Ulster Head Coach Brian McLaughlin has today named an extended 29 man squad, to face Cardiff Blues, this Saturday 3rd April, at Ravenhill, kick off 7.30pm. Commenting on the Magners League clash, Coach Brian McLaughlin said:
On Saturday evening discipline will be key, we need to read the breakdown much quicker and make intelligent decisions as to how we defend or attack the opposition ball. We must keep the ball in hand and play some strong and smart running rugby.
If we are going to come away with the win we really need, we’ll have to play out of our socks and be mentally prepared for a real fight.
We were very disappointed with our performance last Friday so it is great to have this early opportunity to play Cardiff again. We have had plenty to work on from last week and have been in Jordanstown for the past two days which has been great. We must make sure that we make our home advantage count, and get our Ravenhill support behind us to get as much out of this game as we possibly can.
Paddy McAllister and Tommy Seymour are additions to the squad that was selected for the Cardiff away game last weekend, while Tom Court and Mark McCrea were not considered due to injury.
Forwards:Declan Fitzpatrick, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Ed O’Donoghue, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Caldwell, Chris Henry, Paddy McAllister, Stephen Ferris, Robbie Diack, TJ Anderson, David Pollock, Rory Best. Backs: Jamie Smith, Paul Marshall, Simon Danielli, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Timoci Nagusa, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor, Isaac Boss, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble, Michael Heaney, Jonny Shiells, Tommy Seymour.
Not available due to injury: Mark McCrea, Tom Court, Clinton Schifcofske, Willie Faloon, Bryn Cunningham, Adam Macklin, Ian Porter, Cillian Willis, Matt McCullough, Justin Fitzpatrick
Tickets are still available for Ulster v Cardiff Blues.
To purchase tickets for Ulster v Cardiff Blues, 3rd April, KO 7.30pm click here, or call the Ticket Line on 028 90 493 222 Option 2 or visit the Ticket Office at Ravenhill (Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm.) Tickets are also available from Ulster Rugby ticket outlets province wide.
I know McLaugh’s has lots of constraints acting on him with regards to how he can pick the team and what he can publicly say about Ulster’s previous couple of performances, but I don’t think I’d be alone in appreciating it if his team announcement tomorrow (Friday) went something like this. (Cue wavy lines!)
Look we’ve been bashed about a bit up front for the last couple of matches, but we’re a small team. As we’re always going to play predominately local boys we’re going to try and play a more distinctive style of play based on moving the ball away from and around contact areas as quickly as possible.
We feel this style of rugby will maximise the resources available to the Provence and, while it may take a while for us to get it right, we’re going to start playing it now.
There may be a few good hammering’s on the way but we are confident that it will bring a fast paced and exciting game to Ravenhill and will make us much more competitive away from home in the long term.
He will then announce the following team: (1-8) Young, Kyriacou, Botha, Tuohy, O’Donoghue, Henry, Pollock, Diack. (9-15) Boss, Humphreys, Danielli, Wallace, Cave, Trimble, Smith (16-22) Best, Fitzpatrick D, Caldwell, Ferris, Heaney, O’Connor, Whitten.
Best and Ferris need a bit of time on the bench to drain all the negative crap from their Ireland appearances out of them. Neither of them is firing on all cylinders and they shouldn’t just stroll back in.
Might get beat, might win with a four try bonus point but we’ll never know. At least the media snippets would be a bit more exciting and informative than the current which appears to blame the players’ discipline for the last two defeats which were in fact caused by poor team selection and tactics. At least they are starting to recognise the importance of the breakdown and the importance of keeping the ball in hand, so hopefully there won’t be so much positional kicking.