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Stephen Ferris Claims La Rochelle Clash A "Season Defining" Game For Ulster

Stephen Ferris Claims La Rochelle Clash A "Season Defining" Game For Ulster
Michael Bolton
By Michael Bolton
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Stephen Ferris has called this weekend's game for Ulster against La Rochelle a "Season Defining" game for Dan McFarland's side.

After an embarrassing 39-0 defeat for Ulster in the opening weekend of the Champions Cup against Sale Sharks, they will be hoping for an immediate response against the European champions. 

It was far from ideal preparation for Ulster. After a difficult defeat to Leinster in the RDS, their travel arrangements to England were hampered due to the weather.


Standing in their way this weekend in Ronan O'Gara and the reigning European champions. To make matters even more difficult, reports have emerged that the game may be moved to Dublin due to the recent freezing weather conditions.

Speaking to Balls.ie in partnership with Ladbrokes.com, Stephen Ferris has claimed there is pressure on Ulster going into this weekend, with fans beginning to ask questions about the side.

It's very much season defining. Dan McFarland was posed the question was this the most difficult period of your coaching career at Ulster, and he said it was one of the most challenging.

He's under pressure, all the lads are under pressure. The fans are starting to ask questions, we haven't been beaten like this in Europe since records go back, which is before 2012 so you are talking 10 or 11 years here.

There's no excuses against Sale. Yes, Duane Vermeulen got yellow carded, but they didn't even fire a shot. I'm after having numerous conversations this week about Ulster, everybody is blaming Johnny Bell conceding 39 points.

But the thing is, the glaringly obvious thing is, there was zero on the scoreboard. That's not Johnny Bell's fault, that's the attacking coaches fault. You've got to score points if you're going to be in the game. You've got to fire a shot, you've got to come up with play."

Stephen Ferris On O'Gara

With Ulster's recent struggles one of the last teams they would want to face right now is La Rochelle. Under Ronan O'Gara, they have grown from strength to strength.


While the former Ireland fly-half has surprised some people with his coaching success, Stephen Ferris claims O'Gara understands the players needs in the game.

I think he just understands it. He's not that long retired, a bit like Andy Farrell. These guys are only out of the game.

They get it. They understand how the players are feeling. They understand how you can be down one minute and up the next. Things aren't always going to go you're way and players lose form and you have to make big decisions at certain times and switch it up.

I just think that Ronan gets that. As a coach, I've never worked with him as a coaching capacity, but all you here is that he makes players enjoy themselves. The lads love playing for him, he gets the best out of them.

He does a lot of work on the opposition, and he will know this weekend against Ulster, you will not have to play that much rugby to beat them. This is a team low on confidence, and how do you beat a team low on confidence? You absolutely drill into them."

SEE ALSO: Warren Gatland Talks Up Andy Farrell For British And Irish Lions Manager In Australia 

Warren Gatland Andy Farrell
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