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Doak hoping for a little outside help

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 16/05/2015

Here’s hoping: Neil Doak needs other results to go his way
Here’s hoping: Neil Doak needs other results to go his way

Ulster travel to Scotstoun with their place in the Pro12 semi-finals already secured and, while it is possible they can still grab the top-two finish that would see their last-four tie played at home, they require significant help from elsewhere.

With Ulster currently fourth on 69 points, and Opsreys, Glasgow and Munster knotted together on 70, they need to win and hope that either Connacht or Dragons can get a result against Ospreys or Munster respectively.

The likelihood of those results coupled with the need for Ulster to get their bruised and battered bodies ready for a semi-final - no matter where it is played - has certainly been uppermost in coach Neil Doak's thinking this week.

"We've got to bear in mind that Galway is a difficult place to go, Connacht have been going pretty well this year," he said.

"The Dragons had a good win last week and will want to finish the season strong.

"We know they're outside chances but we've got to try and make sure that we're in the best frame of mind to deliver and to get a win.

"Hopefully we'll get a bit of luck coming from other directions.

"If you look at the Pro12 this year, there's been eight draws this season alone which is unprecedented.

"I don't think there's been that many over the last number of years so if either team draws like we did last weekend then a win will definitely be enough to get a home semi and that's the attitude we're going in with."

Even with plenty of reinforcements to call upon from the bench, Doak will ask his men to go to the well once again.

"There's going to be a few achey bodies that players will have to play through because we know what's at stake.

"They're pretty confrontational games and, especially with the Saturday afternoon games, the body takes a little while to recover but hopefully the bumps and bruises will settle."

Only time will tell if his calculated gamble pays dividends in the long run.

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