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Former captain Ward insists Ulster expect better

Guinness PRO12 Editor

31 Jan 2012

Ulster legend Andy Ward believes the club have laid a down statement that they expect better after hinting that current head coach Brian McLaughlin might not have his contract renewed at the end of the RaboDirect PRO12 season.

The former captain of the Irish province stood on top of Europe when Ulster clinched Heineken Cup victory in 1999 with an historic 21-6 triumph against French outfit Colomiers.

McLaughlin has guided the current Ulster side to the Heineken Cup knock-out stages alongside cream of the continent for the second successive year but their inconsistent RaboDirect PRO12 form sees them lying in sixth place.

Ulster rugby released a statement explaining ‘the current coaching contracts are set to finish at the end of the season, and are under review,’ meaning McLaughlin’s three-year reign could come to an end.

After signing a 12-month extension to his Ulster deal last summer, Ward believes McLaughlin may have expected the decision, and questioned whether he was getting the best from his players.

"Do they feel Brian is not getting 110% from the players?” said Ward.

“They do have a phenomenal squad with international and World Cup experience at the minute. Perhaps they are not getting as much as they anticipated.

"He got a one-year extension to his contract last year and perhaps in the back of his mind he knew there was not a lot of longevity there.

"Ulster may feel Brian is not the guy to take them to the next level where they would like to be.

"It is hard to know what they are looking for. Perhaps it’s a certain style they want to change.”