ULSTER will look to change their fortunes at Rodney Parade on Friday when they face Newport Gwent Dragons (7.05pm).
The Irish Province are riding the crest of a wave at the moment, the only side to boast a 100 per cent record in all competitions after eight weeks of competition.
The break for the international period arrives after next weekend’s PRO12 round eight series – although Ulster have a rearranged postponed game on November 18 – and stand-in skipper on Friday, Chris Henry, wants the side to maintain their form and complete this phase of the season on a high.
Henry takes the armband in the absence of captain, Johann Muller, who is ruled out for up to eight weeks with injury.
He last led the team to an impressive win in Wales when Ulster stormed the Arms Park and put 49 points on the Cardiff Blues in what was their most complete performance to date.
Having not won in Wales last season, Ulster have been successful on visits to Ospreys and the Blues already, but Rodney Parade has proven a ‘hoodoo venue’ for them, registering only one win – May 2011 – in their last six visits.
Ulster are unbeaten in the league this season – indeed all competitions – and their away form has impressed, particularly with that win in Cardiff and last week’s ‘grind it out’ performance against Glasgow Warriors in the Heineken Cup.
Henry said: “Going away is something that we are not afraid of. We can go away and still put in performances
“Games away from home are all about the percentages, winning your set piece ball, winning possession and putting pressure on the opposition.”
On the away record in Newport, Henry said: “The Dragons always frustrate us, they know how to get stuck into us and disrupt our flow.
“I think that is why this week it’s about us focusing on ourselves, putting our structures in place and going there with the attitude to play rugby.
“When we get caught up in a dog fight with them, that is how they have managed to undo us in the past. There is no hiding from our track record there. It is not fantastic. But it is all to play for and we have a lot to lose. We simply have to bring our professionalism to the game.”