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Leinster v Ulster: Peter Nelson is keen to change tune

Ulster ace eyes repeat of 2013 joy to enhance Dublin record

By Michael Sadlier

Just when there seems to be a rather unfortunate theme emerging with Peter Nelson sifting through his memories of playing at the RDS, the 23-year-old decides enough is enough.

"You know I was involved in a game we did win down there," he said referring to Ulster's epic rearguard action in March 2013 when they, somehow, held on to triumph 22-18.

Indeed, Nelson was sprung from the bench that day for Andrew Trimble as Ulster managed their first win of the century over Leinster in Dublin, with the previous effort having just missed out on the accolade as it had come a mere 14 years earlier back in 1999.

And it seems rather apt to be discussing a notable Ulster away day as they now need something similar tomorrow night as Les Kiss leads his rather shaken squad back into the PRO12 following last week's European torching at the hands of Saracens in front of a shocked Kingspan Stadium crowd.

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Nelson, who emerged from the bench against Sarries for his first ever European game - he had been selected to start at Oyonnax which was postponed due to the Paris terror attacks - doesn't shy away from addressing what was the squad's first and rather bitter taste of Champions Cup action this season.

"We spent time on Monday looking at it (the Saracens game) but it's a short turnaround and we've got to move on and learn our lessons from that," he said of the heavy defeat which also saw Ulster surrender a hugely damaging four tries at home.

"Yes, that was very disappointing. But when we looked at it there are certain things we need to fix and we'll be doing that this weekend."

With neither side having set Europe alight - indeed, Leinster's campaign already looks dead and buried after they suffered two defeats in their opening two games - tomorrow's inter-provincial clash brings the two familiar opponents together with the PRO12 already looking to be their only chance of significant reward.

"The PRO12 is our week-in, week-out competition so we've got to get results there and climb up that table," is all Nelson, who normally plays full-back or wing but notably filled in at out-half earlier in the season, will say without directly referring to Ulster's already creaking European ambitions.

With Kiss' men fifth in the PRO12, and Leinster just one spot above them, there is no doubting the vital importance of this meeting and the need to keep things moving in the right direction during this punishing block of games.

So far, though, it's been a pretty decent season for Nelson appearances-wise with six starts to his name and the Dungannon man is now set to run out for his 30th Ulster game tomorrow night since making his debut on Boxing Day 2011 at, you guessed it, the RDS.

Not unexpectedly, the experience was hardly the most memorable when a frighteningly callow Ulster side were rolled over by a fairly grim 42-13.

"Quite a few of us had our debuts that day and I remember that we were actually there or thereabouts for a while in the game before it then got away from us," Nelson recalled.

"I was delighted to make my debut in such a big game but it was a bittersweet experience."

As indeed was witnessing the 2013 PRO12 final against the same team at the same ground, this time as an unused replacement, which, of course, came shortly after having savoured that rare victory in Dublin 4.

"This weekend is another massive challenge for us and it doesn't get much bigger than taking on Leinster," Nelson stated.

"We know we lost to a great Saracens side but we're putting that behind us and looking for a big performance this weekend.

"It's also great to get back in for a big game again and, as I know, it's a tough, tough place to go to but getting a win there is certainly a great feeling."

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