January 17th, 2019

Leicester v Ulster: Ulster to ease into the quarters!

By Angus Macartney

 

Ulster came through an end to end encounter with Racing 92 to put them in a great position to qualify for the quarter finals for the first time since 2014. They will travel to Leicester for their final game of the pool with their destiny in their own hands.

Ulster are boosted by the return of John Cooney to their starting line-up. He returns from a knock that left him out of last week. However, they are still without Ian Henderson who remains sidelined through injury

It is unclear what strength of side Leicester coach Murphy will field with their qualification hopes over. That said, it would be foolish for Ulster to take this challenge lightly.

 

“We’ll have to go out there and take it” Dan McFarland

 

Ulster coach has sent a strong message to his squad that they must finish the job and take their chances against Leicester.

Ulster are boosted by the return of John Cooney to their starting line-up as he returns from injury. It is unclear what strength of side Leicester coach Murphy will field with their qualification hopes over. That said, it would be foolish for Ulster to take this challenge lightly.

 

“We really want to establish Welford Road as a fortress once again” Ben Youngs

 

Ben Youngs, Leicester scrum half and England international, has some fighting talk ahead of Ulster’s visit on Saturday.

Judging by what he has said, whatever team they decide to put out will be desperate to thwart Ulster’s qualification hopes and build momentum for the second half of their season.

Ulster and Leicester are no strangers in this competition. In fact, they are building up a fascinating rivalry having played on 10 occasions in the competition with Ulster leading the head to head 6-4. All wins have gone to the home side except on one occasion – Ulster will hope to add to their solitary away victory this week.

 

One to watch:

 

Jacob Stockdale

 

Jacob, it would seem, can do no wrong. The talented speedster has crossed the line in every Champions Cup match this season – no other player in the competition has managed that feat.

Against Racing 92, Jacob was at his clinical best capping off a quality performance with another solo try albeit aided by the bounce of the ball.

Ulster will look to Stockdale for gain line success, calmness in the backfield and ultimately for his ability to score tries.

 

Top Tip: Ulster -4 at 10/11

 

Last week, I took the calculated risk backing Ulster at home to beat Racing 92. Given their home record, at 6/4, they offered too much value for me to turn down. They did the business coming through 26-22 in a high quality encounter.

I believe Ulster will cap off a successful group campaign with a relatively comfortable victory in Leicester. Yes, Leciester have European pedigree, but the reality is they are likely to rest players with bigger fish to fry in the league.

Ulster, on the other hand, have everything to play for. They are a side filled with confidence having beaten Scarlets back to back and then following it up with a win against the French giants Racing 92.

If Ulster can stick to the game plan, they will come out comfortable victors.

 

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