Fresh from helping Ireland to victory over Scotland with an impressive second half cameo, Rory Best will be doing his utmost for the Ulster cause tonight as they look to beat the high-flying Llanelli Scarlets and claw their way up the Magners League table.
Best was one of eight Ulster players who were still down in camp with Ireland on Monday and Tuesday and despite the short preparation time with new coach Matt Williams, the province’s captain is confident that Ulster can produce more of the same after their morale-boosting 38-13 win over the Newport Gwent Dragons last time out.
“I arrived back on Tuesday night and was straight back into training on Wednesday morning. Paddy (Wallace) and I had a meeting with Matt about everything that the team had been working on while we had been away, so we have been working hard to get ourselves up to speed so that we are all on the same page.
“The Scarlets had gone for a few games without a win until their match against Glasgow on February 15, but they will be looking at our difficult season as well.
“There is no way we will be underestimating them. They are sitting second in the Magners League table, and they have a good squad and will no doubt field a good team,” Best added.
“They are going to be coming into the match off the back of a good win and so are we, so all we can to do is make sure we are as prepared for them as possible. It really is up to us to make it a difficult match for them.”
Ulster may have thrown off the shackles to run in six tries against the Dragons but Best is calling from a further improvement from his side as they bid to increase the gap between themselves and Connacht in the race to secure Heineken Cup qualification.
“We want to built on our performance against the Dragons. It was a much-needed win but there are still aspects that we want to improve and are working on. We are never going to get carried away; we have got a lot of work to do before the end of the season.”
Best continued: “I’m really looking forward to getting back out at Ravenhill with Ulster. It’s always good to come back after the internationals and settle back in with the faces that you train with every day. The whole squad is working extremely hard for the match ahead and I’m glad that I can come back to be a part of that.”
Ulster boss Matt Williams explained that a lack of time with his international players has been “the biggest challenge” for the Ulster management.
“Wednesday was the first day we have been together since sitting in the changing room after the victory over the Dragons. That is the hardest thing by a country mile and that is just this time of year, it is nobody’s fault,” said the Australian.
“We really have to rely on each other and rely on really firing up and being aggressive and motivated. And we want to get the supporters behind us to do that as well.
“It was a very uplifting night (against the Dragons) and an emotional relief for the guys because they were so sick of losing. This week we want a performance that builds on that so with the lack of time we have to focus on our intensity – individually that creates the collective.”