading the way. I think a final at Twickenham would be a nice place to be during the course of the next number of weeks.”

– Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.

Mixed fortunes: Braves' Andress on the right side

THERE WERE mixed fortunes for three Irish players in action during the Aviva Premiership A league semi-final between the Exeter Braves (The Chiefs’ second team) and the Leicester Tigers Development side. The Braves, who had former Ulster and Harlequins prop John Andress at tighthead prop, prevailed at Sandy Park 36-31. Niall Morris started at fullback for Leicester while former Clongowes fullback Stephen Macauley was among the replacements. In the other semi-final Harlequins beat Northampton Wanderers (Saints’ second team) despite a try from former Blackrock pupil Vasily Artemyev