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Ulster v Cardiff Blues: Andrew Trimble wants to right the wrongs of Edinburgh defeat

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 23/10/2015

2 October 15 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.
Guinness Pro12: Ulster v Benetton Treviso, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast.
Ulster's Andrew Trimble is tackled by Treviso's Ludovico Nitoglia
2 October 15 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Guinness Pro12: Ulster v Benetton Treviso, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Ulster's Andrew Trimble is tackled by Treviso's Ludovico Nitoglia

When asked where Ulster went wrong against Edinburgh last week, Andrew Trimble offers a list that is blunt and extensive in equal measure.

A 16-10 defeat and the continuation of a run that has produced just four wins in their last 17 away games had the star wing in no mood to sugar-coat as he rhymed off physicality, accuracy, discipline and the breakdown as areas where Neil Doak's men were second best seven days ago.

"Our pack got beat up, even our backs got beat up," he said.

"They were a lot more pragmatic, a lot more sensible and we didn't express ourselves as we would have liked to.

"Our penalty count was poor; ill-discipline let them chip away and build a lead. It was a bit miserable out there, the weather was fine but the dew on the grass, we couldn't really play with any of the edge that we wanted. That's no excuse…we got beat up. There's a lot of things we've had to work on."

Caught by the Sky Sports cameras giving an impassioned talk to his team-mates at half-time, the man who turned 31 on Tuesday admits that his dissatisfaction with the performance could not go unheard.

"It wasn't a big dramatic speech like Gladiator or something," he said. "It was just the frustration of us losing collisions and not being effective at the breakdown.

"We were just getting our heads kicked in by big Edinburgh forwards. Alan Solomons is really good at getting his side well organised.

"Physically we were second best. Our breakdown was a mess. We need to sort it out."

The first chance to do so comes at home to Cardiff tonight and Trimble is hoping that a return to a venue where they have not lost in 13 league games brings improved fare.

"Our away form looks so bad because our home form is so good," maintained the province's most capped player of all time. "Two games at home, 10 points. We obliterated Ospreys and Treviso, just took them apart, and I hope coming back here the boys are excited to roll their sleeves up and put in a big shift to take Cardiff apart.

"It's important we get ourselves back on track and get some momentum going. I've no doubt that the boys are up for it.

"We're always very proud to turn up here and put in big performances in front of all our supporters. You're under pressure because we've set the standard quite high over the years and it's important we respond to that."

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Cardiff have lost three on the spin but Trimble has witnessed an attacking threat.

"They've been a lot more impressive than they're getting credit for," he said.

"Defensively they've leaked a few tries, Munster and Leinster got over the line a few times, but with ball in hand they've been very impressive.

"They play with a lot of width, they seem really, really organised. Structured, but happy to throw the ball around, so it's important that we take them on upfront, win the collisions, and be more effective at the breakdown."

Watching Ireland last weekend, presumably with a nagging feeling that he would have been involved had injuries been kinder over the last 12 months, Trimble felt disappointment for his beaten colleagues but thinks that the return of Ulster's Test stars, as well as the looming arrival of Les Kiss as director of rugby, will do much to lift the province.

While Darren Cave and Paddy Jackson are back on the bench tonight, the rest of the contingent are due to return in the coming weeks.

"Having showed the character to get back in the game, it was a bit gutting," he said.

"I know how much work the boys have put in, I've been there for a lot of it.

"Carton House and all over Ireland in training camps all summer, to put in so much work and then not reach the level of performance will be so disappointing.

"I think everybody's really excited about getting the boys back, though. Even just in meetings and in and around the place it it'll be good to have that buzz.

"The camaraderie and competition for places has been there, but the performances have been inconsistent. Hopefully those players push us towards the consistency."

Trimble says the arrival of Kiss - who he knows well through his time with Ireland over the last six years as well as a temporary stint at Ulster last season - is further cause for optimism.

The defensive specialist's contract with the IRFU runs out after the World Cup when he will then head up a coaching team that will still include Neil Doak, Joe Barakat, Allen Clarke and Niall Malone.

Trimble is sure the native Australian can't wait to arrive.

"Les will be champing at the bit to get involved," he said.

"He's competitive and, the disappointment of the World Cup, he'll only get over that when he gets his head into something else.

"He'll be keen to get here as soon as possible, I don't know when, I haven't been talking to anyone, but, we're talking about the big impact that the players are going to make, Les is going to do the same.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing, obviously Clarkie and Niall as well but, Joe, Doakie and Les, the combination of the three I think will work really well."

Ulster Rugby are showing their support for the Alzheimer's Society's 'Don't Keep it Under Your Hat' campaign tonight with fans encouraged to wearing eye-catching headwear to the game.

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