Ulster regroup ahead of Edinburgh fixture after shock defeat to Zebre
Chris Henry: ‘I think every player . . . knows how massive the next four weeks are’
Chris Henry believes those players who go out now know that we have to really front up. Photograph: Presseye/Inpho
With the hurt of last week’s surprise defeat at Zebre having been fully absorbed, Ulster have declared themselves ready to produce an appropriate reaction in Friday night’s Pro12 home clash with Edinburgh.
That was the message from the Kingspan Stadium yesterday as the squad came together after their first reverse to Zebre with matters regarding the new coaching set-up yet to be unveiled, though believed to be imminent, taking a back seat.
“Last week was a blip,” said Chris Henry who wasn’t part of the much-changed squad whose three-game unbeaten run came to an end in Parma, with Declan Fitzpatrick’s 10th minute red card doing much to undermine the visitors’ cause.
“It was always going to be hard to win with 14 men but I think every player in the squad knows how massive the next four weeks are,” said Henry.
“It’s certainly not a crisis for us at the moment,” said the Ireland flanker referring to last Saturday’s 12-6 reverse – a losing bonus defeat that, bizarrely, meant Ulster rise to third in the table and stay there thanks to Munster losing to the Ospreys.
“From Monday morning you could see how it [the defeat] had hit people,” he said.
“There was a lot of disappointment but [also] focus . . . to get back on track very, very quickly. We need to get some form [back] and there’s no better place to do it than at home on Friday,” said Henry while adding that Ulster’s discipline would also be crucial – they have shipped two yellow cards and a straight red in four games – in getting the better of former Ulster coach Alan Solomons’ Edinburgh.
Henry also extolled the virtues of Ulster’s existing set-up and the soon to depart Les Kiss who will take up his Ireland duties prior to Ulster’s opening European game with the Tigers.
“He’s [Kiss] very clear what he wants from you. And I think he has brought us forward already with the help of a really good coaching structure behind him,” said Henry, before reiterating what must be done on Friday night.
“Last Saturday was a wake-up call and those who go out now know that we have to really front up.”