Ulster: Jared Payne challenges players to front up in Dublin against Leinster

FLASHBACK: Jared Payne scoring for Ulster against Leinster
FLASHBACK: Jared Payne scoring for Ulster against Leinster

Defence coach Jared Payne is one of few who can remember winning for Ulster against Leinster at the RDS in Dublin.

It is a rare occasion now for the ‘Blues’ to lose a home game, but Payne was part of the last Ulster side to do so.

That was on March 30, 2013, Ulster winning 22-18 - and Payne got a yellow card in added time as the visitors put up an impressive display.

Ulster were to return a month later when they lost in the final - having to forgo home advantage due to rebuilding work at Ravenhill - and Leinster won 24-18!

The Provinces will meet at the famous Dublin venue again on Saturday night as the Guinness PRO14 Irish derbies over the festive period are concluded.

Ulster suffered a 21-12 loss at Connacht last Friday night while Leinster - who played the second half with 14-men, were beaten 26-17 at Thomond Park by Munster.

However, Leo Cullen’s side remain 16 points ahead of second placed Ulster in PRO14’s Conference B.

And Ulster’s failure to pick up something at Connacht has left the race for second place wide open.

Benetton climbed up to third as they registered a second win over Zebre, two points behind Ulster and a point ahead of Scarlets in fourth who are joined by Edinburgh on 30 points.

Although it is a game of wait and see on selection for both sides this weekend, it is likely both will be ‘limited’ in terms of internationals due to IRFU player welfare controls.

But Payne still expects those who fetaure for Ulster to rise to the challenge.

“You have to front up when you go to Leinster,” he said.

“I think there are a lot of young guys really putting their hands up which is good to see.

“We’ve got to make sure, but your young guy coming in, if you’ve a slightly off game against a much more seasoned pro they know how to take advantage a lot more don’t they?

“So, the quality is there but it’s a challenge for the boys to really be on the top of their game this week.

“It is there but it’s going to be interesting to see how they stand up.”

Leinster allowed their composure to slide against Munster at Thomond Park last week which saw James Lowe red carded and props Cian Healy and Taidhg Furlong sin-binned - although referee Frank Murphy, probably missed a few sin-binnings on the Munster side as well.

Payne k nows Ulster have to get into the Leinster faces at the start.

“You just have to go down and get into them. Go down and don’t have to cross the line in terms of not doing anything silly.

“You have to front up physically and look forward to the challenge. There was a pretty good buzz amongst the guys in training in particular. They are keen and excited.

“It’s a great chance isn’t it, people don’t expect much from the group. There’s no better opportunity to play without fear and it’s a pretty good place to be.

“Going to the RDS is a huge challenge - and the opposition is pretty good too. That’s the biggest challenge you worry about when you go down there.”

And recalling 2013 and that last Ulster success, Payne said: “Yeah, I got sin-binned! Terrible call that!

“It was a good performance that day. But my only memory was getting sin-binned for something I thought I didn’t do,” he added.

Ulster and Leinster will confirm their sides for the derby game around lunchtime on Friday.