Ulster are preparing for a huge game this weekend when they travel south to take on Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium.
For Darren Cave, this weekend presents an exciting opportunity to take on the best team in Europe in what is arguably a home venue for them.
Cave, an Ulster rugby veteran at this stage, has only participated in one Champions Cup quarter-final in his career, ironically against another Irish province in Munster who they shocked at Thomond Park back in 2012.
“The Leinster game for us is something that is pretty exciting,” Cave told Pundit Arena.
"I must've watched Munster play Leinster In the Aviva, Croke Park or Lansdowne 10-15 times."
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) March 26, 2019
“I think it’s exciting for Irish rugby, I think back on my only other knockout Heineken Cup game was away to Munster in the quarter-final and it’s one of my best memories in an Ulster shirt and I think back to watching Munster play Leinster.”
With the game set to take place in the Aviva, Cave reflected on the number of times he has seen Leinster and Munster collide in the big stadiums and admits it’s nice for Ulster to finally get the chance to test themselves in such an iconic venue.
“I must have watched Munster play Leinster in the Aviva Stadium or Croke Park or Lansdowne Road between 5-10 times in my career.
“So, it’s nice now for the first time that I’ll get, or Ulster, if I’m not playing, will get to take part in it.”
Cave admits that Ulster want to be part of the conversation and looked upon as a main threat to Leinster and Munster in the coming years and not be seen as inferior to their provincial rivals.
“You want to be part… you don’t want the other provinces to look at us with the rivalry, but not the real rivalry because they know they’re better than them.
“We want to be right in the mixer, we want to be playing in these games. We’re under no illusions about how hard a game it’s going to be.”
Ulster for sure won’t be taking Leinster lightly this coming weekend. Cave was part of the Northern provincial side that lost to Leinster in the 2012 final at Twickenham.
While he thought then that Leinster were possibly the best club side he’d seen, he thinks this current group of players have the potential to be even better.
“I remember losing to Leinster in a Heineken Cup final a few years ago and thinking, ‘that’s was an incredibly strong club team, one of the strongest club teams I’ve seen’ and it’s frightening because this team is potentially better.”
You can watch the full clip with Darren Cave below;