Gordon D'Arcy has warned Ulster they must withstand a ten-minute blitz straight from the kick-off to have any hope of upsetting Leinster in Saturday night's Pro14 final at the Aviva Stadium.
Dan McFarland's team are aiming to win their first piece of silverware in 14 years and come into this one off the back of a brilliant semi-final win against Edinburgh.
Leinster, however, pose an altogether different challenge. They may have a mouthwatering Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens just seven days after the Pro14 decider, but Leo Cullen has an incredible depth of talent at his disposal.
And they are ruthlessly hungry for glory.
"Ulster cannot afford to be as wasteful as they have been the last couple of weeks," ex-Leinster and Ireland centre D'Arcy told RTÉ 2fm's Game On.
"I was looking through my notes after the [Edinburgh] match and Ulster dropped the ball through unforced errors largely in the opposition 22 eight or nine times. You can ride your luck to a certain extent but now they're into a final against the form team in Europe, they've got to be almost perfect to be in with a shout.
"In the first ten minutes Leinster are going to look for a fast start Ulster are going to have to be there.
"If they're found wanting in the first ten minutes it could be a long day.
"That's what Leinster do, they play quite a strong pressure game and rely on you cracking before them."
D'Arcy did highlight the positive effect the Edinburgh victory will have on the Ulster dressing-room, with Ian Madigan's last-gasp penalty clinching a memorable 22-19 success at Murrayfield. D'Arcy also talked up the game-winning ability of Jacob Stockdale, who he believes deserves more time at full-back.
"You have to genuinely believe [you can do it] and they will take an awful lot from that win in Edinburgh," D'Arcy added.
"I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when [Edinburgh coach] Richard Cockerill went in after that match! I'd say that Ferguson kicking the boot across the room would have been PG compared to what he said.
"Ian Madigan - you just don't give that man opportunities to kick the ball.
"Attack wise, Jacob is very prominent when he delivers on the wing. The last three games he's played at 15, he's been very, very composed. He gets on the ball more and his tactical kicking is good. I'm a fan of him at 15, and I think if he got a bit of time there in an Irish jersey I think we could see a new dimension to how he's playing.
"He's just one of those guys... you think about that try he scored in England at Twickenham, the try he scored against the All Blacks, he consistently broke the Leinster defensive line [when they met in the Pro14 at the end of August] when he got the ball in the back three.
"My gut would tell me it's worth pursuing for another little bit longer with him at 15."
Nonetheless, D'Arcy is struggling to see anything but a win for his old team at the weekend.
"When you start comparing tight fives, I think at nine and ten Leinster have a comparative if not seismic advantage.
"As good as Eric O'Sullivan and Tom O'Toole were, and with Rob Herring starting to find his feet, the gulf in class in the second row is too big.
"I think that continuity and the change-up in the half-backs for Leinster will be enough to get them over the line."
Follow the Pro14 final between Leinster and Ulster Munster (7.35pm Saturday) with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1. Podcast available in Epic native audio and video Listen live