The team’s were announced earlier today for the Ulster v Scarlets PRO12 clash at Ravenhill on Friday evening. Kick off 19:05.
Ulster welcome back Charles Piutau, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson and Callum Black in the starting line up with Franco van der Merwe and Ian Henderson forming the basis of a strong subs bench.
It’s starting to look more like the first choice starting line up, but there is still a ways to go. Back in July we stated what we thought our premier starting line up would be (click here to refresh your memory) so I thought it’d be something a bit different if we compared this one to our premier select side to see how far we are off our idea of near perfection! 😆
|Back Three||Payne, Trimble, Piutau||Piutau, Gilroy, Ludik||80%||It’ll always be close but Trimble and Payne add that something extra.|
|Centers||McCloskey, Marshall||McCloskey, Marshall||100%||My first choice pick!|
|Half Backs||Jackson, Pienaar||Jackson, Pienaar||100%||No real competition for either at present.|
|Front Row||Black, Best, Herbst||Black, Herring, Ah You||70%||Marginal drop with Herring, huge drop with Ah You.|
|Second Row||vd Merwe, Tuohy||Browne, O’Connor||80%||Pleasingly close, should be very competitive this season.|
|Back Row||Henderson, Henry, Coetzee||Ross, Reidy, Diack||70%||Actual is not bad just the select is that good!|
Doing the hard sums, I make it that we are sending out a team that is 81.3% of our optimum side.
Not too bad I hear you say, and it’s not, the only downside being that the areas where we least meet the first choice select is in the prime positions of front row and back row and this will certainly make the winning of this game more difficult.
However, this is not a confident Scarlets side, having lost to the workman like Munster and Edinburgh in their first two outings, but they do like coming to Ravenhill and have a good record against Ulster in all competitions. You could argue that this is exactly the sort of game they want to get their season back on track and they have plenty of talent in their ranks, albeit under-performing talent so far! Ulster need to be wary and cannot afford to take them for granted.
On the plus side for Ulster, we are rapidly approaching the first European matches so there’s plenty, for those players who aren’t copper fastened in the starting line up, to play for; now is the time to shine.
The FRU Predicts: I think this is going to be a close, scrappy game with Charles Piutau making the difference between the two teams (and Liam Williams to be sent of 😆 ). Ulster to win, but not by much! #SUFTUM
|Charles Piutau||15||Aled Thomas|
|Craig Gilroy||14||Liam Williams|
|Stuart Olding||13||Jonathan Davies|
|Stuart McCloskey||12||Hadleigh Parks|
|Louis Ludik||11||Steff Evans|
|Paddy Jackson||10||Rhys Patchell|
|Ruan Pienaar||9||Gareth Davies|
|Callum Black||1||Wyn Jones|
|Rob Herring||2||Ken Owens|
|Rodney Ah You||3||Werner Kruger|
|Pete Browne||4||Jake Ball|
|Alan O’Connor||5||David Bulbring|
|Clive Ross||6||Lewis Rawlings|
|Sean Reidy||7||James Davies|
|Robbie Diack||8||John Barclay|
|John Andrew||16||Ryan Elias|
|Andrew Warwick||17||Luke Garrett|
|Ross Kane||18||Peter Edwards|
|Franco vd Merwe||19||Tadhg Beirne|
|Ian Henderson||20||Will Boyde|
|Angus Lloyd||21||Aled Davies|
|Luke Marshall||22||Scott Williams|
|Robert Lyttle||23||Steff Hughes|