Friday 23 February 2018

Piennar set for Ulster debut

Ulster's big-money capture Ruan Pienaar could be tossed immediately into Magners League action tomorrow night when Glasgow visit Ravenhill.

Springbok half-back Pienaar and Scotland winger Simon Danielli are both included in Ulster's 29-man squad against a side that has won three of their last four trips to Belfast.

However, with the Heineken Cup kick-off against Aironi the following week, Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin may give the duo a start.

The 43-times capped South African has looked very sharp in training and his goal-kicking will take pressure off Niall O'Connor, who will start at No 10.

Danielli, Ulster's top try scorer last season, has recovered sufficiently from shoulder surgery after picking up his injury during Scotland's tour to Argentina in the summer. He is likely to replace Eagles winger Paul Emerick.

Paddy Wallace will revert to midfield alongside Darren Cave, with Jamie Smith getting another chance at full-back. After his brief run-out against Connacht, Dan Tuohy is likely to partner the returning Johann Muller at lock, while Chris Henry will start at openside with Pedrie Wannenburg replacing Stephen Ferris at blindside.

Meanwhile, BJ Botha's wrist injury is not as bad as was suspected. It has been diagnosed as ligament damage. He may be available to take some part in the Aironi clash on October 8.

Tom Court will move to tight-head in place of Botha, with Bryan Young at 'loose' for a game McLaughlin hopes will have a better ending than against Connacht. "Glasgow are a very good side with a bit of physicality and we are under no illusions on what to expect," said McLaughlin. "They have come to Ravenhill four times in recent seasons and beaten us on three occasions. So they know how to win and have no qualms about coming here.

"I don't think there'll be a hangover from Galway where it was a very physical battle. The boys know it was a very frustrating night. A great team probably would have won that game, but a good team will come away from the Sportsground with something."

squad in factfile

Irish Independent

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