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Ulster feel the pain

Mon, 21 Jan 2013 15:37
Large mark anscombe Large mark mccall saracens Large mark anscombe2

Ulster are still hurting from the home defeat by Northampton Saints that cost them home advantage in April's European Cup quarterfinals.

Ulster are still hurting from the home defeat by Northampton Saints that cost them home advantage in April's European Cup quarterfinals - and instead has pitched them in with a head-to-head against former Ulster captain and coach Mark McCall's high flying Saracens.

Despite topping their Pool with Five of their six group contests - including an historic first competitive win in France - Mark Anscombe's side missed out on home advantage as the fifth ranked qualifier.

"With the way the semifinal draw has worked out there is a massive incentive there," said Anscombe.

The winner of the game will then have home country advantage in the semifinals at the end of April against either Toulon or Leicester Tigers.

"The eight teams in the quarterfinals are all high quality sides, so there was never going to be such thing as a favourable draw," he added.

"It's disappointing not to be at home but we dropped our guard by not beating Northampton at Ravenhill and that has cost us.

"Hopefully we will get our injured players back for the quarterfinal. It is two and a half months away, so a lot is going to happen between now and then.

Meanwhile, there is that fascinating clash with McCall, who lifted European club rugby's most coveted trophy with Ulster's current Director of Rugby David Humphreys against Colomiers at Lansdowne Road in 1999.

McCall also coached Ulster between 2004 and 2007 and led the Province to the Celtic League title in 2006.

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