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Heineken Cup: Trimble has power to sink Bath

By Niall Crozier

Bath won’t need any reminders of the standard of rugby which an on-song Andrew Trimble is capable.

His try against them in last January’s Bath v Ulster clash at the Recreation Ground completed a home and away Heineken Cup double against the Premiership side and created history in that it was the visitors’ first triumph on English soil in a competitive fixture.

On Saturday afternoon Trimble will be on duty once again when Bath return to Ravenhill for another European joust.

Worryingly for the visitors they will face a man in better physical shape and enjoying his best form for some time.

After starting for Ireland against Samoa and Argentina in last month’s Guinness Series, Trimble returned to the Ulster fold in the mood to keep his impressive November form going.

Last season’s try? Typically, he downplays it.

“I don’t think I’d a massive game that day but I managed to scamper into the corner for a score,” is his hugely understated description of what was a superb solo effort duly voted the best try by an Irish international in 2009/10. There is, however, a telling smile as he adds: “I think maybe I’ll remember it more than the Bath players do.”

Trimble also reveals that he took significant encouragement from that score, vital for a player to whom confidence is all-important.

“Sometimes when you need to produce a good performance you look at something a bit special you’ve done in the past and that boosts you,” added Trimble.

“You remind yourself, ‘This is what I’ve done before, this is what I’m capable of and this is something I know I can do so let’s go out there and do it again’.

“I think all the guys probably have felt that and it’s important that, as a team, we’re able to go out with positive thoughts like that in our heads.”

Clearly he attaches much weight and significance to past deeds.

“You look at the performances and results from the past couple of weeks and you take encouragement from them,” he said.

“It’s good to be able to do that going into these two very important Heineken Cup games.”

Losing this weekend isn’t an option; he is unable to put any positive spin on the possibility of defeat in either of Ulster’s forthcoming dates back-to-back fixtures with Bath.

“I suppose you could argue that if you lose the first one you then get the chance to go out and put your wrongs right,” said Trimble. “But at that stage it’s probably too late. I think either we or Bath have to win both games. A one-one split really isn’t much use to either of us.

“We’ve got them at home first and I think that’s very important. We have to go out, produce a good performance, win the match and then see what happens next week,” is his view of the next two Saturday afternoons.

With Bath — “a very proud club with a great tradition” is Trimble’s view — having lost at home to Biarritz Olmpique in the opening round of Pool 4 matches back on October 10, Trimble reckons: “They’re going to be hurting after that so they’re probably going to try and take that out on us.”

And although he doesn’t try to work out all of what goes on in front and second rows, he knows the outcome of the battle of those five forwards is going to be crucial to Ulster’s prospects this weekend.

“Hopefully we can win that and, if we do, then it will be up to the rest of us to ensure that we come out on top in the other areas, too,” he says.

The Ravenhill factor is another which he believes to be all-important, though it is telling that when asked about the possibility of the weather forcing a switch to Dublin he replies: “Our mindset is that we’re going to give them a hiding wherever it’s played.”

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