Craig Gilroy is set to make his season debut on the right wing in Ulster’s Guinness PRO14 match against Southern Kings tomorrow afternoon (1pm GMT).
Ulster’s lineup has been badly affected by international call ups and injuries. The big decisions see Darren Cave come into the inside centre position and is joined by Louis Ludik at outside centre.
Only three forwards, Alan O’Connor, Sean Reidy and Chris Henry retain a place in the first team. Wiehahn Herbst is restored to the starting lineup and is partnered by Andrew Warwick and John Andrew. Kieran Treadwell is released from Ireland duty and starts alongside O’Connor. Sean Reidy moves to the base of the scrum to cover the absence of Jean Deysel with Matty Rea starting on the blindside. Chris Henry captains the team on the openside.
John Cooney and Christian Lealiifano form the halfback duo for the seventh time this season. Darren Cave and Louis Ludik start in the centre with Charles Piutau retaining his fullback jersey. Andrew Trimble assumes Jacob Stockdale’s position on the left wing while Craig Gilroy has completed his recovery from a lower back injury picked up in pre-season to be named on the right wing. Gilroy’s return will see him make 150 appearances for Ulster.
Southern Kings remain the only team in the PRO14, Aviva Premiership and TOP14 to have not picked up any points this season. The insecurity over the future of the Port Elizabeth side before the season began was a major reason in the upheaval and departure of many of their influential players. Chris Cloete won the most turnovers in Super Rugby 2017 andleft for Munster while Makazole Mapimpi is now at South African rivals, Toyota Cheetahs.
Their make-shift squad also means that they are unaffected by the impending Autumn Internationals. There’s not many names in their lineup that will be recognizable to anyone, however the rugby geeks among you may have heard of Schalk Ferreira who had a stint for Toulouse and Dries van Schalkwyk who is an Italian international. The Kings narrowly lost to the Cheetahs in the final game week of Super Rugby 2017 and picked up six victories in total over the campaign against the Sunwolves, Waratahs, Rebels, Sharks, Jaguares and Bulls.
The performance against Leinster was not acceptable and there will unsurprisingly be few anxious nerves before kick off. The Kings sit bottom of Conference B and, with Ulster trailing Scarlets by seven points and Leinster by three points, a bonus point in is imperative to stay in the race for a home semi final.
The FRU predicts: Ulster take on a dilapidated Southern Kings side in unfamiliar territory. No rain is expected during tomorrow’s match which should help decrease the number of handling errors. Ulster to win with four tries.
|Yaw Penxe||15||Charles Piutau|
|Michael Makase||14||Craig Gilroy|
|Berton Klaasen||13||Louis Ludik|
|Luzuko Vulindlu||12||Darren Cave|
|Alshaun Bock||11||Andrew Trimble|
|Oliver Zono||10||Christian Lealiifano|
|Rudi van Rooyen||9||John Cooney|
|Schalk Ferreira||1||Andrew Warwick|
|Stephan Coetzee||2||John Andrew|
|Rossouw de Klerk||3||Wiehahn Herbst|
|Stephan Greeff||4||Kieran Treadwell|
|Bobby de Wee||5||Alan O’Connor|
|Andisa Ntsila||6||Matthew Rea|
|Jurie van Vuuren||7||Chris Henry|
|Ruaan Lerm||8||Sean Reidy|
|Tango Balekile||16||Adam McBurney|
|Mzamo Majola||17||Callum Black|
|Martin Dreyer||18||Ross Kane|
|Lindo Welemu||19||Robbie Diack|
|Dries van Schalkwyk||20||Clive Ross|
|Rowan Gouws||21||Jonny Stewart|
|Kurt Coleman||22||Peter Nelson|
|Jarryd Sage||23||Tommy Bowe|