Belfast Telegraph

We will fight all the way at Scotstoun, vows fired-up Kane

 

Fully focused: Ulster ace Ross Kane is looking to the positives ahead of the crunch PRO14 semi-final clash
Fully focused: Ulster ace Ross Kane is looking to the positives ahead of the crunch PRO14 semi-final clash

By Michael Sadlier

He compares tasting knockout rugby to playing in high octane European games, applying a pragmatic approach to the query as Ross Kane's only previous experience of sudden death was the recent win over Connacht.

Still, he sounds in a good place which is understandable as the 24-year-old seems to be finishing the season as Ulster's starting tighthead prop now that Marty Moore is sidelined.

Should he, as expected, get the nod ahead of Tom O'Toole for tomorrow's Guinness PRO14 semi-final at Glasgow then Kane will be making his sixth start of the season in what will be his 16th game being involved in the matchday squad, both more than he has managed in his two campaigns prior to this one.

And while there is always a certain amount of dread surrounding a visit to Scotstoun, Kane has actually won at Glasgow's formidable home ground when coming off the bench for Ulster back in September 2016, which was only his fourth game with the senior side.

"I played two years ago," said the former Methodist College Schools' Cup-winning captain, almost nonchalantly, about a rare event when Ulster left as victors.

Kane also doesn't appear to want to revisit the past whether involving him or Ulster's fortunes before he broke through.

The agonising league semi-final loss suffered there in 2015, when Finn Russell's touchline conversion destroyed Ulster's hopes of making it to the Kingspan Stadium final, is batted away without even a glance as to whether he was even there or not.

"I don't think anyone's looking at previous records and the negative side of things," said Kane, steering himself away from a cul-de-sac of downbeat reflection.

"Everyone is totally focused on the positives and what we need to do now."

It's the same with Glasgow's artificial surface - only Edinburgh and Saracens have won there this term - and how it impacts on Kane's bread and butter of scrummaging.

"It doesn't change anything tactically. You're still performing the same way as on a grass pitch," he said.

"It's maybe a bit more wear and tear on your toes and your feet but nothing major.

"It's just a bit different. But as there are now four or five teams which all have artificial surfaces, we're well used to playing on that kind of turf."

And with a final flourish on the subject, Kane stated: "You worry more about the game than the pitch."

And as for this game?

"All we can do now is show what we can do," said Kane, who will win his 39th cap at Glasgow.

Ulster's set-piece work will certainly need to be better than in last month's heavy defeat at Scotstoun.

"We just need to do our jobs," he added. "You can see in quite a few of the games that we're always fighting in the last minute whether to nail it back for the win or get the draw with Treviso.

"There's a never say die attitude in the team at the moment."

They'll need all that and more to make it through to the final.

xxID

Belfast Telegraph

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