Ulster’s attack coach Dwayne Peel believes that the famous ‘Ravenhill Roar’ will have a huge role to play in the province’s must-win European clash with Racing 92 in Belfast on Saturday.
Peel is hopeful that the vital ‘extra man’ in the stands will mirror what happened nearly 20 years ago to the day when the province became the first Irish team to claim European glory.
“They (the crowd) have a massive part to play, especially in a big game like this,” enthused the former Lions and Wales scrum-half.
“It carries you over the line, and, as a player myself, I suppose it can be a bit intimidating for opposing teams. We have a fantastic crowd here who are sure to be in good voice on Saturday. The boys want to play in front of big crowds and the atmosphere here when it’s rocking will be great. The crowds have been good here, ever since I’ve been here.
“We’ve just got to go out and really get stuck into them.”
Ulster went down 44-12 in the reverse fixture in France last October but Peel believes that outcome was unfair on the province’s efforts.
“The reality is that they have a good squad of players but I thought the scoreline (in October) didn’t really reflect that game. But they are playing really well, and they’ve got class players.
“Whenever you start this competition, you want to be coming into the last two games with everything to play for. We’ve now put ourselves in that situation so for us it’s an opportunity we want to take.
“It will be fantastic for everyone involved if we manage to get through. We’re excited about it. I’m sure that boys will know that, and really have a crack at it.”
Ulster will be hoping that their big-game star Jacob Stockdale will have recovered sufficiently from a hamstring worry to start.
“Hopefully he will be good to play,” said Peel.
“He has been training well so barring any mishaps, he will be fine.”
Meanwhile, Ulster will start with young wing Robert Baloucoune whom they have registered as an additional player in place of Wallaby Henry Speight.
However, Kyle McCall and Angus Kernohan have been ruled out with hamstring injuries with Michael Lowry undergoing the return to play protocols.