2000–01 Ulster Rugby season

The 2000–01 season was Ulster Rugby's sixth since the advent of professionalism, and their third under coach Harry Williams. They competed in the Heineken Cup and the IRFU Interprovincial Championship. Williams announced in August 2000 that he would leave at the end of the season.[1]

2000–01 Ulster Rugby season
Ground(s)Ravenhill Stadium (Capacity: 12,500)
Coach(es)Harry Williams
Captain(s)David Humphreys
Most appearancesJustin Fitzpatrick, Gary Longwell, Andy Ward, Tony McWhirter, Brad Free, David Humphreys, Ryan Constable, James Topping (12 each)
Top scorerDavid Humphreys (148)
Most triesJames Topping (6)
League(s)Heineken Cup (4th in pool)
IRFU Interprovincial Championship (2nd)

The IRFU rejected a proposal for a Celtic League involving three of the Irish provinces, two Scottish super-districts and seven Welsh clubs, each playing 22 matches. The IRFU argued that the structure proposed would add too many games and leave provincial players unable to play for their clubs, and made a counter-proposal of an eleven-game season, which the Welsh and Scottish unions rejected.[2] Discussions continued,[3] and a format was finally agreed for the following season.[4]

They were bottom of their pool in the Heineken Cup, failing to qualify for the knockout stage. They finished second in the Interprovincial Championship, qualifying for next season's Heineken Cup. The average crowd at Interprovincial matches was 7,000, comparing favourably to 3,000 in the English first division.[5] Tyrone Howe was Ulster's Player of the Year, and was selected for the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.

Player transfersEdit

SquadEdit

Ulster Rugby squad

Props

Hookers

Locks

Back row

Scrum-halves

Fly-halves

Centres

Wings

Fullbacks

  •   Grant Henderson
(c) denotes the team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped players.
* denotes players qualified to play for Ireland on residency or dual nationality.

2000–01 Heineken CupEdit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff Pts
  Cardiff 6 4 0 2 18 13 5 182 146 36 8
  Saracens 6 4 0 2 14 13 1 174 140 34 8
  Toulouse 6 2 1 3 19 15 4 171 182 −11 5
  Ulster 6 1 1 4 11 21 −10 146 205 −59 3
6 October 2000
19:15
Ulster  32 – 23  Cardiff
Try: Constable, Howe
Con: Humphreys (2)
Pen: Humphreys (5)
Drop: Humphreys
Report[12]Try: Jenkins, Morgan
Con: Jenkins (2)
Pen: Jenkins (3)
Ravenhill
Attendance: 12,000
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Paddy Johns, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Derek Topping (for Nelson, 20), Mark Blair (for Johns, 61), Clem Boyd (for Best, 65).


15 October 2000
15:00
Saracens  55 – 25  Ulster
Try: Hill (2), McRae, Luger (3)
Con: Castaignede (5)
Pen: Castaignede (5)
Report[13][14]Try: Stewart
Con: Humphreys
Pen: Humphreys (6)
Vicarage Road
Attendance: 11,258
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Paddy Johns, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Derek Topping, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Shane Stewart, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Mark Blair (for Johns, 40). Chris McCarey (for D. Topping, 68), Sheldon Coulter (for Stewart, 79).


22 October 2000
15:00
Toulouse  35 – 35  Ulster
Try: Pelous, Labit, Fillol, Desbrosse
Con: Marfaing (3)
Pen: Marfaing (3)
Report[15]Try: Free, Howe. J. Bell, J. Topping
Con: Humphreys (3)
Pen: Humphreys (3)
Stadium Municipal
Attendance: 14,000
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Gary Longwell, 5. Mark Blair, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Ryan Constable, 13. Jonathan Bell 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Shane Stewart (for Constable, 40), Clem Boyd (for Best, 40), Paul Shields (for Weir, 72).


27 October 2000
19:30
Ulster  25 – 29  Toulouse
Try: Ward
Con: Humphreys
Pen: Humphreys (6)
Report[16]Try: Desbrosse, Servat
Con: Delaigue, Marfaing
Pen: Delaigue (5)
Ravenhill
Attendance: 12,000
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Clem Boyd, 4. Mark Blair, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Derek Topping (for Russell, 16).


12 January 2001
19:05
Cardiff  42 – 16  Ulster
Try: Robinson (2), Jenkins, Quinnell
Con: Jenkins (2)
Pen: Jenkins (5)
Drop: Jenkins
Report[17]Try: J. Topping (2)
Pen: Humphreys (2)
Cardiff Arms Park
Attendance: 10,500
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Allen Clarke, 3. Clem Boyd, 4. Mark Blair, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Stan McDowell.


19 January 2001
19:30
Ulster  13 – 21  Saracens
Try: Humphreys
Con: Humphreys
Pen: Humphreys (2)
Report[18]Try: Shanklin, McRae, Hill
Con: McRae (3)
Ravenhill
Attendance: 13,500
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Allen Clarke, 3. Simon Best, 4. Gary Longwell, 5. Paddy Johns, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Ryan Constable, 13. Jonathan Bell, 14. James Topping, 15. Stan McDowell. Replacements: Niall Malone (for J. Bell, 47), Richard Weir (for Clarke, 48), Stephen Bell (for Free, 48), Mark Blair (for Longwell, 58), Clem Boyd (for Best, 60), Sheldon Coulter (for McDowell, 80).

2000-01 IRFU Interprovincial ChampionshipEdit

Team P W D L F A BP Pts Status
6 5 1 0 151 99 1 23 Champions; qualified for next season's Heineken Cup
6 3 0 3 144 119 3 15 Qualified for next season's Heineken Cup
6 2 1 3 109 111 2 12 Qualified for next season's Heineken Cup
6 1 0 5 100 175 1 5

Top three teams qualify for next season's Heineken Cup.

1 September 2000
Ulster  16-21  Munster
Try: Ward
Con: Humphreys
Pen: Humphreys (3)
Report[19]Pen: O'Gara (5)
Drop: O'Gara (2)
Ravenhill
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Gary Longwell, 5. Paddy Johns, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson.


9 September 2000
Connacht  15-39  Ulster
Try: Lee, Elwood
Con: Elwood
Pen: Elwood
Report[20]Try: Nelson, Johns, J. Bell, J. Topping, Stewart
Con: Humphreys (4)
Pen: Humphreys (3)
Galway Sportsgrounds
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Paddy Johns, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Mark Blair (for Longwell, 60), Shane Stewart (for Henderson, 63), Stephen Bell (for Free, 71), Derek Topping (for Ward, 74)


15 September 2000
Leinster  19-6  Ulster
Try: Hickie
Con: McHugh
Pen: McHugh (2), Dempsey
Report[21]Pen: Humphreys (2)
Donnybrook
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Paddy Johns, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Derek Topping (for McWhirter, 40), Shane Stewart (for Henderson, 67), Stephen Bell (for Free, 75).
22 September 2000
Ulster  26-13  Leinster
Try: J. Bell, Ward
Con: Humphreys (2)
Pen: Humphreys (4)
Report[22]Try: McHugh
Con: McHugh
Drop: O'Driscoll
Ravenhill
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Mark Blair, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Tyrone Howe, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Derek Topping (for Nelson, 59), Stephen Bell (for Free, 63), Shane Stewart (for J. Topping, 77).


29 September 2000
Munster  29-21  Ulster
Try: Crotty, Horgan
Con: O'Gara (2)
Pen: O'Gara (5)
Report[23]Try: Free, J. Topping
Con: Humphreys
Pen: Humphreys (3)
Thomond Park
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Simon Best, 4. Paddy Johns, 5. Gary Longwell, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Shane Stewart, 12. Jonathan Bell, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Derek Topping (for McWhirter, 64), Mark Blair (for Johns, 71), Clem Boyd (for Best, 71), Stephen Bell (for Free, 76).


3 November 2000
Ulster  36-22  Connacht
Try: J. Topping, Blair (2), Humphreys, Ward
Con: Humphreys (4)
Pen: Humphreys
Report[24]Try: O'Connor, Munn, Schoemann
Con: Munn (2)
Pen: Munn
Ravenhill
Ulster lineup
  • 1. Justin Fitzpatrick, 2. Richard Weir, 3. Clem Boyd, 4. Gary Longwell, 5. Mark Blair, 6. Russell Nelson, 7. Andy Ward, 8. Tony McWhirter, 9. Brad Free, 10. David Humphreys (c), 11. Sheldon Coulter, 12. Shane Stewart, 13. Ryan Constable, 14. James Topping, 15. Grant Henderson. Replacements: Simon Best (for Boyd, 32), Paddy Johns (for Longwell, 40), Paul Shields (for Weir, 50), Derek Topping (for McWhirter, 62), Neil Doak (for Free, 67).

Ulster Rugby AwardsEdit

The Ulster Rugby Awards ceremony was held on 24 May 2001. Winners were:[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Williams to quit as Ulster coach", BBC Sport, 31 August 2000
  2. ^ Tony Ward, "IRFU says no to plans for new Celtic League", Irish Independent, 14 March 2000
  3. ^ Kieran Rooney, "Celtic League looming large in rugby horizon", Irish Independent, 18 August 2000
  4. ^ "Celtic League gets green light to kick off in August", Evening Herald, 31 May 2001
  5. ^ Barry Coughlan, "Doubts remain about benefits of Celtic League", Irish Examiner, 4 October 2000
  6. ^ "Prop Boyd forced to retire", BBC Sport, 4 November 2003
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Jonathan McConnell, "Ulster recruit South Africans", ESPN Scrum, 23 June 2000
  8. ^ Gavin Mairs, "Retiring Ulster ace gets a big vote of thanks", Belfast Telegraph, 4 July 2008
  9. ^ "The joy of being free of injury", Irish Times, 26 October 2000
  10. ^ "Brad Free to play for Ireland", Irish Independent, 29 October 1997
  11. ^ Gavin Mortimer, "The ten biggest flops in the Top 14", Rugby World, 18 December 2013
  12. ^ Jim Stokes, "Rugby: Super Ulster right back in business", Belfast Telegraph, 5 July 2008
  13. ^ Ian Malin, "Gallic genius triggers Luger", The Guardian, 16 October 2000
  14. ^ "Saracens too strong for Ulster", BBC Sport, 15 October 2000
  15. ^ "Ulster earn remarkable draw", BBC Sport, 22 October 2000
  16. ^ EPCR Stats
  17. ^ "RUGBY UNION: POOR ULSTER KEPT AT AN ARMS LENGTH; Cardiff 42 Ulster 16: Champions of 1999 are European flops in Cardiff.." The Free Library. 2001 MGN LTD 26 Feb. 2022
  18. ^ Jim Stokes, "Plenty of heart but it's a Sarri send-off", Belfast Telegraph, 20 January 2001
  19. ^ Jim Stokes, "O'Gara steals the show", Belfast Telegraph, 2 September 2000
  20. ^ Kieran Rooney, "Ulster leave Connacht stranded", Sunday Independent, 10 September 2000
  21. ^ "Ace predator Hickie strikes for Leinster", Irish Independent, 16 September 2000
  22. ^ Tony Ward, "Humphreys leads Ulster to victory", Irish Independent, 23 September 2000
  23. ^ Barry Coughlan, "Munster dig deep for great victory", Irish Examiner, 30 September 2000
  24. ^ Jim Stokes, "Classy Ulster sink brave Connacht", Irish Independent, 4 November 2000
  25. ^ "Honours for Howe and Longwell", BBC Sport, 25 May 2001