Ulster Rugby assistant coach Dan Soper predicted “a huge challenge” is awaiting his side when they travel to the Aviva Stadium to take on Irish rivals Leinster Rugby in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash.
Four-time winners Leinster, runners-up to Stade Rochelais in last year’s final, have a 100% record in this season’s competition so far, notching four bonus-point wins from their four Pool A games to top the group, and provided the bulk of Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam-winning squad.
“It’s a huge challenge, so you want to be arriving with a bit of confidence and winning helps that,” he said after Ulster’s 32-23 victory against Vodacom Bulls in the BKT United Rugby Championship last weekend.
“We start the week on a positive note, but we are under no illusions about the step up again.”
Ulster hooker Tom Stewart echoed those thoughts after being involved in Ireland’s Six Nations camp and says it’s an occasion that he can’t wait for.
“They’re a very good side, obviously full of internationals and they will be ticking,” said the 22-year-old. “They’ll be high and they have threats, but we are looking forward to it. There’s nothing better than Champions Cup nights, so it will be a big one.”