Planet Rugby

Good omens for Ulster

01st April 2013 18:16

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Ulster s prop Allen Clarke l Justin Fitzpatrick R 1999

Ulster: 1999 European Champions

Beyond boosting Ulster's confidence ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens, last weekend's victory over Leinster at the RDS bodes well for their chances of a first European title in 14 years.

Indeed, the last time Ulster beat their arch-rivals in the Irish capital, back in 1999, was also the year they became the first Irish province to be crowned champions of Europe.

This weekend's clash against Premiership leaders Saracens at Twickenham is a another huge challenge but the victory over the outgoing Europeans champions is a sign that last year's losing finalists are finding their best form again after two defeats and a draw in their last three PRO12 matches.

"It's been a tough six weeks, we've had a lot of guys away so it's good to get the guys back. They showed great character in the last five minutes," said head coach Mark Anscombe.

"The difference has been personnel, that doesn't mean the young guys that have been playing over the past month aren't there, but we've been having to put them all out there together. We've lacked a lot of leadership and a lot of experience and we're better for it - we've come through it.

"It's a big challenge to come down here [to Leinster]. It shows because it's taken us so long to get a win here, but it's great for the boys to finally do that and getting the double over them in the season is another great achievement."

It was Ulster's determined defence that kept Leinster at bay in the second half.

"When you look at this squad there is a deep rooted self belief and confidence that we are capable of winning everything this season and that is the attitude we have to get back. I don't think it has gone away it just needs a bit of enthusiasm and energy to bring it out," said Irish international hooker Rory Best ahead of the win in Dublin.

"Now we are getting injured and international players back at the right time in terms of fighting on two fronts. I think this team has shown this season that we are capable of beating anyone.

"We have shown a lot of consistency, we have fallen away a bit in terms of results and a few areas of performance in the last six games."

  • Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
  • Rugby Champions Cup Table
Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Leinster622
2Northampton617
3Castres69
4Ospreys65
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon624
2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
4Glasgow Warriors611
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Clermont Auvergne624
2Harlequins616
3Scarlets611
4Racing Metro Paris67
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ulster626
2Leicester Tigers621
3Montpellier611
4Treviso60
Pool 6
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Munster623
2Gloucester614
3Edinburgh612
4Perpignan67