Pro 14: Ulster v Leinster Preview

Ulster will host front-runners Leinster in this weekend's Pro 14 fixture at the Kingspan Stadium.

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Ulster v Leinster | 28 October 19h15 | Kingspan Stadium, Belfast

To Win Match (80 Mins)
Ulster 17/20 | Draw 17/1 | Leinster 1/1

Following their 41-17 caning at the hands of La Rochelle on the weekend, Ulster will need to seriously lift themselves, if they are to claim a victory over a red-hot Leinster outfit on Saturday. The visitors, which managed to see off both Montpellier and Glasgow over the past fortnight, are tied on 23-points with Ulster in Conference B, with the winner of Saturday’s encounter looking to keep up the pressure on front-runners, Scarlets.


Let’s not beat around the bush here - Ulster were absolutely dreadful in their loss in La Rochelle. As good a side as the Frenchmen are, there is no way that they should have been allowed to put 41-points past the men from Belfast. The visitors conceded eight-turnovers and dropped off 13-tackles, but the overall lack of urgency, particularly in the second-half, is what should really set Les Kiss’s alarm bells. For a side coming into the new season with some lofty expectations, the Ulster players’ attitudes were certainly questionable.

Leinster find themselves on a four-game winning streak and Ulster cannot afford to allow them as much time and space as they did La Rochelle. In the form of Robbie Henshaw and Joey Carbery, Johnny Sexton has all the tools required to tear their defence apart, and nullifying them certainly does seem a formidable task for the Ulstermen indeed.

Tactically, Ulster need to be spot on, while they would also do well to initiate a rush-defence to try and limit the powers of Sexton. When it all comes down to it, winning the collisions is the most important factor for them to consider, taking into account the quality at Leinster’s disposal, it may turn out to be a rather tough ask.


Leo Cullen’s side seems to be the real deal, following a few underwhelming recent finishes. Forget their second-stringers’ loss in Bloemfontein, Leinster are undefeated this campaign and their wins in Europe over the past two weeks only attest to the fact that they are one of the favourites to lift that coveted Champions Cup for a fourth time at the end of the season.

With Sexton in such fine form, it really is looking beyond them this weekend. The flyhalf’s world-class game management, constantly ensures his side is on the front foot, playing in the right areas of the field, while the likes of Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier combining in the back-row makes it a nightmare for opposing teams to assert themselves in the contest. If Sexton and the Leinster forwards fire, there will be no hope for Ulster.

Verdict: Leinster 1/1
Leinster seem unlikely to arrest their early-season form and should claim victory at the Kingspan. While this weekend’s fixture is usually much tougher to call, all indications are that the result should be relatively academic.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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