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'A' team primed to win and claim cup tie at home: Stewart

 

By Michael Sadlier

The senior side are not the only squad with knockout rugby on their minds as Ulster 'A' are in the zone too regarding securing their presence in the British and Irish Cup quarter-finals.

Ulster need a point from their final Pool Five encounter with the Scarlets Premiership Select today (kick-off 2.00) at Llandovery Rugby Club to win their group and make it through to the last eight for the second season running, but their gaze is firmly on snaring a home quarter-final.

Achieving a much-coveted last eight game at home is not so straightforward, though, as Bedford Blues - who sit top of Pool One and are on 19 points as are Ulster - are also aiming for the same target with just the one remaining position for a quarter-final host now available for what will be the last season of the B&I Cup.

So, the right to host the remaining quarter-final has become a straight shoot-out between Ulster and Bedford with the English side playing Nottingham, who have nothing to play for, today.

There are a number of scenarios which could play out but, fundamentally, if both Ulster and Beford win and still can't be separated, then it comes down to points differential with Bedford's currently being 46 against Ulster's 21.

For scrum-half Jonny Stewart, though, the sole focus is on beating the Welsh who have nothing to play for.

"This is exactly what we want as it is going to be all up to us at the weekend," the 19-year-old said though a close eye will be being kept on how the Bedford game is evolving.

"It is going to be a tough challenge against the Scarlets as they were a good outfit the last time we played them (Ulster won) and they have nothing to lose which is a threat to us.

"We are not relying on anyone," added the Academy player.

"The onus this week has been on us doing a job and if we go well we could bring a quarter-final home."

Campbell has made just two changes to the side which saw off the Cornish Pirates and his hand has been strengthened by the return from injury of Luke Marshall while the other alteration sees Angus Kernohan on the wing.

Ulster 'A': J Owens, A Kernohan, L Marshall, C Patterson, A Cairns, P Nelson, J Stewart; T O'Hagan, J Andrew (capt), T O'Toole, P Browne, C Ross, C Montgomery, M Agnew, M Rea Subs: Z McCall, E O'Sullivan, M Dalton, A Hall, G Jones, M Stronge, R Butler

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