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McFarland upbeat as Ulster head for French quarter



Ulster's head coach Dan McFarland

Ulster's head coach Dan McFarland

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ulster's head coach Dan McFarland

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has already told his troops they'll need to be at their absolute best to take on Toulouse in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

The province booked their place in the last-eight for the second year in a row with their 22-15 victory over Bath at Kingspan on Saturday, stretching their unbeaten home record to 20 games.

Ulster were kept waiting until the end of yesterday's matches to discover their opponents, with Toulouse confirmed after the four-time European champions beat Gloucester in France.

In a repeat of Ulster's quarter-final on the way to their historic 1999 success - although this time at the Stade Ernest Wallon - there's no doubt about the size of the task in facing a resurgent European giant come the first weekend in April.

"If we play as well as we can, we're in a better position, definitely," McFarland said, comparing this side to the one beaten by Leinster in the quarters last year.

"But if we don't, we're not far away from losing comfortably.

"I think our attack shape and our ability to prise open defences is better now. I think our defence is definitely better now.

"So I think yes, at the top of our game I think we are better now. But I don't think we can win a quarter-final away from home unless we are at our absolute best.

"We belong there, we belong in that quarter-final, and I think that's really important."

Belfast Telegraph