Ulster equipped for Champions Cup opener says assistant coach Joe Barakat

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Ulster assistant coach Barakat looks forward to Jackson-Madigan Champions Cup battle

Ulster assistant coach Joe Barakat expects a tough European opener against Bordeaux but says the side will not be "perturbed" by the trip to France.

The Irish province have won eight of their last contests against French sides including last year's home and win Champions Cup wins over Toulouse.

"We're not going to this game as underdogs," insists the Australian.

"We're playing against a quality team. We feel we are a quality team. We're looking forward to a good game."

Barakat is continuing his final series of games with Ulster before he joins Super Rugby franchise, Western Force in his native Australia in December.

However, the popular Australian is fully focused on his remaining Ulster commitments which start with the European contests against Bordeaux and Exeter over the next two weekends.

Bordeaux coach Raphael Ibanez
Joe Barakat is a big admirer of Bordeaux coach Raphael Ibanez

Bordeaux coach Ibanez 'magnificent role model'

The Ulster assistant is a big admirer of Bordeaux head coach Raphael Ibanez, who won 98 caps for France between 1995 and 2007, in a career which marked him out as one of the game's great hookers.

"Ibanez has been a magnificent role model for French rugby for a long period of time.

"His team have their mauls, but they like their off-loads and there is that (typically French) uncertainty of the game that they play.

"They have got some good international talents as well so you've got to make sure you do your homework well."

Bordeaux's international contingent includes Ian Madigan and Barakat makes no attempt to play down the likely battle between the former Leinster star and his Ireland team-mate Paddy Jackson.

"I think there are a few people looking forward to seeing the two boys going at one another.

"They are both really good footballers and I suppose the team that gives their number 10 a little bit more go forward with the ball, will make their 10 stand out."

Bordeaux are currently fifth in the Top 14 table in France after winning five of their opening eight games.

In addition to Madigan, their other big names include Australian star Adam Ashley-Cooper and former England lock Tom Palmer.

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