Murrayfield could prove a season-definer for Ulster with Scarlets up next
Three changes to the starting team including Luke Marshall and Dan Tuohy returning
Ulster’s Luke Marshall is back in the Ulster team for the visit of the Scarlets. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Presseye
Last weekend’s dramatic victory in Edinburgh - when Ulster somehow resisted being reduced to 13 men for the final six minutes - has ended up fuelling a growing sense that what transpired at Murrayfield could well be a season-definer for their PRO12 campaign.
Perhaps, but this ignores the glaring fact that it was Edinburgh’s incompetence as much as Ulster’s resistance that forged the 20-17 result for the visitors. Still, Ulster gladly took the four points on a rare victory away from home to move up to second and should they deliver a bonus point win tonight against the Scarlets they will sit top of the pile ahead of the outcome of current leaders Glasgow’s visit to Munster on Saturday.
This will be the fourth time the sides have met this season and Neil Doak’s squad - for whom Ian Humphreys makes his 100th appearance - will be seeking a similar outcome to the last time the West Wales side visited Belfast when maximum points were taken from the first of their back-to-back European encounters.
Ulster have made three changes from last weekend with second row Dan Tuohy returning to the starting side after being sidelined since January with a thumb injury while centre Luke Marshall is back in, after Stuart McCloskey’s four-week ban following his red card at Edinburgh, and Clive Ross is selected at the problem position of openside flanker.
Stand-in skipper Roger Wilson and Darren Cave have returned from Ireland camp as a strong-looking Ulster seek to maintain this season’s, so far, bullet-proof PRO12 record at the Kingspan. They should also achieve it to notch up a fourth consecutive league win.
ULSTER: L Ludik; C Gilroy, D Cave, L Marshall, M Allen, I Humphreys, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring, W Herbst, D Tuohy, F Van der Merwe, R Wilson (captain), C Ross, N Williams.
Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, B Ross, L Stevenson, M McComish, P Marshall, M Stanley, R Scholes.