Isaac Boss feels Ulster’s disastrous opening day performance against unfancied Newport Gwent Dragons may have been attributable to the players having over-hyped themselves.
And although the subsequent recovery in the form of a magnificent Liberty Stadium victory over Ospreys has helped ease the pain of Sunday, September 6 somewhat, there is still evident hurt when he talks about events at Rodney Parade.
On the plus side, with the pain of that recent defeat still fresh, he hopes it will inspire Ulster tonight.
“We went to Newport after a very good pre-season. But the bottom line is that you don’t get any league points for winning friendlies, whatever the opposition.
“Okay, we beat Newcastle and Worcester, who are two English Premiership sides, and that meant a lot to us. But when it mattered, against Newport, we didn’t do it,” he reflects.
“We were really disappointed we didn’t carry that pre-season form through.
“That’s why it was so important that we got ourselves back up against Ospreys, who are a very good side.
“We were all very down after what happened against Newport, so we had to come back from that.
“It was a really good all-round team performance, with the guys doing a lot of the unsung but very important stuff, like the defence shutting things down, cutting down the turn-overs and just doing a little extra work.
“That’s pretty much unseen stuff; the fans don’t notice it most of the time and the papers don’t write much about that part of the game, which is understandable. But it’s crucial if you want to win matches.
“We got a try from an interception against Ospreys, but that was as a result of pressure by us forcing a mistake.
“Again you sometimes don’t get much credit for things like that, but it was the intensity of our defence that forced the error and gave us that chance.
“And we took it, which is what you have to do in the Magners League. It’s very competitive so you have to make the most of what comes your way
“It wasn’t the perfect game or anything like that. Our finishing was pretty good, but it could have been better.
“We could have had a bonus point if we’d got the fourth try, so that’s something we have to keep working to improve.”
His view of tonight’s clash with Edinburgh is that it is a hugely significant match.
“I hope that last weekend’s performance will have created a bit more excitement among the fans. I know it has among the players; there’s real enthusiasm this week,” he said.
“And with the new stand open, everybody’s looking forward to seeing if the atmosphere intensifies as a result of that.
“The weather has been good and this is a good team coming to play us. They play a lot of rugby, so hopefully it will be a good spectacle.
“They have to come back to Europe in the European Cup, so psychologically this is a big one. We don’t want them leaving here after Friday night thinking that they can take us at Ravenhill.
“This time it’s the Magners League and I know we take it one game at a time.
“But at the back of your mind you know that if you can get one over on them, that is going to affect your confidence and their confidence next time.
“Right now we’re confident. They’ll be confident as well after two good wins so it’s going to be a good match.”