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Ferris: No pressure on Ulster

All the pressure ahead of the URC quarterfinal between Leinster and Ulster will be on the home team.

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This is according to former Ireland international Stephen Ferris.

The pressure will firmly be on Leinster and their management team to bag some silverware this season after another Champions Cup Final loss, their third in a row.

Since the rebranding of the Pro 14 which Leinster won, to the United Rugby Championship when the South African sides joined in the 2021/22 competition, Leinster have not won a single trophy.

Ferris believes that there’s a question mark over their mentality which could give Ulster the edge, who’s already beaten them twice so far this season.

Leinster finished top of the table in both URC seasons yet failed to reach finals as they were shocked by the Bulls in 2022 at the RDS arena in the semifinal and again the year after against Munster with a late drop goal by Jack Crowley.

This time around they’re in unfamiliar territory in third position after playing their second stringers on their tour to South Africa where they were beaten by the Lions and Stormers.

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They followed that with a win against the Ospreys but then they suffered a last-minute loss to Ulster.

It could work in their favour if they manage to beat Ulster and go down to Pretoria to get revenge on the Bulls for 2022, but it certainly isn’t ideal for the Irish powerhouse.

Ulster on the other hand, who had a shaky start to the season, with some backroom drama and change of coaches midway through the season seems to have peaked at the right time as noted by Ferris.

“Three months ago, it was doom and gloom,” says Ferris.

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“People were saying Ulster were the fourth best province and rubbish.

“But with a couple of results and a couple of young guys playing very well, it has changed the whole way people are viewing them.

“These young guys are bringing energy and positivity, the fans are back on board. Everyone is speaking in a good way about Ulster rugby at the minute.”

He also added: “If Leinster go with their full-strength team, I can’t see Ulster winning because of set-piece.

“With Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter there, I think that’s going to be a real tough one.

“No scrum, no win is what the South Africans say.”

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