The teams have been announced for Ulster’s must win European Champions Cup match against Exeter Chiefs which takes place tomorrow evening at Ravenhill, kick off 7:45pm. Live on BT Sports. 

Ulster see the return of Charles Piutau on the wing, with Craig Gilroy dropping to the bench, and up front Kyle McCall, Pete Browne and Roger Wilson come in for Andrew Warwick, Alan O’Connor and Sean Reidy respectively, the latter three dropping to the bench where they are joined by Tommy Bowe following his run out for Ulster A last weekend.

Despite a bit of a drubbing at Clermont last week, Exeter have also made limited changes, the most interesting (to me at least) being the return of, ex-Ulster stalwart, Ian Whitten to the centre, where he’ll link up with, fellow Ulsterman, Gareth Steenson who captains the side. 

Two rounds into the premier European competition and this is already a must win game for both outfits. In all honesty, looking at the teams, there is no Exeter player, including the two Ulster boys, that I’d have in the Ulster side, but this game is not going to be won by the team with the better players but by the players that guts it out. At the moment, Ulster have yet to convince they can dog one out this season and, while it’s easy to point the finger at individual players, my reading is that it’s the coaching team that are not doing their work. 

In this day and age, a few fancy moves from the paddock might buy the odd win or two but it’s not long before player tracking and video analysis give the opposition a counter. Consistent wins against the better opposition comes from the team ethos and their composure under pressure, something that Les Kiss’s Ulster have yet to master. Win or lose tomorrow, we’ve still a bit to go. 

THE FRU Predicts: Despite concerns I still think that Ulster are going to win this one tomorrow, but only just. 

ULSTER RUGBY   EXETER CHIEFS
Jared Payne 15 Lachie Turner
Andrew Trimble 14 Olly Woodburn
Luke Marshall 13 Ian Whitten
Stuart Olding 12 Henry Slade
Charles Piutau 11 James Short
Paddy Jackson 10 Gareth Steenson
Ruan Pienaar 9 Dave Lewis
Kyle McCall 1 Moray Low
Rory Best 2 Jack Yeandle
Rodney Ah You 3 Harry Williams
Pete Browne 4 Mitch Lees
Franco vd Merwe 5 Geoff Parling
Iain Henderson 6 Kai Horstmann
Clive Ross 7 Julian Salvi
Roger Wilson 8 Thomas Waldrom
     
Rob Herring 16 Elvis Taione
Andy Warwick 17 Carl Rimmer
Ross Kane 18 Tomas Francis
Alan O’Connor 19 Jonny Hill
Clive Ross 20 Dave Dennis
Paul Marshall 21 Jack Maunder
Craig Gilroy 22 Sam Hill
Tommy Bowe 23 Ollie Devoto

 

#SUFTUM