Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin has made it clear his side are in no way intimidated about the prospect of going to Thomond Park to take on Munster in their Heineken Cup quarter-final tie. The two teams will be joined by Leinster in the knockout stages, in a tournament that is once again dominated by Irish clubs.
Ulster may not boast the same European pedigree as they fellow Ireland teams – barring their 1999 cup winning season – but McLaughlin has insisted his squad will go into the match without any fear and the Heineken Cup Odds suggest they may pull off an upset..
The Ulster coach has maintained the atmosphere won’t intimidate his side, especially after last week’s narrow defeat in the cauldron-like Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, at the hands of Clermont Auvergne in their final pool match.
“We don’t fear anybody – we are a quality side and we’re moving up the ladder in Europe,” said McLaughlin,” he said.
“Having witnessed the atmosphere in Clermont and now going to Thomond, it is something we’re going to relish and look forward to.”
While Munster marched into the knockout stages of this year’s Heineken Cup competition, the same can’t be said for Ulster, however, who crept in through the back door as the best runners-up, resulting in them going into the quarter-finals as eighth seeds and anyone looking at the Mobile betting will have to bear this in mind.
The seeding difference between the two sides won’t make any difference when they line-up against each other at the beginning of April.. Neither will their RaboDirect PRO12 form; which currently sees Munster seven points ahead of sixth placed Ulster.
There is a lot of rugby to be played before the two sides meet in their quarter-final and both clubs will need to focus on their league form before allowing the Heineken Cup to re-enter their plans.