On surface of it Cardiff have advantage over Ulster
Two sides looking to rebound from defeats will pull out all stops in Wales
Luke Marshall will start alongside Sammy Arnold in the Ulster midfield for the first time against Cardiff. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho.
Cardiff v Ulster, Cardiff Arms Park, Sunday, 2.30pm BBC2 NI
Both sides hope to rebound from defeats, Ulster falling to Scarlets last week and Cardiff to Leinster.
Cardiff include three players, wing Tom James, backrow Josh Turnbull and frontrower Kristian Dacey, who have been released by Warren Gatland with James and Turnbull starting in a much-changed Cardiff side from last week.
The plastic pitch in Cardiff Arms Park is an advantage and while Leinster’s game was largely a slug fest in terrible conditions of rain and high winds, the surface usually makes for a faster tempo.
“It’s another crucial home game at a venue where we are always extremely motivated to win,” said Cardiff head coach Danny Wilson. “Ulster are a good side, home or away they always perform, and they have depth to their squad, despite international call-ups.”
In a tight game the surface may just favour the home side.
CARDIFF: D Fish; B Scully, A Summerhill, R Lee-Lo, T James; R Patchell, T Williams; B Thyer, M Rees, S Ma’afu, J Hoeata, J Down, J Turnbull, E Jenkins, M Vosawal. Replacements: K Dacey, T Davies, T Filise, M Cook, J Navidi, L Jones, J Evans, G Smith.
ULSTER: S Olding; C Giilroy, L Marshall, S Arnold, J Stockdale; P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, J Andrew, B Ross, P Browne, F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams. Replacements: J Murphy, K McCall, R Lutton, R Wilson, S Reidy, D Shanahan, D Cave, R Scholes.
Referee: J Lacey (IRFU)