Blogs & Opinion


Luck of the Irish

Injury news lifts Munster but Ferris fears grow for Ulster, says Miles

Miles Harrison Posted 6th April 2012 view comments

Sunday's Heineken Cup quarter-finals feature a titanic clash between Irish giants Munster and Ulster - and the game could hang on the fitness of two sides' key players.

Thomond Park favourites such as Paul O'Connell and David Wallace seem to be winning their races to take the field while Ulster may be without their talismanic back-rower Stephen Ferris.

Miles Harrison, who will be commentating on the showdown for Sky Sports fields your questions on the tie that has a country talking.

Ferris faces an anxious wait on his knee injury

Ferris faces an anxious wait on his knee injury

Munster may have lost to Leinster in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 but they have been boosted by some positive injury news ahead of Sunday's clash haven't they?

MILES REPLIES: As we speak, we are not sure of the final starting fifteen but, as you say, Munster have already been boosted by the return of Paul O'Connell, David Wallace, Conor Murray and Donnacha Ryan to full training. I suppose there remain doubts over their match fitness and I'm sure Munster won't take any risks on that front - they know they can't go into a match of this nature with any concerns. But, the news in the early part of the week was very encouraging and if they all play it will give the men in red a major lift.

I would imagine you are going to need an awful lot of wild horses to stop Ferris from playing in this match.

Miles Harrison
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Munster v Ulster
Heineken Cup
1.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 2 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

Stephen Ferris looks like a major doubt for Ulster which would be a huge blow to their chances. If he doesn't pass a fitness test can you see Ulster changing their game plan?

MILES REPLIES: There's no doubt that Stephen Ferris' inclusion or exclusion will have a major bearing on this game. If you recall, he missed out on the quarter-final last year because of injury and to think that this may happen again is heart-breaking for Ferris and Ulster supporters. But, I would imagine you are going to need an awful lot of wild horses to stop Ferris from playing in this match. However, as mentioned with the Munster boys, there comes a point when you can't take the risk. Let's hope Ferris does come through because you want to see the best in games like these and you want to see Ulster play in their style and Ferris is such a major part of that.

Ulster have lost two games in this season's competition - both away from home - is that the kind of form that can get them through a quarter-final at Thomond Park?

MILES REPLIES: Ulster may well have lost at Leicester and in Clermont but they turned that defeat at Welford Road right around in such dramatic fashion and in France they got so to recording one of the great results of Heineken Cup Pool rugby. Even though they have lost twice, they have also shown what potential they have. So, I believe they can do this and I don't say that about many sides going to Limerick. Whether they will do it though is a different matter because Munster have this unbelievable ability to win the tight ones in Europe. They are also a force that can simply be too hot to handle at Thomond Park. It will be a magnificent occasion, whatever happens, and I hope it is a match to match the occasion. For me, it is the tie of the weekend and it is going to be an absolute privilege to be there to witness it.

back to top

Other Rugby Union Experts:

Latest Posts in Rugby Union:

Dewi Morris

Heart and soul

Dewi Morris looks at a crucial weekend in the Championship as we head towards the play-offs....

Stuart Barnes

Ups and downs

Stuart Barnes says the drama of relegation must be kept in rugby, but the play-offs need changing....

Latest News RSS feeds

Marshall set for NRL U-turn

Benji Marshall’s venture into rugby union is set to end after just one Super Rugby start as he seeks an NRL return.

New deals for Glasgow duo

Glasgow Warriors forwards Ryan Wilson and James Eddie have agreed new deals with the club.

Blood clots rule out Schwalger

Wellington Hurricanes prop John Schwalger has been diagnosed with blood clots on his lungs.

Saints resist Irish rally

Northampton moved seven points clear of third-placed Bath in the Premiership table with a 36-21 win over London Irish.

Hughes 'may play for England'

Wasps' rising star Nathan Hughes has confirmed he has held talks about qualifying to play for England.

Features

Win London 7s tickets

Win London 7s tickets

Click here for your chance to win tickets to the Marriott London Sevens with Game Changers.

Harlequins' Nick Evans speaks exclusively to Sky Sports

Harlequins' Nick Evans speaks exclusively to Sky Sports

While Premier League football managers have spent their run-in perfecting the art of ruling themselves out of contention, Nick Evans insists Harlequins are adopting a far more assertive philosophy as their push for an Aviva Premiership play-off berth reaches a crucial juncture.

Sky Sports have signed the rights to the Top 14, France's premier rugby competition

Sky Sports have signed the rights to the Top 14, France's premier rugby competition

Sky Sports will offer customers even more top class rugby union from next season, after securing a five-year agreement to show France's Top 14 exclusively live.