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Ulster v Cardiff Blues: Callum Black wants to get monkey off his back with first try

By Michael Sadlier

It's becoming a bit of a problem really. Tonight will be Callum Black's 90th appearance for Ulster but here's the issue: he has yet to get the ball over the try line.

Props have never really been renowned for their try scoring exploits but even Andy Warwick - Black's main rival at loosehead prop - has got five points to his name and has played just over 30 games for the province while, over on the other side of the scrum, Wiehahn Herbst has managed to score as well.

Black accepts the situation with a weary looking grin and lets it be known that him having drawn a blank so far has not gone unnoticed in the unforgiving world of the dressing room.

"Yes, I'm getting a lot of stick as I'm nearing 100 (caps) and haven't scored a try," says the American-born, West Country-raised, but Irish-qualified 29-year-old.

"And especially so when even Lewis (Stevenson) scored the other week (against Treviso) as he was the other (experienced) guy who hadn't scored up to that point."

"You know I think I'm going to have to be a bit selfish and keep the ball a bit more," Black says of his hopes in emulating long-serving second row Stevenson by dotting the ball down.

It's all very diverting but doesn't in any way detract from the serious business of digging out a win - and, ideally, a bonus point one at that - from tonight's encounter with Cardiff Blues. And, of course, doing so is all the more vital after last Friday's defeat at Edinburgh.

"Yes, we were pretty disappointed as a team and we reflected on that on Monday morning watching the video.

"There were a lot of things that needed to be looked at going forward to right those wrongs and get in a positive frame of mind to turn our hands towards Cardiff," is all Black will say regarding the fallout from another below par effort away from home.

Loitering over what occurred in that 16-10 reverse in Scotland is not part of the plan now as it has all been thrashed, but Black is still prepared to give his insight into what went wrong and how Ulster failed to do themselves justice.

"If you look at the game, I don't think Edinburgh really did too much to worry us, we just let them get that lead and then found it hard to get into the game.

"We know how to put it right and we know that, going forward, if we can keep the ball when we get into the green zone, and put a lot of pressure and phases together, that we can score points," says the former Worcester Warrior who joined Ulster in 2011.

All this then leads on to the fact that props tend not to do full games anymore, suggesting that he will need to get his finger out for this first try.

"You play a 50 to 60 minute game and you have a strong bench it's about going out and putting everything into it on the pitch.

"There are games where you could play 80 minutes, but with changes in the scrum, they (scrums) are now longer, there is more pressure and fewer resets so it takes a lot more out of you."

This try, when it comes, looks like it will have to be from a metre, or so, out.

Belfast Telegraph

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