Rory Best: Ireland captain says Ulster must be brave in Leinster Pro12 semi-final

Rory Best believes Ulster possess the 'firepower' to beat Leinster
Guinness Pro12 semi-final: Leinster v Ulster
Date: Friday, 20 May Venue: The RDS, Dublin Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC Sport website

Rory Best says Ulster must take Friday's Pro12 semi-final against Leinster "by the scruff of the neck" to avoid more big game heartbreak.

Ulster were beaten 16-14 by Glasgow in last year's semi-finals after looking in control for most of the game.

In the two previous seasons, Ulster were beaten by Leinster in both a Pro12 final and semi-final.

"Against Glasgow last year, we tried to get over the line. In knockout rugby that's not how you do it," said Best.

Ulster led 14-9 with only four minutes left in last year's semi-final at Scotstoun but a DTH van der Merwe's try, converted by Finn Russell, gave Glasgow victory and left the shell-shocked Irish province still searching for a first piece of silverware since their 2005-06 Celtic League triumph.

"When you look back on that game, we kind of played within ourselves," added the Ulster and Ireland captain.

"It shouldn't have come down to one incident (try). We should have been more than a score ahead at that stage.

"We were just trying to edge ahead of Glasgow. If we do that to Leinster, it might not even come down to the last 10 minutes because they will push ahead of us."

Ulster's director of rugby Les Kiss
Les Kiss says Leinster will be a different proposition from three weeks ago

Ulster must 'stand and deliver' - Kiss

Les Kiss' Ulster side hammered Leinster 30-6 in their penultimate match in the league section of the competition last month but the Australian is expecting a completely different opposition this weekend at the RDS.

"We've got to go to their patch. We have to stand up and deliver something like we did a couple of weeks ago and perhaps even better," said the Ulster boss.

"We've delivered some good results in the last three or four weeks. If we're prepared to work hard and continue to do the things that mattered in those games, we've got a chance.

"If we do those things well, we can make it a 50/50 game. If we don't, home advantage will be a factor for them."

Both Best and Kiss played down the statistic that an away team has never managed to win a Pro12 semi-final in 12 games since the play-offs were introduced in the 2009-10 season.

Rob Kearney
Ireland full-back Rob Kearney is a fitness doubt for Leinster

Indeed, Ulster and holders Glasgow will both quietly fancy their chances of winning in Dublin and Galway this weekend.

"People will reflect what history has shown them and take that as a given going forward. But that's our challenge," added Ulster boss Kiss.

With Tommy Bowe and Louis Ludik ruled out for the remainder of this season, Ulster's line-up is likely to be largely unchanged from the impressive win over the Ospreys.

Ireland flankers Sean O'Brien and Josh van der Flier are ruled out for Leinster by injury with wing Fergus McFadden still suspended and prop Cian Healy unlikely to feature because of a knock.

Rob Kearney is a fitness doubt after suffering an ankle injury in the win over Treviso but Johnny Sexton is set to be fit.

Top Stories