Ulster won't ease off

Fri, 28 Dec 2012 08:18
Large mark anscombe Large ruan pienaar ulster v saint Large mark anscombe2 Large robbie diack 630

Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe admits he is relishing the challenge of keeping his side focused.

Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe admits he is relishing the challenge of keeping his side focused and away from complacency despite their unbeaten run in the Pro12.

His side currently have a healthy nine-point lead over Scarlets at the top of the standings with a game in hand; a position solidified by an unbeaten run of 11 league wins out of a possible 11 so far this season.

But the Irish side went into last weekend's clash with provincial rivals Leinster on the back of their first loss of the season in any competition - a 10-9 reverse to Northampton Saints in the Heineken Cup.

They bounced back in style, however, recording a 27-19 victory over the reigning European champions to maintain their position at the top of the Pro12 and their unbeaten league record.

And Anscombe admits keeping his side focused on the task is his main concern ahead of a critical time of the season - with this weekend's clash against Munster followed by a pool-deciding fortnight of European action to come in January.

"You know, I suppose it's the sort of challenge we all face as coaches, how do we keep your team on their toes and keep them consistent?" Anscombe told The Belfast Telegraph.

"It's challenging and that's what it is, but we're not fooled by the fact.

"We've had a good result [against Leinster] and a not so good one before that and that will happen again during the course of the season.

"It's really all about how we bounce back and respond and challenge ourselves to grow as a unit.

"We're assessing things but we've got to, obviously, give some guys some rest.

"So we're addressing that and the fact that the Irish team are in camp as well.

"We've got a plan of what we want to do but we'll see how it all pans out."

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PRO12
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Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 22 16 1 5 75
Munster 22 15 2 5 75
Ospreys 22 16 1 5 74
Ulster 22 14 2 6 69
Leinster 22 11 3 8 62
Scarlets 22 11 3 8 57
Connacht 22 10 1 11 50
Edinburgh 22 10 1 11 48
Dragons 22 8 0 14 42
Cardiff Blues 22 7 1 14 35
Treviso 22 3 1 18 19
Zebre 22 3 0 19 15