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O'Sullivan wants Ulster to impose themselves on foes Gloucester and keep European hopes alive


Setting strategy: Eric O’Sullivan says Ulster must focus on their own game plan

Setting strategy: Eric O’Sullivan says Ulster must focus on their own game plan

Setting strategy: Eric O’Sullivan says Ulster must focus on their own game plan

Ulster's Eric O'Sullivan believes his side must stamp their authority on the game when they travel to Gloucester tomorrow (3.15pm).

The province head to Kingsholm knowing that they have to seize the initiative with their Champions Cup campaign significantly dented by their defeat to Toulouse at home last week.

"What's huge for us is making sure we're playing our game, not being influenced by the team we're playing or how they like to play rugby," stressed newly capped Irish international O'Sullivan.

"We have to go and play with our philosophy. Obviously that changes a bit with no fans, it's a completely different atmosphere but I think that makes it a bit easier to go and enforce your own game on things.

"There's not those periods where the crowd can lift the home team. So as long as you're getting your stuff right, it makes those away fixtures a bit less daunting. Once we go there, we just have to put our game forward, that's our plan."

That defeat to the four-time European champions was just the second reverse at home endured by O’Sullivan in his Ulster career, ending as it did a 25-game unbeaten run for Dan McFarland’s men in Belfast.

O’Sullivan admits it was a strange feeling to come off the Kingspan Stadium field beaten.

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"It was very weird," he reflected. "I was buzzing coming in on Friday night. A home game, a big French team coming to town, a wet night; you were kind of thinking the stage was set, it couldn’t be any better.

"That (the loss) happens, we knew it would at some stage. It’s important that we start putting the wins back-to-back now and build another one. Good teams come but we don’t want anyone thinking this is an easy place to come but we’ll be keen to put a few wins in back-to-back.

"We’re disappointed. Big games like that you always want to win, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we back ourselves to win those kinds of games.

"We were disappointed not to get the result we needed but it was a good performance from us, we had our opportunities there where we could have maybe got a couple more scores.

"We have to take our learnings from it. We’re going into a huge game for us now this weekend so we couldn’t afford to dwell on it too long. We have to suck it up and get on with it.

"We’ve to go out to try and win this weekend anyway. There’s a big focus on trying to put out a good performance and trying to get the win. It’s a tough place to go but with a good week’s training under our belt, we’ll be ready to go again."

Belfast Telegraph