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Monday 18 February 2019

Ulster have to survive the Tigers' claws

Champions Cup, Leicester v Ulster, Live BT Sport 2 (KO 3.15)

Jacob Stockdale
Jacob Stockdale

What a shame it would be for Ulster to let the great work of last week go unrewarded at Welford Road this afternoon.

And yet, that is a strong possibility unless Dan McFarland can extract the same level of intensity and accuracy from his charges.

The return of Iain Henderson is paramount to Ulster's plan to make the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

It would be a step towards greater respect on a European-wide scale

The combination between Henderson and Kieran Treadwell is powerful and athletic.

The scrum, anchored by Marty Moore, will have to be stable in front of a back row that can cause damage on both sides of the ball.

David Shanahan has been asked to maintain the standard shown against Racing beside Billy Burns, a man with a point to prove to those across the water.

The Tigers will have drawn up a plan to deal with the threat of Jacob Stockdale out wide.

The blend between Stuart McCloskey and Will Addison is looking better every week.

They will come under serious pressure from the Mat Toomua-Mau Tuilagi pairing.

What happens in the midfield could determine the outcome.

Leicester: J Holmes; J May, M Tuilagi, M Toomua, J Olowofela; G Ford (capt), B Youngs; G Bateman, J Kerr, D Cole, M Fitzgerald, G Kitchener, M Williams, B O'Connor, S Kalamafoni. Replacements: R McMillan, F Gigena, J Heyes, H Wells, W Evans; B White, J Ford, S Aspland-Robinson.

Ulster: L Ludik; R Baloucoune, W Addison, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns, D Shanahan; E O'Sullivan, R Best (capt), M Moore, I Henderson, K Treadwell, S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee. Replacements: R Herring, A Warwick, R Kane, A O'Connor, N Timoney, J Cooney, M Lowry, D Cave.

Verdict: Leicester

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