Thursday 12 December 2019

Mclaughlin looking for big response

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin is hoping for an immediate response to last Sunday's drubbing in Biarritz when his side get back to Magners League action with a trip to struggling Edinburgh tomorrow night.

However, his plans could be thrown into disarray due to the Ireland player-management programme, with Paddy Wallace again a contender to wear the No 10 jersey, thus denying Ian Humphreys a chance to get a good run in the position.

Wallace featured at out-half a few weeks ago and with Ireland coach Declan Kidney seeing him as a back-up to Jonny Sexton and Ronan O'Gara, scrum-half Ruan Pienaar could have his third half-back partner in as many weeks.

The in-form Andrew Trimble has, after some negotiating, been made available, but McLaughlin could use him in midfield in the continuing absence of Darren Cave.

With Simon Danielli (below) ruled out for three weeks with a collar-bone problem, Ulster are now short of wingers and the virtually untried trio of Nevin Spence, Jonny Shiels and Tommy Seymour are in the mix for a call-up out wide.

Tom Court is named in the 29-man squad but is likely to be rested and among the replacements, which will enable Bryan Young to return alongside skipper Rory Best and BJ Botha in the front row.

Dan Tuohy picked up a knock against Biarritz and may not be risked, leaving the way open for Tim Barker or Ryan Caldwell to partner Johann Mueller. Chris Henry is likely to be recalled at openside flanker, with Stephen Ferris, who needs game time, likely to move back to his normal blindside role.

"The match gives us an opportunity to get back to winning ways," said McLaughlin. "But we will be up against a good team. They need the points, so I expect them to be at full strength."

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