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Stephen Ferris has raised concerns with Ulster’s confidence after suffering back-to-back defeats in crucial games.
In what looked like a promising season for Dan McFarland’s side, defeats to Toulouse and Munster has left them scrambling to even qualify for the Champions Cup.
The Toulouse would have been a particularly difficult one to take. Leading into the second leg in Belfast, Toulouse won by one-point on aggregate to knock Ulster out.
Speaking on the Buildup with Ladbrokes, Stephen Ferris claims this has had a huge affect on the players.
“Some of the players walked out as if it was the end of the world, like it was doomsday. I think that certainly carried into their performance the following week.
"Even though they got knocked out of the European Cup they should have been looking forward to the Munster game and the huge challenge they were going to face.
"Psychologically and mentally, what impact that close loss against Toulouse had. From what I’ve heard, they were in a bit of a rut, a bit of a hole.”
Ulster lost their first league home game of the season to Munster last Friday, with Ferris unimpressed by how Ulster performed once they went behind.
“As soon as they went behind, it felt like Munster were in cruise control. Jack O’Donoghue said they felt comfortable the whole way through the game, you never want the opposition to say that.
"Munster feeling comfortable in Belfast in a game, that should never happen."
At a crucial point of the season, Ulster travel to Edinburgh on Saturday in a simply must win game. Edinburgh are two points behind Ulster and will also be looking to secure Champions Cup rugby.
With faith out of their hands for a home knockout tie, Ferris believes this is the most important game of the season.
"This game against Edinburgh is five times more important than the game that just past against Munster last weekend.
"If Ulster lose, Ulster might not make European rugby. There’s a 5-10% chance of that happening, but the way Ulster’s confidence is at the minute, you have to make sure you make this game at the weekend."
Ferris is expecting an entertaining clash between the two sides with so much at stake, but fears that Ulster’s history in big games might let them down.
"I think this could be 35-30 because both teams can play a really good brand of rugby at times.
"I haven’t went against Ulster all season. I just think confidence is really down, i've been there myself, you just can't put your finger on it, everyone is asking the same question.
"When it comes to the crunch, this is a recurring theme, Ulster when it comes to the business end of the season always fall off.”
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