Henry out to banish Blues for Ulster
Ulster's Brian McLaughlin is hoping that the very painful and still-fresh memory of last weekend’s defeat by Cardiff Blues will serve to motivate his players when the sides renew hostilities on Saturday night (7.30pm).
So too is captain, Chris Henry.
And as well as telling his players to make the Ravenhill factor count, McLaughlin is urging the home supporters to play their part, too.
And, again, Henry concurs.
“We were very disappointed with our performance last Friday so it’s great to have this early opportunity to play Cardiff again. We have had plenty to work on from last week,” McLaughlin said.
With the weather having forced them indoors, the coach has worked his squad hard at Jordanstown, spending time trying to ensure they fully grasp the need for discipline.
Five yellow cards in the past three outings have cost Ulster dearly, witness a home draw with Newport Gwent Dragons followed by defeats at the hands of Scarlets and Cardiff.
“Our discipline will be key,” McLaughlin said. “If we are going to come away with the win we really need to keep our discipline. We'll have to play out of our socks and be mentally prepared for a real fight.”
And appealing to the fans to play their part, he added: “We must make sure that we make our home advantage count and get our Ravenhill support behind us in order to get as much out of this game as we possibly can.”
Skipper Henry was singing off the same hymn sheet following yesterday’s training work-out. He welcomed the fact that the re-match follows hard on the heels of last weekend’s reversal at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“We’ve only got five more Magners League games left and in professional sport your success is defined by your results.
“We feel we have made progress this season, but the only way we can prove that is by finishing in a better position than last year,” he said. “So we need to grab as many points as possible from these last five games.
“I think we’re quite lucky that we have Cardiff again a week after losing to them. That gives us a chance to work off some of the frustration we felt after last weekend’s performance.
“Clearly things didn’t go to plan, so now we have to make sure we turn up on Saturday night and put in a performance which will give our fans something to get
behind. We made silly mistakes and picked up a couple of silly yellow cards.
“Darren’s (Cave) was very out of character; because his defence normally is so good, he feels very disappointed about that.
“We’ve got to take those sort of mistakes, and the concession of those sorts of penalties, out of our game.”
With Tom Court and Mark McCrea unavailable due to injury, Paddy McAllister and Tommy Seymour join the otherwise unchanged 29-man squad.
As well as McCrea and Court, Clinton Schifcofske, Willie Faloon, Bryn Cunningham, Adam Macklin, Ian Porter, Cillian Willis, Matt McCullough and Justin Fitzpatrick are out through injury.