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McLaughlin pleased with Aironi rout

Guinness PRO12 Editor

31 Mar 2012

Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin insisted his team’s six-try blitz of Aironi was the perfect boost with a Heineken Cup quarter-final clash against Munster on the horizon.

Ulster’s 45-7 win lifted them above Ospreys into the all important play-off position in the RaboDirect PRO12 although they have played a game more.

It was a seventh win from their last eight matches for the Ulstermen who are forming a late-season charge for the top four while Aironi remain rooted to the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12.

But despite their impressive form McLaughlin warned his team that they would need to improve further if they were to progress in Europe after crashing out in the last eight to Northampton last year.

“We scored some lovely tries got a good bonus point and we’re very happy with the work,” he said.

“It will be a different game in Munster next week but we will go into that game very confident, full of confidence knowing that we have put a good run together but we know we will have to be tighter.

“At times our defence looked a little bit suspect, we gave away a few soft yards and we won’t be able to get away with those things next week. We are going to have to be bang on and ready for that.

“The experience we got from losing to Northampton last year and the way we have worked towards this all year we know we are capable of going down there and doing a good job.

“We have to do everything right and hopefully that will get us a good victory on the day.”

The match at Ravenhill saw the return of a host of Six Nations stars for Ulster after they were left out of the team facing Treviso to recover from their international campaign.

And Irish star Andrew Trimble admitted it was a shock to the system to be back playing RaboDirect PRO12 rugby after a week off.

“It was difficult, but it is nice to get back in. It is a bit of a confidence booster and it is just nice getting back to playing in white,” he added.

“There was a lot of running and even just having a week off makes a difference.

“Last year there was a sense of being happy to be there in the quarter-finals whereas this year we want to win the European Cup and I think it is good to have that mindset.

“We are under no illusions how tough Munster are going to be and we are going to have to go down there and be intense for 80 minutes – if so I think we’re in with a shout.”