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Ulster are ready to do what it takes for a double over Harlequins: Reidy

 

By Michael Sadlier

All is changed this week, and it's not just down to the pressure-release of last Sunday's hard-grafting result from the snow-laden Twickenham Stoop.

In fact, the mere five-day turnaround has also imprinted upon Ulster's preparation for tomorrow evening's return game with Harlequins, resulting in much more low key training being done this week.

But that's not all in the break from the norm as the squad have also re-located to the indoor pitch at the University of Ulster's Sports Centre at Jordanstown.

"This is the first time we've been out here in a couple of years," says hard-working back-rower Sean Reidy as he takes in the facilities.

"But it's a good change and certainly beats training outside as Pirrie Park (where Ulster do most of their outdoor work) has been under snow."

Which leads to some appropriate reflection on how Reidy and his team-mates fared during the appalling conditions last Sunday when they played most of the first half in a snowstorm and had to manage throughout in bitingly cold conditions whipping through south-west London.

"That was a first time for me (to play in a snowstorm) and it was pretty cold," Reidy recalls of Ulster's potentially season-changing win at Harlequins.

"Just before half-time it (the snow) was getting a bit bad but then after that it cleared up a little bit," says the 26-year-old Kiwi who has two Ireland caps.

"At half-time my hands were frozen but, look, it was all worth it as the boys rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job."

The victory was all about the collective effort overcoming the conditions, and playing it tough and smart, to keep Ulster's European hopes nicely ticking over.

Reidy, unsurprisingly, goes out of his way to stress that while winning both back-to-back fixtures in Europe is now essential, it is also rarely a formality, as he found out last season when Ulster failed to repeat their home victory over Clermont when visiting Auvergne.

At least this time they have already played the theoretically more challenging away leg, while Quins are also firmly rooted to the bottom of Pool One and out of the running.

"Look, they're coming over here hurt (by last Sunday) and I'm sure they'll bring their A game with them whatever team comes over."

On the occasions when last Sunday's game broke up, Reidy, who has been involved in 11 of Ulster's 13 games so far, was to be seen doing his job in being the first man on the scene.

He was there, too, to feed Jacob Stockdale for Ulster's crucial try after timing his support run to perfection.

"That's one of the strengths of my game," admits Reidy of his supporting lines.

"But, look, more importantly it was a good team performance, we really ground it out."

The win, or rather the manner of its achievement, was what Les Kiss's team needed to produce after a series of recent off-colour - but still not losing - performances.

"Teams always go through those sort of rough patches but, even so, we've only lost three games this season so things are going fairly well anyway.

"But it was good to get a pretty solid performance there."

As Reidy explains, it's all about momentum now ahead of a heavy festive schedule of Guinness PRO14 interpros: "If we can come away with a couple of wins now in Europe that will set us up nicely going forward and then heading towards those last couple of pool games in January.

"We're looking forward to getting in front of our home crowd and, whatever they (Quins) throw at us, we're going to be ready."

"Let's just hope that the weather stays out of this one.

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