The Ulster Squad from which the starting XV and replacements for this weekend’s match against Munster will be selected has been named as follows:
Ulster take on League leaders Munster at Ravenhill at this Friday (29th October) at 7.05pm
With five players in camp with Ireland ahead of the start of the Autumn International Series and a number of players still unavailable due to injury, Ulster Coach Brian McLaughlin has named a Ulster Squad this week with a few changes.
Alan Whitten and Jerry Cronin feature amongst the forwards as front row cover while Neil McComb is also named, and amongst the backs, Paul Emerick, Jonny Shiels, Luke Marshall and Ian Porter are also included.
The Ulster starting XV and replacements will be named on Thursday.
Forwards: Alan Whitten, Paddy McAllister, Jerry Cronin, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Dan Tuohy, Neil McComb, Tim Barker, Johann Muller, Ryan Caldwell, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry.
Backs: Adam D’Arcy, David McIlwaine, Paul Emerick, Mark McCrea, Tommy Seymour, Luke Marshall, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Jonny Shiels, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor, Ruan Pienaar, Paul Marshall, Ian Porter
Unavailable due to injury: David Pollock, Declan Fitzpatrick, Adam Macklin, Darren Cave, Simon Danielli, Jamie Smith, TJ Anderson
These Ulster team selections appear to be a bigger lottery than, well, the Lottery these days and just to spice things up McLaughlin has thrown a few bonus balls into the mix with Alan Whitten, Cronin, McComb, Emerick, Shield, Luke Marshall and Porter all joining, or re-joining in most cases, the squad for this weeks Magners Millions Draw!
Really my tactic of trying to read the subtle nuances of the coach (pah!) and my interpretation of announcements by concentrating on what is not said rather than what is said (bull poop!) hasn’t fared too well this season so this week I’m going on from and fit so here goes. (Where is my blindfold and pin?)
Front row on form has to be McAllister, Brady and Botha. McAllister has ousted Young with a performance of sheer enthusiasm and it’s always a tough call between Kyriacou and Brady but Kyriacou is likely to lose out after going astray with a couple of arrows last week.
Second row on form would be Muller and Barker with Caldwell taking the bench spot. Tuohy has yet to hit the highs of last season when he concentrated more on getting stuck in than popping passes.
Back row on form would include Wannenburg and Diack with Faloon joining as the best fit. Henry benching to cover all three spots.
At half back I’d go with Pienaar on form and O’Connor for fit as O’Connor is much more consistent for a relatively inexperienced backline.
Speaking of which, I’d go with Whitten and Spence in the centre and Whitten is there on form but I would still love to see Luke Marshal and Spence play a fair part of the game together.
The back three is probably my biggest dilemma with no one really standing out and no one doing anything really terrible either but I’ll go with Seymour, McCrea and McIlwaine with D’Arcy on the bench.
FRU XXIII: (15-9) McIlwaine, McCrea, Spence, I Whitten, Seymour, O’Connor, Pienaar. (1-8) McAllister, Brady, Botha, Muller, Barker, Wannenburg, Faloon, Diack. (16-23) Kyriacou, Young, A Whitten, Caldwell, Henry, Porter, L Marshall, D’Arcy.
So there you go what do you think?
The more I look at that back line the more I like it. I can see this game being more exciting than some people think.