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Ulster rate Nick Timoney's Ireland chances, tease positional switch

By Liam Heagney
Ulster's Nick Timoney (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster boss Dan McFarland has teased about using Nick Timoney in a very different position from where he is usually seen on the pitch with the Irish province.


The back-rower was excellent in his team’s URC win over Leinster on New Year’s Day, scoring two tries as a No8 in a contest where he was directly opposed by the starting Caelan Doris and sub Jack Conan.

Timoney has now scored six tries in his nine league and cup appearances this season for Ulster and although he was last capped by Ireland in 2022 and missed out on Rugby World Cup selection, McFarland suggested that the 28-year-old is in the thoughts of Test head coach Andy Farrell ahead of the upcoming Guinness Six Nations.

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Sam Warburton on Leinster and Jacques Nienaber

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Sam Warburton on Leinster and Jacques Nienaber

“He has been really good for us,” said McFarland in the wake of Ulster’s 22-21 win at Leinster. “He is so consistent, so powerful. On the ball, excellent. Defensively, really good tackler, very strong guy.

“He has got to be there or thereabouts, hasn’t he? Well, he has been for the last while and I know Andy has been thinking about him too.”


Timoney has played most of his provincial rugby at openside but with Duane Vermeulen no longer at Ulster, five of his eight starts this term have been at No8. McFarland, though, threw a curveball in the post-match mix at the RDS, claiming that his back-rower could be just as impressive at hooker.

Asked what Timoney’s best position is, the head coach replied: “That’s an interesting one. He might argue hooker. Have you seen him play hooker? He played hooker in a pre-season game for us. He has covered us at hooker this year.


“We have gone into a number of games without a 24th man. He is a ferocious scrummager and his throwing is actually pretty good. Probably teasing there but he is, he could be a good hooker and could be a really good hooker. I don’t know.

“He would also say that seven suits him. Gets through a lot of work at seven, makes a lot of tackles. I don’t know, I don’t want to pigeonhole him. I think that’s one of his big strengths, that he is very versatile, and the work in the lineout as well for us.”


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