Leinster vs Ulster

Leinster is playing their first home match in the competition against arch Irish rivals Ulster. The home team showed incredible nerve and courage in their last match as they were down 17-0 before totally destroying Connacht by scoring 46 unanswered points. The bad news for Ulster is that Leinster did not field their strongest team and yet they still won convincingly. I expect Leinster to field their strongest team in their first home match while Ulster will need their best team on the field to have any chance of causing an upset. The Ulster team showed against Munster that their forwards pack is lightweight without Marcell Coetzee. We knew that losing the South African will be difficult but never thought that his departure will have such a huge negative impact on the team. The Leinster men have players like James Lowe, Garry Ringrose Johnny Sexton who have a lot to prove after they were overlooked for the British and Irish Lions team. This will be the perfect opportunity to show Warren Gatland that they are on form in case of any injuries to the selected Lions. Leinster has the perfect combination between forwards and back and that makes them so difficult to contain as the interplay between backs and forwards is seamless. Ulster seem to be in real trouble as their forwards offer no resistance and the backline lacks any attacking cohesion. They need players like Jacob Stockdale and John Cooney to start showing the form that made them Irish internationals. Their captain Iain Henderson has also been quite recently and he is the one man that can lift the team. He has done it for years and in this match he will need to be at his monstrous best to stop the Leinster juggernaut.

TIP: Johnny Sexton is still a world class player and lets hope he is fit for this match as he can consider himself very unlucky regarding his Lions omission. The best way to put that disappointment behind him is to produce a vintage performance and if he succeeds, then Ulster will do well to keep the score down to a respectable level. Ulster since the loss to Leicester in the Challenge Cup has looked a shadow of their former selves and will need to end this slump, so that they can gain some confidence going forward in the competition. The bookies have Leinster as favourites and I am agreement with this, the best odds on the Leinster victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.11, and Sunbet 1.12

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Leinster vs Ulster

  • Leinster has won the last five matches between these teams.
  • Leinster has won their last 12 home games against Ulster.
  • The last time Ulster won away at Leinster was in 2013.

Latest results for both teams

Leinster won their last match against Connacht 50-21 while Ulster lost their last match against Munster 38-10.

PREDICTION

The weather could make this match close as there is heavy rain forecast on match day but I still think Leinster will have too much quality whatever the conditions. The Leinster pack will dominate up front which should lay the platform for the backline to show their attacking wares. The Ulster scrum and pack were their strengths in seasons gone by but its seem as though they have gone backwards and no doubt Leinster will target this weakness. Leinster has dangerous runners like Hugo Keenan and James Lowe who will relish the chance to run at the Ulstermen and this is the reason I’m predicting a comfortable Leinster victory by more than 20 points

  • Probable Starting XVs

Leinster

15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rónan Kelleher, 1 Cian Healy.

Ulster

15 Jacob Stockdale, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Matt Rea, 5 Iain Henderson (captain), 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Eric O’Sullivan.

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Leinster victory are:

Worldsportsbetting 1.11

Sunbet 1.12

Odds comparison on a Leinster  handicap victory

The complete odds on the Leinster handicap victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting (-17.5) 1.80

Sunbet (-15.5) 1.85

Predictions and Odds in details

The backline of Ulster were lacking any sort of cohesion in the match against Munster but I think the return of Billy Burns at flyhalf should improve their attack. Leinster has the strongest bench in almost every match and they are ruthless in the second half when the opposition defence starts to get tired. The unrelenting attack from Leinster makes it impossible to defend against for 80 minutes. The team that showed how to beat Leinster was La Rochelle but unfortunately no team in the Pro14 has that type of physicality. The Ulster men have to at least gain parity up front to even get close to upsetting Leinster. I cannot see this happening and therefore I suggest Leinster on the handicap victory. The best odds on the Leinster handicap victory are at: Worldsportsbetting (-17.5) 1.80, Sunbet (-15.5) 1.85 and Playabets (-16.5) 1.81

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