Dan Soper says Ulster ‘won’t look too far down road’

Four bonus-point wins from their remaining four games and denying Leinster anything in Belfast would put Ulster into the Pro14 final for a second consecutive season.

Ulster are five points behind the defending champions at the top of Conference A with the sides set to clash in Belfast on Saturday week.

If sides finish level on points, the first criteria for determining who reaches the final would be games won rendering Leinster’s 80 points difference over Ulster meaningless.

However, skills coach Dan Soper isn’t looking any further than this Friday night’s home clash against the Ospreys.

Ulster rugby skills coach Dan Soper. Photo by John Dickson/DICKSONDIGITAL

Ulster will play at Kingspan Stadium for the first time since the opening weekend of January and despite the need for a maximum point win, the Kiwi just wants Ulster to secure the win.

“If you crunch the numbers that would make it pretty close, at the moment and what is really important - and it is the same at any time or any level of rugby or anything you are doing when you start focussing too far down the road - you can lose sight of what is right in front of your face,” stated Soper.

“What is important for us is just to go out this weekend 100% focused on the Ospreys and get the job done.

“There is no doubt that there are some big games coming up after that, with Leinster and so forth, but those games will mean absolutely nothing if we don’t get the job done this weekend; so what is really important is that we just focus on getting our performance right.”

South African No 8 Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in the win over Glasgow last Friday but Soper hasn’t ruled him out of playing against the Ospreys this week.

“Marcell has to get through the week and pass a few things with the medics before we make a decision on him but they are working hard with him,” he said.

“We are hopeful but he has got a few things to tick off this week to make it.”

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