Ulster: A Season At The Brink Or A Place At The Top Table?

“Stand Up For The Ulstermen” rings out and Stephen Ferris is all ears. Having had a taste of Heineken Cup knock-out rugby over the last two seasons, Ulster will be looking to get to the top of the mountain next season. Do they have what it takes?

Ulster are a fine team who got into the Heineken Cup final on merit: they beat ASM Clermont Auvergne, Leicester and Munster [in Thomond Park, no less] in the competition, a very worthy set of scalps in any season.  Continue reading

Heineken Cup Final Reaction #1: M’Learned Friends Of The Bench

Cronin scoots in on eighty minutes for the fifth Leinster try. While it must have been hard to take for Ulster fans, Leinster fans will be happy that the team played for the whole match and kept scoring until the final whistle.

Leinster were always going to try and stretch the eighty minutes; one of their major advantages over Ulster lay in the fact that they had more talent on the bench, especially in the pack. The starting eights seemed quite equal on pre-match inspection, but it was obvious that there was a quality disparity in whom the respective coaches could call off the bench.  Continue reading

The Fingers Of The Red Hand

Even for The Mole, there has almost been surplus coverage of the Heineken Cup final in Twickenham. Ulster and Leinster have been analysed, examined and dissected in such depth that it is very difficult to consider any angle that would contribute anything further in the search for clues as to which team might have the ascendency in this game. Continue reading

Heineken Cup Final Preview: Leinster vs Ulster

Having produced some weighty previews for the two semi-finals [and here] , there’s not a whole heap new to say about the two Irish provinces competing for the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

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Match Reaction: Ulster 22 – 19 Edinburgh

Ruan Pienaar was the Magner's League Player of the Season in his first term with Ulster, and was in a different class than everybody else on the Lansdowne Road pitch.

Ulster and Edinburgh played out a fast-paced semi-final in front of their boisterous supporters, and while the end-game wasn’t quite as tense as the final score would suggest, everyone in Lansdowne Road got their money’s worth.  Continue reading

Heineken Cup Semi-Final Preview: Ulster vs Edinburgh

There were quite a few people who picked Ulster to knock over Munster in the quarter-finals, even though it was played down in Thomond Park, where Munster had been invincible at the quarter-final stage for over a decade … but who were the geniuses that had Edinburgh over Toulouse? Continue reading