Ulster Rugby v Edinburgh

The Six Nations is an exciting period for any rugby fan, and for hooker John Andrew it's usually provided an opportunity for a bit of added game time in an Ulster jersey. JOHN ANDREW IS READY FOR BATTLE

there's plenty of work to be done to ensure they carry over the nine-try performance to tonight. "It’s just doing that over and over again, that’s what consistency is," he explains. "It’s about backing it up, taking the confidence from Friday night but also the learnings from what didn’t go right and taking them into the next game. "It’s not from a lack of trying, we’re all trying our hardest, but it’s just about that little extra one or two percent to take us that bit further. "There were still a lot of things we weren’t good at and things we were happy with, but it’s always easier coming in on a Monday after a win." Tonight is another massive game against an Edinburgh side who have exceeded all expectations so far this season and are just three points behind Ulster in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14. With only the top three guaranteed a spot in the play-offs, and a coveted place in next season's Champions Cup, a win tonight is essential to keep the Scottish side at bay. However, the visitors are on an excellent run of form having beaten Leinster last weekend, while they also made it into the Challenge Cup quarter-finals by finishing top of a tough pool that also included French giants Stade Francais. Andrew says the squad are aware of the threat that Richard Cockerill's side pose, but that they're up for the battle in the aim to stay ahead in the league. "The PRO14 is now our sole focus and every game we’re trying to win, so we know it’s going to be a hard one because they’re only three points behind us," Andrew says. "They’re going to be right up for it too because if they win they’ll go ahead of us, so we need to win to put a gap between us and them and also close the gap to first and second. "They haven’t surprised us. Cockerill is there now, it’s his first season in charge and he’s changed a few faces and it seems to be working for them. They beat Leinster with a bonus point, which people probably think is a surprising result, but it shows how good Edinburgh are. "We know the task at hand, but we’re at home and we’ll be up for it to try and back up our performance against the Kings."

With Rory Best and Rob Herring both named in Joe Schmidt's recent national squads, the Ballymena man has seen his fair share of minutes during the international breaks over the past few seasons. However, this season Andrew has been playing more regularly due to injuries to Best, with the 24-year old featuring in 12 of Ulster's 20 games so far, making as many starts as appearances off the bench - six. It's a just reward for Andrew, who has worked his way up from the Abbey Insurance Academy to become an integral part of the squad depth at the Province, but he says the hard work isn't over yet. "In the past few years this has been the time I’ve gotten a few starts with Rory away and Rob being down in camp as well, that’s what allowed me to start last week," he says. "Before the season this was probably the time I thought there’d be a real chance to push on, but I’ve had a few more chances earlier in the season because of injuries, so I need to push on in every game. "I need to be playing well in any opportunity I get whether that be 10 or 15 minutes off the bench here or getting the chance to start, otherwise you’ll find yourself down the pecking order because there’s the likes of Adam McBurney coming up behind who’s a great player as well. "It’s all good, it all drives competition between ourselves, and it’s nice to learn off the likes of Rory and Rob. game. I try to make it a selection conversation for the coaches over who should be playing each game. "You have to put your best foot forward because if you have a bad game then that gap might be widening." Andrew started last week's 59-10 win over the Southern Kings and was a key part of the forward pack that was solid throughout the game, going perfect at the line-out and anchoring a solid scrum. The win was the perfect way to bounce back from the disappointment of being eliminated from Europe last month, however Andrew believes

INTERVIEW: JOHN ANDREW "When you have two guys of that calibre ahead of you, you can either look at it as a bad thing or use it to learn from and push them, which I try to do every



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