Captain Chris Henry is hoping Ulster can show some New Year resolution and secure a victory over Munster at Ravenhill tomorrow night in the Magners League.
The No8 was bitterly disappointed with last Saturday’s 15-3 defeat by Leinster at the RDS but believes the side has come on since last March when they went down 32-6 in Dublin and conceded a bonus point.
“The fact that we played so well and didn’t get anything out of it, not even a losing bonus point, was heartbreaking but if you look at the last time we played at the RDS it was a totally different game,” said Henry.
“Last year we weren’t in the game so that shows how far we have come. At this stage of the season we need to fight for every point we can get and Munster is a big challenge for us.
“When you watch the games you can see we’re improving, everyone is driving each other forward and we have had some great wins. Everyone in the squad is going out to win these games as no one wants to lose as our goal is to make it into the top four and tomorrow night’s game is now a must win for us.
“We need to make sure we go out and play our game and take it to them,” he added.
Ulster have won three of the last four meetings of the sides at Ravenhill and with Munster missing a number of key players, Brian McLaughlin’s men have a chance to close the gap on their Irish rivals in the fight for the play-off places but Henry is not underestimating the defending champions.
“Munster are a very passionate side which is similar to us. We know it’s going to be a big battle no matter what team they send. They have got young guys coming in who are fighting for their position.
“We are expecting a big challenge but if we can play to our capabilities we are very confident we can achieve the win,” added the skipper.
“Even when we are losing we are playing some great rugby and that is what we all want to do. Whenever things start clicking it’s a great feeling but after the game when you lose everybody is disappointed.
“We have the experience now because over the last couple of seasons we have been in these positions before and I think you learn from every game. That is what all the boys have done,” he said.
Munster will be without Jerry Flannery, Marcus Horan, John Hayes, Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan, Dave Wallace and Denis Leamy and with the way Ulster dominated Leinster at the scrum Henry is hoping the home side can gain the upper hand at the set piece against Tony McGahan’s men.
“With the talent we have we want to maintain our high levels at the set piece. If you don’t win your set piece you’re not really giving yourself a chance.
“At Leinster it went well for us but the challenge is to make sure that we keep it going against Munster.
“There is a lot to work on and it is one side of our game that has improved a lot,” said Henry.