Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has spoken passionately about the commitment of his players to their jersey, particularly those born outside the province.

With Leinster in particular dominating the production line of young players in Ireland, Ulster along with Munster and Connacht have seen more and more players from outside their territory join their ranks.

The likes of John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Tom O'Toole, Alan O’Connor, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Jordi Murphy, Ian Madigan, and Nick Timoney were all part of Ulster’s squad for last week’s Guinness Pro14 final.

However as Ulster prepare to take on Toulouse in Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final, McFarland has no doubts about the passion or commitment to the cause from the Leinster imports.

The Ulster boss launched a stirring defence of his squad and insisted that anyone who puts on the jersey and fights for their team has the right to be called an Ulsterman.

"I always find it amazing the importance people put on which hospital you were born in," he said.

"I was born in a hospital in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, I have no interest in Chipping Norton, apparently David Cameron lives there. That’s about as much as I know.

"Nick Timoney is an Ulsterman. When he pulls on that jersey he's an Ulsterman, it’s just as simple as that."

"I’ve got an English accent, does that mean I feel head-to-toe English? Part of me is English but I was 15 years in Ireland, [my son] Thomas was born here, my daughter Alex spent all her life here. Galway is a huge home for me.

"Now I’m in Belfast, I’ve got bits that attach me to Ulster in my family history and I feel a part of the fabric here.

"That’s a long way around of getting to the fact that Nick Timoney is an Ulsterman. When he pulls on that jersey he’s an Ulsterman, it’s just as simple as that."

McFarland went on to quote Major Brendan McBreen, an officer in the US Marine Corps about the importance of bonds forged in battle, be that in the army or on the rugby pitch.

"There’s a really good quote a guy called Major Brendan McBreen," McFarland explained. "He says: 'Men don't fight for the flag, they don't fight for motherhood, they don't fight for apple pie. When they are faced with dangerous physical violence men fight for their friends’.

"That comes from a study that was done on motivation in the marine corp. They volunteer because they want to represent the United States. But they don’t fight [for that reason].

"If they are in the trenches in Afghanistan or Iraq the reason they do what they do is because of the people they are fighting with.

"I think Napoleon said: "before soldiers fight together, they need to eat a lot of soup together".

"People’s identity comes from spending time with each other, forging the bonds so when they go on to the pitch they are willing to go to places they wouldn’t so normally.

"It’s not a question of where you’re born, that’s not what Tom O’Toole is thinking when he’s packing down five metres from his line in the Aviva in a championship final. He’s bloody wondering if he’s helping Squishy [Rob Herring] out. He’s hoping that Hendy [Iain Henderson] is going to be doing everything that he promised beforehand."