Belfast Telegraph

Cooney has new trick for massive clash at Clermont

Ulster's John Cooney
Ulster's John Cooney

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster are leaving nothing to chance ahead of what looks set to be a pool-defining shoot-out at Clermont Auvergne in Saturday's European Champions Cup clash.

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With the French club's home ground a renowned cauldron of noise, John Cooney has been practising his place-kicks wearing headphones which have been blasting out a full-on soundtrack of the raucous supporters at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

The in-form Cooney and back-up kicker Bill Johnston have been trying to acclimatise themselves to the cacophony of sound expected to hit them on Saturday afternoon.

Cooney posted on social media: "Great idea from (skills coach) Dan Soper/Bill Johnston. Felt like we were there."

A first ever win at Pool Three rivals Clermont will guarantee Dan McFarland's squad a place in the last eight for the second year in succession and also open up the possibility of securing a highly prized home quarter-final from next weekend's last group game at home to Bath.

In-form Ulster, who have won all four European games so far, lead their group by one point from Clermont.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Munster out-half Joey Carbery will now miss the Six Nations due to a wrist injury.

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