Belfast Telegraph

Ulster coach McLaughlin can’t wait to tackle old pal Elwood

By Micheal McGeary

For Ulster it’s a case of so far so good in the Magners League.

But their impressive early season form will come under the closest scrutiny when they face high flying Connact in the Sports Ground on Saturday evening.

“Things have gone well so far, but in this game you cannot take anything for granted,” said Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin.

“But I feel there’s still a lot more to come from this side.

“The key thing from our perspective is that we get something from every match we play.

“This season we’ve been able to beef up our squad and that has allowed us to rotate our squad to a greater extent than last season.”

On the injury front McLaughlin has again to plan without both Declan Fitzpatrick and Simon Danielli.

But the hope is that Danielli may have regained full fitness in time for Ulster’s Heineken Cup opener next month.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood has a number of injuries to contend with, but is hopeful that by the weekend he will have a clean bill of health.

“We’ve a lot of players who are battered and bruised which is only to be expected, but I would be confident of having a full squad to pick from by the weekend,” he said.

“Every one of us appreciates the importance of the match against Ulster.

“We are in a different position than in the past and hopefully the lads will go into the match in an upbeat mood.

“In fairness to Ulster they have made a good start, winning three out of three, so their tails will be up coming to the Sports Ground.

“The important thing from my perspective is that we’re doing certain things well. But it’s still very early days.”

Ulster coach McLaughlin has a very high regard for Elwood, having worked with him in the past, but that friendship will be set aside on Saturday night as they battle it out for crucial Magners League points.

Ulster won last time the sides clashed in the Sports Ground, but Connacht under Elwood are now a more formidable unit and have the players with the experience and skill to pose serious problems for the visitors.

Belfast Telegraph

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