ulster120white Ulster’s Heineken Cup qualification chances appear to be over for another year after a farcical weekend’s tour of northern France and the Low Countries!

There was plenty of abuse being directed at Stade Francais chairman Max Guazzini this weekend as his Belgian adventure spectacularly backfired but it’s Mad Max who will be laughing this week as the Parisians now look firm favourites to progress to the knock out stages.

Like 99.99% of Ulster’s supporters I didn’t manage to see the game but you can find reports on Ulster Rugby, BBC, Planet Rugby and the ERC websites if you feel you must put yourself through it.

I spent Sunday afternoon listening to Radio Ulster’s coverage while texting and twittering the latest scores to Ulster fans stranded in Brussels and as I’ve always had “issues” with Gushers commentary and with Maurice Field’s gleeful finger pointing there’s nothing I can add really on Ulster’s performance.

Suffice to say I’m disappointed, but not surprised. It’s happened too, too often in the past to be any sort of surprise and for the third or fourth time this season the quality of the Ulster management is going to be measured on how the team rebound after another defeat.

Ulster still have plenty to play for in Europe with three of the second placed teams going through to the quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup and with Leinster, Munster, Ospreys, Edinburgh and Bath coming up in quick succession there’s not going to be much time for moping around because if Ulster don’t get back to their best it is entirely feasible that we could lose all five games.

However, so fine is the line between success and failure in this great game of rugby, it’s also entirely possible that we could win all five.

Myself I’d settle for just giving Munster a good stuffing. Well Munster a good stuffing and wins against Edinburgh and Bath. Well maybe a bonus point win against Bath a good stuffing for Munster (40 points plus), revenge against Edinburgh and the league double over the Ospreys. Mind you, it’s been a while since we won in Mexico so that would be nice as well!

So there you have it The FRU are demanding five wins or the season’s over!