Ulster prepare for Leicester clash

Published Friday, 17 January 2014
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Ulster are in final preparations for their Heineken Cup clash against Leicester, with a win guaranteeing a home quarter final at Ravenhill.

Ulster prepare for Leicester clash
Ulster's Paul Marshall in training before Saturday's Heineken Cup game. (© Presseye)

The Ulster men departed for Leicester on Friday morning, with the hope it will be their last away trip in the competition for some time.

Leicester have not lost a Heineken Cup pool match at home since an October 2006 Munster defeat, but Ulster have scored more points than any other side in Europe so far this season and stand a good chance of wrecking the Tigers' impressive Welford Road record.

Ulster's number 8, Nick Williams said a home tie in the quarter finals would be a huge reward for the current side, its fans and would make a fitting tribute for Nevin Spence.

Nevin, tragically died along with his brother Graham and father Noel while trying to save each other in a slurry tank accident at their family farm in Hillsborough, Co Down in September 2012.

Williams told UTV: "It will be such a big boost for the players and for the fans and obviously for the big guy Nevin - it will be awesome.

"We have been talking about a respectful fear of Leicester.

"We don't want to fear them so much that you give them too much respect but the stats alone are on our side with regards to wins in European cup games.

"But that doesn't matter, it all comes down to the game on Saturday night and we will be trying to do our best to keep that record."

Coach Mark Anscombe has made two changes to last week's team which beat Montpellier.

Callum Black makes his first ever start in the Heineken Cup and Roger Wilson returns.

Elsewhere, Craig Gilroy has recovered from concussion but Declan Fitzpatrick remains unfit.

And Rory Best will win his 150th cap for Ulster. The hooker returned from a seven-week long injury lay-off last week.

Mark Anscombe said: "It's great to have Rory back and you can see straight away that he is right back in the groove.

"He is a class act, that's why he has played 70-odd internationals for his country but in the time he has been out it has also given an opportunity for young Rob Herring and he has been outstanding.

"It shows we have a good hooker coming through our ranks."

He added: "We recognise that there are certain areas were we think Leicester will try and come at us, but we just have to make sure that we improve in other places that we are hurting and also have the confidence to know that we are doing things very well and we have to maintain that."

Saturday's game against Leicester at Welford Road kicks off at 6pm.

© UTV News
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