Sunday 20 October 2019

Peel insists Ulster will not rely on Murphy's inside track

Dwayne Peel. Photo: Sportsfile
Dwayne Peel. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Considering their disrupted start to the season, many would agree that Ulster are very much in bonus territory having reached the Champions Cup quarter-final.

Having barely scraped into the tournament via a play-off, Ulster have enjoyed an excellent run in Europe and given that their last-eight clash is on familiar ground, there is less of a fear factor than going to somewhere like a hotbed in France.

"I think it is fair to say that," backs coach Dwayne Peel agrees.

"We have players in the Irish squad, we have Leinster players so we know guys, so I suppose we can have a bit of an insight into certain traits when you play with a player you always find out their strengths, what they like and their weaknesses.

"I am sure the boys are discussing that within themselves, within the changing room, maybe even go after this guy here, but they will be having the same discussions around us.

"So I think there is a bit of familiarity with the Aviva as well and if we were playing in France we would not have a 15,000 crowd going down so that is obviously going to be good for us."

For all of that, Ulster will travel to Dublin, which hasn't exactly been a happy hunting ground over the years, and they are taking on the defending champions, who have ominously yet to hit their full potential this season.

Nowadays, the Leinster connection runs deep within the northern province's squad, and while it would be naive to think that they aren't going to tap into that this week, Ulster are not going to rely heavily on someone like Jordi Murphy's inside track, according to Peel.

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"We have not looked as it that way," the former scrum-half, who won 76 caps for Wales, adds.

"He has obviously got a few things to say, but we have not put massive importance on that, he has a job to do himself.

"He is obviously looking forward to the game. I am sure all the coaches have had a word with him about what he thinks about here and there, but we have not had a massive focus on that if I am perfectly honest.

"I think we have looked at them as we would any other team and tried to plan with that.

"It will be a massive occasion for them and they will want to win desperately, given they are going back to Dublin to play. But it is not about letting that take over the focus. I suppose it is about getting the job done and performing well.

"They have massive depth in their squad, that is the massive thing which stands out, they have quality throughout the squad and deep within the squad as well as their style of play, they challenge you in all their facets of the game.

"Any sort of lack of concentration they punish teams that is the biggest thing, they are quite ruthless.

"There is no bigger task than to go where we are going on Saturday. For us, that is not a daunting thing, it is exciting."

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