Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Humphreys: Ulster in pole position

Robbie Diack

Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys insists the province's 46-20 bonus-point win over Aironi puts them in prime position to top Heineken Cup Pool Four and gain automatic qualification for the knock-out stages.

Leicester's last-gasp victory at home to Clermont Auvergne means that the shake-up is likely to come down to the final day. But with the Tigers next up for Ulster at Ravenhill before a trip to the Massif Central, Humphreys says they have no interest in aiming for a best runners-up spot, and has instead targeted holding on to top spot as their ultimate goal.

"We haven't had a chance to sit down and look at the permutations yet," admitted Humphreys, whose side has a penalty try and efforts from Andrew Trimble, Tom Court, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack and Adam Macklin.

"But after round four, you generally get a good idea of how the pool is likely to pan out. Leicester's win against Clermont certainly makes things interesting.

"If they had lost, perhaps it would have been easier for us to earn qualification. But as things stand, we now have a very good chance of topping the group and getting a better draw in the quarter-finals.

"That has been our goal from the start, and we're going to go into the last round with all guns blazing. We've already beaten Clermont at home and we've secured back-to-back bonus-point wins against Aironi.

"Now Leicester have to come to Ravenhill to play us, and what a fantastic prospect that is."

The former Ireland international added: "As for today, we came here to do a job and did very much as we would have hoped.

"It was a bit frustrating at times but we're more than happy to go home with the five points."

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