Click here for the thoughts of Mark McCall and Justin Harrison, Ulster’s coach and stand-in captain, ahead of the league champions’ meeting with Munster.
Mark McCall and Justin Harrison, Ulster’s coach and stand-in captain, give their views ahead of the league champions’ meeting with Munster.
– ON FACING MUNSTER –
“Even though we have made a better start to the campaign than Munster, this is a huge task. It’s probably the first real game of the season for both of us, without any disrespect to the teams we’ve met to date.”
– ON HAVING HIS IRISH INTERNATIONALS BACK –
“It’s great to have the international players back. And great to have a full compliment of players, with the exception of Simon Best, available for selection.
“I think we have to see it as a positive to have so much competition in the squad for places, and so many people we can pick from. This game is massively important to everybody and a very significant match for us.
“We are also looking towards Toulouse in the Heineken Cup in three weeks’ time and this is the first occasion this season when we have had a full compliment available.
“With Europe in mind we’ll have limited opportunity in the next couple of weeks to look at some combinations in preparation for that Toulouse game.”
– ON THE MUNSTER GAME –
“There is no doubt the forward strength that Munster have will be a huge hurdle for us. We have a young pack that will be taking to the field backed up by some of the older guys. It is important we understand that rugby is really a basic game and if we execute our skill level as well as we can and make sure we control possession, we will go some way to controlling the match.
“We need ascendancy in the set piece battle. Us second rowers will have a huge part to play in that. For us it’s a big challenge as the Munster forwards are well represented on the international scene. It’s a great benchmark for a lot of the younger guys coming forward and for myself.”
– ON DERBY MATCHES –
“There is no doubt that derby matches between the Irish provinces carry a lot of emotion and enthusiasm. The challenge for the squad is to channel that enthusiasm and intensity in the right direction and it is as simple as making sure we do our jobs as well as we can.”
– ON LAST YEAR’S WIN IN CORK –
“Reflecting on last year’s performance (20-17 at Musgrave Park) is an easy thing to do, but if you live in the past that’s where you will stay. We’re wanting to move forward, the Magners League this year is very strong. There are a number of players coming back from lay-offs from the Irish set-up.
“They need not be distracted by that (last year’s win) and do their jobs as well as they can. We have to make sure we defend well and when we get the opportunities we convert them into points.”