Belfast Telegraph

McFarland fires up Ulster to fulfil their European destiny

 

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland
Ulster head coach Dan McFarland
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland is sure his side can handle the pressure of facing Leicester Tigers tomorrow with a European quarter-final on the line (3.15pm kick-off).

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The province will guarantee their place in the last eight with a win, while they could even go through without a victory should other results go their way.

"This is how we always wanted it," said McFarland. "We're still in a situation where our qualification is in our own hands and that's how we want it.

"There are plenty of clubs in Europe who don't have that opportunity. We do and we understand the task ahead of us."

Ulster have a younger squad than at any time in recent years but, even though he is grateful for older heads such as skipper Rory Best, the head coach is not fearful for his inexperienced panel, many of whom are in uncharted waters.

"In Champions Cup rugby, it's always important to have experience," said the coach who has made the quarter-finals once before when an assistant coach at Glasgow.

"It wouldn't matter what situation you were in.

"I think going to Welford Road, all the more so. They're a huge club, a club with a proud history and they'll definitely be wanting to make sure we don't qualify.

"And going over there and having the experience of guys who have been there before will be good. But having guys who are desperate to play at this level is also good."

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