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Trimble motivated by Irish rivalry

Ulster wing Andrew Trimble has warned Leinster they will face a side "motivated by jealousy" in the first all-Irish Heineken Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday.

Ulster were the first Irish side to win Europe's premier club competition when they beat Colomiers at Lansdowne Road back in 1999. But that success, achieved during a year when English clubs boycotted the tournament, has since been overshadowed by the triumphs of provincial rivals Munster and Leinster, who have won two titles apiece.

But Ireland wing Trimble says the chance to prove that Ulster are no longer the "third-choice province" is a hugely potent form of motivation for the Twickenham showdown. "This game mean a massive amount for Ulster rugby and for Irish rugby, there is such a rivalry between the provinces," he said.

"We have become genuine contenders for the trophy and Saturday is an opportunity we don't want to let slip. Playing Leinster adds intensity and passion and we want to come out on top and we also want to deny Leinster that trophy."

He added: "We were getting fed up of being seen as the third-choice province. I have played for Ulster for seven or eight years and we have always been seen as third-choice behind Leinster and Munster.

"Going into this final we are motivated by jealousy. We want to leapfrog them and become the number one province. We have done a lot of hard work to get to this point and a Heineken Cup final gives us a great chance to do it."

The pair have been perennial European challengers over the course of the last decade, a time during which Ulster occasionally struggled to keep up.

But under the guidance of coach Brian McLaughlin, and with a squad mixing the experienced South Africa contingent of Ruan Pienaar, Pedrie Wannenburg and Johann Muller with homegrown talents like Trimble and Craig Gilroy, Ulster are back at the European game's top table.

Victory would stop 2011 winners Leinster becoming the first side to retain the trophy, and give Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin European club rugby's biggest prize in his final game in charge.


From Belfast Telegraph