Brian McLaughlin has warned that Ulster cannot afford to underachieve against Edinburgh this evening in Murrayfield.
McLaughlin’s men won rave reviews after their comprehensive Heineken Cup showing against Bath in Ravenhill, but as far as the coach is concerned that’s history and Ulster now must move on confidently in search of a second successive Heineken Cup victory.
The man with the magic wand has wasted no time in reversing his team’s fortunes, but as pragmatic as ever he remains very alert to the task facing his young, emerging side.
“Provided we play to the best of our ability it’s a game we’re capable of winning,” said McLaughlin.
“After beating Bath last time out we cannot afford to sit back and allow them the initiative.
“They know all too well that their Heineken Cup prospects will be severely damaged if they lose.
“The Scots are a proud nation and they won’t want to lose a third successive match against us.”
Not surprisingly Ulster are unchanged from the side that beat Bath, the only change in the replacements sees Dan Tuohy returning in place of Neil McComb.
In contrast Edinburgh ring the changes as they strive desperately for a victory that would kickstart their Heineken campaign.
Following their defeat at the hands of Stade Francais, Nick de Luca, Kyle Traynor and Steve Turnbull come in for Ben Cairns, Allan Jacobsen and Craig Hamilton.
They are again without a number of injured players including Simon Cross, Simon Webster, Ross Rennie, David Callam and Jim Hamilton, but Edinburgh believe that the Murrayfield factor will come into play and tip the scales in their favour.
Head coach Rob Moffat is quick to acknowledge that Ulster are the form side.
“It’s a massive ask for us and to have any chance we must perform to a level higher than anything we’ve achieved so far this season,” he said.
“Last season in the Magners League we eventually finished second and that was all about consistency and that’s been missing of late.
“We’ve learned a harsh lesson that you cannot afford to give quality sides a headstart as we did against Stade Francais.
“We haven’t helped our cause by conceding too many needless points through our own silly mistakes.
“Only by reducing those to the minimum can we hope to get the better of Ulster.”
In many respects it’s a similar story with Ulster.
If they insist on conceding needless penalties Chris Patterson will make them pay dearly.
Coach McLaughlin will warn against any indiscipline that could seriously damage his team’s prospects of recording a second Heineken success.
Ulster still have something to prove, principally that victory over Bath wasn’t a one off.
To achieve that they must start well and be resolute in defence so quenching Edinburgh’s fire and passion while at the same time laying the foundations for victory