Craig Gilroy back to help Ulster against Glasgow Warriors
Ruan Pienaar also back after missing the last four games following knee surgery
Les Kiss: “We just want to try and keep building the confidence that we saw last week.” Photograph: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker Press
These days every game comes with a ‘must-win’ tag attached to it for Ulster and, though the pressure is still on the sixth-placed province, they will at least be hosting Glasgow Warriors on Saturday off the back of having racked up a crucial bonus-point win over Edinburgh.
“Glasgow are one of the more belligerent sides to play,” said Kiss who wasn’t elaborating any further on Jono Gibbes bolstering the coaching ticket for next season. “They keep coming and never stop and that’s what Gregor [Townsend] has put into them. They will be keen to get something out of this game.
“We just want to try and keep building the confidence that we saw last week,” stated Kiss.
Kiss’s squad will be bolstered by the release of one of Ireland’s hat-trick try scorers from Rome as winger Craig Gilroy is available while, interestingly, Andrew Trimble, who is believed to be fit, has been kept in camp by Joe Schmidt.
It also looks as if this weekend could see the timely return of Ruan Pienaar after missing the last four games following knee surgery.
In addition to Gilroy’s presence, fellow Irish squad member Luke Marshall should be released while Tommy Bowe and Stuart McCloskey, who returned from Carton House last week and made the bench for Ulster’s meeting with Edinburgh, are also available again.
Kiss has further concerns over Charles Piutau (lower leg), Darren Cave (tight hamstring and undergoing return to play protocols), prop Andy Warwick (shoulder) and lock Alan O’Connor (shoulder).
Saturday represents another critical game as Ulster meet the Warriors who are one place ahead of them in fifth, though just three points better off, with both sides scrapping it out to stay in touch with the top four.
Ulster halted an alarming four-game losing run against Edinburgh last Friday in the first of a five-game segment during the Six Nations window which should see them make up ground through playing Treviso once and Zebre twice.
Though the Warriors are expected to have a decent smattering of international players back in the fold, Kiss will have been encouraged by their surprise defeat to Scarlets last weekend as well as the impressive impact shown by Springbok backrow Marcell Coetzee who played his first game for Ulster last Friday after 10 months out recovering from an ACL injury.