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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 21 August, 2014

D’Arcy cheering Ulster from afar as he targets Premiership with Bristol

The fullback has taken a step down from competing in Heineken Cup finals to battling away in the English Championship.

Adam D'Arcy scores a try against Edinburgh in 2012.
Adam D'Arcy scores a try against Edinburgh in 2012.
Image: INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

ONE GOOD SEASON gave Adam D’Arcy a two-year deal with Ulster. One injury-ravaged season saw him pack his bags and head home to Australia last summer.

The fullback has taken a step down from competing in Heineken Cup finals to striving for promotion in the English Championship. He told, however, that the Premiership is in sight and he is happy to be lining out regularly again.

D’Arcy arrived at Ulster from Manly, Sydney in the summer of 2010 and made 24 appearances [scoring four tries] in his first season. He made 26 outings the following season, including a showing off the bench against Leinster in the Heineken Cup defeat at Twickenham.

A trio of injuries combined to limit him to four appearances in Mark Anscombe’s first year in charge. Unable to prove his worth to a new coach in the final year of his contract, and with Jared Payne and Peter Nelson aptly filling the breach, D’Arcy was forced to seek rugby employment elsewhere.

D’Arcy takes up the tale. “I went back to Sydney and played in the club competition there, which is pretty competitive. That kept me going and the opportunity came up at Bristol so I joined up with the team after their pre-season. They are a pretty ambitious club and that is shown by the coaching staff here and the people they are bringing in.”

Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson [formerly head coach of England and Scotland] used his Edinburgh connections this week to secure the services of Scotland U20 hooker Stuart McInally and 20-times capped flanker Ross Rennie for the rest of the season. Bristol are currently fourth in the Championship but only three points back from league-leading London Welsh.

“Leeds [in third] are the toughest side we have played this season and they beat us quite comfortably at our home ground,” said D’Arcy. “The Londons, Welsh and Scottish, are hard to beat away from home too. We have a few games up North in January and February. They are crucial months for our top four, and promotion play-off, ambitions.”


D’Arcy in action against Dragons during his final game for Ulster, last April. INPHO/Morgan Treacy

D’Arcy has played 10 times for Bristol this season and scored one try. His confidence is returning now that he has strung together a number of starts and he is enjoying Bristol attacking style of play [they have the most try-scoring bonus points in the league]. The Australian went for a “clean-up” on the troublesome knee that kept him on the sidelines for three months last season and it has given him no problems since. Leaving Ulster, though, was a wrench. He said:

If you had told me that I would play 50 games for Ulster in my first two seasons, I would have said you were having a laugh. I really enjoyed my time there but it was pretty obvious, mid-way through the season, that I would be moving on. I don’t feel any haste towards Ulster as they gave me the opportunity to come up here and I had three good years there.”

D’Arcy watched last night’s Pool 5 decider between Ulster and Leicester from his new home in Bristol and believes his former side are in with a cup-winning chance. The revamped Ravenhill, he believes, will be rocking come quarter final time and it would take a brave man to not stand-up on the Ulstermen’s side.

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