Ulster Rugby have announced the squad ahead of Saturday’s match against Connacht at the Sportsground. KO 7:30.
After last weekends victory over Edinburgh at Ravenhill Ulster will hope to continue their winning campaign as they travel to Galway.
Ulster’s Head Coach Brian McLaughlin has named a 28 man squad ahead of this weekend’s clash against Connacht in the Magners League on Saturday 25th September.
The kickoff is at 7.30pm, Galway Sportsground.
Forwards: Tom Court, Paddy McAllister, Bryan Young, Chris Henry, Rory Best, BJ Botha, Andi Kyriacou, Tim Barker, Johann Muller, Ryan Caldwell, Willie Faloon, Nigel Brady, Robbie Diack, Stephen Ferris, Pedrie Wannenburg, Dan Tuohy. Backs: Adam D’Arcy, David McIlwaine, Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall, Ian Porter, Paul Emerick, Jamie Smith, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Paddy Wallace, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor.
So there you go, every one that is available has been included. The highlight is the possible return of big Dan Tuohy after his extended rest/injury though it’s more than likely that the big man will be eased back in against Glasgow and Aironi.
There has been talk of experimenting with the side before settling on the Heineken Cup squad for a run out against Glasgow but my feeling is that this game is more important, and more difficult, than the Glasgow game at home next week and it’s here, with the exception of Pienaar, that we’ll see a closer indication of the starting team than we will against Glasgow.
Connacht have had a particularly good start to their season and seem to be playing an abrasive type of rugby with an excellent team spirit, but at the end of the day, if Ulster match the Westies for endeavour, they should win this one and win it reasonably comfortably. I’m looking for Ulster to take them on up front and look to dominate from there, exactly the sort of game they’ll be looking to play against Biarritz.
There are difficult decisions all over the team, and all of the decisions are difficult due to increased competition which is a good sign, so I think the selection has to go on team balance and current form rather that reputations which has been the case in the past. To that end I’d go with the starting XV from last weekend with the only changes being on the bench with Brady in for Best and Wallace in for Humphreys.
The FRU 23 reads as follows:
(1-8) Young, Kyriacou, Court, Muller, Caldwell, Ferris, Henry, Diack. (9-15) Marshall, O’Connor, Emerick, Whitten, Cave, Trimble, Smith. (16-23) Brady, Botha, McAllister, Barker, Wannenburg, Porter, Wallace, McIlwaine.
Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wallace start at OH with O’Connor benching. As I said I wouldn’t be surprised, but I’d be disappointed for both of them.
I’m pretty sure Wallace will get some game time at 10 and I’d like to see Wannenburg on for Ferris and not Diack, ideally after a storming sixty minutes from Ulster’s own wrecking ball!