Anyway the team has been announced as follows for this evenings game.
ULSTER: (15-9) Jamie Smith, Andrew Trimble, Ian Whitten, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli, Ian Humphreys, Isaac Boss. (1-8) Tom Court, Nigel Brady, BJ Botha, Ed O’Donoghue, Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry (Capt). (16-22) Andy Kyriacou, Declan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Caldwell, T.J. Anderson, Cillian Willis, Niall O’Connor, Timoci Nagusa
It’s not far off our most attacking side, but as I’d stated earlier in the week I would have probably went with Nagusa on the wing and Trimby in the centre but given that it’s expected to be cold with a sprinkling of snow it’s probably no bad thing that Jim stays in the comparative warmth of the dugout.
I’m glad to see young Smith starting with his speed and enthusiasm being preferred for Shifty’s cunning and guile but I am surprised that Clint isn’t making an appearance on the bench meaning considerable re-jigging of the back line if Smith gets injured.
I assume Cave is injured and it will be interesting to see how Whitten performs outside of Wallace and I’m looking forward to seeing him smash into Mafi a few times.
Up front it’s pretty much as expected with the exception of the hard scrummaging Brady being preferred to the more exciting Kyriacou, but again, given the conditions with plenty of scrums expected this is more than likely the more prudent move.
Caldwell and Anderson should add plenty of grit from the bench if required and O’Connor’s form of late makes him a welcome inclusion as I’ve been impressed with the speed of his pass in his limited appearances this season.
Conditions may be a leveller in this game but ironically it may play into Ulster’s hands forcing them to take on more up front where Ulster, on paper, have a distinct advantage so I’m happy to confirm my prediction of a comfortable win for the Ulstermen.