There’s no real surprises in the extended squad but with the return of Ferris and Wallace and healthy competition for starting spots there is plenty to discuss ahead of Fridays selection.
FORWARDS: Nigel Brady, Brendon Botha, Bryan Young, Ed O’Donoghue, Andy Kyriacou, Stephen Ferris, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Willie Faloon, Tamaiti Horua, Tom Court, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Caldwell, Neil McComb , Declan Fitzpatrick. BACKS: Timoci Nagusa, Darren Cave, Simon Danielli, Ian Whitten, Isaac Boss, Ian Humphreys, Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall, Clinton Schifcofske, Niall O’Connor, Paddy Wallace.
Going on form this is a game that should see Ulster start as favourites but it will still require a huge performance for Ulster to get anywhere near repeating last seasons destruction of the Bogmen in Turnipstan.
You should always beware a wounded Turnip and there is no question that the Bogmen are hurting. They may be the self proclaimed best team in the world but after a series of heavy defeats by Ulster and Leinster they are struggling to stay above Connacht as the third best team in Ireland.
Now Munster have been down and out before. In previous seasons they have shown indifferent form in the Magners League, struggled in the opening rounds of the Heiny, and ended up European champions at the business end of the season. However this season it’s different and it’s different because the teams around them have more strength in depth and after four good drubbings by Irish sides the aura of invincibility is no longer there.
In previous seasons this fixture had always been one of Ulster’s big fixtures. A chance to redeem themselves after another indifferent season, but this year the boot is on the other foot and it’s Munster looking at this game as the spark to ignite their season. Beaten by Northampton, outplayed by Treviso for 30 minutes, abysmal performance against Edinburgh and absolutely thrashed by Leinster has got the usually adoring press and bandwagon fans on their backs and they do not like it. Ulster beware, beware the wounded Turnip!
To this end I’m selecting a match day 22 absolutely oozing with plenty of points to prove with our southern cousins and Irish selectors.
The FRU Selection. (1-8) Court, Kyriacou, Botha, O’Donoghue, Caldwell, Ferris, Faloon, Henry. (15-9) Schifcofske, Nagusa, Cave, Wallace, Trimble, Humphreys, Boss. (16-22) Brady, Fitzpatrick, Tuohy, Diack, Marshall, Witten, Danielli.
Boy-oh-boy, this gets harder every week!