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|