LAST WEEKEND AGAINST Zebre, Peter Nelson became the fourth player this season to be named at fly-half for Ulster as the merry-go-round at number 10 continues.
Injuries to Billy Burns and Mike Lowry had the Ballynahinch man on from the off against the Italians in what has been one of his best seasons with the province so far.
Under new head coach Dan McFarland, Nelson has been given a new lease of life both in the back three and now as the latest player to be tasked with running the line from fly-half.
It’s helped that he’s stayed injury-free, making him an ever-present for selection, and with six starts and four appearances off the bench, he’s set to make a record 11th appearance in a season when he faces the Dragons this weekend.
The 26-year-old has been a frequent contributor for Ulster over the last eight seasons but it’s only this season that he feels he’s really making his impact on the team.
“I’ve had a good run, body’s feeling good and I’ve been involved quite a bit,” says Nelson. “I want to play as much as I can and the more you play, the more opportunities you get, the more comfortable you feel out there and the more confidence you have in your game.
“I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment and I’m happy out there.”
Moving to fly-half last week was the latest string in his bow, one which he has used before but only sparingly, as he filled in with both Burns and Lowry on the sidelines.
It may have been the maul that stole the headlines by scoring four of the eight tries in the easy 54-7 victory, which took Ulster up to third in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14, but Nelson did get over the whitewash too.
The ‘Hinch utility back spun his way over the line eight minutes from time for the score in a strong performance from out-half that saw him run the back line with control and composure.
Nelson with Jacob Stockdale. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
It’s something that he can use to strengthen his claims for more game time as the season moves into its latter stages, with Nelson also out of contract at the end of the current campaign.