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McLaughlin waiting on Trimble as countdown to Biarritz begins


McLaughlin: Feeling confident

McLaughlin: Feeling confident

McLaughlin: Feeling confident

Winger Andrew Trimble is the only minor doubt as Ulster head into Saturday's season-defining Heineken Cup clash against Biarritz at Ravenhill.

Trimble has been named in a 29-man Ulster squad for the Pool 4 shoot-out and coach Brian McLaughlin is hoping that he comes through after picking up a hamstring injury last Friday against Treviso.

"Andrew had a scan and there did not appear to be anything serious. We will know better by the end of the week," said McLaughlin.

Trimble did not train with the rest of the squad yesterday and instead spent his time rehabbing with the medical team. The Ireland winger will hopefully be part of an unchanged back-line, with Adam D'Arcy retaining his full-back position and Ian Humphreys and Ruan Pienaar at half-back.

Missing up front, however, are back-row Robbie Diack (shoulder) and prop Paddy McAllister (ankle). Pedrie Wannenburg, who turned an ankle against the Italians is fit and he will start at No 8, with Stephen Ferris returning at blind-side flanker and the in-form Willie Faloon likely to get the nod ahead of Chris Henry at open-side.

Dan Tuohy will start as Johann Muller's second-row partner, while Ulster have the big guns of Tom Court, skipper Rory Best and BJ Botha ready to try and thwart the power of the French front-row, which McLaughlin believes is a strength of the visitors.

"They have a very good set-piece and their line-out work and maul are extremely potent," he said. "But we did very well against them at Biarritz before and are confident of matching them."

Best was anxious to play down the importance of the game, but knows that Ulster must be on their guard. "There are no nerves yet. We are getting on with our match preparation as normal. Nothing has changed regards scheduling.

"No doubt nearing the game, the nerves will start to set in," said Best, who emphasised that Ulster will have to up their game from last week's victory over Treviso.

Irish Independent