17 Jun 13
Harlequins can confirm that the screening of the British and Irish Lions' first Test against Australia this weekend at the Twickenham Stoop has sold out.
Quins may have played them back at the Stoop and beaten them with a convincing scoreline of 42-21, but as former Ulster and current Quins player, Neil McMillan explains, Ulster are definitely a side you should never underestimate:
"Their forwards are big, physical and very strong ball carriers, who are extremely effective at the breakdown. Their backs contain a number of very dangerous, quick runners, such as wingers Andrew Trimble and Timoci Nagusa, along with centre Paddy Wallace.
"Off the pitch, they have a very vocal and passionate crowd who make it very hard for any side to go and win at their home ground.
"Although the first half of their season has been poor, as far as results are concerned, you can never underestimate them. They put in an impressive performance against Munster two weeks ago and came away with a convincing win. They definitely seem to have found their form.
"Ulster are indeed a strong side, but Quins have proved this season that they can go away and play against the biggest names in European rugby, and in front of some of the most passionate of crowds. Hopefully we can put in a another great Heineken Cup performance on".
Neil's players to watch...
Height: 5ft 10in
Weight: 13st 7lb
Date of Birth: 09.04.1980
Scrum-half Isaac Boss joined Ulster Rugby at the beginning of the 2005-06 season from his native New Zealand, where he played for both Waikato (NPC) and the Wellington Hurricanes (Super 12). Part of the U19 New Zealand Rugby World Cup team in 1999, Isaac's Irish ancestry means that he is qualified to play rugby for Ireland through his maternal grandmother, who was from Glenarm Co. Antrim. He made his full international debut for Ireland on their summer tour to New Zealand in June 2006.
Boss was selected for Ireland in the Autumn Internationals against South Africa and Australia and, based on his good performances, was included in Six Nations squad for the 2006/07 tournament. During one of his most memorable performances of 2006/07, Isaac scored an amazing try against England in that famous Croke Park victory. At the end of the 2007/08 season Isaac had won 12 caps for Ireland.
Neil says: "Isaac is a very dangerous player and is a really exciting player to watch. He is a dangerous runner, and poses a great threat around the breakdown. He has played for his country at the top level, which obviously makes him a very effective and experienced scum-half."
Height: 5ft 11in
Weight: 12st 10lb
Date of Birth: 27.08.1979
Paddy Wallace made his Ulster debut against Swansea in August 2001 and whilst primarily an fly-half, Paddy is a versatile back who can also play full-back or centre. Educated at Campbell College Belfast, Paddy played in three Ulster Schools Cup competitions, captaining the 1998 team, and reaching the quarter-final stage in all three competitions.
Part of Ireland's U19 Rugby World Cup winning side in 1999, Paddy has also represented Ireland at U21 and A level, and was part of Ireland A's Churchill Cup side in June 2006. Paddy was called for his first senior Irish start against the Pacific Islands in November 2006, and was deservedly named Man of the Match after a fantastic performance. He travelled to France for the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has won 10 caps for his country to date.
Neil says: "Paddy is a really versatile player, and very potent because of that. He has a reputation as a game-breaker, and you can see why. He is a very talented footballer, and has the skills required to play at both fly-half and centre; a great step, a great kick, and the ability to be a very dangerous runner."
Height: 6ft 4in
Date of Birth: 02.08.1985
Stephen Ferris, plays his club rugby with Dungannon, and is a graduate from the Ulster Academy, who joined Ulster Rugby at the start of the 2005-06 season on a development contract. After making his Ulster debut against the Borders in October 2005, Stephen became a regular in the Ulster 22 and moved to a full contract ahead of the 2006-07 season.
Stephen was a member of the Ireland U21 squad that participated in the World Cup in Argentina in 2005 and, despite being tipped for an Ireland A spot for the 2006 Churchill Cup competition, Stephen, who was still eligible for the 2005 Ireland U21 RWC side participating in the tournament in France, remained at home in the summer of 2006 to have a small operation on his ankle.
Stephen continued to impress throughout the 2006/07 season winning, 20 Ulster caps and catching the eye of Eddie O'Sullivan, who included him in Autumn International squad in 2006. Stephen won his first Irish international start against the Pacific Islands. He was later selected for Ireland for the Argentina tour in June 2007, and at the start of the 2008/09 season, he had won 5 caps for Ireland. Stephen is a member of the PWC's high performance select group, and his current contract will see him remain at Ravenhill until 2011.
Neil says: "Stephen is a great young player, and definitely one to watch. He is a very big, dominant player, and a strong and physical runner. He has great ball carrying skills, and is a big hitter, so if he tackles you, you really know about it!"
Ulster Rugby V Harlequins
Saturday 17th January, kick off 1.35pm
Live on Sky Sports