If last season is anything to go by then Ulster don’t need to change much, according to their new head coach Mark Anscombe.
The former New Zealand Under-20s boss, who replaced Brian McLaughlin in the summer, believes a sixth-place finish in the RaboDirect PRO12 last year leaves plenty room for improvement but with the potential shown in Europe that is more than doable.
The Irish province made it to the final of the Heineken Cup, before being downed 42-14 by Leinster, but Anscombe isn’t about to swing his axe.
His retention of Neil Doak and Jonny Bell will see them continue in their roles as backs coach and defence coach respectively while he has made some changes to his playing staff with Tommy Bowe, Niall O’Connor and Nick Williams joining over the summer.
But Anscombe doesn’t intend to undo the work done by McLaughlin in one fell swoop.
“We haven’t really had to change to way we’ve been playing the last few seasons,” said Anscombe. “There may be a few changes in some areas, but I don’t think there will be huge changes in the way they play.
“I think in certain areas we’ve put a stress on our performance, so if we get those right it allows us then to start playing the game that we think is fitting to the strength of the squad.
“When you have success like Ulster did last year, expectation comes from that and the thing what we have to do is make sure we have a stronger base to select from and that allows us to be more consistent through the duration of a long season.”