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Ulster v Leinster Preview

I look at Ulster and Leinster ahead of their clash in Kingspan Stadium on Friday.

You could argue that form will play a part in this match but as Leinster displayed in France, this is not always the case.

Ulster have won 4 of their last 5 matches, and like Leinster, they also lost to Dragons away.

Leinster have lost 3 of their last 5 matches, drawing one against Glasgow Warriors, with a victory over Bath in the Aviva on 4th April.

Not great form on paper but their performance against Toulon in Marseille was encouraging to say the least. Most people didn’t give them any hope to beat Toulon, even the more dedicated supporters were skeptical. But for long periods of the match Leinster were actually much more organised than a “French” side who looked like they never trained together. Leinster although they made some costly mistakes, they lost trying to win the match. And to keep grinding away for 100 minutes is no mean feat. It definitely gives us some hope for next season if not for the rest of the present one. Coach Matt O’Connor has made 4 changes to the side that faced Toulon, dropping Madigan to the bench to make way for D’Arcy. It will be interesting to see if Gopperth can manage the match without Madigan. Strauss comes in for Cronin who must be fairly tired after an exhausting semi final in France. Dominic Ryan starts ahead of Jordi Murphy who had a fantastic game last week.

Ulster are playing some good rugby at the moment, scoring 5 tries against Connacht in their last match. The team that faced Connacht is unchanged ahead of their clash with Leinster. A strong side. Gilroy is the leading try scorer in the Pro12, this is a problem for Leinster who have struggled to score tries this year. Ulster have some great players with incredible pace.

Both sides have lost players to injury, Ulster have lost Stuart Olding to a knee injury for nine months and Leinster have lost Fergus McFadden to a thumb injury for the rest of their season. Kirchner is his replacement on the right wing.

We can definitely expect tries from Ulster, Ben Te’o has demonstrated an ability to score tries. He’s a good finisher and I don’t doubt his abilities on the pitch. I think unless Leinster turn up with the right attitude and a desire to win, as they did in France last Sunday, Ulster might pull away in the second half if they build enough of a lead. Perhaps having less pressure on Leinster will benefit them.

Leinster captain, Jamie Heaslip, makes his 200th appearance for the province on Friday night.

Match KO 7:30pm April 24th

Teams:

Ulster:

  1. L Ludik
  2. T Bowe
  3. J Payne
  4. D Cave
  5. C Gilroy
  6. P Jackson
  7. R Pienaar
  8. C Black
  9. R Best CAPTAIN
  10. W Herbst
  11. D Tuohy
  12. F Van der Merwe
  13. I Henderson
  14. C Henry
  15. R Wilson

Replacements:

  1. R Herring
  2. A Warwick
  3. B Ross
  4. R Diack
  5. C Ross
  6. P Marshall
  7. I Humphreys
  8. S McCloskey

Leinster:

  1. R Kearney
  2. Z Kirchner
  3. B Te’o
  4. G D’Arcy
  5. L Fitzgerald
  6. J Gopperth
  7. I Boss
  8. C Healy
  9. R Strauss
  10. M Ross
  11. D Toner
  12. M McCarthy
  13. D Ryan
  14. S O’Brien
  15. J Heaslip

Replacements:

  1. S Cronin
  2. J McGrath
  3. T Furlong
  4. B Marshall
  5. J Murphy
  6. E Reddan
  7. I Madigan
  8. D Fanning

One Response to “Ulster v Leinster Preview”

  1. Emma McGarry

    I do realise the numbers are completely messed up, when I tried to use the bullet point format it put them in the wrong order. Apologies, amateur mistake!

    Reply

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