Statistics are there to be broken is the old adage and Ireland winger Tommy Bowe hopes it comes true on Friday night as Ulster bid to become the first team in Guinness PRO12 history to win an away semi-final as they travel to Glasgow.
No side has ever won a semi final on the road in 10 attempts but Bowe was a try scorer when the Ospreys won the 2010 final at the RDS, and also got a medal in 2012 although injured for the decider when the Welsh region again beat Leinster in Dublin.
“Its knockout stage rugby and it is an incredible stat to think that no team has ever won an away play-off, but teams have gone away in the final and won,” said Bowe.
“It’s a massive challenge for us and an opportunity to make history in being the first team to do that.
“It’s an exciting prospect for us, we know Glasgow very well and we have played against them a number of times over the last few years.
“We know exactly the quality they have and the size of the squad they have but we also know as a team when we are on themoney we can take on any team in this league and beat them home or away.
“I think the rugby we have shown over the last couple of months in the Inter-Pro derby games.
“Maybe one or two stages we could have been a bit more clinical but if the ball goes to hand and we’re on the front foot we are a tough team to stick with.”
Glasgow topped the regular league season standings after their bonus point 32-10 win over Ulster last week at Scotstoun although Neil Doak had made 12 changes for the previous week.
“I would imagine if they have a clean bill of health injury wise that there won’t be many changes to their team,” speculated Bowe.
“They had to really go for it last weekend and it is a six-day turnaround for a lot of them who would have played most of the game.
“For a lot of our guys who were maybe nursing a few knocks and bruises who missed out on last weekend they have had two good training sessions and the boys are fresh and looking forward to it.
“You don’t get to play back-to-back against many teams these days.
“You do it once a year in Europe and it makes the second match a tasty affair with it being a knockout game it has all that extra spice and as a team we are fully up for it.”
Bowe started on the bench last week but the Ireland and British Lions winger found himself having to play at No8 after Andy Warwick’s yellow card.
“I hope not to have to do that again,” laughed Bowe.
“Fingers crossed we won’t have any more sin binnings. I think that was a big part to the turning point of the game at the weekend.
“To let Hogg score that try which was super and then to give away the yellow card was a massive shift in momentum which then had me in scrummaging at No8 which is never a good thing.”