Planet Rugby

Anscombe lays down physical law

03rd January 2014 06:33

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mark anscombe ulster

Rallying cry: Mark Anscombe

Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe has called on his team to head into key matches against Munster and Leinster ready to give their all.

A key set of weeks for the Irish province will see them travel to Leicester and host Munster and Montpellier at Ravenhill.

Ulster currently lie ten points behind Munster in the RaboDirect Pro12 but lead Pool 5 in the Heineken Cup, three points ahead of Leicester.

Getting results out of the next three games is seen by Anscombe as a physical challenge that his squad will have to relish in order to be successful.

"Our next three weekends are going to be as tough and physical as rugby gets," Anscombe told the Irish Times.

"We've got to embrace that and of those three big ones (Munster, Montpellier and Leicester), two of them (Munster and Montpellier) are at home and that's where we want to be.

"Our destiny is in our hands and if we can get a win at the weekend over Munster, that gives us momentum to take to Europe and if we can get all three wins we'll be sitting nicely.

"We've got to make sure that we're up for it physically, because if you let them physically dominate you, you're gone.

"If playing Munster doesn't get us excited, well nothing will. They're the league leaders and they're going well. You've got to credit the tenacity of their team and the way they just play for 80 minutes. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it's effective."

Good news for Ulster comes with Johann Muller, John Afoa, Chris Henry, Nick Williams and also Iain Henderson returning to match fitness and being in contention for selection up front.

"They're all back in the mix which is good, but the challenge is that some of these guys have been out for a period of time," added Anscombe.

"Particularly Nick, Henderson and Henry -- they have been out six to eight weeks, so, as good as they all are, it sometimes takes a little bit of time too."

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