Ulster flanker Chris Henry targets Heineken Cup success
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: December 12, 2012 1:28pm
Chris Henry claims Ulster are using the hurt of last season's Heineken Cup final defeat to drive them to success this time around.
Ulster had played brilliantly to reach the showpiece event at Twickenham - only to freeze on the day, with Leinster cutting loose to win 42-14.
However, now under the stewardship of Mark Anscombe, Ulster have enjoyed a phenomenal start to the 2012/13 campaign - winning 13 games on the bounce.
They have racked up a perfect 10 wins to sit top of the RaboDirect PRO12 standings, while they have overcome Castres (41-17), Glasgow (19-8) and Northampton (25-6) in the Heineken Cup.
And Henry, whose own impressive form has earned him the No 7 shirt in the Ireland side, believes last season's pain has worked in their favour this time around.
"Losing the final is hard to forget and was hard to take," Henry told Sky Sports. "It was the way that we lost as well as we let the score get away from us.
"However we have used that memory as a positive and as an inspiration this time. We can learn from the intensity of having not only played in the final, but the quarter and semi-finals as we had a real hard battle with Munster, too."
While Ulster are using the hurt of their loss to their benefit, Henry fully expects Northampton to use the same approach at Ravenhill on Saturday.
Ulster were simply too good for the Saints at Franklin's Gardens, with the pack putting the much feared Northampton forwards to the sword.
"Northampton will come here still hurting from what happened at their place and we expect them to come at us with a real intensity," said Henry.
"We know they will go back to the way they can play. But big credit to our front row, though, for the way they played at their place as they really got stuck in to them. It was a real pack effort and hopefully we can do the same again.
"There is no doubt that the backs have scored some brilliant tries this season, but it has been the pack that has got us over the gain line and onto the front foot."
Henry's own form in the pack has earned the 28-year-old openside an ever-increasing fan club.
However despite breaking into the Ireland side - and pushing hard for the British and Irish Lions tour - Henry is not getting carried away.
"My focus is on Ulster... it is a fight to keep the shirt here as it is," he added.
"As a club, we very much take it a game at a time. We have won nothing yet so there is nothing for us to be celebrating. We know that all this hard work will count for nothing if we fail to win the silverware we crave.
"If success with Ulster can then bring Ireland caps and more, then brilliant."
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