Rugby

Ulster coach Dan Soper says his side need a clinical edge

Ulster coach Dan Soper
Ulster coach Dan Soper Ulster coach Dan Soper

DAN Soper feels that if Ulster can become more clinical they will start securing bonus-point victories. 

With a new artificial surface installed at Kingspan Stadium the province promised to play a more attacking style of rugby this season and get away from the driving-maul game. 

However, with six games gone in the BKT United Rugby Championship, Ulster have only manged to score four tries in a match once and that came away to Italian strugglers Zebre on the opening day of the season. 

They have the lowest points total in the top four ahead of facing Edinburgh on Saturday night in Belfast, but the Kiwi attack coach is seeing the side’s game evolving. 

“We're seeing some good progress in areas of our attack but ultimately what do you measure it on? Line breaks and scoring tries,” said Soper.  

“Ironically when people asked questions about our attack last year we were scoring plenty of tries but we weren't attacking in the manner that some people thought we should be.”  

“Depending on how you look at it, we are playing with a bit more width, we're shifting the ball about a wee bit more, we just need to be a bit more clinical and take some of the chances that we're creating.”  

“We created plenty of chances on Saturday night but we didn't execute, we didn't finish them.” 

“I suppose you'd rather be sat here having created chances and not finished them as opposed to having not created any chances at all.” 

“We've got to lift our standard of execution, hopefully for Christmas I can give you a few more tries.” 

“You've got to look deep enough through the emotion of it, frustration being the emotion that you have when you see (missed opportunities).” 

“If you can see we are creating the opportunities it gives you the encouragement that we are doing the right thing we just need to be more consistent in doing it.” 

“That's our job as coaches to steer guys towards that.” 

“We have played some really good rugby and other times we haven't been tight enough on the ball and that's cost us, it cost us on Saturday night.” 

Soper doesn’t believe the constant rotation in the squad this season has been a major factor in blunting the attack. 

“A wee bit but we train together, it's not like one week we're trying to play one way and the next a completely different style of rugby, what we do is what we do.” 

“The guys train together, there is an element of getting that familiarity with the guys that you play alongside, different combinations.” 

“The flip side is we've exposed a lot of guys and we've got really competitive training, guys are pushing each other on, there is always two sides to an argument.” 

Ulster have won all three home games so far this season and with Edinburgh being the last before Europe, Soper realises the importance of keeping the momentum going. 

“There is something nice in the familiar surroundings of your own venue and the home support are there.” 

“Friends and family are on the terrace, you wake up in your own bed in the morning.  You have your morning at home. That all plays a part.” 

“It's great when the crowd gets going on Friday or Saturday evenings.”  

“It's a great place to be and we're very fortunate that we have one of the best stadiums with the best local support, we enjoy being here.” 

“Europe, we've got some pretty strong teams, teams in good form, so we need to turn up to that competition in good form.”