ULSTER SECURED FOUR points last night against Montpellier, and their line is that a fifth would have made little difference in truth.
In all likelihood, a win for Leicester against Treviso this afternoon will set up a potentially thrilling Pool 5 denouement at Welford Road next weekend. Ulster out-half Paddy Jackson claims that fixture is the type of game professional players long for, but admits his province will need to be much improved to come away with a win.
Ulster’s errors in possession hindered their progress at Ravenhill yesterday evening, as they played into the hands of the aggressive Montpellier defence. Jackson says that although Ulster did attempt to kick over and around the French side’s aggressive line, that was often attempted off scrappy ball.
At times it was a bit frustrating. We were trying to play territory and at times we seemed to be kicking off the back foot a lot, which made it difficult. But a couple of our tries came from kicks. They were out to spoil our party, they didn’t have anything to lose, so we knew it was going to be difficult.
“We knew they were going to come hard, and they had a hard blitz defence, so it’s something we need to deal with a bit better in the future I think.”
Jackson’s superb diagonal kick allowed Robbie Diack to gather without having to completely break stride and open Ulster’s try-scoring account in the 25th minute. That was one of several impressive touches from the 22-year-old’s right boot, a growing feature of his performances this season.
In humble fashion, Jackson pointed out that “the boys made it easy for me” by calling that particular play in from the wing. Regardless, the Ireland international is kicking well out of hand, a skill that will be important against Leicester.
Welford Road’s crowd can often be intimidating for the away side, but Jackson has a fond memory of the place. The Belfast native made his Heineken Cup debut there in 2011, briefly appearing as a substitute in a 20-9 defeat.
“My first Heineken Cup experience was there. I got five minutes off the bench and I remember coming through the tunnel and there was a lot of noise being made. Everyone’s close to the pitch and it’s one of those places you love to go.
“It’s games like this that you want to play in, so I’m looking forward to it.”
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