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Celtic League – Half-Time In The League.

Celtic League –  Half-Time In The League.

Ulster remain on course for a Celtic double of Cup and League titles – but coach Alan Solomons insists it is only half-time in the bid for Part 2 of any double.

Ulster remain on course for a Celtic double of Cup and League titles – but coach Alan Solomons insists it is only half-time in the bid for Part 2 of any double.
The Celtic Cup holders pipped Llanelli Scarlets by a point in their top-of-the-table clash at Ravenhill in Round 11 of the 22-match tournament and now host Neath-Swansea Ospreys in Belfast on Friday night as the second half of the long haul gets under-way.

We are only halfway through the tournament, said Solomons. But we are leading the table and we know we have put ourselves in with the opportunity of being successful and to be competitive.

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The Ospreys have had some very good wins but then on other days things have not run for them. We will go into the game knowing they most certainly cannot be underestimated.

As far as the Welsh regions go, Cardiff and Llanelli virtually stayed as they were, Celtic Warriors have gone steaming ahead from two very strong sides in the Bridgend and Pontypridd amalgamation and the Dragons have certainly now come to terms with regional rugby with some impact.

The Ospreys have found it more difficult and have had certain teething problems but we have the utmost respect for them.

The narrow victory over the Scarlets knocked the Stradey Park club off top spot and restored Ulster to No 1, with The Dragons breathing down their necks just a point adrift.
Llanelli Scarlets are a very, very good side, said Solomons. Both teams were missing key players due to international duty but I think we both showed that we do have strength in depth to our squads.

It was a very, very tough – and extremely fascinating – game, but in the second half our forwards were magnificent, denying them possession.

I can say that, in all honesty, we have not had an easy game in the Celtic League. It is a most competitive tournament and a high standard of rugby. I am very pleased with the way it has panned out.

Solomons may talk the Ospreys up but the fact remains that they are in 9th position in the table and without their international contingent have little chance in Ravenhill on Friday.

Ulster must take a maximum five points because the big battles lie ahead. Well after next week that is, when they travel to play a Glasgow side who are propping up the table.

After that it’s away to Gwent Dragons, home to Munster, away to Glasgow Warriors, and they wind up their campaign with a visit to Stradey Park.

Celtic League
Friday 13th February.
7.00: The Dragons v Llanelli Scarlets, Rodney Parade Malcolm Changleng (S)
7.05: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Rugby, Arms Park, Alistair McKay (I) BBCW
7.30: Edinburgh Rugby v Connacht, Meadowbank Nigel Owens (W)
7.30: Ulster v N-S Ospreys, Ravenhill, Rob Dickson (S)
7.35: Munster v Leinster Lions, Musgrave Park, Hugh Watkins (W), TG4
Sunday 15th February.
5.05: Celtic Warriors v The Borders, Brewery Field, David Keane (I)