Belfast Telegraph

Kiss is already warning his troops of a revenge mission

by Jonathan Bradley

Taking little time to bask in the glow of his first Champions Cup victory as Ulster's director of rugby, Les Kiss was straight onto next week's rematch with a Toulouse side that were demolished at Kingspan last night.

Having become the first side to hold the four-time champions to nil in European competition, Kiss is sure that the French giants will be a wholly different proposition on their own patch next Sunday.

"We know next week is going to be a different story," he said.

"We have to be geared up for that. We have to enjoy this, but make sure we're ready for a massive backlash. We've hurt them and they're going to come out fighting.

"I'm not downplaying it, because we should enjoy it, but there's a job to do next week."

While reiterating the idea that, even if they had suffered a second consecutive defeat in the pool, two games was too early to get a real feel for the European campaign, Kiss admitted that the five-point haul puts a different complexion on proceedings.

"My belief before this was that was only one game in," he stressed.

"It wasn't a true reflection. For us to put pressure on the pool we needed to do that.

"I do think Saracens are still in the box seat. They can place themselves well after what will be round four for them home and away against Oyonnax.

"It's important to get some points out of it next week so that we keep pressure on the others to do what they need to do.

"Toulouse will want to get back at us and then Saracens, but if we can get some points next week and do a job against Oyonnax away then Saracens becomes a big game."

Few could have predicted such a comprehensive result from Ulster against such notable opposition, especially given their notable list of absentees.

With Tommy Bowe, Stuart Olding and Jared Payne injured, Kiss lost four players in last week's win against Edinburgh.

Playing without Iain Henderson, Dan Tuohy, Darren Cave and Pete Nelson, Kiss hailed the character of his side to put the misfortune to one side.

"We knew at the end of that match that we had lost guys for a long time," said Kiss.

"The character in that game was evident and we showed it again today.

"I think it's not a plus to lose players but we got it out of the system there and then.

"It was important that we didn't lament what we didn't have and that we embraced what we did have. We did that exceptionally well."

Having led 9-0 against Saracens before shipping a try-bonus, Kiss was especially pleased with how his side made sure of the win either side of half-time.

"Psychologically it was important," he said.

"Saracens got a try just before half-time which gave them the edge and we did the same this week.

"We sucked a bit of life out of them with Andrew Trimble's try. For Ruan Pienaar to show such poise and composure to give that ball, after being tripped and for Trimble to back himself with the chip, it was beautiful.

"The way we started the second half was always going to be critical in whether they thought they could come back.

"We stayed composed and got the scores we needed. Once we got the bonus point I guess I was a pretty happy man."

Belfast Telegraph


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