Roddy Grant: Business as usual for Ulster against Stormers despite CEO departure

Jonny Petrie’s departure was announced on Monday afternoon as province prepare to face South African team this weekend

Ulster Rugby's forwards coach Roddy Grant pictured discussing  the upcoming Investec Champions Cup Round 4 fixture against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.
Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.
Ulster Rugby's forwards coach Roddy Grant says the players can focus on the task in hand when they face Stormers this weekend despite the departure of CEO Jonny Petrie on Monday

Ulster forwards coach Roddy Grant has insisted it will be business as usual for the team after the departure of CEO Jonny Petrie from Kingspan Stadium on Monday afternoon.

With the Ulster’s finances in turmoil and a poor season on the pitch, the IRFU have removed the former Scottish backrow from his job by mutual agreement after five years in charge.

Ulster are now in the unique position of having an interim head coach after Dan McFarland’s exit at the end of February and will appoint an interim CEO while a recruitment process takes place.

The northern province is rumoured to be over £1 million pound in debt and the playing squad is set to be cut in a bid to save money for next season.

On the pitch, Ulster haven’t fared any better crashing on of the Champions Cup and facing a fight to reach the knockout stages of the United Rugby Championship after Saturday’s defeat in Durban against the Sharks.

Despite the turmoil on and off the pitch Grant maintains the players will not be distraction as they prepare to face a crucial game against the Stormers in Durban.

“Pro sports teams are well used to focusing keeping the head down and getting on with the job,” commented Grant.

“Rugby is an easy one for everyone and certainly the players that come the weekend and especially this weekend you have got some big South Africans that are going to be physical you don’t have much room for anything else to consider other than what’s in front of us at the weekend.”

“Sport is a great profession, everyone can think of a million bits of pressure that you can think about but you have to focus on the task in hand.”

“Any pressure like that, the players, the staff you are judged on what you do so that quickly focuses the mind.”

“It is probably more uncommon now not to have any changes, at Edinburgh we had a lot of changes while I was there, so it is a tough profession.”

Grant is hoping Ulster can bounce back quickly from the defeat against the Sharks.”

“It was frustrating against the Sharks with the result not going our way.”

“There were good bits which we believed we prepared for and with how the game went we feel we could have won, a couple of errors cost us and we were a little bit off in term to reacting to things so it was disappointing.”

“There are enough positives to take out of it with things that we are trying to implement with Richie (Murphy) coming in.”

“Having the international guys back in was excellent for the group.”

Pacemaker Press 26-02-2024: Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, pictured discussing this week’s announcement on a change to the coaching set-up for the Senior Men’s squad.  
Ulster’s CEO, Jonny Petrie, pictured during a press preview of the upcoming BKT United Rugby Championship Origins Round 11 fixture against Dragons at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.
Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.
Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie has left the province by mutual consent

“Really looking forward to this week, we’re playing another really good South African team, the Stormers went really well against Edinburgh, so it is going to be a big old challenge.”

“We are really excited about this week, got a couple of key things to work on game plan wise, but I think another week together, training together with Richie and the Irish guys back is positive for the group.”

“There are definitely things that we are implementing that should stand us in good sted and some of it takes time and some of it we are hopefully can make differences in the short term with a couple of tactical tweaks and changes.”

“Another week with everyone back together time has been quite fractured the last two- or three-months with the internationals away and coming in and out.”

“I think there are multiple factors that we are excited about and being able to make some changes in the short term.”

“Richie and John (Fogarty) are good coaches and good guys and that certainly makes it easier and that is what you want.”