Eric O’Sullivan expects Ulster to hit back after Toulouse defeat

Last season Dan McFarland wasn’t happy with Clermont tight head Rabah Silmani scrummaging in the Heineken Champions Cup game at Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster’s Eric O’Sullivan.
Ulster’s Eric O’Sullivan.

And last week the Ulster coach - a former prop himself during his playing days - was miffed as his side conceded penalties at the scrum against Toulouse.

Loose head prop Eric O’Sullivan, fresh from winning his first Ireland cap against Scotland in the Autumn Nations Cup, feels it is more a case of power than technique when playing French sides.

“I wouldn’t say it’s smarter but it’s more of an arm wrestle, they’re much bigger guys and used to more of a fight,” commented O’Sullivan.

“Technically, things are probably a bit better in the Pro14 but when you have such big packs coming together you’re not really worried about how technically good you are, it’s about trying to drive over the top of you.

“I think we maybe got a few things wrong and they were able to use their size,” he added.

“I think we got a few things technically wrong and they were then able to use their size, we have to make sure we’re better.”

It remains to be seen what the ramifications for Ulster will be with two games in Pool B - Toulouse v Exeter and Glasgow v Lyon - cancelled due to Covid-19.

EPCR will convene Match Result Resolution Committees to determine the results of the cancelled matches and the decisions of the committees will be communicated as soon as practicable, however that doesn’t change Ulster’s mentality travelling to Gloucester tomorrow: if they don’t win they won’t make the knockout stages.

“We’re definitely going out to try and win this weekend anyway, there’s a big focus on trying to put on a good performance and trying to get the win,” said O’Sullivan.

“It’s a tough place to go but with a good week’s training under our belt, it’ll be no problem.

“I think what’s huge for us is making sure we’re playing our game, not being influenced by the team we’re playing or how they like to play rugby.

“We have to put our game forward, that’s our plan.”

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