The teams have been announced for Saturday afternoons re-arranged PRO12 fixture between Ulster Rugby and Zebre Rugby at Ravenhill Stadium. Kick off 18:05, live on BBCNI.
Ulster have made five changes to the team that faced Zebre a few weeks ago with Craig Gilroy, Kieran Treadwell and Marcell Coetzee joining the starting line up, Rodney Ah You and Franco van der Merwe join the replacements. There has also been a bit of jigging about positionally wise with Jared Payne moving to full back, Jacob Stockdale moving to the centre and Stuart Olding going to out half with young Nelson benching.
Stockdale at centre and Olding at out half are interesting moves, particularly with Payne behind them at full back. I know Olding was used there at the end of last week’s game, but Payne pulling the strings from behind should make a fair bit of difference.
It’s a strong looking Ulster pack, the only worry being that only one of the players, Chris Henry, is actually prime reared Ulster beef. With more competition for places next season it won’t be long until an “Ulster free” pack is a regular occurrence. It’s a hugely worrying trend. I know you can buy better players – but not necessarily better teams!
Zebre have made six changes to the team from the last meeting. Hooker Oliviero Fabiani, second row Quintin Geldenhuys and back row Matteo Cornelli all joining the starting line up, Luigi Ferraro, Julien Nibert and Malou Mornas join the bench. The rest, like Ulster have moved about a bit.
The game at Zebre was far from a classic. Ulster failed to impose themselves for long periods of the game but it should be a different matter on Saturday evening at a rocking Ravers! It’ll be interesting to see if David Busby gets a start from the bench as he’s also down to start the next day for Ulster A at Musgrave Park!
The FRU Predicts: A very substantial win for Ulster.
|ULSTER RUGBY||ZEBRE RUGBY|
|Jared Payne||15||Dion Berryman|
|Craig Gilroy||14||Mattia Bellini|
|Jacob Stockdale||13||Tommaso Boni|
|Luke Marshall||12||Tommaso Castello|
|Charles Piutau||11||Lloyd Greeff|
|Stuart Olding||10||Serafin Bordoli|
|Ruan Pienaar||9||Carlo Engelbrecht|
|Callum Black||1||Andrea De Marchi|
|Rob Herring||2||Oliviero Fabiani|
|Wiehahn Herbst||3||Bartholomeus Le Roux|
|Kieran Treadwell||4||Quintin Geldenhuys|
|Alan O’Connor||5||Valerio Bernabò|
|Robbie Diack||6||Matteo Cornelli|
|Chris Henry||7||Gideon Koegelenberg|
|Marcell Coetzee||8||Federico Ruzza|
|John Andrew||16||Luigi Ferraro|
|Andrew Warwick||17||Bruno Postiglioni|
|Rodney Ah You||18||Guillermo Roan|
|Franco vd Merwe||19||Joshua Furno|
|Clive Ross||20||Julien Nibert|
|Paul Marshall||21||Guglielmo Palazzani|
|Peter Nelson||22||Matteo Pratichetti|
|David Busby||23||Malou Mornas|