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Gibbes Looks For Ulster To Build On First Round Performance

Gibbes Looks For Ulster To Build On First Round Performance

New Zealander Jono Gibbes says Ulster must prioritise their collective work rather than focus on individual efforts as he settles into his new role as the province’s head coach.

Ulster started their GUINNESS PRO14 campaign with a comprehensive 42-19 win over the Cheetahs, with new players such as John Cooney, Christian Lealiifano and Jean Deysel impressing. However, Jono Gibbes, who previously coached the forwards at both Leinster and Clermont Auvergne, was reluctant to single out individuals.

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“We see things that shine out in the bright lights and that’s great, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re always working hard and making sure our teamwork is right there,” said Gibbes, who was appointed to the role at Kingspan Stadium in February.

“After the game against the Cheetahs, what was talked about in the changing shed was that it was a great start but that was also attributed to the players who weren’t in the (matchday) 23, who actually set us up for the Friday night.

“The guys who didn’t get written about in the paper because they didn’t play actually had a massive contribution. Some individuals will get written about, that’s the way the game is, but what we do as a group is more important.

“That’s why we don’t have a first team selection as such. There’s opportunities for everyone and pressure on everyone to be good and to be given an opportunity, but to take the responsibility that comes with it.”

Next up is a round 2 trip to Treviso to face Kieran Crowley’s Benetton Rugby side, and Ulster have often struggled to overcome the Italians’ dogged defence at Stadio di Monigo.

“There’s an opportunity for an away performance – that’s as far as we look and we will try to make sure we perform well and that our collective is as strong as possible.

“We’ll take a few clues from the Cheetahs game and highlight a few things that we need to make sure are right for Treviso and we’ll make some changes to the team,” admitted Gibbes, alluding to he fact that Ireland internationals Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale and Kieran Treadwell are set to return.

“I hope the guys that go over there pick up on the performance from last week, heed the lessons from the post-match analysis and take what we’ve trained on into Saturday.”