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Dublin: 15 °C Tuesday 20 August, 2019
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Heineken Cup: McLaughlin calls for Ulster 'perspective'

Brian McLaughlin has gratefully accepted the ‘favourites’ tag, but warned his players that anything less than their full potential will not be good enough.

Weight of expectation: Brian McLaughlin at Ulster training this week.
Weight of expectation: Brian McLaughlin at Ulster training this week.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porter

ULSTER BOSS, BRIAN McLaughlin, has called on his squad to deliver a repeat performance of the effort put in during the quarter-final victory over Munster.

Many teams at this stage of a competiion would look to shelve all history.

But McLaughlin and Ulster are not about to paper over the high water mark achieved in Thomond Park.

Briefing the media at the province’s Newforge base yesterday McLaughlin said:

“For me the biggest fear is that we don’t play to our potential. We’ve got an unbelievable opportunity, but we’ve gotta recognise that so do Edinburgh. We’ve gotta make sure that we take what we did in Munster and we perform at our optimum level this weekend.”

Edinburgh travel to meet the northern province at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday as overwhelming underdogs.

Favourites

Rather than play his chances down, McLaughlin was more than happy to be labelled as favourite to reach the final, saying Ulster had worked hard to be thought of in such high regard:

“I think it’s credit to Johann and credit to all the players that we’ve got that favourites tag now.

“It’s something we’ve wanted and something we’ve coveted and now we have it we’ve got to make sure that come Saturday we play like true favourites and we go on the pitch and do what we did in Munster and that’s play to our true potential.”

The soon-to-be academy director admitted that “hands down” he would have accepted their current position if it was offered at the beginning of the season. However, he was also sure to remind everyone that Edinburgh are on a level playing field, and reeled off an impressive list of their achievements.

“They’ve put a lot of emphasis onto Europe and they’re record there has been excellent.” enthused McLaughlin:

“They won their group, we didn’t. They had a home quarter final, we didn’t. They won their group, we didn’t. They put out a French team and also in their group beat a French team away – that’s something we’ve never done.

“From that point of view it’s going to be an exceptionally tough game and it’s important we keep that doubly in perspective, how tough it’s going to be.”

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Sean Farrell

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