Ulster must plan ‘to be the best’
Ulster rugby players must not take their positions for granted, but must “plan to be the best”, new coach Mark Anscombe has said.
Friday, 15 June 2012
The New Zealander, who begins a two-year contract with the side in the coming months, told UTV he wants to "build depth" within the Ulster team.
"We've got to make sure we've got players that are strong and in position two and three, so we're not just having one player in each position, we've got good strong players two or three deep in each position.
"We create that by having an environment where players are challenging each other for positions, and they don't take their position for granted," he explained.
The 54-year-old, who has previously worked with Ulster signings John Afoa and Jared Payne, said the side has "some good players" and he wants to create consistent performances to ensure they do well in local competitions, as well as the Heineken Cup.
The Heineken Cup draw earlier this week revealed Anscombe's side are in Pool 4, alongside Glasgow and Castres, as well as Northampton - a team which defeated Ulster in the quarter-final stage in 2011.
Ulster missed out on victory in the cup final against Leinster this year, but the coach said he and the team are looking at previous defeats with a positive attitude.
"I'm sure when we get together and start talking about the coming season that they will be saying what they learned from being beaten in the final this year.
"If we take all those experiences and grow from them we will be better for it.
"You've got to plan to be the best you can be," he said.
Anscombe replaces Brian McLaughlin, who held the role of head coach for three years before being moved to a senior coaching role within the Ulster Academy.
He said he is looking forward to working with McLaughlin, who he said has done "very well" with Ulster.
"The success of a team like Ulster is going to be dependent on how we develop our academy and bring players through - you can't just rely on bringing in players from offshore.
"You've got to make sure you're building and bringing on local players and we've got some good ones coming through.
"That's really crucial to our development that we put time and effort into that programme."