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Ulster ready to make sure it's a happy Christmas: McFarland

Dan McFarland
Dan McFarland

By Michael Sadlier

Dan McFarland doesn't want Christmas week ruined by losing at home to Irish rivals Connacht for the second year in a row.

The Ulster head coach is hoping the hurt of losing last season's home game with the western province can spur his Ulster squad on towards avoiding any repeat come Friday night's Guinness PRO14 clash at Kingspan Stadium.

Since Connacht defeated Ulster 22-15 in October 2018 to register their first victory in Belfast since 1960, McFarland's men have not lost a home game, and the coach is determined to make it 18 unbeaten matches at Kingspan Stadium this week.

McFarland, who played for and then began his coaching career at Connacht, also wants his squad to bounce back after their five-game winning run came to an end in last Friday's helter-skelter 54-42 loss at Leinster.

"It's an interprovincial game at home in front of your fans and it's painful for the lads to lose those games," he said.

"I think we all feel that and I don't want it to happen again.

"When you play against a team you've been at before, you don't want to lose to them. You don't want to lose to anybody, but it seems just a fraction more hurtful when it's them (Connacht)," he added.

Meanwhile, McFarland confirmed that 21-year-old centre Angus Curtis will be spending a lengthy time out after shipping a serious knee injury at Leinster last week which requires surgery.

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