Head coach Dan McFarland wants Ulster to be a better team

Ulster's Head Coach Dan McFarland
Ulster's Head Coach Dan McFarland

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland is not seeking a backlash from his side against Connacht on Friday night in Belfast, he just wants them to be better.

In the wake of a record loss to Munster (64-7) in Limerick last Saturday night - the hosts responding to a loss to Cardiff the previous week in emphatic fashion - one would expect Ulster to look to do the same this weekend.

However, McFarland, while wanting a win against his former Province, said he was not big on backlash.

“I just want to be better. Backlash sort of refers to us bringing a game because you took a kicking in the previous week. I do not want that. I just want us to be playing at a level I think we are capable off.

“We fell below that last week, but I do not believe the 80 minutes is the big picture of what we are about. I just felt we got knocked over again and again.”

Ulster are boosted by the return from injury of Irish internationals Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale, along with Sean Reidy.

There still remained high hopes that British Lion Iain Henderson would get the all clear following return to play protocols after he suffered concussion against Munster.

Henderson could well be named in the team at lunchtime today for the Guinness PRO14 encounter, but it may only be tomorrow before he is finally cleared to play.

The loss to Munster was Ulster’s first of the season and with the game tomorrow the last before they switch to European Champions Cup action, McFarland will still expect a response from the 23 players selected.

Connacht have not won in Belfast since November 1960, but McFarland revealed he had been involved with a Connacht side that had won at the home of Ulster Rugby since that date.

“I think I won here once in a friendly in 2000 or 2001, but it did not count as it was a friendly.” he smiled.

“They will not dwell on the record too much, but I am sure it will be mentioned along the lines of what an opportunity it is (to end it).

“We have prepared well, we will make some slight adjustments, but I expect the side which plays this week will go out and deliver what we need,” he added.