McFarland: Ulster have shaken off Euro ‘hangover’

Dan McFarland says a “mental hangover” from the Champions Cup loss to Leinster cost Ulster in Glasgow last weekend but believes they’ll return to Scotland tonight refreshed and ready to pip Edinburgh to a play-off place.

McFarland: Ulster have shaken off Euro ‘hangover’

Dan McFarland says a “mental hangover” from the Champions Cup loss to Leinster cost Ulster in Glasgow last weekend but believes they’ll return to Scotland tonight refreshed and ready to pip Edinburgh to a play-off place.

Ulster could clinch a spot in the PRO14 knockout stages with a bonus-point win at Murrayfield and have recalled Iain Henderson, Rob Balacoune, and Nick Timoney to the side after they sat out the 30-7 defeat away to Glasgow a week ago.

“Those guys needed to take a down week,” admitted Ulster head coach McFarland.

“It would be silly not to think that there was a context related to the physical and emotional investment the week before (against Leinster).

“The game in Dublin was 47 minutes of ball in play time and 460 tackles in that game so the physical and mental impact was huge.

The emotional peak for us was probably more intense than it was for Leinster, who are always playing play-off games, so they are used to that kind of game.

“For the Glasgow game we wanted to have the players physically fresh, but in terms of the mental hangover, I suspect we never totally dusted off that.”

McFarland feels Edinburgh’s set piece is better than Glasgow’s and it’s win or bust for the home side, who will have to beat Ulster and Glasgow in their remaining two games to make a late charge for a PRO14 play-off spot.

“I certainly think we will be better this week, I have no doubt about that,” added McFarland.

“Whether that is good enough to win, I don’t know. Edinburgh are doing pretty well at the minute and this game is as important for them as it is for us.

"They know everything is on the line as far as a play-off is concerned, so we have prepped for that.”

EDINBURGH:

D Graham; D Hoyland, M Bennett, M Scott, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, WP Nell; B Toolis, G Gilchrist, M Bradbury, H Watson, V Mata.

Replacements:

R Ford, A Dell, S Berghan, C Hunter-Hill, J Barclay, C Shiel, S Hickey, G Taylor.

ULSTER:

J Stockdale; R Balacoune, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore; I Henderson, K Treadwell; N Timoney, J Murphy, M Coetzee.

Replacements:

J Andrew, A Warwick, R Kane, A O’Connor, S Reidy, D Shanahan, P Nelson, A Kernohan.

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