Belfast Telegraph

Magners League: Neil Doak warns of big test awaiting Ulster

Ulster assistant coach Neil Doak claims that the team will face their biggest challenge of the season so far against Connacht on Saturday night.

Brian McLaughlin’s men have won their opening three games in the Magners League and now travel to the Sportsground in Galway in a mouth watering derby.

The last time Ulster won their first three games was back in 2005 when they went on to win the title, but they came unstuck in their fourth game away to Irish opposition that season, going down to Leinster at Donnybrook.

Connacht are fourth in the table with two wins and a losing bonus point under their new coaching team lead by former Irish out half Eric Elwood, but with Ulster on the crest of a wave and having won on their last four visits to the western province, expectations are high, but Doak is anticipating a hard fought battle.

“We are massively happy with three wins from three games and you couldn't ask for any better,” stated Doak.

“We have to keep working hard, do our basics right, keep our discipline and make sure we are on the ball for 80 minutes.

“Connacht have got of to a good start and they put the Dragons to the sword in the first week. Any team going to Galway face a difficult scenario.

“It will be very physical and we'll have to front up, defensively we have to make sure we don't give them a lot of yards because if they get their tails up they can do a bit of damage.”

All of Ulster's three wins have been a bit too close for comfort, but Doak was encouraged by the performance against Edinburgh at Ravenhill last Friday.

“Against Edinburgh we started to play a bit of rugby if we can move that on to Connacht and further afield it will stand us in good stead,” said Doak.

“We have to be patient and not throw the ball about in the wrong scenario.”

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