Trimble, Henry return as Ulster look to lay marker for Sarries clash
Published 29/03/2014 | 02:30
ULSTER will not get to call on Rory Best or Ruan Pienaar before heading into battle against Saracens at Ravenhill next week after the duo were left out of tonight's clash in Cardiff.
Six Nations heroes Andrew Trimble and Chris Henry are restored to the starting line-up, however, while Dan Tuohy has made a remarkable recovery from the broken arm he suffered against Wales to partner captain Johann Muller in the second-row.
It means Mark Anscombe has named a side close to full strength, with Tommy Bowe and Stephen Ferris included as they continue their recoveries from injury.
Ulster could move into the top two of the Pro12 with an away win over the Blues, but only if Munster lose at Leinster this evening.
It will be a landmark night for loosehead Tom Court, who makes his 150th appearance for the province in his final season before moving to London Irish. "I have been fairly lucky with injury and I have been available most weeks and the caps have accumulated," the former Ireland prop said.
Court has seen Ulster evolve into one of the leading forces in Europe. However, despite final appearances in the last two seasons, they have yet to get over the line – losing to Leinster in the 2012 Heineken Cup and 2013 Pro12 finals.
On course for the last four of the league and with a home quarter-final against Sarries to come, the 33-year-old wants to end on a high.
"Now all I want is to see some silverware before I move on. It's all about getting up a head of steam as the season nears the end, starting with Cardiff," he said.
David Humphreys continued the revamp of the team yesterday as he added tighthead Wiehahn Herbst to next year's roster to replace the departing John Afoa.
The 25-year-old Sharks front-row, a former South Africa U-19 international will be a designated 'special project' player and will qualify for Ireland at the end of his three-year deal with the province.
With Iain Henderson, Paul Marshall and Craig Gilroy on the bench and Pienaar and the rested Best expected to return next week, Anscombe will expect a performance. Given the Blues' form, that should be enough.
CARDIFF BLUES – D Fish; A Cuthbert, C Allen, I Tuifua, C Czekaj; G Davies, L Jones; G Jenkins (capt), K Dacey, T Filise; L Reed, F Paulo; M Cook, J Navidi, R Copeland. Reps: M Rees, T Davies, S Andrews, J Down, E Jenkins, L Williams, S Humberstone, G Evans.
ULSTER – J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, L Marshall, A Trimble; P Jackson, M Heaney; T Court, R Herring, J Afoa; J Muller (capt), D Tuohy; S Ferris, C Henry, N Williams. Reps: N Annett, A Warwick, R Lutton, I Henderson, R Diack, S Doyle, P Marshall, C Gilroy.
REF – M Mitrea (FIR)
CARDIFF BLUES V ULSTER
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