Win in Belfast was not a 'golden ticket' for Ulster as they prepare to face Saints again

Assistant coach Dan Soper believes Ulster's task against Saints on Sunday has been made even harder by the win against Chris Boyd's side back in December.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 14th January 2022, 1:28 pm
Ulster beat Saints in Belfast in December

Ulster secured a 27-22 victory in the reverse fixture at the Kingspan Stadium, making it two wins from two for the men from Belfast in this season's Champions Cup.

They will head to Northampton this weekend looking to take another step towards qualification for the knockout stages.

But Soper is refusing to believe that Ulster's recent success against Saints will count for anything and he has highlighted Dan Biggar as a big threat to his side's chances on Sunday.

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"Any European game away from home is a real challenge but certainly we've just watched Northampton and they are a really nice team to watch," Soper said.

"Dan Biggar is certainly one of 'the' players in the Premiership over there and he's offers a real challenge to how we are going to play the game.

"We are under no illusions. Just because we beat them here a few weeks ago is not giving us any golden ticket that it's going to happen again.

"In fact, it probably makes the job harder so it's important we prepare well and turn up knowing that this is a real challenge for us."

Ulster have struggled for consistency this season, beating the likes of Saints and Clermont Auvergne but losing to teams such as Ospreys and Connacht.

They were defeated by Munster last weekend, despite Simon Zebo seeing red early on.

And Soper said: "I get asked every time about consistency.

"That's the ultimate every professional team and sportsman and woman are striving for: to be at their best every time they perform.

"I don't disagree with you that we haven't quite found that recipe yet but we are striving towards it.

"If there was a magic formula everyone would have it and it would be boring wouldn't it?

"We have certain standards that we try and get to every week in terms of how we train and how we prepare.

"If we drive those standards of consistency hopefully that will filter through into the weekend but we haven't quite found the magic formula yet."