Ulster make five changes
Rugby:Ulster will deploy both Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy against Glasgow tomorrow night as the province seek to secure a home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup. Coach Mark Anscombe has made five changes to his side for the match at Ravenhill, with the Kiwi beefing up his pack for the visit of the Warriors.
Rory Best and John Afoa, who missed the win over Scarlets last weekend, come back into the front row, while Iain Henderson is named at lock in place of the injured Dan Tuohy.
Behind the scrum, Paddy Wallace replaces Luke Marshall while Trimble returns to the wing to win his 150th cap for the province. “I never thought when I was starting out that I would ever make 150 appearances,” Trimble said this morning. “When I was younger I supported Ulster and always wanted to play for the Province, so to reach 150 is really special.”
Northampton face elimination from Ulster’s group tomorrow night unless they beat French challengers Castres at Franklin’s Gardens. The game’s significance is not lost on Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder after Northampton gave themselves a Pool Four lifeline with victory over Ulster in Belfast last time out.
That unexpected triumph at Ravenhill came just eight days after Ulster crushed Saints in bonus point fashion on home soil. And while Northampton still have it all to do, currently standing two points behind Castres and five adrift of Ulster, a quarter-final place could still be achieved.
“We still have a massive point to prove in Europe and the players know what is expected of them on Friday night,” Mallinder said. “We need a win to keep our destiny in our own hands, especially as Castres are two points ahead of us in the pool.
“We also know that it will not be easy against one of the top teams in France. Castres have been in superb form over the past few months and have been playing a style of rugby which makes the most of their big forwards and speed out wide.
“It is a massive challenge for us and all of the focus has been on what we need to do on Friday. We are just about playing knockout rugby, so getting the win is all that matters. But we’ve been playing well recently, scoring good tries and defending well, so there is plenty for us to build on and we are in a positive frame of mind to get our home form back on track.”
Ulster:: J Payne; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, L Stevenson, I Henderson, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams. Replacements:R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, N McComb, R Wilson, P Marshall, M Allen, C Cochrane.
Glasgow:P Murchie; S Maitland, A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH Van Der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; R Grant, D Hall, M Low; T Ryder, A Kellock; J Eddie, R Harley, J Strauss. Replacements:P MacArthur, G Reid, N Campbell, T Swinson, N Matawalu, S Wight, S Hogg.