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Ulster will never give up, vows battling Best

By Gavin Mairs

Ulster captain Rory Best vowed his side will give everything to keep their Heineken Cup campaign alive despite suffering a near fatal blow with defeat to Stade Francais at Ravenhill on Saturday.

Winning home games is the base minimum for sides hoping to reach the quarter-finals in Europe but Ulster today find themselves bottom of Pool Four after the 26-10 defeat to the French side, who ended a four-match losing streak in Belfast.

Matt Williams’s side face Harlequins at the Stoop in London on Saturday and the province have their own losing streak to overcome, having never won a European Cup tie on either English or French soil.

But even after five defeats out of six in all competitions so far this season, Best said his players would take heart out of their battling display, which with a bit more luck and precision could have pushed the visitors a lot closer.

“We will get our recovery done today and come in and start our work tomorrow for the trip to London and I think it is important that we keep our performances going,” said Best.

“Obviously everyone is very disappointed we didn’t win. We go out to win every game, especially at home.

“But we can take a lot of pride out of the performance. Even when they got their second try, it spurred us on even more, which is a great sign for the upcoming games.

“Obviously it is going to be difficult. You need to win your home games and we haven’t done that. But we still have five more games to go and we will be going into Harlequins with a bit of confidence on the back of our last 10 minutes against Stade.”

Ulster were today awaiting an injury update on Stephen Ferris (ribs), Paul Steinmetz (bang to the head) and Clinton Schifcofske (knee ligaments).

Of the three Schifcofske is the biggest concern for Saturday’s trip, which Ulster must win if they are to realistically keep their campaign alive.

Harlequins showed their mettle by recovering from a 19-3 deficit at half-time to win 29-22 at the Scarlets in the final Heineken Cup game at Stradey Park, with Chris Malone kicking 19 points and tries by Danny Care and Ugo Monye.

Belfast Telegraph


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