ULSTER’S stand-in captain, Chris Henry, said the seven-try performance was owed in part to the strength and courage the players had taken from meeting and speaking with the Spence family less than a week ago at their team mate’s Memorial Service.
Running onto the Cardiff Arms Park last night with the initials of NS embroidered on their Ulster shirts, the players turned in one of their best performances to demolish Cardiff Blues 48-19.
Ireland ‘A’ and Ulster centre, Nevin Spence had died along side his father and brother in a tragic farm accident two weeks ago today and Henry said last night that the team wanted to make Nevin proud.
“Seeing how the Spence family had dealt with the tragedy we could not have responded any other way that the way we have.
“Everyone involved in Ulster Rugby has to take credit for the professional way we have gone about our business.
“The only thing that mattered out there tonight was the rugby. That was the way Nevin would have wanted it.
Henry added: “We have his name on our shirt now and that will stay right with us through the season.
“If you ask any player he (Nevin) was with us out there tonight.
“ It is not something that is ever going to go away from us easily and we have to use it in the best way and hopefully we did him proud tonight.
“Yes the situation is still raw with us and it was emotional tonight and it will be again.
“It is something that is never going to go away, but we have to us it in the best way and hopefully Nevin was proud of us tonight.”
In terms of the performance, head coach Mark Anscombe said it was certainly closer to where he wanted it.
“The key things for us to be successful is having a good set piece and we have a good that and it is working well.
“The other key thing is having a good defence.
“ If you are strong in defence your defence grows, your attack grows and your confidence grows.
“Those three areas have been working well and we want it to continue to progress in those areas.”