Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Rugby must leave frustration behind: Chris Henry

By Jonathan Bradley

Chris Henry has called on Ulster to put the frustration of their failed attempt to earn a bonus point from Friday night's 27-16 victory over Montpellier aside as they prepare for the titanic clash with Leicester at Welford Road on Saturday.

Both sides have already qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals but the match will decide who wins Pool 5 as well as determining which side plays their last-eight tie at home.

An extra point would have left Ulster with the possibility of losing the game yet still topping the pool, but the Irish international believes Mark Anscombe's men will travel to the Midlands in an assured frame of mind.

Speaking at the 'Heineken Get In The Game' event held in The Albany after Friday's win, he said: "I think the players are the most disappointed of all as we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

"There were four tries out there that we could have taken and right up to the last couple of minutes I thought it was going to come but it was just one of those things.

"In the last couple of years sometimes one point has cost us so dearly, whether that's qualification or a home quarter-final, so we know how every point matters.

"But sometimes you need to take a step back though and we're still the only unbeaten side in Europe, we've won five from five, so there's no reason we can't go to Welford Road and get the win."

Ulster suffered Heineken Cup defeats away to Leicester in both 2004 and 2011, despite winning the reverse fixtures at Ravenhill, as well as during this year's pre-season but Henry believes that experience will be beneficial.

"We've been to Welford Road a few times so we know how tough it is. It's one of the hardest places in Europe to go and get a result but it's better that we know that going in. I'm certainly confident that we're going there to get the win," he added.

"Luckily we got through Montpellier without any serious injuries so we just need to get back to basics and make sure we prepare as well as possible."

Part of what Ulster focus on this week will no doubt be their discipline and Henry admitted he was disappointed by how many times he and his team-mates fell foul of Wayne Barnes' whistle on Friday night.

"We managed to get on top of the penalty count in the second half but in the first we definitely gave away a few silly ones," bemoaned the flanker.

"Some were 50/50 decisions but there were ones when we were clearly in the wrong. With the quality of player that we have, we need to be smart as well and we weren't in those positions."

Success for Ulster against the two-time European champions would more than likely bring Richard Cockerill's men back to Ravenhill for a quarter-final come April – while a defeat would result in a trip to one of the likes of Toulon, Toulouse or Clermont – and Henry thinks it would be a great occasion for Ulster rugby.

The 29-year-old stated: "When you look at what's going on with the facilities here now and the redevelopment, it's great to see, especially when you think that a couple of seasons back maybe you would have struggled to sell-out.

"The support we get is unbelievable and it would be great to have a quarter-final here."

Belfast Telegraph


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