CHRIS HENRY AND Iain Henderson made a beeline to the coffee tankards at the Lough Erne Resort and moaned aloud that the forwards had been out training in the cold while the backs sat snuggly indoors and reviewed tapes.
Scrum-half Ruan Pienaar, man-of-the-match in the weekend win over Leinster, entered the room next and had a slightly glazed look. Video review sessions can be tough too.
The South African revealed he had been watching footage of Owen Farrell punishing teams from all angles of the pitch. The Saracens and England outhalf has 75 points in this season’s Heineken Cup and is sure to have an involvement in this Saturday’s quarter-final.
He told TheScore.ie, “Farrell is a good kicker, sorry, a brilliant kicker. It will be a massive challenge and our discipline will need to be strong because he can punish you across the pitch.
“Otherwise, we might find ourselves 12 or 15 points down.”
Speaking to the Saracens website, the Englishman commented, “Ulster are a quality side and it’s a huge game – one that I’m really looking forward to. They have threats all over the park, so we know that we’re going to have to maintain this good run of form if we are to beat them.”
The first Farrell that sparked Henderson’s interest was Colin. The Dublin actor is up in Fermanagh, and staying at the resort, while he films an adaptation of the play Miss Julie.
“Oh yeah, really?,” asks Henderson when he learns of the his fellow hotel guest. “I’ll have to keep an eye out so. Might see him out and about.”
Addressing the dangers set to be posed by the Sarries No. 10, the Ulster forward has called on his teammates to cut out the type of penalties that gave Leinster’s Ian Madigan 18 points last weekend.
He told TheScore.ie, “Discipline is going to be a massive thing. With Farrell, if you’re in your own half [and concede a penalty] he’ll put it over, without a shadow of a doubt. He’s got such quality.
“We have to make sure there are no stupid penalties. I know I’ve been a little bit yellow-card-happy this year but if we all give away less penalties per player, it will be key.
“With John Afoa coming back, we could get a few scrum penalties and hopefully [Paddy] Jackson or Ruan will be able to slot them over for us.”
Iain Henderson talks Farrells in Enniskillen. (©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard)
Henderson believes his team must refine their set-pieces, which also stuttered against Leinster in the 22-18 win, if they are to advance to the semi-finals.
“We lost a couple of lineouts, scrum penalties and kick-offs,” he said. “We’ll have to look at those areas for improvements and, if we do that, get some good, clean ball for our backs to attack off and do damage against them.
“If the set-pieces are mistake free I think our backs could do definitely a job on them.”