HE HAS HIS critics, but Andrew Trimble has been an effective, ever-present influence for Ulster in their Heineken Cup challenges since 2005.
The Ireland international has now set a quite remarkable record in surpassing David Humphreys as the most capped Ulster player in the European competition. Last night’s win over Montpellier was the 58th time Trimble has lined out for the province in the Heineken Cup, taking him one ahead of the former out-half.
Incredibly, those 58 outings have come consecutively and all of them have been starts; Trimble hasn’t been omitted from the first XV in a single Heineken Cup game for Ulster since making his debut in the competition on the 21st of October, 2005, when he scored two tries against Treviso. Whatever your thoughts on the player, that is worthy of hearty applause.
The 29-year-old is rightly pleased with his achievement, particularly as he has overtaken “the boss”, now Ulster’s Director of Rugby.
It’s one I’m really proud of and I’m just really delighted. I was really pleased. David Humphreys is a person I’ve looked up to as a youngster and as a professional. So to pass his record makes it a little more special.”
Trimble will be hopeful that Heineken Cup cap 59 brings with it a victory next weekend in Welford Road, as a victory for the province against Leicester would give them a home quarter-final. From there, the Coleraine man would be eyeing the 62-cap mark.
However, Trimble underlines the fact that next weekend is a cup final, if Leicester win in Treviso this afternoon. The winger says Ulster always foresaw this situation.
“Yeah, it makes things very simple I think. Mark said all along, ‘You get six wins and you go through.’ That makes things very simple. It’s a tough place to go, Welford Road, but we’ll just roll up our sleeves and do a bit of homework. We’ll see how we go.”
Ulster will know they can depend on their committed, hard-working wide man to deliver against Leicester, a team whose physical nature Trimble relishes playing against. John Afoa’s try last night suggested the Kiwi prop might just have a short-term future on the wing, but Trimble isn’t too worried about keeping his place.
“I think he looked a bit casual going over; he thought he was a bit closer than he was. But he got over, so happy days.”
Trimble is hoping to create more of those next weekend in Leicester.
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