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Some views on the Ulster match from the fans around the Sportsground and around the province.



As Joe Schmidt and Les Kiss took their places in Eric Elwood's old box on Saturday, a steward welcomed them to the Sportsground. "I was very welcome the last time too," Joe replied, "and I got hammered by 30 points". After ten minutes, the optimistic Connacht fan might have thought the same fate could befall Ulster, but alas it was not to be, as a poor second half saw Connacht slump to an 11 point defeat for the second game running.

Finding consensus among the Clan as to the reasons for this defeat proved a tough proposition, with the only real agreement being that it just wasn't good enough.
The breakdown was cited by many as a concern, though some felt that lack of go-forward ball was a greater factor in the defeat. While acknowledging the threat posed by Fionn Carr and in particular Matt Healy out wide, it seemed to many that the ball was being moved out to them too predictably, without taking the opportunity to pick and go or use the maul before utilising the backline's attacking capabilities.

Dan Parks' waywardness off the kicking tee continued and George Naoupu didn't demonstrate any return to form when introduced off the bench, but Jake Heenan continued to impress and Craig Clarke did some excellent clearout work before being taken off at half time in what seemed a planned move as he returns from injury. Rodney seemed to endure a less torrid time at the scrum when he appeared in the last quarter, with some crediting this to good stewardship of the scrum by Johnny Lacey, who was felt by both sets of fans to have had a good game.

There are no shortage of suggestions among the Clan as to the ideal starting XV for Ospreys on Saturday, but most agree there should be some shakeup, with the back-row the favourite place to start. Faloon's injury ensures there will be at least one alteration among the loose forwards to go with the enforced change at hooker. The arrival of James So'oialo during the week may offer a solution to the place-kicking woes, though Saturday may prove too early for him to make his debut. It will also be too soon for Dave McSharry, Denis Buckley and Eoin McKeown, all of whose return to to the fray is much anticipated by many in the Clan.

Attempts to solicit the views of the visiting fans were dealt an unfortunate setback as the newly installed PA system in the Clan Bar failed to handle the sheer power of John from The Front Row Union. He was nonetheless happy with the performance of Paddy Jackson, who missed a few place kicks early on but was central to both tries, as well as man of the match Iain Henderson.

With Ospreys having demolished Edinburgh at the weekend, Saturday's game looks ominous, with an always difficult trip to Treviso the only other opportunity to get points on the table before the Heineken Cup kicks off with the arrival of Saracens.
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