Ferris a major doubt ahead of Munster Euro clash

By Staff Reporter

ULSTER will bid to reach the Heineken Cup semi-final for the first time since 1999 as they travel to Thomond Park for a last eight clash with Irish rivals Munster on Sunday (1.45pm).

Ulster were eliminated in the quarter-finals last year when they lost at Northampton. There is an added incentive for the winners with the prize of a home semi-final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Ulster warmed up for the trip with a six-try victory over Aironi at Ravenhill last weekend and skipper Johann Muller is hoping the team have learnt from last year’s mistakes.

“Quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals are about the small things and it is all about making sure you do the little things really well, if you look after those things then normally the score board will look after itself,” said Muller.

“Munster are a great scrummaging side, they have a brilliant lineout and a great kick off so we have to make sure we look after those areas.

“We know how physical they are going to be, we know they have a pack of forwards that are going to dominate and if we don’t match them we are probably going to end up on the losing side.

“So we have to better their physical performance and if we do that we have a great chance of coming out on top.”

Muller was happy with how the Ulster pack performed against the Italians.

“Our scrum was really good, Rory, John and Tom did a brilliant job up front and the back five put their hands up, we are happy but we know the animal we are playing on Sunday is a totally different one.

“We need to do our homework this week and make sure we plan accordingly.”

Both sides could be missing key players. Ulster’s Stephen Ferris rolled his ankle against Aironi and is rated doubtful while Munster could be without Paul O’Connell, Connor Murray and Keith Earls.

Ian Humphreys will have to be on the money if Ulster are to have any chance of becoming only the second team to win in the Heineken Cup at Thomond Park.

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