Dan Soper embracing new coaching role with Ulster

Dan Soper joined Ulster in 2018 as skills coach after guiding RBAI to three consecutive Schools’ Cup wins and a successful stint in the club game, helping Ballynahinch and Banbridge to success in the All Ireland League.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:00 am

The Kiwi was promoted to backs coach at Kingspan Stadium after Dwayne Peel returned to Wales at the end of last season and Soper is embracing his new role.

“I suppose it is but while I’m leading that part of it, I’m conscious of the fact that there’s an enormous amount of knowledge in the group,” he said.

“It’s not my way or the highway, it’s a collective process, I’m drawing on the experience and the knowledge of the other coaches but also of our players.

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Ulster backs coach Dan Soper.

“So, my part in in is to steer us all in the right direction. I’m enjoying it but I’m well aware it would be quite naive of me to go in thinking that I have all the answers.

“I’ve enjoyed developing slightly different relationships in terms of our tactical appreciation of the game and how we go about that. It’s been a good challenge but we’re just getting started.”

One of Soper’s key roles in his new job will to be develop Ulster’s attacking play, with all three tries in Friday night’s defeat from Saracens coming from rolling mauls.

“We’d all love to see those flying over in the corner tries, our maul and forward play in the ‘22’ was really nice,” he continued.

“As part of the whole package you’ve got to have more than one way to score, we created some opportunities that we didn’t execute as much as we would have liked to but that’s the challenge a defence like Saracens brings and it’ll be the same this week.

“Do we want more than one way to score? Absolutely and we’ll continue to try and develop that in our play.”

Ulster get another craic at Saracens on Thursday night and there are plenty of work-ons from last Friday.

“There was a rough period in that first 20 minutes when things got away from us but we rallied and pulled it back,” Soper said.

“Like any week, we’ve things on the attack side, things on the defence side, things at the breakdown that need to improve.”