Rugby: Visser brothers out to end Ulster’s home record

Sep Visser (right) with his brother Tim Visser
Sep Visser (right) with his brother Tim Visser
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Edinburgh Rugby will be hoping it is Visser for Victory when winging in to tackle Ulster in the RaboDirect Pro 12 League at Ravenhill, Belfast, tonight.

Starting on the flanks for only the second time together will be brothers Tim and Sep Visser as Edinburgh look to become only the second team in 19 encounters to get the better of the Ulstermen on their home ground.

“There is certainly pressure on Ulster in looking to extend their home record and maybe that will mean we just our play our game to pick up the win,” says 21-year-old Sep who previously started alongside Tim away to Dragons a fortnight ago and whose debut came during a trip to Munster last Autumn.

An added incentive for him will be to put on a performance that persuades coach Michael Bradley to offer a contract extension to be part of Edinburgh’s plans when Tim becomes eligible on residency for Scotland from this summer onwards.

Sep, himself, has committed to international rugby with his native Netherlands but is convinced Tim will cut the mustard at Test level with Scotland after fulfilling a three-year qualification.

And, speaking after accompanying Edinburgh colleagues Dougie Fife and Steve Lawrie in showing off the Heineken Cup to pupils at Penicuik’s Beeslack High School, Sep said: “I don’t think Tim is focusing on anything other than doing well for Edinburgh but hopefully when the time comes he will bring to Scotland what he does best – scoring tries.

“I do believe in his abilities. He has been playing well these past few seasons and hopefully he gets a chance. Some people only talk about Tim’s try scoring but he has other abilities which he has stepped up this season. Tim’s defence is better and he knows how to put a support runner through a gap.

“As well as playing together against Dragons we had some time against Sale Sharks in a pre-season friendly. It’s nice to play with him but it is not a case of rather playing with him than anyone else.”

The older Visser was rested for his sibling’s first competitive outing in Capital colours but that didn’t detract from the occasion. “It was a great experience to play Munster before 18,000 people at Thomond Park. Unfortunately we lost but I took a lot out of that match.

“I am trying to build a career at Edinburgh which is why I wasn’t available to play for the Netherlands against Belgium last week as it would have been the wrong time to pick up any injury having just started to get opportunities.”

Sep has split his time between Boroughmuir, for whom he has scored six tries in either the Premiership or Regional Cup from 12 outings, and Edinburgh.

“Boroughmuir have been great with me but I’ve moved on from training 3-4 times a week with Edinburgh to almost full-time.

“That has meant learning a lot, particularly from the international players, and Tim has helped too through playing in the same position as me.

“When I first signed for Edinburgh I was aiming to get some starts and it is happening now and I aim to play a part in getting a win that will move the club forward in preparing to face Toulouse in the Heineken European Cup next month.”

While Ulster have been flying high, Edinburgh have slumped to second bottom of the table and defeat would mean seven matches in-a-row without success – equalling their worst ever run. To break the sequence they will have to overcome a team who were hugely impressive in winning 42-20 at Murrayfield earlier this year but, against that, Edinburgh have been hugely successful in Europe.

This has not gone unnoticed by Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin in keeping his squad grounded. “Edinburgh are a very good team and they are ranked above us in Europe,” said McLaughlin. “They’ve proved how good they are by qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup and they like to play a good style of rugby under Michael Bradley.

“We played very well against them at the turn of the year and we will have to produce something similar at Ravenhill. For us, the 20-minute period after half-time will be crucial. That’s when we have to step it up and keep improving through to the end of the match.”

However, McLaughlin admitted there is the tasty carrot of a top-four place and qualification for league play-offs dangling before his team.

Ulster make eight changes from the team that won at Murrayfield, bringing in Adam D’Arcy, Paddy Wallace, Paul Marshall, Andy Kyriacou, Willie Faloon, Lewis Stevenson, Paddy McAllister and Robbie Diack for Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave. Ian Humphries, Tom Court, Rory Best, Johann Muller, Stephen Ferris and Chris Henry.