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Ulster have no fear of playing in our backyard - Leo

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24 May 2013; Leinster captain Leo Cullen with head coach Joe Schmidt during a press conference ahead of their Celtic League Grand Final against Ulster on Saturday. Leinster Rugby Press Conference, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

24 May 2013; Leinster captain Leo Cullen with head coach Joe Schmidt during a press conference ahead of their Celtic League Grand Final against Ulster on Saturday. Leinster Rugby Press Conference, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

24 May 2013; Leinster captain Leo Cullen with head coach Joe Schmidt during a press conference ahead of their Celtic League Grand Final against Ulster on Saturday. Leinster Rugby Press Conference, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Captain Leo Cullen believes the RDS will hold "no fear" for Ulster ahead of the PRO12 League final in Dublin this evening.

"Ulster are a very different challenge. They have already won here a number of weeks ago, so they don't hold any fear," he said.

"In many ways, they would be the form team in the league this year, so going into it they are probably the team that are favourites to win this game, in theory."

There is plenty of evidence to back up this assertion, starting with Ulster's power-packed front row: "Tom Court, (Rory) Bestie and John Afoa have been a real standout unit this year," he said.

"Any team they have played against, even in Europe against Saracens where they were well-beaten in the game, they destroyed two guys who are going on the Lions (tour).

"We played them up in Ravenhill (in December). They got a penalty try pretty early in the game and they laid down a marker that day. We know it is a huge focus point for us.

"I think Ulster all season, they have shown real endeavour to be successful. They dominated the league for large parts of the year, had a little bit of a wobble, but then got things back on track after the game here and finished the season really well."

 

QUALITY

"They are a real handful. They are a really physical team and they've got quality players throughout, most notable is probably Nick Williams who has been the standout player in the league."

Of course, Leinster will lose coach Joe Schmidt to Ireland, Isa Nacewa to retirement and Jonathan Sexton to Racing Metro at the end of the night.

"There will be a lot of emotion on Saturday. For sure. For both teams. For various different reasons," voiced Cullen.

"Someone like Jonny (Sexton), who missed a large part of the Six Nations, has come back into the team over the last four or five weeks to add fresh impetus as a very experienced player.

"It is his last couple of week here as well and he wants to send off on the right note."

Any team can be only as strong as its weakest link. It is in the planning process that strategies are hammered out and weaknesses exposed, as Stade Francais found out last week.

"It is who manages the detail on the day, who manages to produce the plays that they have practiced and who manages to counteract the plays they are going to be defending against.

"It is important to keep clear heads. We've got to focus on the job. That is the most important thing. The team comes first. You have all these little distractions going on. It is important you manage them."


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