GUINNESS PRO12: Les Kiss has Ulster braced for Munster backlash

Ulster's Director Of Rugby Les Kiss
Ulster's Director Of Rugby Les Kiss
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Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, has braced Ulster for a massive Munster backlash when the sides meet at a sold-out Kingspan Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm) in an Irish Guinness PRO12 derby.

The Munster side have lost their last five outings - including a home defeat to provincial rivals Leinster last weekend - and are desperate for a win.

Ulster on the other ride are currently riding the crest of a wave having enjoyed a perfect December which saw four straight wins put them right back on course in both the European Champions Cup and Guinness PRO12.

They also boast an impressive record at Kingspan Stadium, their last home defeat coming against Leinster in May 2014.

The statistics may be in Ulster’s favour, but Kiss knows it does not always work in that way.

“Yes we have momentum and there is confidence within the squad,” he said. “But we also understand what has got us to where we currently are.

“Our mindset has been right and the hunger to want to be better each week. We move on quickly from the last game and focus on the next.

We’ve challenged ourselves, our group, and tried to change the way we look at things and those habits are forming all the time.

“It’s also important that we recognise at this stage where we are and we commit to that level of mindset that we have created.”

Kiss added: “So overall, we have gone about the business with the players very clear in what we want to do.

“Players are now demanding more of each other and I’ve got to say that I’ve been very happy the way they have faced each challenge, and Saturday will be another big one.”

Kiss said Ulster had to put themselves in Munster’s shoes and think how they would react to the same situation.

“Knowing the Munster boys they will be in a place where they circle the wagons and it will be a massive challenge.

“Just respecting and understanding that challenge is important from our perspective.

“The fact they have lost five sometimes pushes this thing in the middle of your head out that it will change sometime and you hope it is not against you,” Kiss added.

SATURDAY’S TEAMS

Ulster: L Ludik; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Scholes; P Jackson, R Pienaar; K McCall, R Best (capt), W Herbst; L Stevenson, F van der Merwe; R Diack, C Henry, N Williams

Replacements: R Herring, C Black, R Lutton, A O’Connor, R Wilson, P Marshall, I Humphreys, S Arnold.

Munster: A Conway; R O’Mahony, Fr Saili, R Scannell, L Gonzalez Amorosino; I Keatley, T O’Leary; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; D Foley, M Chisholm; J O’Donoghue, T O’Donnell, CJ Stander (capt).

Replacements: N Scannell, J Ryan, M Sagario, B Holland, R Copeland, D Williams, T Bleyendaal, Denis Hurley.

The match will be broadcast on Sky Sports and also BBC Radio Ulster will have live commentary.