Friday 22 February 2019

Ulster learning past lessons - Reidy

Ulster flanker Sean Reidy Photo: Sportsfile
Ulster flanker Sean Reidy Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Ulster travel to the East Midlands today with plenty of European baggage in the hold.

Their mission is to book a first Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final appearance since 2014 by beating Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

They come into the game on the back of three successive wins in the tournament and buoyed by last weekend's superb performance against Racing 92.

Backing up big wins has been an issue for Ulster teams in recent seasons, but flanker Sean Reidy believes they have learnt from the experience of missing chances as they did away to Wasps last season when they lost 26-7 and missed out on the quarter-finals on points difference.

"We took it a bit for granted last time we were in Europe," he said of the trip to Coventry a year ago.

"This week, that's not going to happen. We're going to go into this game all guns blazing and try and put in a good, solid performance for our fans and for each other."

Given the difficulties they endured on and off the pitch last season and the vast changes that came last summer, few expected Dan McFarland's men to bounce back so quickly and be in with a shout of the European knockouts.

But Reidy kept the faith despite the upheaval.

"From a personal point of view, I thought that we'd be there all along," the New Zealand-born Ireland international said.

"I backed the squad and knew that if we got things right we'd definitely be there at the end of the season.

"We've just put ourselves in a position now that we can go over there and really confirm that.

"There have been a lot of people coming and going and that's coaches included, but I think we've really galvanised as a team especially over these last 10 or so weeks.

"We're heading in the right direction, especially last weekend there when times were tough and Racing were really attacking well and we came together and got over the line then."

And despite the recent success, Reidy reckons there is plenty of room for improvement this weekend.

Given the tight race for a best runners-up spot, they will likely need to win at Welford Road to qualify.

"It's just not resting on your laurels this week," he said. "We put in a good performance last week and we can't take the foot of the throat now, you've got to just keep grinding away and trying to get better and keep improving.

"At the end of the day we've got to go out there and give it a full 80."

Irish Independent

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