ULSTER PREVIEW | Cockerill: "We've got to go there and front up."

This Friday night sees Edinburgh travel to Belfast to face third place Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium. With only three points separating the two in-form sides, there are major play-off implications on the line and Head Coach Richard Cockerill – who met with the media yesterday afternoon - anticipates a full bloodied battle.

“We’ve got to go to the Kingspan, where they’ll be sold out and have a very partisan crowd,” said Cockerill.

“They have a good team and very strong squad, and they’ve had their difficulties for obvious reasons, but now it’s for us to go there and front up.

“What’s pleasing is that we’re still in the fight in the league and we’re actually playing for big stakes. We’re in a quarter-final in Europe, which is great, and we’re going to Ulster with eight games to go with a chance of making the play-offs – so it’s a huge game.

“If we lose on Friday night, it’s not the end of our play-off hopes. For us it’s nice, as a team, that were putting ourselves in the position where we’re actually competing for play-offs, which is a step forward.”

After witnessing his side secure a last-gasp bonus-point victory over Leinster last weekend, Cockerill admits that Edinburgh are in buoyant mood heading into Friday night’s fixture, but expects Ulster to be confident in their own abilities.

Jono Gibbes’ outfit defeated Southern Kings 59-10 last weekend – scoring nine tries in total.

“I expect Ulster to be favourites and I expect them to be confident, but I’m also confident and I believe in our playing group,” explained the Head Coach.

“I thought we took a step forward on Friday night against Leinster. Maybe 12 months ago we wouldn’t have come through that. Glasgow; we beat them in the last minute of the game. Stade Francais; we beat them in the last minute of the game, and it was the same with Leinster. It can’t all be a fluke.

We’ve got a group that works hard, stays in the game and stays in the battle. We outscored Leinster five tries to four and got a bonus point. We’re starting to create an environment where we actually believe what we’re doing - it’s taken a lot of hard work.

“Now we could go to Ulster and get well beaten – I’ve got no doubt in that if we don’t get it right. But if we got there and leave our best game on the field, then there’s no reason why we can’t stay in the battle.

“We’ve got a group who actually want to play for each other - they’ve got a bit of steel about them and they’ve got a bit of balls about them. I’m liking what I’m seeing.”