Ulster Head Coach, Mark Anscombe, has named a 27 man squad for the Province’s final pre-season match, against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road tomorrow (kick-off 15:00).
A substantially strengthened side sees the return of Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall, Tom Court, Johann Muller and Chris Henry to the starting team with Paddy Jackson taking a spot on a twelve man bench.
The retention of Chris Farrell and David McIlwaine in the back line from the second half of the Leinster match must point to their involvement over the first few PRO12 games and it looks like Ian Porter has got the nod ahead of Heaney as stand in scrum half. Certainly I’ll be interested to see Porter working with Jackson later in the game, they could be a lively combination.
The back row of Diack, Henry and Wilson looks strong on paper if a little slow and it should be a good test of Herring and Lutton in the front row with Lutton impressing last season. Hopefully Annett will get a good runout at hooker in the second half. He impressed over the summer tours and I’d like to see him make some sort of breakthrough this season.
Having said all that it is a friendly and I’m not expecting too much but it should be an enjoyable enough game, with McKinney the player with the most to play for.
Looking ahead to the game, Ulster Head Coach, Mark Anscombe, said:
“This match is the perfect way for us to warm up for the new season.
“It is good to be able to call upon players like Johann Muller, Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall, Chris Henry and Tom Court for their first hit-out of the campaign.
“We will try a few things and look at combinations ahead of our game in the RaboDirect PRO12 against Newport Gwent Dragons next Friday.”
Ulster: Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Chris Farrell, David McIlwaine, James McKinney, Paul Marshall, Tom Court, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, Johann Muller, Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Roger Wilson. Replacements: Callum Black, Niall Annett, Declan Fitzpatrick, Alan O’Connor, Conor Joyce, Lewis Stevenson, Mike McComish, Sean Doyle, Ian Porter, Paddy Jackson, Michael Allen, Ricky Andrew.