Blogs & Opinion

Miles Harrison:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

All or nothing

Ulster eye historical prize

Miles Harrison Posted 19th January 2012 view comments

Ulster face their destiny on Saturday when they travel to Clermont Auvergne in a bid to reach successive Heineken Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The Irish side were the toast of round five after their demolition of Leicester at Ravenhill, however a trip to Stade Marcel Michelin is a daunting task and Miles Harrison believes they will have to raise their game even higher to be the team of round six.

Ulster skipper Johann Muller

Ulster skipper Johann Muller

Miles, Ulster were superb last weekend against Leicester but it could be all for nothing if they don't beat Clermont this weekend?

MILES REPLIES: It could be but, then again, they could have qualified before they step onto the field on Saturday, should Harlequins or Toulouse lose on Friday night. But, that is not the point because firstly, Quins and Toulouse, even though they have tough games on their travels, really tough games, will be favourites to win those matches. Secondly, and much more importantly, Ulster have their sights set on making a genuine challenge this year.

If they win, then we will have witnessed one of the great European performances. To win in Clermont is about as difficult as it gets in this competition - we all know that.

Miles Harrison
Quotes of the week


Clermont Auvergne v Ulster
3.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

That means not only going to France this weekend and playing like a team that can go a long way but, it also means that they should have the ambition to target victory in this game to prove to themselves what is possible - a home quarter-final. That ultimately could make all the difference - again we saw what those fans at Ravenhill can produce last week in the storming win over Leicester. But, it is one step at a time and Ulster are likely to be facing qualification or the exit door come kick-off on Saturday and that is 'all or nothing' as you say!

Clermont have been a bit frustrating on the road Miles, but have managed a bonus losing point at Leicester. How impressed have you been with them?

MILES REPLIES: Well, actually, I was quite impressed with them on the road in Leicester because they calmly stayed aware of exactly what they needed to do in the game and the proof of that particular pudding is this weekend when they have home advantage and a chance to dictate the outcome in this trickiest of Pools. As for their trip to Ulster right at the start of the competition - yes, they missed opportunities to put that one away, but again they left with something and when you look at the Pool table now you can see the importance of those away bonus points.

Can Ulster do what few sides do and either beat the French giants or get within seven points of them?

MILES REPLIES: If they win, then we will have witnessed one of the great European performances. To win in Clermont is about as difficult as it gets in this competition - we all know that. The bonus point is a little more attainable - Leinster and Munster have both been to Clermont and come back with one of those in recent times and how Ulster would love to join that company. And, the bonus might be enough - we will know more on that after Friday night but, the bottom line is, on the evidence of last week, it is a long time since Ulster have been this ready to mount a challenge like this and I, for one, am not ruling out a little bit of history making this weekend. Whatever way you look at this match - it is what Round Six of the Heineken Cup is all about.

back to top

Other Rugby Union Experts:

Latest Posts in Rugby Union:

Dewi Morris

'Give youth a chance'

Dewi Morris wants England's youngsters given starts in at least two of the upcoming internationals....

Latest News RSS feeds

White set for Ireland debut

Nathan White will make his Ireland debut against South Africa should Mike Ross fail to shake off a groin injury.

Way back for duo

Shaun Edwards says that Adam Jones and James Hook could work their way back into Wales contention.

Huge demand for Cup tickets

Almost one million tickets have already been snapped up for next year's Rugby World Cup in England.

Munster v Saracens: Teams

Munster take on Saracens in a mouthwatering European Champions Cup Round Two meeting at Thomond Park on Friday night.

Lancaster wants consistency

England coach Stuart Lancaster opted for consistency over “flash stuff” with his fly-half selections for the QBE Series.


European Rugby Live on Sky Sports

European Rugby Live on Sky Sports

Among the sides featured this weekend are three of the top four teams in this year's Pro12, the champions from last season's Top 14, this year's Top 14 leaders and four quarter-finalists from last season's European competition.

QBE Internationals: England international Semesa Rokoduguni's factfile

QBE Internationals: England international Semesa Rokoduguni's factfile

Semesa Rokoduguni has received a call up to the 40-man training squad for England's Autumn Internationals.

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports take a look at the winners and losers from the past seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports take a look at the winners and losers from the past seven days

Another week has passed in the world of sport and, yet again, heroes and villains have been made. From the enthroned to dethroned, Sky Sports pass judgement on the unadulterated highs and soul-destroying lows.