Trimble pips Gilroy for Ulster wing berth
“It is going to be a massive challenge for us, we know that. But training has been very positive this week and we are coming into the game on the back of three successive wins ourselves.
“However, all of the players know that they will have to take a step up from those performances and play for the full 80 minutes if we are to get the result we want.”
Meanwhile, Connacht coach Eric Elwood has made two changes ho his starting team for Friday’s home clash against Biarritz at the Sportsground (8.0pm).
Mike McCarthy makes a return from international duty to partner Mick Kearney in the secondrow, with Andrew Browne moving to blindside flanker. Willie Faloon and Eoin McKeon also come in from the side that lost by a point to Edinburgh. In the backs Fetu’u Vainkolo replaces an injured Gavin Duffy on the left wing.
On the bench, we see hooker Ethienne Reynecke return to the squad from injury last week. He joins Denis Buckley and JP Cooney as the frontrow replacements.
ULSTER (v Northampton Saints, Friday, Franklin’s Gardens, 8.0pm):J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, P Wallace, A Trimble; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry, R Wilson. Replacements:N Brady, C Black, R Lutton, R Diack, N Williams, P Marshall, L Marshall, C Gilroy.
NORTHAMPTON:B Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, D Waldouck, J Elliott; R Lamb, M Roberts; S Tonga'uiha, D Hartley (c), B Mujati, S Manoa, C Lawes, C Clark, T Wood, G-J van Velze. Replacements:M Haywood, A Waller, P Doran-Jones, M Sorenson, P Dowson, L Dickson, S Myler, T May.
CONNACHT (v Biarritz, Friday, Sportsground, 8.0pm):R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, D Poolman, D McSharry, F Vainikolo; D Parks (capt), K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, R Loughney, M Kearney, M McCarthy, A Browne, W Faloon, E McKeon. Replacements:E Reynecke, D Buckley, JP Cooney, D Qualter, J O’Connor, P O’Donohoe, M Nikora, M Jarvis.
BIARRITZ:I Balshaw; T Ngwenya, C Gimenez, M Bosch, A Brew; M Berquist, D Yachvili (c); F Barcella, B August, F Gomez Kodela, E Lund, T Dubarry, W Lauret, B Guyot, R Lakafia. Replacements:J-P Genevois, T Synaeghel, W Blaauw, P Taele, I Harinordoquy, Y Lesgourgues, JP Barraque, S Burotu.