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What Ulster must improve to see off Toulouse in Champions Cup, explains Sean Reidy

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Sean Reidy

Sean Reidy

�INPHO/Bryan Keane

Sean Reidy

The top try-scorers in the Guinness PRO14 and averaging almost 35 points a game through the course of their first eight matches this season, Ulster have made light work of getting across the whitewash since Toulouse brought the curtain down on their previous campaign back in September.

A rematch with the French giants in Belfast tomorrow to kick-off their 2020-21 Champions Cup campaign, though, offers a reminder of the step up their season is about to take.

In that quarter-final between the pair, Ulster were trailing by just 8-3 when they created a gilt-edged chance only for the final pass to be flung into touch.

Having missed that opportunity to take the lead themselves before half-time, they were ruthlessly punished when Springbok star Cheslin Kolbe scored his second of the day soon after, and Toulouse ultimately ran out comfortable winners.

While in the PRO14 such blown opportunities rarely loom so large when another is likely just around the corner, Europe is a different ball game.

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In-form Sean Reidy said: "You just don't get as many opportunities in these bigger matches, do you?

"You might only get two or three a game and if you don't take them you're in for a hard night.

"We know the physicality and the speed that these European games are played at and, as a group, we know we've got to be at our best to put our best foot forward.

"On the back of that, you can get punished for your mistakes fairly easily at this level.

"You're playing against a top calibre of player, so if you're not on your money, you're going to be in trouble as well. I think there's a really small margin of error in these games but hey, they're the ones you want to play in. You want to test yourself against the best and what better way to start than this weekend?"

With that recent Toulouse contest able to be paired with the previous week's PRO14 final against Leinster and the 2019 European quarter against the same opposition, the Kiwi flanker wants the side to show they have learned from those losses in key games over the past 18 months.

 

"I think we've got a fairly young squad at the moment, and the more times you play in those big games or get into those final stages, you learn a heck of a lot and take a lot of learnings from them," he added.

"At the end of the season, that's where we want to be, so it starts with a big game this weekend."

Belfast Telegraph


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