Rugby legend Tony Ward has launched a stinging attack on Ulster in the wake their PRO12 defeat at the hands of Leinster at the RDS last Saturday.
The Dublin-based columnist blasted Mark Anscombe's men after their 19-6 reverse against an under-powered Leinster and didn't pull his punches at what was a disappointing effort from the visitors.
"The challenge was to step up to the mark and prove they deserve to be ranked up there alongside Leinster and Munster," Ward writes in today's paper. "Alas in most every respect, Ulster came up short and failed the festive test badly.
"No doubt they will come out firing against Munster but doing so before the Friday night Ravenhill faithful alone is just not good enough for a province that purports to be the best.
"Ulster rugby should be at the very top of the Irish tree and despite great strides being made ... there is still too much of a laissez faire approach to the collective level of performance. On Saturday at the RDS, they were pretty close to awful.
"In fairness to Anscombe, he hasn't held back in criticism of his team. What I find particularly galling is that a group of talented individuals can blow so hot and so cold so regularly mid-match."