Dan McFarland has revealed that Ulster went back to the basics after a poor run of form which saw them lose four matches out of five.
Ulster secured a home quarter-final in the URC with their victory against the Sharks on Friday night, while a second place finish and a home semi-final remains in reach, as long as Munster and the Stormers lose today.
The northern province’s season is now back on track, having being knocked out of the Heineken Champions Cup by Toulouse, while losses to the Bulls, Stormers and Munster saw them slip down the URC table.
McFarland was speaking to Premier Sports after the win against the Sharks and revealed that the recent victory against Edinburgh has been a turning point for his team.
Dan McFarland on how Ulster turned things around.
“It wasn’t just the Toulouse games, it was the South Africa trip, it was the game against the Stormers where we had a victory literally taken away from us through no control of our own,” McFarland said.
“It really kicks you. We went to the Bulls and didn’t play quite as well [as we can] and then we got to play Toulouse home and away and we lose over 160 minutes by one point. It is tough.
“When you’re looking at that, and through that period we weren’t playing as well as we have been, we weren’t playing as well as we were over the Christmas period of games. So really you go back to what you know is the foundation of your game.
“That was completely evident in the Edinburgh game. I was really proud of that moment, I spoke to the guys about that moment before the game tonight. It was a big point for us.”
⚪ @UlsterRugby coach Dan McFarland reacts to a big win over Cell C Sharks and securing a home quarter final
🗣️ “Stadiums don’t win you matches, but you’d prefer to be at home to play a playoff game. And we will be now.” pic.twitter.com/9GbL7ERxV7
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) May 20, 2022
Dramatic final round of the URC.
Ulster have got back to winning ways ahead of the URC play offs, although their poor run of form earlier in the season means they will likely have to win away from home to get their hands on silverware.
A first place finish in the URC looked to be a real possibility for Ulster after their victory against Leinster back in March, but they are now hoping for a favour from Leinster and Scarlets in order to finish second.
There is plenty to play for in the final round of the URC, as a second place finish remains a possibility for Ulster, Munster and the Stormers, with the play-off picture still quite unclear.
The worst case scenario for Ulster would arguably be if the Stormers finish second while they finish third, as McFarland’s men would have to travel to Cape Town for the semi-final, if both sides win their quarter-final encounters.