Ulster’s Mark Anscombe to run eye over fringe players in Friday night’s friendly against Leinster
Two new stands constructed as part of Ravenhill’s not-yet-completed £14.7m redevelopment will be open for business for the first time
Seán Doyle, who is in line for a first start for Ulster in nearly a year in Friday night’s friendly against Leinster at Ravenhill.
However, there will be precious few points of reference to last May’s RaboDirect PRO12 final. That was when Joe Schmidt bowed out as Leinster coach by triumphing over fellow Kiwi Mark Anscombe at the RDS, with a host of players missing from both sides due to their places of work over the summer – with the Ireland player management programme kicking in – along with the traditional requirement of multiple rotations of enlarged squads of players in friendly games.
Nevertheless, Anscombe is hoping to give Ireland’s summer tourists Dan Tuohy and Declan Fitzpatrick, as well as Robbie Diack – the latter having been on the Emerging Ireland squad in Georgia – 40 minutes of action when the two new stands constructed as part of Ravenhill’s not-yet-completed £14.7m redevelopment will be open for business for the first time.
No such restrictions apply for overseas players Johann Muller, Nick Williams, Jared Payne and John Afoa – who underwent surgery on a torn tricep in New Zealand during the off-season – who are all believed to be available.
But there will be no Ruan Pienaar, who is with South Africa in the Championship and is not expected back until the opening Heineken Cup fixture with Leicester Tigers at Ravenhill in October.
Still, Anscombe will have ample opportunity to run his eye over a number of fringe players and one of them will be Australian flanker Seán Doyle who is in line for a first Ulster start in nearly a year after the industrious 24-year-old openside broke his leg in an AIL game for Dungannon after impressing in Ulster’s three opening PRO12 clashes.
Doyle, who is Irish qualified through parentage in Co Clare, said: “This time I’ll hopefully stay injury free and be able to put a lot of pressure on the rest of the back rowers.
“If you play well you don’t know what will happen,” he said.