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Tommy Bowe returns to bolster Ulster’s options for showdown with Saracens

Published 05/04/2013 | 11:47

Tommy Bowe damaged his knee playing for Ulster
Tommy Bowe damaged his knee playing for Ulster

Ulster winger Tommy Bowe has recovered from a serious knee ligament injury to take his place on the bench for Ulster’s crunch Heineken Cup quarter-final with Saracens at Twickenham tomorrow.

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The Ireland international hasn’t played a competitive game for the province since suffering his knee injury in December and Ulster boss Mark Anscombe is delighted to have him back in the fold.

“Tommy has trained very well. He is chomping at the bit to get out there – he has missed a lot of rugby and he wants to play. We want to accommodate him because he is a world-class player,” Anscombe said.

“It is a credit to our Head of Strength and Conditioning, Jonny Davis, and to Gareth Robinson, Alan McCaldin and the rest of our medical staff that he is ready.”

There are three changes to the Ulster XV who ended their 14 year wait for a win over Leinster in Dublin last weekend.

Iain Henderson is preferred at blindside flanker to Robbie Diack who drops to the bench, while Luke Marshall starts at inside-centre having recovered from the concussion that he sustained playing for Ireland against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations.

John Afoa returns to the tight-head prop position after returning from a trip to New Zealand for the birth of his third child.

Looking ahead to the game, Anscombe added: “We're playing in the quarter-final of a great competition, at one of the best grounds in rugby, against the side leading the Aviva Premiership and there's going to be a big crowd. It doesn't get any better than that.”

Ulster team to play Saracens: (15-9) J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar; (1-8) T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry, N Williams;

Replacements: R Herring, C Black, R Lutton, R Diack, R Wilson, P Marshall, S Olding, T Bowe.

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