Ex-Ulster Rugby star praises former school after producing four starters for United Rugby Championship victory over Lions

After Wallace High, his old secondary school, produced four starters in Friday’s 24-17 United Rugby Championship triumph over the Lions at Kingspan Stadium, former Ulster Rugby player Chris Henry was all praise for the school.

Henry, who attended the Lisburn-based school before going on to play over 180 times for Ulster and represent Ireland, observed as Scott Wilson, Reuben Crothers, Jacob Stockdale, and Nathan Doak all contributed significantly to Dan McFarland’s team’s fourth-place finish in five league games.

Stockdale scored the pivotal second try for Ulster, while Doak, who is expected to play for Ireland in the future, converted all three points.

Wilson, a prop for Queen’s University, started for Ulster for the first time after coming on as a replacement against Munster the week before, while Crothers made just his second appearance of the year after getting hurt early in his debut in the team’s loss to Connacht earlier in the month.

Wallace High has a history of turning out good players; Ian Whitten and the late Nevin Spence were among those who went there before going on to represent Ulster, and Henry was pleased to see Wilson and Crothers make the next step up.

“It’s amazing that four Wallace kids are starting,” he added while commentating on the game for BBC Sport NI. “Neil Hinds and the other Wallace High rugby coaches will be extremely proud of this outstanding accomplishment. It is not a common occurrence.

“For fans like us to see homegrown talent, especially forwards coming through, I think is amazing to see.”

Dan Soper, the assistant coach, has also been greatly impressed with Wilson and Crothers’ ability to modify their style of play for professional rugby in recent weeks.

“I think a lot of players have played. Scott Wilson is the obvious one that comes to mind because he plays for Queens University and is a member of the Ulster academy, but guys like Scott, Lorcan McLoughlin, and Reuben Crothers have been given opportunities,” the man stated. We have a lot of players we know we can count on at that level after five games, which is fantastic for competitiveness.

“It was always the plan; certain players are suited for particular games.”

“I believe it was crucial to incorporate the majority of the team early in the season, especially after a lengthy preseason.

“Scott for example is someone that we probably didn’t expect to get in and to the level he has, so that’s excellent to us.

“It brings more competition into the group.”



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