Stevenson is expected to start in a much-changed Ulster line-up and he expects plenty of fireworks as Leinster attempt to avoid a third straight loss, while also seeking revenge for last March’s home defeat to Mark Anscombe’s side.
“We are going to be expecting a reaction from them,” said Stevenson.
“Leinster are arguably the best side in Europe. Regardless of who is playing for us we’ll be up against it because they have a lot of good second-rows and they are in form so we’ll have to front up in the engine room.
“It’s always a massive physical contest and we just want to go down and beat them, we have to front-up. We can’t go and underestimate them, we have to get stuck into them from the start.”
Ulster overcame Zebre in their last RaboDirect outing, but Stevenson acknowledges the step-up in class they will encounter tomorrow evening.
“No disrespect to Zebre, Leinster are a totally different breed. We are going to have to be on our mettle and really front up or we’ll be on the receiving end of a hiding. Zebre are very forward orientated, and in your face, Leinster have the whole range of plays, they can also be in your face, but they can go out wide and they always have lots of options. I think it shows where we have set our standards. We have to set them high because we want to be one of the best teams in Europe and we want to keep pushing on.
“We beat Zebre and it was ugly and we’re disappointed (with) how we played. But that is not our standard and I think we are much better than that and playing in these derbies raises the standard.
“When you play in an inter-provincial, you can see the excitement in the boys and it is a really bragging rights thing. They are almost like Heineken Cup quarter and semi finals because of the buzz and energy during the week and everyone just feeds of each other.”
Ulster are hopeful that both Robbie Diack and Roger Wilson will be available for selection. Diack has recovered from a bruised shoulder, while Wilson is almost back to full fitness following a slight foot injury.