Heineken Cup: Aironi v Ulster
Ulster have announced the side for tomorrows game against Aironi:
Rory Best has been ruled out of contention, having not fully recovered from a rib injury sustained last weekend, while BJ Botha who injured ligaments in his elbow is also unavailable.
Best is replaced at hooker by Nigel Brady, while Declan Fitzpatrick replaces Botha.
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports 1
Ulster (15-9) Adam D’Arcy; Andrew Trimble, Nevin Spence, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli; Ian Humphreys, Ruan Pienaar (1-8) Tom Court, Nigel Brady, Declan Fitzpatrick, Johann Muller (Captain), Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg
Replacements (16-23): Andi Kyriacou, Bryan Young, Jerry Cronin, Tim Barker, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Ian Whitten, David McIlwaine
Pretty much as expected, though I see Ulster have yet to fully embrace my play Robbie Diack and rotate Ferris and Wannenburg at 6 but perhaps they will grasp this insightful tactic in teh later rounds as make no mistake Ulster will still be playing Heineken Cup Rugby come 8th April.
All respect to the Aironi but I just can’t see them getting a result tomorrow afternoon. Yes, they have had some close encounters and claimed the fantastic scalp of Biarritz along the way, but tomorrow’s match will be a step up in intensity beyond anything the Italians have sampled to date.
Tomorrows game is not about style, it’s all about winning and if Ulster reproduce the commitment of last Saturday they should take this game with something to spare and if we’re honest with ourselves the only real question should be whether we get a winning bonus point or not.
Not wanting to put a scud on the team but I’m going to come firmly down on the side of “we will”, with Ulster pulling away in the last quarter to book a home semi final. I’d had concerns earlier in the week about our chances in the Quarter finals, as I still think we’ve to fully develop a consistent style, but with the next round 10 weeks away there is still time for the team to develop further and find a more forceful attacking edge.
Can’t wait. They’ll be dancing in the streets of Viadana tomorrow night!