‘Let’s make every chance count’ insists Ulster’s Rory Best

Rory Best
Rory Best

The workmen were busying themselves at The Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday as initial preparations were being put in place for the Guinness PRO12 Grand Final on Saturday May 30.

The only distraction at Ulster’s weekly media session was the occasional sound of the warning beeps when a vehicle was reversing.

Ulster captain, Rory Best, was only focused on one thing this week – going to Glasgow and ensuring his side did what they needed to extend their season by one further week.

Ulster lost at Scotstoun 32-10 last Saturday in the final game of the regular league season, the bonus point success sending Glasgow top of the table and ensuring a home semi-final.

Although an away team has never won since the play-offs were introduced in the 2010-11 season, Ulster will return to Scotstoun as underdogs.

However, it will be a much changed side from that which played last week, expected to show 10 changes as head coach, Neil Doak, brings his best available side across.

Although the final is in Belfast, Best said it was not hard to keep the focus away from that fact when there was a challenge like Glasgow facing them this week in a massive game.

“We know if we look beyond a semi-final or start planning a big home coming to a final here, then we are asking for trouble,” said Best.

“We are going to face a team who finished top of the league standings over what is a long hard season.

“We are going to a tough place where no one has won in this league this season or indeed since November 2013.

“We are going to face a quality side and they have shown it time and time again this season, so it is a massive test for us.”

One thing that does change this weekend is the fact it is now straight knock-out, but Best says the Ulster viewpoint has not changed.

“Since the end of the Six Nations we wanted to be in the top four and it was all about winning games.

“We wanted to be better than where we were (fourth) but we achieved top four.

“We drew and lost our last two games, fell short of our second target (home semi) but things do not change too much this weekend, we still have to win the game.”

Best added: “The only change this weekend is that ultimately the cost if you lose becomes a lot greater.

“Your season can either roll in to getting into a final on Saturday week or your season is over.

“I do not think anyone wants to be putting up their feet watching a final in Belfast that does not involved Ulster Rugby!”

Irish hooker Best was a number of front line players who was named on the bench last week as Doak dealt with some injury concerns and rotated the squad.

It is a decision that has certianly proved beneficial this week as several players carrying knocks are fit to start.

“We have had times this season when the injury list was as long as your arm,” said Best.

“To have such a healthy squad at this stage of the season is nice. We have a lot of good depth and quality to pick from.

“That is important because ultimately coming in to big knockout games like this you want as many of your top players as you can having playing.

“If we can be clinical, keep our discipline and play the best we are capable off then we have as good an opportunity of winning the game. We must not throw away the opportunity we have.”