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Humphreys Gives Plaudits To Ulster Pack

Humphreys Gives Plaudits To Ulster Pack

Ulster’s Ian Humphreys paid tribute to his pack of forwards immediately after claiming the Heineken man-of-the-match award in the crucial 23-13 defeat of Stade Francais at Ravenhill on Saturday.

Ian Humphreys played a pivotal role as the 1999 European champions cruised to a 23-13 victory over the French giants at a Ravenhill.

As well as contributing 13 points thanks to three penalties and two conversions, Humphreys was twice involved in the opening try of the game and continually kept Stade Francais on the back foot with a mixture of impressive tactical kicking and a willingness to run from deep.

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But the 27-year-old Ireland ‘A’ out-half refused to take any credit for his side’s performance, instead choosing to praise the quality of the Ulster pack.

“The forwards won us the game,” said Humphreys, after the Ulster eight, led by rampaging flanker Stephen Ferris, dominated proceedings in the Round 3 encounter.

“The set piece was brilliant all day. That was critical, particularly against a team as dangerous as Stade.

“The aggression round the breakdown also played a really important part. It was effectively what meant we came out with a win.

“The forwards deserve a lot of credit for that performance. They set a platform for us to play from and made my life a lot easier than it might have been.”

Despite coming into the game on the back of a Heineken Cup loss at Edinburgh and a disappointing league defeat to Glasgow the previous week, Ulster were always in control against the Parisians.

Stade’s only try arrived in the dying minutes and the scoreline was a touch kind to Rodrigo Roncero and company..

One of the key reasons for Ulster’s success was the way in which they outplayed Stade at their own game.

It was Ulster who were more willing to run from within their own territory, they were the side who chanced their arm when the game was in the balance.

And they were the ones who created something from nothing to twice cross for counter-attacking scores.

“It’s the type of performance that we’re striving for each week,” added Humphreys, whose older brother David, Ulster’s Operations Director, watched on with pride.

“The tactics were that we couldn’t just afford to kick to their back three. Stade are so dangerous in broken play and you don’t want their wide men running free ball back at you too often.

“We know that, if it’s on, we’ll go for it from anywhere. That’s the way we want to play the game. And that’s what we did.

“I have to mention the crowd as well. The crowd were immense. The noise was class. It’s exactly what you want to hear when you play at home.

“We now need to produce that kind of display for the rest of the competition if we want to have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.”