Chris Henry believes Ulster can put the pain of an opening defeat to Leicester Tigers behind them and get their European Champions Cup campaign back on track against a star-studded Toulon team on Saturday.
Ulster produced a poor first half display at Welford Road, which led to Tigers holding a 19-3 advantage at the break, only for the visitors to snatch a losing bonus point courtesy of Tommy Bowe and Franco van der Merwe tries.
Chris Henry was left frustrated with the nature of the performance and the outcome of the round 1 clash, saying: “Everyone’s pretty hurt to be honest. We went there with a lot of confidence and we thought if we played well we’d get a result, but unfortunately certain aspects of our game weren’t up to scratch. Credit to Leicester, though, they took it to us and finished off some good tries.”
Dissecting the match, the flanker added: “Our lineout didn’t function at crucial times through a combination of bad lifts, jumps and throws. Our discipline again was poor and it’s frustrating for us because it is all things that we can control.
“The discipline aspect is something we’ve talked about and unfortunately, still, in the heat of battle people are making silly mistakes.”
Despite the obvious disappointment, the Ireland star was keen to draw positives from a vastly improved second half which rescued a point for Neil Doak’s men.
“The game was away from us at half-time but everyone dug in really deep and that losing bonus point could prove vital. We’re annoyed and hurt but it’s about putting that behind us and getting a buzz going again for Saturday.”
The reversal in Leicester marked the first time Ulster have lost their opening European game since a 26-10 defeat at home to Stade Francais in 2008. But Henry is adamant the hosts will produce the required response against Toulon.
“They’ve won the competition two years in a row and they’re a quality team but I’ve no doubt we’re going to turn up and put in a serious performance,” he said ahead of the Toulon encounter.
“When we’re on the money we can put any team away. The atmosphere at the Glasgow game two weeks ago was incredible and I think it’s going to be a step up from that again this weekend. That will give us a huge lift as well.”
Henry has also backed the #wearwhitemakenoise campaign which is urging Ulster supporters to dress up in white and make as much noise as possible for the 1pm kick-off on Saturday.
The first 400 people to enter Kingspan Stadium on the day will receive a free Ulster Rugby scarf and there will be loads of other giveaways for those arriving early. Gates open at 11.30am.