HEINEKEN CUP RUGBY NEWSWIRE ISSUE 9: Ulster News & More + 22 Pages Of All The Latest Info, Stats, Reviews, Pools……

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Ulster will go into their crucial Heineken Cup tie against Leicester Tigers this weekend full of confidence according to head coach Brian McLaughlin. Full story CLICK HERE

Cardiff Blues will play their 100thHeineken Cup match when they clash with London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday – but any celebrations will go on the back burner if they do not mark the occasion with a victory and move a giant step closer to quarter-final qualification.
The Blues and Edinburgh are level on 13 points with Edinburgh topping Pool 2 courtesy of a superior overall try count, but thanks to a losing bonus point at Murrayfield the Welsh club are 5-4 ahead in match points from their back-to-back meetings with the Scottish club in Rounds 3 and 4.

“The nicest thing about going into our last two Pool matches is that it is all about us,” said Blues forwards coach Justin Burnell.

“Because it is pretty straightforward that if we want to qualify for the quarter-finals then we need to beat both London Irish and then Racing Metro 92.

“So it all starts at the Madejski on Saturday and, whatever number Heineken Cup game it is for us, the focus on the day will be entirely on the big event – trying to get the W.

“Both London Irish and Racing can have major impacts on our group and we are well aware that London Irish are a very good side. As well as that they will be at home so they will play with plenty of pride in front of their own fans.

“We did beat them 24-18 in our home match in Round 2 but their red card certainly had a big bearing on things and, as is so often the case, we felt we played better against 15 than against 14. However while we were pleased with that result we were disappointed with the Edinburgh game, though we did manage to come away from Murrayfield with at least a point.

“If it does come down to the two games between us then that point could be invaluable.

“Overall we are happy enough where we are as a club at the moment as the new coaching team of myself and Gareth Baber try to move us forward under the change in style – the plus points of that switch being the tries scored and bonus points won.”

While the Blues will become only the sixth club to reach the 100-game tournament milestone, Ronan O’Gara has already done that on an individual basis and is now poised to add another record to his Heineken Cup collection when Munster bid to book their place in the last eight of the 17thtournament with maximum points from their Pool 1 clash with Castres Olympique at Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon.

The international outside half is already the tournament’s leading scorer and his next appearance will put him out on his own with 102 matches, one more than fellow centurion and former Munster team-mate and prop John Hayes who has called time on his playing career.

O’Gara is the only player to break the four-figure barrier with his haul of 1,247 points and has scored in every one of his last 84 Heineken Cup outings but a place in the knock-out stages for the 13thtime will be the driving motivation for the 2006 and 2008 champions.

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