Bath Rugby kick-off their Heineken Champions Cup campaign on Saturday against last season’s quarter-finalists Ulster Rugby. Here is a closer look at our Pro14 opponents.
Ground – Kingspan Stadium (18,000)
Head Coach – Dan McFarland
Pro14 finish 2018/19 – Play-off semi-finals
Heineken Champions Cup 2018/19 – Quarter-finals
Munster (A) - 22-16 (L)
Zebre (H) - 22-7 (W)
Cardiff Blues (H) - 23-14 (W)
ONES TO WATCH
John Cooney made his senior debut for Leinster in 2011 away to Ospreys before joining Connacht on a short-term loan deal. He made the move permanent ahead of the 2015/16 season before making the switch up to Belfast in 2017, signing a two-year contract at Kingspan Stadium.
Cooney made an immediate impression at Ulster, winning Ulster Player of the Year, the Supporters Club Player of the Year and the Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year in his debut season.
He was awarded with a contract extension which will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least 2022, and his continued excellent form in the 2018/19 season led to him being named in the Pro14 Dream Team.
Henderson has spent his entire career to date with Ulster coming through the development pathway at the club. The experienced forward will make his return to action after featuring for Ireland in the recent Rugby World Cup.
The second rower has made over a century of appearances for the Irish province and took over as the club’s captain from the influential Rory Best, who will appear for the Barbarians this weekend. A physical presence at the set-piece and with ball in hand, Henderson will be looking to make his mark on Europe once again this season.
Coetzee joined Ulster on an initial three-year deal at the start of the 2016/17 season. An imposing figure with ball in hand, the back rower made his Super Rugby debut for Natal Sharks in 2011.
Capped 30 times by South Africa, the 28 year-old was cruelly ruled out of Rugby World Cup contention with an ankle injury sustained on duty with the Springboks in the build-up to Japan.
Coetzee’s form last season earned him a new contract extension keeping him at the club until 2022.
December 18th 2010 – Bath Rugby 22-26 Ulster Rugby
Bath Rugby (14) 22
Tries: Carraro, Banahan Pens: Barkley 4
Ulster Rugby (13) 26
Tries: D'Arcy, Spence Cons: Humphreys 2 Pens: Humphreys 4
Bath Rugby: Cuthbert, Carraro, Barkley, Hape, Banahan, James, Claassens, Flatman, Mears, Wilson, Hooper, Grewcock, Beattie, Moody, Taylor.
Replacements: Abendanon for Cuthbert (57), Barnes for Flatman (51), Fernandez Lobbe for Grewcock (57), Skirving for Beattie (57). Not Used: Dixon, Bell, McMillan, Vesty.
Ulster Rugby: D'Arcy, Trimble, Spence, Wallace, Danielli, Humphreys, Pienaar, Court, Brady, Botha, Muller, Tuohy, Wannenburg, Faloon, Diack.
Replacements: McAllister for Court (70), Barker for Tuohy (57), Henry for Diack (57). Not Used: Kyriacou, Young, P. Marshall, I. Whitten, Smith.
WORD FROM THE ULSTER CAMP
McFarland said: "Bath are a team packed full of quality players though and I know from my own time playing in England how difficult it can be there. Any win away from home in the Champions Cup has to be hard earned."
Limited tickets are available for the Heineken Champions Cup by clicking here or calling the Ticket Office on 01225 536 900. A range of hospitality packages are also on sale by calling the the team on 01225 325 200 (option 1).