Rory Best: 'Nobody thought Ulster would come here and win, but we've done just that'
Ulster captain Rory Best was thrilled to silence the province's doubters with yesterday's hard-earned 25-23 win over Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon.
Despite a heavy defeat to Saracens in their first pool game, Les Kiss's men are right back in the mix for a Champions Cup quarter-final place after tries from Ruan Pienaar, Andrew Trimble and Luke Marshall sealed a famous win in the south of France with Best delighted. "Nobody expected us to come here and win at the start of the campaign and we've done that," he said.
Having taken nine points from the double-header with the French giants, the skipper admitted to a feeling of real pride over how his squad have resurrected their Euro campaign.
"This is one of the toughest places that I've come to," he reflected. "So to come here, match that physicality, and come out with a win we can be rightly proud.
"Toulouse are a great team and they have some stars of world rugby. Last week we put in a really good performance," he said.
"This week we knew they were going to be a lot more physical for us and that's what they did."
Ulster still have a visit to Saracens to negotiate, as well as home and away contests with lowly Oyonnax, when the competition resumes next month and Best is determined that the pair of victories over Toulouse will not be wasted by a complacent attitude.
"When the time comes to play Oyonnax, if we think we just have to turn up and win it goes against everything that we've worked hard to achieve.
"We'll give them the respect they deserve."
In the immediate future, when the players return to training tomorrow, focus is back on domestic matters with a testing Pro12 trip to Connacht slated for St Stephen's Day. Best is expecting a real battle at the Sportsground.
"Connacht will have a lot of self-belief, sitting top of the table and there's a lot to play for. We'll re-focus on that come Tuesday."
That sentiment was echoed by Best's director of rugby Les Kiss.
"Connacht are on top of the ladder and it'll be a really tough game. It's a massive game," he said.
"We have to make sure that we're in the right head space."