Monday 23 October 2017

Gilroy relishing Ashley-Cooper battle

Ulster's Craig Gilroy Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster's Craig Gilroy Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

If Craig Gilroy is to force his way back into Joe Schmidt's plans, getting one over on the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper will be crucial to his case.

Gilroy's battle with the in-form Australian winger will be one of many fascinating sub-plots in Ulster's trip to Bordeaux on Sunday, and he is hoping to enhance his reputation against him.

Competition for places in the Ulster backline, particularly the back three, is as strong as it has ever been, and Gilroy knows that he must take every opportunity he gets.

"I've been doing a bit of homework on him and he's been on fire for them," Gilroy said of Ashley-Cooper.

"He appears to be running in tries for fun and going really well. He's a very experienced player and he has been unbelievable for his country - he topped their try-scoring in the recent World Cup.

"It will certainly be a great experience to have a crack against him."

Having struggled for so long to win away in France, Ulster have managed it several times in the last few seasons.

That 'fear factor' is no longer there but Gilroy is expecting a tough battle in Bordeaux.

"When we beat Castres a few years ago, it was our first win in France and a big monkey off our backs," he recalled.

"Since then we have done it a fair bit, including Toulouse last season. Certainly that will give us a lot of confidence."

Irish Independent

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