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If we keep 15 men on pitch anything is possible: Muller

By Michael Sadlier

Discipline and performance are the two watchwords Ulster will bring to the RDS tonight as they bid to keep their season alive and kicking by making a third final in as many years.

And, if achieved, the real trick will be to go one step further by actually getting their hands on something rather more sought after than yet another set of losing medals.

For skipper Johann Muller the approach is straightforward in that if Ulster perform the essentials then anything is possible, such as finally getting the better of Leinster on a big game occasion.

First and foremost, Ulster have to try to stay on the right side of Welsh referee Leighton Hodges and keep a full complement of players on the pitch this time around.

"They've got a great set-piece and if we give away penalties they'll get the opportunities," said Muller who hopes tonight's game will not be his last after four influential years at Ulster which have, nevertheless, not managed to produce anything which gleams for the Ravenhill trophy cabinet.

"Like we've seen recently," the skipper adds, "you can play with as much character as you want but if you have 14 guys out there for a long period of time you're very seldom going to win games.

"So, ideally we'd now like to have 15 guys on the field for the 80 minutes."

It's a fair point, but Muller also knows that the side have to also manage an optimum performance for the game's full term and he readily acknowledges that their failure to do this has, at key times, been their undoing in crucial knockout games.

"I think Saracens last year in the Heineken Cup quarter-final, and then the Heineken Cup final (2012), are the two occasions where we just didn't pitch up," Muller acknowledges.

"In last year's (PRO12) final against Leinster I thought we were outstanding in that second half and that game could have gone any way very easily," he reckons, without mentioning that Ulster still didn't fire with consistency throughout.

"We just want to go out there and play rugby and if it's good enough, it's good enough. We don't want to come back here and be sorry that we didn't try something."

So, a high level of accuracy along with some of that same dogged spirit which defined last weekend's shock win at Thomond Park – along with that also shown last year when Ulster managed to win in Dublin for the first time in 14 years when sklipper Muller was to be seen jumping for joy at the end – is now required in spades.

"That (last season's win at the RDS in the regulation season) was a great achievement for us as a team and you know, of course, we beat them twice last year in the league games and then lost in the final.

"They have beaten us twice this year in the league games so," Muller says, before adding with a big smile, "anything is now possible."

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