Ulster’s Eric O’Sullivan won’t rest on his laurels
Despite winning his first Ireland cap in the Autumn Nations Cup and being named in the Pro14 Dream Team for the season, Ulster prop Eric O’Sullivan admits there is still plenty in his game he needs to improve on.
The former Trinity College student made his international debut against Scotland in December, coming off the bench to replace Cian Healy, and made 13 starts in the loose head shirt for Ulster this season.
“It’s been a good year for me, getting my cap was a wonderful achievement for me, it’s something I’ve wanted for so long,” stated O’Sullivan.
“Off the back of it I think my performances haven’t been where I’d expect them to be myself, I have high standards for myself and I’m probably not hitting where I want to be.
“For me it just comes down to going back to what you perceive as your strengths and doing them well, so for me, I would consider my work-rate to be one of my strengths, that’s something that I can fall back on but as a front-row, your set-piece is massive.
“That’s something I need to focus on, it’s just having the confidence to say, ‘you are a good player, you deserve to be here’ and then go back to what you know, perform in that and then the rest all feeds into it.
“It’s like that expression you make your own luck, it’s the same with hard work, you play better when you’re putting the effort in.”
At times this season the Ulster scrum has struggled and O’Sullivan, the rest of the pack and Dan McFarland are working hard to rectify especially as they are like to face a physical test against Northampton’s forwards on Saturday night in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final.
“We’ve gone back to looking at it as an eight, during Covid it’s tough to have meetings and you’re limited time-wise,” said O’Sullivan.
“Maybe the scrum took a hit off the back of that if there were things of greater priority, but we’ve definitely given it more of an emphasis in recent weeks just getting everyone on the same page.
“Guys individually are still doing some good things but it’s about making sure we’re all on the same platform.”