Friday 20 April 2018

Anscombe keeps a level head

Luke Marshall, left, scored two tries for Ulster
Luke Marshall, left, scored two tries for Ulster

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe played down any prospect of another easy outing in Italy in the Heineken Cup next weekend.

Anscombe's men further bolstered their grip as leaders of Heineken Cup Pool Five with a seven-try 48-0 whipping of Benetton Treviso in the Ravenhill leg of their back-to-back clashes.

However, he does not believe victory is a formality in Saturday's return - even though they racked up their third straight European win and their first try bonus of the campaign .

Anscombe said: "The manner in which we went about our work and to score seven tries and nearly scored 50 points and concede none, well, you've got to be happy.

"But we know that no two days are the same in this game.

"And we're not going to kid ourselves that next week is going to be a walkover.

"And the fact is that we know it's a different challenge over there and they have a proud home record.

"We respect them enormously on their home track," Anscombe added before alluding to last season's back-to-back clashes with Northampton - when Ulster won the first clash at Franklin's Gardens before losing the return at Ravenhill which undermined their bid for a home quarter-final.

"We were sitting over in England this time last year (Anscombe said referring to their win at Saints) and we were pretty happy about what we achieved but we didn't back it up and we let ourselves down and it took away an opportunity of a home quarter-final.

"Hopefully we'll learn from our mistakes. There will be a different challenge next week and it's going to be their coach's last game. "

Franco Smith is set for an early departure from Treviso and Anscombe said: " The guys (Treviso) will want to send him off in the right manner and what we have already done will count for nothing next week."

Ulster led 22-0 at half-time thanks to tries from Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and John Afoa, but then had a wobbly period at the start of the second half which also saw Marshall sent to the bin.

Anscombe explained: "We lost our focus a little bit at the start of that second half and it took us about 15 minutes to get into our work.

"Overall I thought it was a good performance and the way guys who hadn't had a lot of Heineken Cup rugby stood up...

"Rob Herring and Sean Doyle on their first starts were outstanding and a few of the guys off the bench really put themselves about a bit.

"And after Luke went in the bin the defence around our 22 was pretty good, while our set-piece was good throughout and the boys scrummed pretty well with TC (Tom Court) and John (Afoa) outstanding."

Ulster completed their seven-try rout with scores from Dan Tuohy, Doyle and Andrew Trimble, with Marshall grabbing his second in the dying minutes.

Press Association

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