Wednesday 28 June 2017

Henderson: Ulster players must change mindset

Ulster's Iain Henderson Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster's Iain Henderson Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Tom Rooney

To put it mildly, these are trying days for Ulster. For the third time in as many seasons they will play no part in the business end of the Champions Cup, while Les Kiss' men have lost eight of their last 12 games.

They are also nine points from the play-off places in the Pro12, and Ireland international Iain Henderson is adamant that the Ulster players must peer inwards if they are to overcome this malaise.

"We have to go back and have a good, hard look at ourselves and reassess what we're doing in training and reassess what we're delivering as a group of players," he said. "We need to change our mindset to ensure we become a great team at taking opportunities."

On Sunday, Ulster arrived at Sandy Park in the knowledge that a win over Exeter was the minimum requirement if they were to stay in the race for a last-eight spot ahead of the final weekend of Pool action.

They raced into the lead thanks to Sean Reidy's early try and, at half-time, the game was poised at 12-12. However, Ulster - who missed 20 tackles - conceded two tries in the space of three minutes in the third quarter.

They then coughed up a penalty try towards the end of a second half in which Charles Piutau's converted try was their only contribution to the scoreboard - such was the profligacy as the whitewash beckoned.

"We've been doing the difficult parts, but the easy part of it may just be the last pass or cleaning a breakdown and that's where we've let ourselves down," Henderson said.

"We've done all the right things to get to that point, it's just ensuring that we have the ability and know-how to finish our opportunities off."

Ulster have nothing but pride to play for when Bordeaux-Begles, who are also out of the running, come to Ravenhill on Saturday.

Irish Independent

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