Out-half Billy Burns says his Ulster side will relish the do-or-die nature of tonight’s URC knockout clash with Munster at the Kingspan Stadium.
oth sides have much to lose in Belfast as they look to end their long waits for silverware. For the hosts, it’s been 16 years since they claimed this title, while Munster are 11 years without a trophy.
Throw in the fact that defeat would signal the end of the Johann van Graan era at Thomond Park, and there is plenty on the line.
Burns believes that will bring out the best in his team, as they anticipate a bruising derby battle.
“We always want to win at home,” said the Ireland fly-half. “There’s always pressure when you come to these knockout games, you know the game is going to be won on the night – and that could be it, there’s no second chance.
“It’s this or nothing. But that’s the sort of environment I think this team thrives on, when there’s pressure on us it seems to bring the best out of us – and we’ll be looking to do that again this weekend.
“We know how hard that physical battle will be, especially at the start of the game, but a wounded animal is definitely dangerous. We’ve spoken about that – and we like to think we’ll be prepared.”
Munster can call on No 8 Gavin Coombes for the first time since April, but Tadhg Beirne is not fit enough to play and Jack O’Donoghue (back) also misses out.
Ulster are without full-back Mike Lowry, with Stewart Moore wearing No 15.
Meanwhile, tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have confirmed that South African teams will join the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup next season.