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'There wasn't much need for words': Ulster players determined to bounce back from Cheetahs nightmare


Moving on: Kieran Treadwell is keen to make amends for last week’s defeat
Moving on: Kieran Treadwell is keen to make amends for last week’s defeat

By Michael Sadlier

He wasn't alone in having no qualms about leaving South Africa's Highveld behind.

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Kieran Treadwell's few days in Bloemfontein weren't even close to being in the same time zone as those of his more favoured moments from being a player

His experience was no different really to that of his team-mates, the Free State's capital city is a difficult place to play, being around 4,500 feet above sea level while, off the park, it doesn't possess the same attractions as Cape Town or Durban.

The second row - renowned for his mobility and durability - also gave us an insight into what it was like in the away dressing room of the Toyota Stadium last Saturday evening after the near record rinsing Ulster had shipped at the hands of the Cheetahs.

So what was said after that nine-try, 63-26 shellacking? You imagine a locked dressing room door, some colourful language from the coaching staff and maybe even a bottle or two of water being flung about.

"There really wasn't much need for many words," said Treadwell who also played in last year's high-scoring draw which Ulster dramatically snatched from what looked like certain defeat.

"We all sort of looked at each other and said 'that wasn't really us'."

Disbelief was fine but the reality was that Ulster, at times, looked pitifully poor and yet still managed to snaffle a try bonus as the game lost practically all of its shape and sense of cohesion, areas Dan McFarland, quite understandably, is always keen to establish as part of the game-plan.

"We were chasing that bonus point," the 23-year-old adds of the approach to last weekend's helter-skelter second half.

"And we have a structure in place to put us into the right places on the pitch to get the ball and see what we can do."

Anyway, all that was last week and the idea is to make a statement against Southern Kings though it was by no means straightforward last year when Ulster won 28-7 but failed to take a bonus point.

But before addressing what must be done against the Kings, Treadwell still has a parting shot for Bloemfontein, namely the altitude and, well, lack of coffee shops.

"It (the altitude) was definitely a factor and you do feel it but when you're in the game you don't really think about it."

"Anyway, it's good to get some down time," he mentions of having spent most of this week in Cape Town.

"It's different and there are a few coffee shops here, in Bloemfontein there weren't really a lot.

"But, at the end of the day, we're here to do a job," he adds, remembering himself and what he ought to be saying.

"Obviously there are things we need to work on," admitted the three-times capped Ireland player without specifically mentioning the four lost lineouts. We're here on tour so we stick together, re-group and rectify it for this Saturday's game."

He'll be aiming for more impressive stats tomorrow as though he was officially listed as making nine carries, these moments were marked as bringing zero yardage to Ulster's cause.

If accurate, then Treadwell knows he has a lot to bring to tomorrow whether he starts or is unleashed from the bench.

"We definitely know that we must answer those questions that we didn't address on the pitch last week, but we need to move forward in this game with the Kings.

As he makes clear, "Hopefully we can rectify those wrongs."

"We're expecting quite an expansive game, they like to run and kick, and are physical up front. Again, we have to front up more than against the Cheetahs."

"We've just got to do what we have to do to get the win."

Tonight's fixtures: Cheetahs v Munster (5.15pm); Dragons v Connacht (7.35pm); Leinster v Edinburgh (7.35pm)

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