Rugby Union

Sean Reidy: Ulster can avoid repeat of Euro Rugby capitulation

Ulster's Sean Reidy sidesteps the Oyonnax defence Picture by Hugh Russell.
John Flack

SEAN Reidy is adamant Ulster will avoid a repeat of last year's capitulation in their final European Champions Cup pool game when they head to Welford Road to take on Leicester Tigers tomorrow.

Twelve months ago, the province travelled to England with a quarter-final spot seemingly well within their grasp but failed miserably when losing 26-7 to a Wasps side who were already out of contention.

It's a virtually identical scenario this time around as Ulster need a win against already eliminated opposition, unless other results go their way - starting with a home win for Edinburgh over Montpellier tonight - which would allow Reidy and co entry into the knock-out stages via the back door.

Reidy insists there will be no complacency as Ulster prepare to tackle Leicester on the back of an impressive win over Racing 92, having also beaten French opposition in the shape of La Rochelle a year ago, before losing tamely to Wasps.

"We took it a bit for granted last time we were in Europe so, this week, that's not going to happen," said the flanker.

"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.

"A lot has changed in the last 12 months from the Wasps game and obviously 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.

"I think 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.

"It was awesome. There were a lot of people there, 16,000 or whatever and the place was absolutely humming.

"We can take a bit away from that and we all know how good Racing are, especially their attack, and this gives us a bit of confidence going into this week."

Most pundits would suggest that Ulster have punched above their weight this season, to be one win away from a European quarter-final, with a much-changed and less experienced squad, but Reidy doesn't agree.

"I thought from a personal point of view that we'd be there all along. I backed the squad and knew that if we got things right we'd definitely be there at this stage of the season," he claimed

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

However, Reidy expects a tough game against Leicester, despite the fact Geordan Murphy's side have no more than pride to play for.

"We know that it's not going to be easy. It's going to be a battle and we've got to turn up but if we can come together and play as a collective then there's no reason why we can't go over there and get a win," said the Auckland native.

"They have a strong history and over the past 10 or 15 years they were at the forefront of the professional era, winning a lot of titles.

"But Ulster have gone away from home in Europe and put in performances and we know that if we go over there and play well as a collective, at the end of the day, we'll be in a good place."

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