'Buoyant' Ulster will be a 'big challenge' for Saints

Chris Boyd knows Saints will face a 'buoyant' Ulster side in Belfast on Friday night.

By Tom Vickers
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 1:33 pm
Chris Boyd
Chris Boyd

And the Kiwi boss has called on his players to perform 'significantly better' as they go in search of a win that would keep their Champions Cup hopes alive.

Saints were beaten 45-14 by Racing 92 at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens last Friday, shipping five tries on the night.

But Ulster had a much better weekend, securing a memorable 29-23 win away to Clermont Auvergne.

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And Boyd said: "I read somewhere that it's the first time for a long time they've beaten a French team in France so they will be buoyant and tough to beat on their own patch.

"We'll need to do things differently because it's a completely different challenge and it won't be any easier for us.

"We have to do certain things significantly better: we need to be more disciplined and more accurate.

"They are very keen to mount scoreboard pressure and what they do, they do very well.

"It will be a big challenge."

Boyd has reviewed Ulster's win in Clermont and he gave his assessment of it.

"I thought both of their midfielders (Stuart McCloskey and James Hume) played very well last weekend and they are both good players who are pivotal for them," Boyd said.

"Unfortunately the lad on the right wing (Robert Baloucoune) seemed to sustain a fairly serious injury but I think he's a good footballer.

"The boy (Michael) Lowry is a bit of a firecracker and (John) Cooney is obviously instrumental for them.

"They've got a lot of quality players and they've got a capacity to change their game up. Sometimes they are more direct and other times they're looking for space.

"They're a good side and they'll be hard to beat."

Saints played Ulster fairly recently as they lost 35-27 to them in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Gardens last season.

But when asked whether he could take anything from that game to use this Friday, Boyd said: "Nothing, I wouldn't think."