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Glasgow Warriors v Ulster: Scotstoun has not been a happy hunting ground but we won't be intimidated says Callum Black

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's Callum Black says the team's poor record at Glasgow's Scotstoun Stadium will not be a factor when the teams meet tonight in a crucial Guinness PRO12 clash (7.35pm).

The champions moved to their current home ground in the west of the city ahead of the 2012-13 season and Ulster's only victory at the stadium came as part of a pool stage double en route to that season's Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

A loss there in the final game of last season saw Ulster return a week later for a semi-final with the subsequent late reverse ending their hopes of winning a Pro12 title on home turf, an honour Glasgow secured with victory over Munster at Kingspan.

"We're not intimidated at all," said Black of the return to a far from happy hunting ground.

"Once we get out there, it's like any other pitch.

"It's going to be huge. They're defending champions and they'll back themselves at home.

"Our away form is something that in the past we've slipped on.

"We've had a good build-up and some good hit-outs in training at the end of last week.

"This week we've put a lot of prep into Glasgow and we're confident. Everyone is looking good and we can't wait to get out there.

"It's one of those things when you go away from home sometimes you have to just focus on yourself and that's what we've done this week.

"We'll create our own buzz and whoever is starting, we'll look to get into them early doors. If they get their tails up then that'll be them.

"If we can start well, we're very confident."

The squad - boosted by the return from injury of star flanker Iain Henderson - is certainly fresh having not played since beating Zebre at the start of the month, a rare period of respite in a gruelling campaign.

"We all got a week off, got away and got a bit of sun," said Black who visited Fuerteventura during the down week.

"It's been good to refresh the body, refresh the mind and get ready for the run in.

"That run of weeks was tough on the body, so it was good to get away from the game. Everybody is raring to go."

Ulster's form had slipped approaching the break - losses to Scarlets and Cardiff coming before beating Zebre - with Black still agitated by the dropped points.

"I don't think it was the results, it was poor performances," he said of the cause for disappointment. "We just slipped up and we're still disappointed we couldn't get into a run of wins.

"Reviewing each game, we look at how things go and the way we haven't stuck to our game-plan. That's something we've focused on. When we play to our strengths, we're well-drilled and organised."

If Ulster's recent record in the west of Scotland is not encouraging, the province can take confidence from the pair's last meeting.

A notable day for Black - he scored his first Ulster try on the occasion of his 100th cap - the 30-year-old was front and centre when Les Kiss's men eked out a 13-10 win in Belfast last month.

"I think the way we went into it last time at home was good and we can take confidence," he said. "But if we look back at that game, we left a lot of tries out there and let them score right at the end.

"We were disappointed with that and there's a lot to reflect on and a lot we can improve on.

"I think there are times when you can be one per cent off and that's the difference. It's so tight, if you're off the money slightly, the other team gets their tail up.

"We have been good, but you have to be at the top of your game."

Belfast Telegraph


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