Ulster head coach Neil Doak is pressing on with preparations for Saturday’s Champions Cup ‘Final’ against mighty Toulon with one word on his mind: intimidation.
Ulster’s European campaigns suffered a stinging blow yesterday after it was confirmed winger Andrew Trimble will be out for “a number of months” with significant toe ligament damage suffered against Glasgow in their recent Pro12 clash.
The news is a blow to Ireland too ahead of the autumn internationals and possibly the Six Nations.
Amid all th negatives, Doak he is trying to focus on the European Champions Cup visit of French and European champions Toulon to Kingspan Stadium. After a 25-18 defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road last Saturday, the Toulon game could be the last-chance saloon for Ulster.
However, Doak believes that in front of a noisy home crowd in Belfast, Toulon can be knocked out off kilter.
“!Toulon have won this competition in successive seasons and have real quality across the board and bags of experience. Those players are used to playing in hostile occasions, in front of big crowds, but we will just have to try and intimidate them like never before in front of what should be a raucous crowd at Ravenhill,” said Doak.
The defeat to Leicester has left Ulster hopes clinging by a thread but Doak insists they are looking ahead.
“We have just moved on quickly and focused on Toulon,” said Doak. “We will certainly take a lot of positives from that game at Welford Road. When we had the ball we were very, very dangerous. As I said to the boys on Monday, we had six or seven opportunities around the edges when they were stretched and if we had more vision, we could have capitalised more. So we know that when we have the ball, we can create opportunities and strike. We scored two quality tries against Leicester and it is a long, long time since we have scored two tries in a game and lost it. So from that point of view it was a little bit frustrating.
“If you look at the game, there were 44 set-pieces in 80 minutes of rugby, it’s hard to get any real flow to the game. But when we had flow, we created those opportunities and that’s what we have to aim for this week.”
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