Friday 23 March 2018

Broken finger set to keep Trimble out of crunch Euro clash with Tigers

Andrew Trimble has been sidelined with a broken finger
Andrew Trimble has been sidelined with a broken finger
Conor George

Conor George

ANDREW TRIMBLE is set to miss Ulster's opening Heineken Cup fixture against Leicester Tigers on October 11 after breaking his finger.

The Ireland international is scheduled to have surgery today and is expected to miss the next four to six weeks of action. That period of recovery is likely to rule him out of the game against the English Premiership side as well as the clash with Montpellier the following weekend.

It is a devastating blow for the winger and to Ulster, who will be hoping to bounce back from their opening day loss to Newport Gwent Dragons when they host Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12 at Ravenhill tonight.

Mark Anscombe has reacted to the loss by making seven personnel and two positional changes to his team.

David McIlwaine starts on the right wing in place of Trimble, while Darren Cave returns to the backline at outside-centre, with Luke Marshall moving inside to No 12. Michael Allen is selected on the left wing, with Ian Porter picked at scrum-half in place of Paul Marshall, who has been named on the bench.

Declan Fitzpatrick is selected at tighthead, while in the back-row Roger Wilson moves from No 8 to blindside to facilitate the return of Nick Williams to the base of the scrum. Sean Doyle comes in at openside flanker.

Much of the attention tonight will focus on international out-half Paddy Jackson. The 21-year-old's well-publicised problems from the kicking tee were in evidence again last weekend, when he was off target with two penalties and a conversion attempt.

With Ruan Pienaar on international duty with South Africa, these games offer Jackson the opportunity to prove he can become the true leader of the Ulster team by dominating plays and, crucially, proving that he can be a reliable place-kicker.

He is playing outside the inexperienced Porter tonight. Porter only recently returned to the Ulster squad after earning a university degree in engineering and will need to be nursed along by Jackson.

This will be Luke Marshall's fourth start this season – if you include the two friendlies in August. He has fully recovered from the concussions he suffered at the end of last season and is feeling confident after coming through all the games to date.

"This week we are playing one of the best teams in the league in Glasgow and we realise it is going to be a very tough game, even at Ravenhill," he said.

"They are playing a good brand of rugby now that Gregor Townsend is in charge. We will need to be on top of our game."

Glasgow Warriors beat Cardiff Blues 22-15 at Scotstoun in their opener and are looking to begin their campaign with a pair of victories for the first time since 2009/10. The Warriors have won three of their last five fixtures with Irish Provinces.

Stuart Hogg, Ryan Grant, DTH van der Merwe and Josh Strauss all return to the visitors' starting line-up for tonight's game.

"Our games against Ulster last season were very competitive and I see this contest following a similar pattern," said Glasgow coach Townsend.

ULSTER – J Payne; D McIlwaine, D Cave, L Marshall, M Allen; P Jackson, I Porter; C Black, R Herring, D Fitzpatrick; J Muller (capt), D Tuohy; R Wilson, S Doyle, N Williams. Repls: N Annett, T Court, R Lutton, I Henderson, C Henry, P Marshall, J McKinney, R Andrew.

GLASGOW WARRIORS – S Hogg; T Seymour, S Lamont, M Bennett, DTH van der Merwe; R Jackson, H Pyrgos; R Grant, P MacArthur, E Kalman; T Swinson, J Gray; R Harley, T Holmes, J Strauss. Reps: D Hall, G Reid, M Low, J Eddie, C Fusaro, R Vernon, C Cusiter, G Ascarate.

Ulster v Glasgow,

Live , BBC2, 7.05

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