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Kiss optimistic for Ulster European charge

Guinness PRO12 Editor

30 Jun 2016

Director of rugby Les Kiss has urged his Ulster players to forget their Champions Cup heartbreak last season and focus on this year’s assault after they were handed an intriguing draw.

Last season’s Guinness PRO12 semi-finalists fell a point short of the knock-out stages, and face Clermont, Exeter and Bordeaux-Begles this time around.

Pre-season training has already started at Ulster, minus Ireland’s players who have been on tour in South Africa.

And Kiss has an eye fixed on Europe as he plots to make it through the last eight for the first time since 2014.

"It's quite exciting really," he said. "We were disappointed last season that we didn't get that extra point we needed to push on into the next stages.

"It was bitterly disappointing on that last day of the competition. We certainly believe that we're up for it.

“There's a lot of water to go under the bridge, and it's a tough draw, but we've just got to embrace the challenge and believe in what we're doing.

"Exeter did exceptionally well in the Premiership last year and I think Rob Baxter has built a really strong squad that play a great brand of rugby. To welcome them to the Kingspan will be fantastic.

"We've a friendly against them coming up so we'll get to know each other pretty well.

"Clermont are one of the big teams in Europe, you've got to respect that. Over there, they're very tough and you don't get any easy games in France with Bordeaux either.”

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