The teams for Friday nights PRO12 match between Ulster an Munster were announced earlier this morning with Ulster making eight changes to the team that started against Exeter.
Callum Black, Rob Herring, Wiehahn Herbst, Dan Tuohy and Robbie Diack all come into the pack with the inclusion of Tuohy and Herbst particularly pleasing.
In the backs, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy and Tommy Bowe all come into the starting line up and on the face of it, despite injuries and player management, you would have to say that Ulster can still field an impressive back line.
Piutau, Bowe and Gilroy could be the most exciting combination yet in the back three and Cave and Marshall are a good ball handling midfield who won’t shirk their defensive duties plus of course we have the first choice halfbacks in Pienaar and Jackson, though it is a surprise that Jackson is still available, I suspect we’ll only see him for the first half.
The forwards aren’t that bad either. Black, Herring and Herbst wouldn’t be that far off first pick and the same goes for Tuohy and van der Merwe so you have got to be happy with that front five, which we all know controls the game. However the back row will be stretched by their opposite numbers and I think it’s this battle that will determine the outcome of the game.
On paper, you would have to say that Ulster are clear favourites but it’s how they perform on the pitch that is going to matter and both sides have a history of being turned over by supposedly weaker sides, in this fixture in particular.
The old mantra of “who want’s it most will win” holds true and how Munster respond to last weekend’s heroic efforts is probably key to deciding this game. Ulster have the ball players and Munster have that indomitable team spirit but if Ulster meet them head to head up front they should take this one.
The FRU Predicts. Ulster have looked over coached the last few outings and I’d like to see them cut loose and play what is in front of them instead of going through a plethora of set moves. If they do I suspect they will win, and win with something to spare. One can only hope. #SUFTUM
|Charles Piutau||15||Andrew Conway|
|Tommy Bowe||14||Darren Sweetnam|
|Luke Marshall||13||Jaco Taute|
|Darren Cave||12||Rory Scannell|
|Craig Gilroy||11||Ronan O’Mahony|
|Paddy Jackson||10||Ian Heatley|
|Ruan Pienaar||9||Duncan Williams|
|Callum Black||1||Dave Kilcoyne|
|Rob Herring||2||Niall Scannell|
|Wiehahn Herbst||3||John Ryan|
|Dan Tuohy||4||Donnacha Ryan|
|Franco vd Merwe||5||Billy Holland|
|Robbie Diack||6||Peter O’Mahony|
|Sean Reidy||7||Tommy O’Donnell|
|Roger Wilson||8||Jack O’Donnell|
|John Andrew||16||Vincent O’Brien|
|Kyle McCall||17||Brian Scott|
|Andrew Warwick||18||Stephen Archer|
|Clive Ross||19||Darren O’Shea|
|Conor Joyce||20||Robin Copeland|
|Paul Marshall||21||Abriel Griesel|
|Brett Heron||22||Alex Wooton|
|Jacob Stockdale||23||Dan Goggin|