Ulster may have achieved their goal in leapfrogging Benetton in the chase for a Guinness PRO14 knock-out place, but there was mixed news in the aftermath of Saturday’s win over Southern Kings for coach Dan McFarland ahead of next week’s Champions Cup quarter-final with Leinster.
While Ulster’s players and management insist that the focus is entirely on Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle, it’s become clearer who will be replacing Christian Leali’ifano when the Wallaby’s short-term contract ends this month.
It’s a fixture which Connacht have only won four times in 29 meetings but coach Kieran Keane is hoping that Tiernan O’Halloran’s decision to remain at the Sportsground will be the start of a great festive period.
Veteran wing Tommy Bowe will be the centre of attention as Ulster seek to consolidate their Guinness PRO14 position when they travel to the compact and atmospheric Rodney Parade to face Bernard Jackman’s Dragons this evening.
“You watch Clermont as we have and you’ve just got to be impressed by what’s on offer, admiring too, and otherwise it might put the fear of God in you.” Ulster’s Director of Rugby Les Kiss was certainly not underestimating the task facing his side when the French Championship leaders come to Kingspan Stadium on Saturday for the third pool game in the Champions Cup.