Aching bodies on line but worth it, says Ulster's Dan Tuohy
Published 21/10/2013 | 09:35
The faces of the heroes who filed out of the Ulster dressing room before re-charging their totally drained batteries with much-needed post-match food prior to heading to Montpellier airport showed clear evidence of the bruising battle they had just won.
"It was very brutal and there are a lot of sore bodies in that changing room to confirm that," coach Mark Anscombe said.
Tight-head prop Declan Fitzpatrick appeared to be in worse shape than anyone; his nose taped, he also had a bulging ice-pack strapped to his right calf as he made his exit from the still-buzzing Ulster changing room.
But although he looked bad, it transpired he was not the worst affected.
That dubious distinction went to replacement back row forward Iain Henderson, who is believed to have dislocated a toe.
The extent of that injury will be assessed today when Ulster's backroom staff report back to work after a well earned day off.
Second-row forward Dan Tuohy pointed out that a successful mission goes a long way towards countering any pain players may feel.
"Once you've won it doesn't hurt as much," he said.
With regard to his personal state of health he added: "It'll sink in tomorrow when I can't get out of bed or move around the house.
"For it to come together is just a massive relief.
"I'm not really feeling that sore right now but in a couple of hours I'll be struggling to get off the plane."
Triumphant coach Anscombe wasted no time in declaring his side good enough to compete on two fronts this season – provided they take it a step at a time.
Speaking minutes after having seen them beat Top 14 joint-leaders Montpellier 25-8 – the Frenchmen's first home defeat of the season and their first ever at Stade Yves du Manoir in the Heineken Cup – Anscombe had no doubts about his players' ability to pursue success in Europe and the PRO12.
Victories over English champions Leicester Tigers followed by Saturday's second successive win on French soil find Ulster in pole position with back-to-back dates against bottom-of-the-group Benetton Treviso in December.
Next up, though, is Friday night's tough home showdown with Cardiff Blues in the PRO12.
Asked if Ulster could contest two titles, Anscombe – who has just masterminded back-to-back wins in France – said: "Of course it can be done; that's what we intend to do.
"But we, as a team, are not talking about what's going to be happening after Christmas.
"What we do week after week is look at the next task.
"We'll enjoy today and then we'll think about Cardiff who've had a great win against Toulon so it doesn't get any easier, no matter what the competition is.
"The fact is it's just about dealing with what you can control and getting on with the next job.
"That's the way we'll look at this competition.
"We'll not worry about who wins other games.
"We'll enjoy tonight, deal with a couple of PRO12s and then we'll worry about the Heineken Cup again."