Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

Long journey did not affect me: Afoa

By Niall Crozier

Published 09/04/2013

Tight-head John Afoa dismissed the idea that returning to New Zealand to be with his wife for the birth of their third child played a part in Ulster's demise on Saturday night.

The 2011 World Cup winner made light of the arduous journey back home which saw him leave four days after the arrival of daughter Violet to rejoin the squad in Belfast.

The ultra-professional former All Black flies back again today following this assessment of his build-up to Ulster's biggest match of the season: "Of course it's not ideal, but it was important for me to go home and do my family thing. If I didn't do that I think it would have affected me more.

"I was happy enough. I've done that trip a few times. I had a plan from JD (Jonny Davis, Ulster's strength and conditioning coach) so I trained Monday-Tuesday back in New Zealand, travelled Wednesday and trained Thursday-Friday with the team."

He said he was "happy enough" with his personal contribution to the match and on Ulster's overall performance added: "There were mistakes and they caught us. If you don't turn up and play well you lose, it's as easy as that."

And although Saracens captain Steve Borthwick's post-match analysis was that his side's scrummaging improved as the game unfolded – "We identified a problem and at half-time identified a strategy to solve it" was the England lock's take – Afoa saw it differently.

"I don't think anything changed," he said. "They've got a good pack but just because we didn't get anything off them in the scrum doesn't mean we had a bad day at the office.

"They got a late penalty which I though was harsh and when you've got John Smit with 100 tests coming on (from the bench), he brings a helluva lot."

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 the web

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph