DARREN CAVE: Ulster will be judged on results

Darren Cave during Ulster training in Port Elizabeth
Darren Cave during Ulster training in Port Elizabeth

Ulster may be based in South Africa for the next two weeks which is something the squad will enjoy at this stage of the Guinness PRO14 season.

And while is it a chance for the new players and new coaching staff to really find out about each other, senior squad member Darren Cave insists the focus is only on the rugby.

Ulster are looking to make it three wins on the bounce at the start of the campaign - as they have done in the previous three seasons - as well as extend their unbeaten PRO14 run to eight games.

They are firm favourites for Sunday afternoon’s game against Isuzu Southern Kings in The Nelson Madela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth (kick-off 1.15pm).

Ulster struggled to beat the Kings last season on the road, needing a last gasp try to win 43-36.

And while the Kings finished bottom of Conference B last season and have lost their opening games in this season’s campaign Ulster are not taking the challenge lightly.

“From what I have seen of the Kings already they are much improved,” Cave said at the Ulster training base yesterday.

“These games away from home are always tough, but if we get our stuff right we can put other teams under pressure.

“We are very aware the Kings are quite unstructured, with loads of pace.

“Hopefully there we lots of tries and if we can get our stuff right I am confident we can come out on the right side of the scoreline.”

Ulster departed on Wednesday for South Africa and have spent the last couple of days following their normal training schedule ahead of a Sunday game - they move to Bloemfontein for next Friday’s game against Cheetahs.

But being in South Africa on a mini-tour does offer the opportunity for something different during the down time, such as a dip in the sea.

“It is a cool experience,” admitted Cave. “But at the same time it is about getting results. Ideally we would like to go home with a couple of wins and that starts on Sunday.

“At the end of the day it is not people being away and having a good time. It is about winning matches and that is what we will be judged on,” said Cave.

This will be Cave’s third successive start, something he was not used to last season.

“Everyone knows we are quite depleted in the backline, but yeah, at the end of the day we are all competitors and we all want to win games and be involved,” said Cave.

“From a personal point of view it is nice to get a couple of games in a row to show what I think I can bring to the team. I am keen to help Ulster get over the line to a couple more wins.”