Kieran Treadwell says Richie Murphy has given Ulster a lift

The northern province host Leinster on Saturday hoping to carry on the fine recent form

Ulster's Kieran Treadwell in action with Stade Toulousain's Paul Grau (left) and Juan Mallia during the Investec Champions Cup match at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Picture date: Saturday January 13, 2024.
Kieran Treadwell is enjoying working with new Ulster coach Richie Murphy (Liam McBurney/PA)

FOURTEEN points out of the last possible 15 available has put Ulster on the brink of reaching the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals and qualifying for the European Champions Cup next season.

A win at home tomorrow night against an expected understrength Leinster could seal the northern province’s participation in both events after a turbulent season on and off the field.

Lock Kieran Treadwell believes Richie Murphy replacing Dan McFarland after a defeat at the Ospreys in February has been a contributing factor to the upturn in Ulster’s fortunes.

After a slow start which saw Ulster lose three of Murphy’s first four games, the side has responded by winning four of their last five matches and the former Ireland U20s boss being handed a two-year deal to stay in Belfast.

“It’s great to continue working with Richie, he has put some good things in place in the short amount of time that he has been here,” stated Treadwell.

“It is a good stepping stone to build on that it is actually something that we can work on together for a long period of time.

“He is very clear in what he says, he knows what he wants, and he knows how we want to play.

“His delivery of message is very clear, he is an honest person in the fact of what you need to work on, how you are going to work on it and how you are going to get to that point where you are the best version of yourself.

“He is very approachable – if you have something to work on or you have a question, he is very approachable to give you advice.

“Richie has made us see where we need to go and the potential that we have to go to those places.

“It was more like the simplicity of knowing how good we can be, but we just have to do things that sort of way. I don’t think it was like a complete change of someone who has come in and we’d forgotten or where we can go – I think it was just a realisation that we are good.”

Treadwell isn’t worried about the permutations of the league table – he is just focused on what Ulster are doing. “We need to win, and we need to put a performance together that we are happy with and keep that snowball effect of next game focus but at this stage of the season we need wins,” he said.

“The results look after themselves if the performances are good enough, so he has put the good groundwork in and we work well together as a team and I think there is still a long way to go but there is definitely potential for some serious growth.

“Leinster are a good squad no matter what and it really isn’t about them – we have to focus on ourselves in the stage that we are trying to grow so we really just have to put our best foot forward and put our best performance forward on the pitch and what will be will be.

“This effectively is going to be our last home game unless a few results fall our way – it is massive to have an interpro in front of your home fans.

“It is going to be massive to get back and we just need to put a performance out there with the help of the crowd – and with their support we can deep dig.

“You go out to win every single game – it’s so competitive.

“We just need that consistency to pull out those performances so a win this weekend will stand us in good stead and get the wheels in motion for next week and give us good confidence.”