Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Heineken Cup draw highlights pressure on new Ulster coach

By Niall Crozier

New Ulster rugby coach Mark Anscombe now has a clearer view of the challenge ahead.

Yesterday’s draw for the 2013 Heineken Cup pitted last term’s runners-up in Pool 4 along with Northampton Saints — beaten finalists 12 months earlier — Glasgow Warriors and Castres Olympique who were Aviva Premiership, RaboDirect PRO 12 and Top 14 semi-finalists respectively last season.

Even so, the draw could have been a lot worse.

Ulster’s Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, promptly clarified the expectations of his new coach by citing emergence from the group stage and qualification for the quarter-finals as a minimum requirement.

No pressure there, then

It’s going to be a real test for New Zealander Anscombe whose predecessor, Brian McLaughlin, took Ulster to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals and final in the last two of his three seasons as coach — and still ended up losing the job.

As equations go it’s a simple enough one to understand; winning equals success with nothing else counting.

Humphreys upped the ante further — and with it the pressure on his new coach — by saying that this year’s squad is better than that which lost the recent Heineken Cup showdown.

Given those circumstances, Anscombe must deliver.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here


From Belfast Telegraph