January 4th, 2019

Youthful Ulster to be schooled by Leinster!

By Angus Macartney

 

Jared Payne (Ulster defence coach) – Ulster must “look forward to the challenge”

 

Taking on the European Champions, on their own patch, is one of the toughest challenges in club rugby.

Payne insists Ulster must embrace it and look forward to testing themselves against the best.

With Champions Cup next week, both sides have made wholesale changes for Saturday’s contest. Leinster seem to have found the blend between youth and experience as Ireland stalwart Rob Kearney captains the side.

Ulster’s side, on paper, looks very inexperienced. They must perform to keep the talented hosts at bay.

 

Last week’s interpro recap:

 

Leinster travelled to Limerick to face Munster in a match that showcased many of Ireland’s international stars.

Leinster, by Sexton’s admission, were architects of their own downfall gifting Munster opportunities with ill-discipline.

Munster had a man advantage for over half the game with winger James Lowe being shown a straight red. Eventually, the pressure told and they came through 26-17.

On the other hand, Ulster fell to Connacht 21-12. Ulster never really got started against a Connacht side who are in form and formidable at home.

Ultimately, Ulster left themselves with too much to do falling behind early and will be disappointed leaving with no losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

 

Closing thoughts:

 

It pains me to say it, but I don’t hold any hope for Ulster this week. Ulster are a side in transition and Leinster are a club at the top of European rugby.

I expect both sides to trade points in an open contest – keep your eyes peeled for points markets and additional handicaps when they become available.

Ultimately, Leinster will have too much and run out heavy victors at the RDS.

Tips:

 

Leinster win both halves

Sean Cronin anytime try scorer

Adam Byrne anytime try scorer

 

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