It’s second against third at the RDS on Saturday eveing as Ulster travel to Dublin to face defending champions Leinster.
Mark Anscombe’s men have won their last five games in all competitions while Leinster have slipped to two defeats.
Ulster’s latest victory came against Zebre which saw them climb to second in the table and lock Lewis Stevenson was happy with how the lineout functioned.
“Marco Bortolami is a great lineout forward and credit to Johann his lineout work and analysis of teams really helps us out, we knew their lineout really well, some of the guys take the credit but it’s the lifters and everybody behind the scenes that makes it happen,” said Stevenson
Ulster won in an epic struggle at the RDS in the league game but Leinster gained revenge with victory in the PRO12 final and Stevenson is expecting a tough night.
“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 injury room.”
“We are going to be expecting a reaction from them, Leinster are arguably the best side in Europe.
“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 under estimate them we have to get stuck into them from the start.”
If Ulster are to defeat Leinster Stevenson knows they will need a better performance that the one they put in last Friday.
“No disrespect to Zebre Leinster are a total different breed so we are going to have to be on are medal 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 be in your face, they can go out wide and they have a lot 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.”
“Wewe beat Zebre it was ugly and we’re disappointed how we played, that’s not our standard and I think we are better than that.”
After Leinster Ulster face Munster at Ravenhill before the two concluding rounds of the Heineken Cup and Stevenson believes the Irish derbies always brings out the best in the team.
“When you play any of the southern sides it’s always a huge week and 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.”