Watch: Ulster are going in the right direction, explains Rory Best
Ulster captain Rory Best has assured supporters that his team are moving in the right direction.
The fear amongst supporters was that the trajectory of Ulster performances was going in the opposite way after recent less than impressive displays in the wins over Southern Kings and Benetton followed by last weekend's collapse to a draw with Dragons.
Best will miss Ulster's trip to take on Harlequins in the Champions Cup on Sunday with a foot infection, although international trio Iain Henderson, Jacob Stockdale and Robb Herring all return to start.
And even though he won't take to the pitch this weekend, Best reckons there have been enough promising signs to be optimistic ahead of the European double-header.
Best first pointed to improvements on the training pitch that are only beginning to show in competitive action.
"We feel there are enough positives there," he said. "I know it's frustrating and I understand that you guys and the pundits and getting frustrated with the performances but there are things we're working on that we can see coming through in the games. It's not always perfect and at times, there are aspects of it that are far from perfect but what we're doing is, we feel that we're gradually trying to get better.
"We've got two new coaches who have now had plenty of time to get their feet under the table."
With the Autumn Internationals now behind us, Best is also hoping a settled squad will translate to an upturn in performance levels.
"We've finally got a little bit of stability around Hendy (Iain Henderson) taking so long to come back from the Lions, my injury, international resting and rotation," he said. "All of that is done now, the squad's back together and we'll be back together until the Six Nations.
"With that and the coaches being in for a while now, there feels like there is a lot more stability there. There were a lot of pleasing aspects from that Dragons game. The frustrating thing is that at 27-15, we had a really good opportunity to score again. Then we're looking at it in a different way.
"As it was, because we're lacking a bit of confidence, we let them back into it with a couple of silly mistakes and that put pressure on us. We keep going back to the same thing but you make decisions that you wouldn't normally make under pressure."
So how do Ulster go about getting that confidence back?
"You've got to get it from the training pitch and performances but ultimately it's results," said Best.
Ulster's game at Twickenham Stoop begins at 1pm on Sunday afternoon with the return at Kingspan Stadium on Friday evening (7.45pm).
Belfast Telegraph Digital