Ulster have opportunity of Saracens revenge - Humphreys

Iain Henderson at Twickenham
Iain Henderson

Ulster Director of Rugby David Humphreys says his side can make up for the disappointment of last year's quarter-final defeat by Saracens when the sides meet again in the last eight.

Ulster emerged as number one seeds from this season's pool stages and will host the Premiership side at Ravenhill.

"We were hugely disappointed with the way we performed at Twickenham against Saracens last season," said Humphreys.

"Now we have the opportunity to lay those ghosts to rest," he added.

The winners of that quarter-final, which will be played in Belfast on the first weekend in April, will have home advantage against French side Clermont Auvergne or English Premiership outfit Leicester Tigers in the semi-finals.

Ravenhill would not have a big enough capacity to stage a last-four tie, so it would have to be played elsewhere in Ireland, possibly at the Aviva Stadium.

In the other quarter-final games, Toulon are at home to Leinster and Munster play Toulouse at Thomond Park.

Ulster were the only team to make it to the last eight by winning all of their six group matches, but Humphreys is taking nothing for granted ahead of the knockout stages.

"We are obviously pleased to be on the home side of the draw for the semi-finals," says Humphreys, "but that will only be relevant if we beat Saracens in the quarter-final. Winning that game is what we are fully focused on now.

"Over the past few seasons we have made steady improvement," he added. "First we qualified, then last year we won our group but were away, now we have finished the Pool stage as top seeds and have a home quarter final."

"We are delighted to have the game at home and to be able open the newly redeveloped Ravenhill for the match.

"It will also be great to welcome Mark McCall, with his strong connection with the province as both a player and coach, back to Belfast for the game."

Heineken Cup quarter-finals - April 4, 5 and 6

Ulster v Saracens

Clermont Auvergne v Leicester

Toulon v Leinster

Munster v Toulouse

Semi-finals - April 26 and 27

Ulster or Saracens v Clermont or Leicester

Toulon or Leinster v Munster or Toulouse