Flanker Sean Reidy knows Ulster must improve their set piece stats if they want to beat Oyonnax and have any hope of qualifying for the last eight of the European Champions Cup.
One of the contributing factors to last week’s defeat at Allianz Park by Saracens was Ulster failed to secure enough quality ball on their own set piece, with only 67% success at the scrum and 60% at lineout.
“We pride ourselves on the set piece and our stats have been fairly good all year, our stats have been right up there especially the lineout so we are a bit disappointed. We have had a look over where we went wrong and we’ll look to rectify it this weekend,” said the Kiwi.
Reidy’s uncle, Rod Ketels, won five caps for the All Blacks at prop in the early 1980’s and the former Counties Manukau Steelers openside flanker, who is Irish qualified due to his grandfather hailing from Castlegregory, Co Kerry relished the forward battle with Saracens.
“I wouldn’t say it is the toughest backrow but they definitely have a lot of experience and good ball carriers in there and big physical boys.They are a fairly handy pack and they took their chances on the weekend and got the result,” said Reidy.
“I do like the physical side game especially around the break down. I enjoy trying to get over the ball as much as a I can.
“The last few games it is something me and Joe Barakat have worked on quite a bit and I’m looking to improve that part of my game.
“They expect the flankers to get in and over the ball to slow it up and get a few turnovers here and there and I was in the right spot at the right time so I was happy with that.”
Reidy played at Saracens due to Chris Henry’s shoulder injury.
“I didn’t really know I was playing until midweek but I had been training with the team so it was nothing new, I knew the plays really well.”
Reidy knows Oyonnax will provide another big challenge up front.
“The last game against them I came on a 12 so I didn’t get much of an opportunity to get involved in the ruck work.
“They have some big boys and some big strong ball carriers. Viliami M’afu is a big strong carrier so we’re going to have our work cut out for us this week.”
Versatility can help players but not necessarily a flanker playing in midfield although Reidy enjoyed the experience.
“Playing 12 wasn’t too bad,” he smiled. “I was only there for five minutes, you have to be versatile these days and you never know what is going to happen Rob Herring has been thrown in at flanker a couple of times this season so you just have to make sure you are ready for every comes your way.”
Reidy knows Ulster will need the bonus point win and other results to go their way over the weekend if they are to reach the last eight.
“We’re just looking to play well and stick to our structures, in the back of your mind you want that bonus point but you are not going to chase it.”
by doing silly offloads, you have to stick to your patterns and the boys are in a good mind set at the moment.”