Ulster second row Dan Tuohy is banking on Ian Humphreys to keep the team on course against Bath at the Recreation Grounds.
When taking on the West Country side at Ravenhill last week, Humphreys’ intended pass was intercepted by Jack Cuthbert who ran all of 90 metres for the first of two Bath tries.
Some would urge the younger Humphreys to adopt a more controlled role, but Tuohy belongs firmly in the opposite camp, saying: “I would much rather people like Humph were making those mistakes than not making them.
“In a match like this you have to keep forcing the game if you are serious about scoring tries and putting points on the board.
“There were a few times in last Saturday’s game that if the ball had gone to hand you would have been looking at a totally different scoreline.
“I would gladly settle for a similar outcome over in Bath.”
The magnitude of Ulster’s next Heineken outing isn’t lost on the big Ulster second row.
And he makes the point that this weekend will have a huge bearing on who makes it through from Pool Four.
“Results won’t determine the top two in Pool Four in that victory will keep teams on course, but defeat would leave sides with a mountain to climb,” he asserted.
“Aironi’s victory over Biarritz has certainly opened up our group and now the onus is on us to make the most of the opportunity.”
Make no mistake, it’s the last chance saloon for the English men and they will come out with all guns blazing.
Against Ulster at Ravenhill they showed just how dangerous they can be especially early in the opening half and again as the match reached its conclusion.
A once great club, dominant both at home and in Europe, is struggling to stay afloat and that if anything can make them even more dangerous.
Tuohy, who began his rugby career playing on the wing for Weston-super-Mare before becoming a fully fledged second row, has risen to prominence in the last couple of years.
He made his professional bow for Gloucester against London Irish in the Premiership before last year hitching up — via Exeter Chiefs— at Ulster, where his |performances saw him called into the Ireland squad for the |summer tour of Australia and New Zealand. Determined to make the most of this unexpected opportunity Tuohy made his Test debut against the All Blacks in New Plymouth, coming on as a first half replacement.
Most debutants would gladly have settled for that but big Dan went one better, scoring a try in the first minute after coming on.
As for the threat facing Ulster, Tuohy is convinced Bath will be determined to play a more expansive game than was the case at Ravenhill.
“Don’t forget in the last 10 minutes at Ravenhill they put us under a fair bit of pressure and had us chasing shadows at times.
“Like Bath, we know all too well what it’s like to be on a losing run, but often teams, purely out of desperation, find a new gear, throwing caution to the wind and that makes them a very dangerous proposition.
“Our priority has to be to cut down the error count and keep the penalty count to the minimum.
“Providing we achieve that we’ll be in with a real chance of winning which would be a considerable achievement.”
In some respects Brian McLaughlin’s men are in a similar position to last season, but Tuohy is convinced this is a better balanced Ulster outfit.
He makes the point that the arrival of the overseas contingent makes for a more experienced unit and that the younger players have benefited enormously.
All that will come under the closest scrutiny when Ulster bid for successive victories at the famous old Recreation Ground.
The reality is that Ulster can’t be as generous in coughing up tries as they were at Ravenhill last week.