Kiss urging Ulster men to use Saracens woe as incentive to shine
Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss says his team must use last week's big defeat to Saracens as motivation to improve.
His side were well beaten at home by the English champions in their European opener but, with Leinster to come in the PRO12 at the RDS on Friday, there's no time to dwell on the displeasure of seeing their old rivals leave Belfast with all five points on offer.
"The disappointment was palpable," Australian Kiss said yesterday. "Probably the good thing, but something we have to get over very quickly, was the disappointment was really obvious when we reconvened on Monday.
"I spoke to a few players over the weekend and you could see the disappointment. They felt they hadn't delivered what they could have over the 80 minutes.
"We were doing a lot of things pretty well but pretty well is not going to stack up going forward at the top level.
"When you go to Europe, playing the big guns, you need to be better than pretty good. We need to be a little more accepting that we need to challenge ourselves and demand more of ourselves to get to where we need to be.
"We didn't deliver last week and we need to respond in a fashion that we can be proud of."
Despite the sizeable set-back of a Champions Cup loss in his first home game, Kiss remains confident that the potential remains for significant improvement.
"I can see the positives," he said. "I can see the opportunities for us to grow. The players know that it won't happen by just thinking it. We have to do the work. How do we work harder but smarter? How do we get to the point where we realise that potential? That's the challenge."
Motivation is hardly in scarce supply during inter-pro week but, with Champions Cup seeding and indeed qualification determined by the domestic table, Kiss admits that the magnitude of Friday's contest is even greater than usual.
"It's massive," he affirmed. "Is it defining in terms of the season? I don't think so but it's massive. Where the teams are, the qualification for Europe puts an added intrigue around the game, that's probably a positive of the new system.
"We have to face the reality that despite all that, it's an inter-pro. We've talked about what it means to go down there and try to win.
"It's difficult. The history isn't nice. We have to be very committed. Without a doubt we can win the game, we just need to deliver."