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Dean Ryan - Focus is Key

29 October 2004

29 October 2004
Gloucester Rugby Club's coach Dean Ryan has hammered the message home this week in the build-up to Saturday's Heineken Cup clash against Ulster at Kingsholm (Sat 30 Oct, Kingsholm, kick off 3pm).

Talking ahead of the Anglo-Irish encounter Ryan said: "This is the top end of European competition and you cannot afford to make the number of errors we did against Stade because you don't escape.

"The pool stages are always delicately balanced which makes it difficult but we have to make sure we come out quickly."

The Kingsholm coach is well aware that there is plenty to play for with five Heineken rounds still to play over the next three months.

"This is not a game we can take lightly and we are finding it slightly amusing people are already writing off the pool," said Ryan, in reference to their defeat in Paris.

"We certainly wouldn't treat Ulster or Cardiff with any lack of respect because they are both teams with a tremendous amount of tradition and have great records. Anyone who talks about a premature end to this pool is pretty wide of the mark.

"I have no doubts we can be competitive in this competition," Ryan added. "Even when we went down for that 20 minute period last week, we did display our strength of character to come back."

Ryan's final words were straight to the point and emphasised the focus ahead of Saturday's game. "We cannot afford to slip again. That's key for us at this stage of the competition."