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URC: ‘Leinster assault akin to world’s finest’ – Ulster head coach McFarland


Dan McFarland and Leo Cullen
Ulster head coach Dan McFarland with Leinster counterpart Leo Cullen
Venue: Kingspan Stadium, Belfast Date: Friday, 30 September Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC iPlayer; report and reaction on BBC Sport website

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland says Leinster’s attacking prowess is comparable to any other team in the world as the sides prepare to meet in the URC at Kingspan Stadium on Friday.

Both teams have sealed bonus-point wins in their opening two games, with Ulster top of the table on points difference.

“In attack, they’re extremely fluid and play at a high tempo,” said McFarland.

“They have a cohesiveness and understanding in their attack that not many other teams in the world have.”

“You have to be on point all of the time because if there is space on the field they are finding it. That’s the biggest test that you face.

“Tactically they understand how to control a game.”

Ulster began their season with a comprehensive 36-10 win over Connacht and then came out on top 55-39 in a 12-try thriller against Scarlets on Saturday.

Leinster edged past Zebre 33-29 in Italy, before running out convincing 42-10 winners against further Italian opposition in the form of Benetton.

‘One of the biggest games of the year’

“We’re three weeks in and have a lot of things to develop. We defended very well the first week and very poorly in the second week.

“Facing Leinster is one of the biggest games of the year in terms of interest as you’re playing the best team in the league of the past 10 years.

“They’re a team that play good rugby and they’ll test us both sides of the ball.

“We’ve been tested in different ways over the past few weeks but I think Leinster bring an all-round game that will test all aspects of our game so it’ll be a good barometer.

“When we attack Leinster will bring a lot more line speed than Scarlets would with their collective prowess off the line.

“All their back row are able to get off the line and make quality tackles. That puts a lot of pressure on you. They don’t make many mistakes because they fill the field.”

McFarland revealed that the northern province are likely to be without hamstring injury victim Sean Reffell, with a number of other players carrying injuries still being assessed.

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