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Ten facts to know ahead of Ulster v Connacht at URC on Saturday night, kick off 7.35pm, Live TV coverage on TG4
Referee: Eoghan Cross (IRFU, 2nd competition game)
Assistants: Chris Busby, Andrew Cole (both IRFU)
TMO: Leo Colgan (IRFU)
1) This is the first competitive match for new Connacht head coach Peter Wilkins
2) Ulster’s 15-17 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town in last season’s semi-final ended a three-game winning run in the BKT United Rugby Championship.
3) Ulster’s only defeat at home to the URC last season was at the hands of Munster on 22 April.
4) Connacht could have as many as seven first time starters – Chay Mullins, Peter Dooley, Josh Murphy, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Adam Byrne, Byron Ralston & David Hawkshaw all signed for Connacht for the upcoming season.
5) Connacht have won three of their last four matches in the BKT United Rugby Championship.
6) Connacht have won three of their last five Championship away games.
7) Connacht’s record against fellow Irish provinces in the URC last season was won two, lost four,
8) The last eight matches between the two rivals have been evenly split with four wins each.
9) Ulster have not lost an opening week game in the PRO12/14/16 since 2013 against the Dragons.
10) Connacht have only won twice in Belfast since 1960 but those were both in the last four years, 22-15 in October 2018 and 26-24 in the Rainbow Cup in April 2021
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