Monday 19 August 2019

Court: Ulster's RDS jitters in the mind

Tom Court. Photo: Sportsfile
Tom Court. Photo: Sportsfile Sportsdesk

He knows a thing or two about playing Leinster, having spent eight years at Ulster, but, more importantly, Tom Court actually knows what it feels like to have won a game against them at the RDS.

With Ulster in Dublin again on New Year's Eve and somewhat weighed down by the grim statistic that they have managed just one victory there since 1999, Court seems an ideal go-to man on what needs to be done to win in Dublin.

"I do remember we beat them that one time down there," says Court, recalling the 22-18 Pro 12 triumph in March 2013.

"Those few years leading up to that, Ulster had been building through the Heineken Cup and the Pro12, but we had never been able to just get that win over Leinster down there. It seemed that they were always a step too far, so that game meant a lot to the boys."

A win on Saturday for Ulster is key to their play-off hopes, but Les Kiss is expected to be without internationals like Rory Best, Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson.

"You've got to get in their faces early on and rattle them just as, I suppose, Ireland did to New Zealand. Get your points early and then make them chase the game," says London Irish front-row Court.

He returns to that theme when trying to explain why it is that Ulster struggle at the RDS.

"It's probably just a mental stigma really. I think it's like what Ireland had previously experienced with the All Blacks before November came along.

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"If I remember right, there are a lot of photos as you walk in with Leinster teams holding up Heineken Cups and Pro12 trophies. Whether that matters I don't know, but it adds to the atmosphere."

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