John Andrew ready for ‘must win’ game for Ulster

Ulster hooker John Andrew. Credit �INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Ulster hooker John Andrew. Credit �INPHO/Tommy Dickson
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Hooker John Andrew feels Friday night’s Pro14 clash with the Cardiff Blues is already in the must win category for Ulster.

Having lost one of their opening three games Ulster are third in Conference A four points behind the Cheetahs and Leinster both having recorded maximum points in the campaign.

“I suppose every game is a must win,” he said. “Cardiff are a decent side with good players like (Willis) Halaholo, (Matthew) Morgan at full back is dangerous and so are a lot of boys in the pack.

“We’re just happy to be back at Kingspan that always gives you a lift.

“We were happy with the win over the Ospreys, we know it wasn’t good enough against the Cheetahs, but we were happy to bounce back against he Kings and get the bonus point win.

“It still wasn’t the prefect game for us but I don’t think anyone is going to be playing perfectly in the first three rounds of the competition.

“The good thing about being away in South Africa for two weeks was we were altogether.

“Straight after the Cheetahs game we were around the computers working out what went wrong and what we needed to work on.

“To bounce back against the Kings, who are a good team at home, and especially to get the bonus point was good.”

With Rory Best’s career ending on Saturday as Ireland crashed out of the World Cup to the All Blacks Andrew is hoping to establish himself as a regular on match day.

“I think I have been waiting for Rory to retire for a while but he just kept on going and kept on performing,” he said.

“Rob (Herring) is in top spot at the minute and he is playing well, he narrowly missed going to the World Cup.

“He is in top spot and all the hookers below him want that, nobody wants to sit on the bench or be 24th man.

“Hopefully I get an opportunity this week, all you can do is play your best and give the coaches something to think about when Rob comes back from Japan.

“When everyone is fit you have to perform and put you hands up in the minutes that you do.

“You get used to the Ireland guys not being around that much they are always away on summer tours and come back later that the rest of us,

“For Rory to not be coming back will be strange, but for us it gives us the opportunity to be involved in those bigger games that you wouldn’t have been involved in when he was there.

“Europe was normally the time Rory would come back and now there is an opportunity for Rob, myself and Adam to fight it out and try get into those two spots.

“You want to be playing is those big European games and you want to be playing in these big home games like Cardiff this weekend, you just have to play well.”