Belfast Telegraph

Man with a plan Dan can show us how to beat French: Cooney

 

By Michael Sadlier

John Cooney believes that head coach Dan McFarland's meticulous preparation can help get Ulster over the line against Racing 92 in Saturday's crunch European clash at the Kingspan.

Ulster have a chance of overhauling unbeaten leaders Racing, who are five points ahead with just two rounds to play, but need to win at the weekend to maintain their hopes of ultimately topping Pool Four.

Cooney reckons that the work ethic and attention to detail McFarland has brought since joining last summer, along with the hothouse demands Joe Schmidt makes of the province's players in Ireland camp, can give the Kingspan squad a key edge against their star-laden rivals.

"Dan McFarland is close to Joe Schmidt and talks to him a lot," said Cooney.

"He McFarland is mad into attention to detail and if you're seen not to know what you're meant to do, he will have a go at you.

"Dan also showed us a picture of Ulster playing Toulouse (in the 2015-16 season when Ulster won 38-0 at home).

"Ulster started with huge tempo for the first 15 to 20 minutes, and there's a picture where all the Toulouse players are bent over, all tired, while the Ulster players are standing up strong.

"It's important we look after the ball and don't let them get turnover opportunities.

"That's where you grind them down and it's important we implement our game plan and stick to it.

"We'd love a home quarter-final so what we can do is try and get this win, and in the next game (at Leicester Tigers) and whatever happens, happens."

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