Ulster Ravens are facing an uphill battle to qualify for the quarter final of the British and Irish Cup.
Last week’s defeat at Ayr has left Allen Clarke’s side bottom after three matches with four points while the Cornish Pirates top the group with a maximum 15 points.
The Ravens went down to a disappointing defeat at Ayr last Saturday but they can put that right when the side’s meet again at Deramore on Friday night (7.30pm) and out half James McKinney is confident they can.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for. We went across there with quite a young team with a few experienced heads in there and we were looking to go there and push on but unfortunately it didn’t really work out so well but you have to give credit to Ayr,” said McKinney.
“The conditions weren’t great and they played some nice flowing rugby and really to it to us.”
“We don’t want to go into this week thinking we can’t get out of it, it’s a challenge but having those back to back games gives us a chance to fix things straight away we don’t have to sit and rest for two or three months on an opponent like some of the other games, we can actually resolve the problems we had last week and get one up on them.”
“Ayr will be coming here pretty buoyed but they are coming to our home and we’re looking to get a result to get back in the race to get out of the group.”
McKinney is hoping foir a dry night and few mistakes that was made in Scotland last weekend.
“The conditions dictated a lot but the error count was very high and it was a major factor and a lot of their tries came of our errors.”
“Handling errors missed tackles and error kind of compounded error and it went from there so we’re trying to lower that and be more precise in what we do.”
“It’s the same as the back to back games in the Heineken you do learn a lot and you can change and focus more in the seven day period.”
McKinney is still hopefully of progression from the group.
“We’re looking to go out and win all three games, we have two home games and a trip to Jersey we’d like to think the home games would be straight forward to win but there will be challenges, the Pirates are strong, Jersey are good and it is a tough group and we’ll looking to get some win.”
While the other three teams in the group play every week the Ravens only come together for matches but McKinney is not using that as an excuse.
“From that point of view it is a challenge but you’d like the experienced heads that are working day in and day out in your squad to come through but unfortunately it has come through this season yet.”
McKinney has returned to Ulster after a season at Rotherham and he felt it was very beneficial.
“It was a big step to get away from home and be out of the comfort zone and I thought it was invaluable, it has helped to progress me as a player and as a person as well.”
“It was an enjoyable year and I owe a lot to the people of Rotherham, it’s nice to be back here now.”
“You just get on with it but all the boys were in the same boat it was a challenging time but brought us together as a squad and I probably did better with a different coach.”