Ulster must put down Warriors’ uprising to make the knockout stages once again
“They’ve threats across the park; they play to their strengths; they don’t give you much and you’ve got to be patient and willing to work hard to get your points. You earn them,” Anscombe added.
Although Paddy Jackson had another off-night against Leinster, who seem to spook him a little, his defence, ability to take the ball to the line and execute Ulster’s game – which has a distinct clarity about it, in which forwards rarely impinge unnecessarily on a back’s terrain – unsurprisingly sees him retained, albeit with Ruan Pienaar now doing the goalkicking.
South Africa duty
As the South African missed the first chunk of the season and was on South Africa duty again in November, explains Anscombe, “it was always going to be a time frame when he came back to do the kicking. And it’s just worked itself out that in the last two weeks he’s been doing it, and he will continue doing it for the next period of time.”
There’s no good time for a defeat, but that Northampton set- back at home last time out in Europe may even have been a timely reality check amid decidedly premature talk of this being Ulster’s best-ever team.
Admittedly, they look a tad under-powered in the second-row but following on from an understrength defeat away to Munster, last week’s ruthless second-half display against the Scarlets suggests they may even be over their hiccup.
Although patience, from team and crowd alike, may indeed be a virtue tonight, ultimately they do have more to play for and that should shine through in another sustained 80-minute performance.
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 (capt), N Williams. Replacements: R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, N McComb, R Wilson, P Marshall, M Allen, C Cochrane.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: P Murchie; S Maitland, A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH Van Der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; R Grant, D Hall, M Low, T Ryder, Ar Kellock (capt), J Eddie, R Harley, J Strauss. Replacements: P MacArthur, G Reid, N Campbell, T Swinson, N Matawalu, S Wight, S Hogg.
Referee: P Gauzere (France).
Forecast: Ulster to win.
Saints alive: Only victory will keepNorthampton in the hunt
Northampton v Castres
Franklin’s Gardens 8.00pm
Northampton hope Ulster’s scalp can kick them on today against the French visitors.
Jim Mallinder’s side and the Top 14 outfit both have to win to keep in touch with pool leaders Ulster.
A win for Castres would put pressure on Pro12 leaders Ulster ahead of the final round.
In that event Ulster would have to travel to France for the final Pool game knowing they needed a victory in Castres to secure their own quarter-final place.
Northampton, who have won three of their four previous meetings with Castres, know if they win this game, they are still in the hunt for a place in the knockout stages.