Ulster Rugby have named a 32 man squad ahead of this Friday’s Magners League match against Treviso at Ravenhill, KO 7.05pm
FORWARDS: Declan Fitzpatrick, Tom Court, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Jerry Cronin, Rory Best, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Tim Barker, Dan Tuohy, Johann Muller, Ryan Caldwell, Willie Faloon, TJ Anderson, Pedrie Wannenburg, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack
BACKS: Adam D’Arcy, David McIlwaine, Jamie Smith, Tommy Seymour, Simon Danielli, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Paddy Wallace, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor, Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar
Bit of a short announcement there but surely there must be 23 in that group that can do a job over the next couple of weeks though there are several positions worthy of discussion.
The front row should start with Court and Botha but who is going to be the man in the middle? With Kyriacou having limited game time of late it looks as though the decision is going to be between Best and Brady with Best most likely to get game time against Treviso in an effort to get him match fit for Biarritz. The Irish stalwart will have to improve his arrows though if he is going to lock down a starting birth for the Biarritz game.
Second row will be Muller with either Barker or Tuohy. I suspect it’ll be big Dan that gets the nod for the next two games with Barker being an able replacement on the bench.
Back row is anyone’s guess but, as oft said before, my personal preference would be Ferris, Faloon and Diack with Wannenburg to come on for Ferris or Diack after 60 minutes depending on how the game is going.
With Wallace, Humphreys, O’Connor, Paul Marshall and Pienaar all in the squad I think there are seven or eight half back combinations but given recent results it’s hard to look past Pienaar and Humphreys with Marshall benching and Pienaar and Wallace being used as half back cover from their more normal positions of scrum half and centre.
Young Spence should hold on to second centre alongside Wallace and the experienced Trimble and Danielli should fill the spots on the wing though big Simon has struggled with the ball in hand of late and may be under pressure for a spot against Biarritz.
Last but not least is full back and despite his fumble against Munster I would stick with Smith as in my book he’s still the most dependable option though D’Arcy has looked better with each game and unfortunately for McIlwaine his opportunities in his favoured position have been limited.
The FRU XXIII: (1-15) Court, Best, Botha, Muller, Tuohy, Ferris, Faloon, Diack, Pienaar, Humphreys, Danielli, Wallace, Spence, Trimble, Smith. (16-23) Brady, Young, Fitzpatrick, Barker, Wannenburg, Paul Marshall, Luke Marshall, D’Arcy.