Marcus Rea wants more Ulster action after European debut
Regarding the first departures in Europe, there are fewer places more imposing than the Marcel-Michelin stadium.
ith the vociferous ultras at home, nicknamed the “Vulcans”, roaring Clermont in the basin stadium, there are great players in the game who will have entered the Auvergne arena on several occasions and will never come out victorious.
For Marcus Rea, he only needed one attempt.
“The stadium is probably one of the best places I will go in terms of atmosphere, or that’s what the guys told me,” he recalls of Saturday’s 29-23 victory at the Marcel-Michelin, his first European appearance for Ulster.
“He’s probably the one I’ll remember until the day I die, knocking down and knocking down a French giant in one of the biggest arenas in European rugby.
“I can’t keep the jersey, I have to put it back on for this week! But I think it’s the memories. We have cards in the hallway with team memorabilia and when we come to do them next year this one will definitely be on it for me.
“I tried to experience the crowd as much as possible and understand everything during the moments of the game. The memories there will be as good a memory as anything.
For Rea, playing for Ulster is more than just a job – it’s a deeply rooted passion that began on the terraces of Ravenhill.
Papa Thomas was the first to fall in love with the sport after making the trip to Dublin for the 1999 European Cup victory over Colomiers, and Marcus and his brother Matty – also now a flanker for Ulster – have quickly integrated into the ranks of season tickets. after.
Rain, hail or shine, they have been there for the ups and downs of the province over the years, commuting from their home in Ballymena to Cregagh Road every week.
“Every Friday,” he says proudly. “I remember the game against Leicester (33-0 win in January 2004) and there were some huge games. I think we got my dad (a subscription) and I was like I would love to go too and get one later.
“These are memories that would always be dear to me when I think of the old Ravenhill, and it’s quite special when you can run there yourself, you have all these memories of sitting in the grandstand watching . “
It won’t be the same old Ravenhill he played, but for the first time, Rea is hoping he will be at the new Ravenhill, now Kingspan Stadium, for a European game that doesn’t watch from the terraces, but comes very close. view of the action.
The Northampton Saints are visitors to Belfast tomorrow night for the Heineken Champions Cup second round group stage and it is likely that Rea will be called up again in the blind flanker jersey as he was in Clermont there has a week.
Making his European bow at home has been a long time coming for the 24-year-old who burst onto the scene with a man of the match performance against Leinster in April 2019, but saw his involvement beyond that curtailed. by injuries at the wrong time then the Covid -19 pandemic.
But after impressing again on the bench against Leinster three weeks ago and then the following week against the Ospreys, Rea made his debut against Clermont and is expected to fulfill his childhood dream tomorrow when the Saints take the stage.
“I remember coming with my dad when I was a kid and the noise was amazing. No doubt I’ll be a little nervous but I’m really looking forward to it, ”he adds.
“I had a dream when I was a kid kicking a ball in the garden, it was more when I entered high school that I thought it could potentially become a job more than a hobby. .
“It wasn’t always easy, but I hope that with some hard work I can stay here and get a few more selections in my name.”