Ulster’s director of rugby Les Kiss has insisted that this Saturday’s away clash with Zebre is the only task in his squad’s mind as the province continue to chase a top four finish in the GUINNESS PRO12.
With just three league matches remaining, a win in Parma is critical for Ulster, but Les Kiss is not taking anything for granted against the Italian side who currently sit second-from-bottom of the table, acknowledging the threat that Zebre can pose particularly on home turf.
Speaking at a press conference in Kingspan Stadium, Kiss commented: “We have to prepare at a level to ensure that we don’t go over there and be 14-7 down at half-time, as happened Glasgow. We have gone over there in the past and haven’t got it right before, so this is our challenge now.”
With just a few games left to secure an all-important European Champions Cup spot, plus seek a PRO12 semi-final place, Kiss knows that every point could count during this critical period.
“A bonus point win is certainly the more preferable option. It is something that we will back ourselves to get, but we also know that it won’t come by virtue of just turning up and hoping they eventually fail for you.
“They just don’t do that. They are a better team than that. Our mantra will be to take it point by point, play by play, moment by moment. We’ll try to build pressure and do the things that will separate the scoreline. It won’t be an easy task to get the bonus point, but if we can do the right things in a logical order, get the basics right, hopefully we can get what we need out of it.”
The Ulster boss conceded that he is likely to be without the services of Nick Williams (shoulder), Louis Ludik (groin) and Stuart McCloskey who picked up a shoulder injury in the derby victory over Connacht in Belfast on April 1.
However, Kiss was buoyed by the form of Darren Cave and Tommy Bowe, who both came through the Ulster ‘A’ team’s win over Munster ‘A’ last week ‘in flying colours’, with Bowe making his first appearance in an Ulster jersey this season following a knee injury suffered in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina in October.