Michael Lowry expects reponse from Ulster in Pro14

Ulster have had five weeks to reflect on their defeat at the RDS against Leinster in their last Pro14 outing.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Friday, 19th February 2021, 6:00 am

That 24-12 reversal in Dublin swung the pendulum at the top of Conference A in Leo Cullen’s side’s favour and they duly overtook Ulster to lead the table with a tight derby win over Munster, meaning Ulster travel to Glasgow four points behind Leinster with five games remaining.

Full-back Michael Lowry feels Ulster must take the lessons from the defeat at the RDS as they prepare for the business end of the season.

“Leinster was disappointing, I feel we played the first half well, controlled a lot of the game, we took a lot of learnings from the second half and brought it into the four or five weeks there of our break,” said Lowry.

Ulster full-back Michael Lowry. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“So it will be great to get an opportunity this week to put what we’ve done in training onto the pitch on Friday.

“The learnings from Leinster were probably small moments that can completely change the game.

“It might be kicking a phase or two too late, it might be a small thing, but that game management area that Leinster did very well against us in the last 20 minutes or so.

“We’ve taken that and we’ll hopefully bring it into this game, obviously, we’re looking at the basics of our passing and breakdown as well.

“Hopefully, we can nail those elements and things can evolve around it.”

Glasgow currently sit fourth in Conference A with just three wins from 10 games but with 12 internationals in their team, including out-half Adam Hastings making his first appearance since October, Lowry is wary of the Warriors challenge, especially on their artificial deck at Scotstoun.

“As a full-back on that surface, it can take an unexpected bounce, if you think it’s going to roll on and kick up in your hands, it’s probably not,” he said.

“It’s being able to take those on the full rather than letting them bounce, (which) is something we need to be aware of.

“We’re lucky enough to train on a 4G surface last week and this week, so it’s just learning how the ball can bounce in different ways.”

Armed with a new two-year contract, Lowry is enjoying his rugby at Kingspan especially as he has his RBAI school mates, James Hume, Callum Reid and David McCann in the Ulster team with him and their old Inst coach Dan Soper.

“It’s brilliant, obviously we’ve had a big influence on each other coming through school and we realised the potential that group had and pushed each other on.

“I live with Callum Reid and Dave McCann, so it’s been brilliant in that we’re looking after each other.

“It’s great that the group that came through school is pushing for places in the senior squad now.

“Obviously, Sops, myself and Dave are together about four or five years now and even further back than that, so we know each other inside out. I think that can only be a good thing going forward.”

With Australian lock Sam Carter injured flanker Jordi Murphy will captain the side for the first time.

Kieran Treadwell wins his 100th cap will young lock Cormac Izuchukwu is set to make his debut from the bench.

Ulster: (15-9) Michael Lowry, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; (1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes.

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