Matty Rea says Ulster must focus on own strategy against Leinster

It’s too simplistic to say Ulster just need to replicate what Connacht did in the RDS last Saturday night if they want to beat Leinster.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 6:00 am
Friday 20th December 2019 | Leinster vs Ulster Rugby Matty Rea during PRO14 Round 8 League clash between Leinster Rugby and Ulster Rugby at the RDS Arena, Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland. Photo by John Dickson / DICKSONDIGITAL

Ulster beat Munster at Kingspan Stadium before Andy Friend’s men from the west not only ended Leinster’s unbeaten 26-match unbeaten Pro14 record Connacht, they did it will a bonus win.

That means Ulster travel to Dublin tomorrow night with a 10-point lead over the defending champions and a first win at the RDS since March 2013 would put Ulster firmly in control of Conference A, although Leo Cullen’s side have two games in hand.

Flanker Matty Rea feels there are parts of the Connacht performance that Ulster should try to adapt.

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“A wounded Leinster team will definitely be up for it and it is a massive challenge for us and one of the biggest challenges we face all year. I think Connacht put out a good model for us and we have to go down there with the same mindset,” said Rea.

“We have to be clinical, we have to play in the right part of the pitch and not give Leinster any momentum and easy ins to the game.

“That is a massive thing - discipline - (not) giving them easy ins into our ‘22’ or our half of the pitch because they will play down there and put us through phases, we know how good they are and they are clinical and will always come away with points,” said Rea.

“We have to smart where we play the game and our discipline, if we can go down there and beat Leinster obviously were are in a good position to finish top.”

Ulster conceded 13 penalties in the victory over Munster, a tally that can’t be repeated in Dublin.

“They weren’t happy (coaching staff with penalty count), a lot of them were basic errors and maybe a lack of urgency going into rucks, credit Munster (they) put in a big shift and gave us a tough time all night, they were physical and put us in a position where we were having to give away those penalties.

“For us it is something we pride ourselves on here, (and that) is our ability to jackal the ball and our ruck speed is sort of what makes our game tick, so that is going to be a massive focus going into the weekend.”

The battle at the breakdown could be the key to victory for Ulster in the RDS, Connacht managed to turn over Leinster ball 13 times last weekend while Ulster gave up possession nine times against Munster.

Rea said: “To generate quick ball is a vital part of our game and the platform that we need, it is something that we have talked about this week what went wrong and what we need to fix.

“We know exactly how important that aspect of the game will be and how much of a part it will have to play, especially both sides in attack and defence and stopping their quick ball of those first couple of phases and it is important we do appreciate the importance of that.”

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