Ireland flanker Iain Henderson feels there is only one place where Saturday’s crunch PRO12 derby will be won between Ulster and Leinster – and unsurprisingly it’s the breakdown.
Henderson starts at blindside with Chris Henry at openside and Sean Reidy gets the nod at No8 over Ulster’s most capped player Roger Wilson, while Leinster have opted for Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jamie Heaslip.
Sean O’Brien hasn’t made Leo Cullen’s matchday squad, and with their embarrassment of riches Henderson admits it’s tough to analyse the RDS side.
“It is difficult. It’s definitely a benefit for them having a number of internationals and the number of quality players they have, but we know we have as many good players we have an unbelievable squad,” he said.
“We don’t go into any game expecting to get beaten, we know we can beat any team in the league. We know if we play well and do our job we can roll them over.
“In their backrow they have a few good players and I have played with most of them. I have played with Josh van der Flier a good bit at under age level and he was brilliant back then, and he has been going really well for them. However, we still see him as someone we can target and exploit to make sure we can get the most gains out of Leinster.
“Josh is obviously in there at the breakdown, and Jack McGrath is brilliant at the breakdown. Josh likes to carry a fair bit, too, so hopefully we can take that out of his game and really rattle him in defence.
“We have to make sure our defence is solid and Leinster have a very good defensive record in terms of tries scored against them this year. If we have our detail nailed on and Doaky (Neil Doak) will have plays where we can break them down, and if we play them we’ll be able to score tries.
“We just have to make sure on defence is nailed on and we have a pretty good one and a pretty good defensive record at home.”