Ulster head coach Dan McFarland expects 'different challenges' from Gloucester

Ulster Toulouse
A defeat at Kingsholm would very likely end Ulster's European ambitions this season
Heineken Champions Cup: Gloucester v Ulster
Venue: Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester Date: Saturday, 19 December Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website

Dan McFarland believes his Ulster side will experience a different type of intensity when they meet Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday.

Having lost a tight contest to Toulouse last weekend, Ulster know that they cannot afford another defeat if they want to reach the competition's quarter-finals.

The province performed well against a star-studded French outfit in Belfast but ultimately came up short in a game that hung in the balance right until the final whistle.

"Gloucester will offer different challenges than Toulouse did," said McFarland.

"They have a physicality to their game, they have a very dangerous driving maul. They have some exceptional speed on the edge and also the ability to get the ball to the edge.

"Their defence is one that can put you under a lot of pressure, there's some brilliant intensity there that will come from the nature of the match itself."

Ulster's maul continued to function superbly against Toulouse but they struggled at the scrum, falling foul of referee Matthew Carley on several occasions.

McFarland was unhappy with a number of scrum interpretations, believing his side had been unfairly penalised when in fact it was Toulouse who had infringed.


"We have a definitive policy here, and I'm not being trite I'm being honest, we coach legal scrummaging," said McFarland, himself a former prop with extensive experience as a forwards coach.

"If our props or hookers have habits that are illegal, we don't coach that.

"I believe that the long-term benefits of that are the people see you as a team that wants to be positive in what you're doing.

"When you're recognised for that it's much easier dealing with difficult situations that often come across in games for the referees.

"The referees have an extremely difficult job in and around the scrum.

"Over the last two-and-a-half years, and in fact all the scrums that I've coached, it would be acknowledged that generally speaking we do things right."

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