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Connacht v Ulster: Previous disappointment motivating Ulster - Nick Timoney

Nick Timoney in action
Nick Timoney has made an impressive start to the season for Ulster

United Rugby Championship - Connacht v Ulster

Venue: The Sportsground, Galway Date: Saturday, 4 November Kick-off: 19:35 GMT

Coverage: Listen on BBC Sounds, BBC Radio Foyle and BBC Sport website; live text updates and report on BBC Sport website

Back row Nick Timoney says Ulster have been using the disappointment of last season to motivate their new campaign.

Ulster travel to Connacht on Friday in a bid to make in three wins from three in the United Rugby Championship.

Connacht, who are also unbeaten, ended Ulster's 2022-23 season in May with a 15-10 win in Belfast in the URC quarter-finals.

"In general, the disappointment of last season has been a motivating factor for all of us," Timoney said.

Ulster fly-half Billy Burns spoke about the "gut-wrenching" feeling of last season's defeat by Connacht and said the post-match dressing room was the worst he had experienced.

Timoney, 28, added he felt the disappointment from the previous campaign had carried through into the pre-season and their first meeting with Connacht is a chance to show how the team has progressed.

"I think there was loads of frustrations and probably regrets and bitter feelings about the whole season last year," the Ireland international said.

"We've been pretty keen to get stuck into this season and change those tones. It will be a great opportunity against the team that kind of ended our season last year to show we are on the up."

Like Ulster, who defeated Zebre and the Bulls, Connacht have also won their opening two URC matches at home to Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors.

Connacht have a new coaching structure this season with head coach Pete Wilkins assuming full responsibility of on-field matters after director of rugby Andy Friend's departure at the end of last season.

"They've started the season pretty well and they look strong," Timoney said on Ulster's inter-provincial rivals.

"They have new coaches in but a pretty established group of players. That is a dangerous combination as they are pretty well drilled and have talented players to begin with.

"No one needs to tell us how tough it is going to be heading down there.

"We know them well so nothing is going to be too surprising, but it is going to be a tough challenge."