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McLaughlin primes squad for final push

Guinness PRO12 Editor

10 Apr 2012

Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin insists every member of his squad has a part to play as they hunt a remarkable RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup double.

The Belfast side stunned provincial rivals Munster 22-16 on their own patch last weekend to book a Heineken Cup home semi-final clash with Edinburgh on April 28.

McLaughlin’s men are also pushing for a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off spot with four straight wins taking them to fifth place, one point behind Glasgow Warriors and Munster.

But a tough fixture run-in starts with a trip to Connacht on Saturday before a crunch clash with runaway leaders Leinster at Ravenhill.

Ulster then return for what could be a make-or-break showdown at Thomond Park, and with the games coming thick and fast McLaughlin knows everyone will need to be ready.

“It's going to be a squad thing from here on in,” McLaughlin told the Irish Independent.

“We have to go down to Galway this weekend, and to ask the boys to go through it again at Thomond Park is going to be difficult.

“That's going to be another huge test for us so we've got to be right and make sure we're focused.

“It might be prudent to use our squad and make sure that all of our players are kept in top-quality order.”

Expectations are understandably high at Ravenhill right now but McLaughlin insisted the supporters must keep their feet on the ground as they chase their first piece of silverware in six years.

“The fans are ecstatic after Sunday, but we haven't won anything yet,” added McLaughlin.

“We're in a fantastic place at the moment but, as I keep reminding people, this is only the start.

“We're now in uncharted territory; this is all new for this squad, but we have to kick on and show what we can do.”