Bernard Jackman says there is no obvious weakness in Leinster's game for Ulster to exploit, if they want to pull off a shock in Saturday's Champions Cup Round of 16 meeting at the Aviva Stadium (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player).

The four-time champions are heavy favourites to win the inter-provincial clash on Saturday evening, which would set up another home tie versus either Leicester Tigers or Edinburgh in the last eight.

Leo Cullen's side went through the pool stage like a wrecking ball with four wins from four against Gloucester and Racing 92, scoring an average of seven tries and 46 points per game, while also conceding just 34 points in total.

"I spent yesterday trying to build a piece on Leinster's weaknesses for pre-match for RTÉ, and I just scrapped it, to be honest," Jackman told the RTE Rugby podcast.

And while the former Ireland hooker did identify one side of Leinster's game that could be exposed, he's unsure how much Ulster will have the opportunity to do so.

"The only area that is a concern is their maul defence, and Gloucester really went after them [in the pool stage]. Gloucester are the best attacking maul in the Premiership, and they exposed Leinster there.

"Ironically that's probably one of Ulster's biggest weapons, their maul attack. The problem for Ulster is, can they get enough opportunities to use that in range?

"Leinster tend to be very disciplined, they have a very good kicking game, so you don't get that many opportunities to kick it five metres out and use the maul. Leinster probably learned from that Gloucester game, I expect them to be a bit better. They weren't full strength that day, I think they'll be stronger on paper this weekend, and I think they'll have worked on that.

"I don't see any obvious weaknesses to be honest."

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Ulster have caused Leinster trouble in the past, winning twice against them last season, and running them close in their early-season meeting at Kingspan Stadium in September.

It looked like Dan McFarland's side were set for another famous win at the RDS in December when they led 22-3 after just over 30 minutes, with Leinster also down to 14 men following a Cian Healy red card.

Leinster subsequently blew their opponents apart in the second half for a 38-29 victory, which seemed to send Ulster's campaign into a tailspin for several weeks.

Eddie O'Sullivan, who joined Jackman on the podcast, says the northern province can't allow that result to play on their minds when they return to Dublin this week.

"I think they'll park that," O'Sullivan said.

"You can't put too much stock in those games in the URC because you're playing a different Leinster side, it's cup rugby, it's knockout, it's win or go home."

And the former Ireland head coach believes the province have "slivers of a blueprint" for how to take on Leinster.

"One, they have to defend really well, and I think we saw when they beat Leinster at the RDS [November 2021] they used the blitz defence really effectively, they got off the line incredibly quick, smashed Leinster, suffocated them, and Leinster struggled with that.

Ulster were 20-10 winners against Leinster in November 2021

"You've got to couple that with really good discipline. If you're giving away penalties for offside, or at the ruck, Leinster will murder you. They'll ping you into your own third of the field and you won't get out.

"If I was playing Leinster next week I'd come after them like mad dogs in a meathouse, just aggressive defence.

"There are ways for Ulster to go about this. I wouldn't say they have a blueprint, but they have slivers of blueprints that worked before against Leinster. If you put enough of them together on the day, you've a gameplan, and it gives you a shot."

Likewise, Jackman believes a conservative galemplan will be key for Ulster to pull off an upset.

"When I looked at what Ulster have done in the past under Dan [McFarland] against Leinster, and done well, is that they've been very pragmatic and not overplayed. In actual fact they've kicked the ball a hell of a lot down the tram lines, using Cooney's box-kicking, getting it in the air, and if they can't win it back, slowing the ball down and make Leinster play off an edge, so it makes it easier to stop them.

"I don't think it will be a game of sevens, I think Ulster will cut their cloth to try and give themselves the best possible chance of winning.

"They'll go to the kicking game, contestable kicks, and try and squeeze Leinster, force penalties and try and use their maul. Even though Ulster have a great backline, I don't really see them being able to outrun Leinster. I think it's going to have to come down to playing cup-tie rugby," he added.

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Watch Leinster v Ulster in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday from 4.30pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, and also watch Scotland v Wales in the TikTok Women's Six Nations (Saturday, 5.30pm) on the RTÉ Player.

Listen to live commentary of Ireland v France (3.15pm) and Leinster v Ulster (5.30pm) on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.

And follow all of this weekend's Women's Six Nations and Champions Cup games on our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the RTÉ News app.