Cardiff v Ulster preview

Updated: February 15, 2012

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Cardiff Blues host Ulster in the RaboDirect Pro12 series this Friday night(7.05). The hosts defeated Connacht in the last round of matches in this competition but will face a much tougher assignment this weekend. These two teams have reached the last eight of the more prestigious Heineken Cup and are currently among the best sides in European club rugby.

The Welsh side were impressive in the Heineken Cup and have carried their form into the league as well. They gave Leinster a real game in Cardiff and fielded a weakened side when they were well beaten in Dublin. The league will still be a priority for them this season and they will be hoping to make home advantage count against Ulster. The forwards are very strong and the Blues have plenty of pace on the wings. They will make it extremely difficult for any outfit to beat them this season. The Blues have only lost once in their last eight games at home and will be eager to extend that record.

Ulster welcome back international stars Tom Court,Chris Henry, Paddy Wallace and Dan Tuohy for this tie. The quartet were in Paris last weekend but never saw action as the match with France was postponed at the last minute. Ulster have won seven of their last nine matches and looked very strong against in the corresponding fixture last season. There is no reason to believe that the Irish side have regressed in the meantime and they should just have the edge again on Friday night.

In what has the makings of a great game, the visitors are given the nod to take the points and consolidate their position in the league. It is unlikely that there will be much between the two sides and a handicap bet giving the Irish side a slight advantage would be worth looking at.

Verdict: Ulster

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