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Friday night's alright for Ulster Rugby

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster go into next month's crunch Heineken Cup pool games knowing that the scheduling of these final two clashes has now also given them a boost as they aim to finish top of their group to secure an all-important home quarter-final.

Mark Anscombe's Pool Five table-toppers have landed an eight-day turnaround between their penultimate game against Montpellier, at Ravenhill on January 10, and their last and potentially pool-winning shoot-out with Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on January 18.

This should give Ulster time to recover from their efforts in hopefully beating Montpellier – who are effectively out of the running – before then heading to Welford Road for an eagerly awaited showdown with last season's Premiership champions who are likely to have triumphed at Treviso in their penultimate clash.

The Tigers, three points adrift of Ulster, have a seven-day turnaround between playing Treviso and taking on Anscombe's men and 34-year-old centre Paddy Wallace believes the space between games will benefit Ulster.

Wallace, who is set to play his first game for the senior side in Friday's PRO12 clash with Zebre since suffering a knee injury last February, said of the European dates: "It certainly helps. It's nice to get any advantage andand hopefully we will have a lot to play for going into the Leicester game. It will certainly be a war of attrition in both games."

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