Ulster take great pride in performing at home: Iain Henderson

Iain Henderson
Iain Henderson

Defeating Edinburgh on Friday night at Kingspan Stadium is not about extracting revenge for a costly home defeat last season in the Guinness PRO14 insists Iain Henderson.

Instead, it is about righting the wrong and not having that feeling of frustration afterwards of not doing themselves justice at home.

Ulster are looking to make Kingspan Stadium the fortress the old Ravenhill used to be in times gone by.

The loss to Edinburgh towards the end of the season in Conference B last year as good as sealed their fate in not making the PRO14 Championship Play-Offs.

While it was not the sole reason for that under achievement it certainly played its part but Henderson insisted Ulster want to win all their games at home.

“It’s extremely frustrating for us to lose here (Kingspan),” he admitted.

“That’s something we do like to pride ourselves on.

“We know when we play here the home advantage we get from playing here is phenomenal.

“You talk about home and away advantages and disadvantages, and nobody can really explain what they mean and why they’re there.

“But it’s something we take great pride in playing well here and I think it’s more frustrating in our memory, not against Edinburgh but against ourselves for not playing well and doing ourselves justice at home,” he added.

Ulster certainly ticked a couple of boxes in their opening game of the season against Scarlets last weekend - the 15-13 victory not only giving them a win over last year’s beaten finalists, but also a home success.

For Henderson it also saw him move on from a frustrating summer which saw him go to Australia for Ireland’s summer Tour, but injury ruled him out of the second and third Tests.

“Last season I had a relatively injury free season up until the end of it,” he said, touching the wooden table in front of him.

“My injury came towards the end of the season and it was frustrating I didn’t get a run out over the last couple of games.

“But I got a good pre-season under my belt, good bit of training done and I was happy to get back for the first game of the season,” added Henderson.

Ulster will look to improve on some things tonight, particularly the breakdown area, but key will be backing up last week’s performance, particularly at home.

“Nearly every game in the PRO14 is a tough one now, every team is a potential slip-up, especially when you see how tight it gets towards the end of the season,” said Henderson.

“We just need to make sure we relish these home games and put the pressure on, especially at this end of the year when the conditions are good and we can try and play the rugby we know we can play and get the wins we know we can get.

“Edinburgh are a good side, and I thought they were a bit unlucky last week, coming back later on in the game against the Ospreys, and that scoreline (17-9 reverse) probably didn’t do them justice.

“I think they’re a real good side, they put us under serious pressure last year too, we know they’re a good side and they’ll be coming over here looking to right their wrong from last week.

“All we can do is stick to our game, believe in what we’ve been doing and continue drilling it,” he added.