ANDREW TRIMBLE believes that Ulster can look back as far as January 2009 for inspiration in their Magners League semi-final clash with Leinster at the RDS on Friday night.
The importance of a stunning 37-11 Thomond Park victory over Munster two years ago, he figures, cannot be underestimated in the progression of Ulster this season.
“I don’t suppose that was the definitive turning point but it was a turning point. All teams get to produce the occasional performance like that, and for us at the time it was very much a one-off display because we had a shocking season,” he said.
“What it did, however, was give us a bit of belief. It made us realise how good we could be. We turned up in Limerick that day unbelievably motivated and I suppose, in hindsight, we used that game as a starting point to get to where we are now.”
Trimble has been ruled out of Friday’s game with a broken thumb and that’s a huge disappointment, given his desire to challenge himself against a team he now rates as the best in Europe.
“They’re right up there. It’s a huge challenge and we’ve got to learn from our last visit to the RDS, when Leinster handed us a lesson.
“They were much better than us that day and the only consolation was that we were in with a shout coming towards the end of the game. We need to significantly improve to challenge them this week.
“This is an opportunity for us. Whenever you get a hiding, it’s nice to have a chance to redeem yourself. We’re getting to the level we need to be although we have a way to go.
“This weekend is a real chance for us to show how much we have improved and you don’t get that many chances to shoot down a team as good as Leinster. When those opportunities arise, it’s important to be able to take it and, whatever else, we won’t be lacking in motivation.”
Meanwhile Ulster have a number of key players absent from their preliminary 31-man squad for Friday’s game with Leinster.
Willie Faloon injured his shoulder in training two weeks ago and will undergo surgery this Thursday to repair a torn rotator cuff.
Dan Tuohy injured a hamstring during Friday’s game against the Dragons but is named in the initial squad and will hope to get the all-clear from an MRI scan. Internationals Paddy Wallace, Stephen Ferris, Andrew Trimble and BJ Botha remain sidelined through injury. Luke Marshall returns to training after a wrist injury.
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