19 Jun, 06:50
A single point separated the sides as a hard-fought 5th-8th place play-off finished in France's favour at Stade Henri Desgrange on Tuesday night. Check out some photos from Ireland's fourth IRB Junior World Championsip match.
New Zealander Paul Steinmetz reckons Ulster can claim the wins to keep them at the top of the Magners League table, even without their Ireland internationals.
And victory for the reigning champions away to the Dragons next Saturday would go a long way to proving the Kiwi centre right.
Ulster had Andrew Trimble, Neil Best, Isaac Boss, Tommy Bowe, Bryan Young and Rory Best on Ireland's summer tour to New Zealand and Australia, and should be without that sextet for the first four league games.
Due to a lack of game-time Down Under, the likes of Boss, Bowe, Young and Rory Best could make quicker than expected returns, but Steinmetz, the man-of-the-match in last Friday's 31-16 win over the Scarlets, thinks Ulster have the squad depth to cope without some of their leading lights.
"We haven't got our internationals but I think we have a depth in our squad now that means we shouldn't wait for them," said Steinmetz.
"We should go out there and win every game regardless of whether we have got players missing or not."
The 28-year-old, who was capped once by the All Blacks, looked back to his best against the Scarlets at Ravenhill as he glided onto a David Humphreys' grubber kick to claim a crucial second half try. It was heartening stuff to see the Paraparaumu native back in Ulster's midfield after two cheekbone fractures wrecked the tail end of his last season.
A change of tactics allowed Ulster to come from 16-8 down against the Welsh region, as Steinmetz told the Belfast Telegraph. He explained: "We addressed the problems we had in the first half and everything we addressed I think worked.
"It's great that we can turn around a disappointing first half and play with such intensity in the second half.
"We thought we weren't winning quick enough phase ball and a lot of that is down to intensity so we decided we would try to get over the advantage line and be a bit more physical at ruck time. That gave us backs a bit more front-foot ball and we could be more direct and I that worked (for us).
"Mark (McCall) said at half-time that we won a lot of games last year in the last 20-30 minutes and we should be confident in our ability and it happened," he added.
"I had my doubts at half-time but the boys stuck to their guns and the win came about. A few good wins early on puts you near the top of the table and it's important that we can go to Newport next weekend knowing that if we play well, we can win."