Friday 15 November 2019

McLaughlin shuffles pack for Warriors showdown

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Ulster enter their most significant series of matches since their 1999 Heineken Cup success with coach Brian McLaughlin insisting all of their remaining games are "cup finals".

Ulster are in contention for a Magners League semi-final spot and take on Northampton in Franklin's Gardens in the Heineken Cup quarter-final in two weeks.

The Ulster coach has stuck with his rotation policy, which has served the province well so far, for the trip to Firhill to take on Glasgow tonight (8.05).

Ruan Pienaar switches to out-half in the continued absence of Ian Humphreys (hamstring) with Paul Marshall starting at scrum-half.

Tom Court, Paddy Wallace and Simon Danielli all return to the starting XV while Dan Tuohy makes his first start for nearly four months in the second row.

The back row sees yet more tinkering, with Pedrie Wannenburg at No 8, Robbie Diack at blindside and Chris Henry at openside.

The Scottish side have only picked up one win in 2011 as they continue to struggle with injuries to the likes of Chris Cusiter, Rob Dewey (both knee) and Max Evans (ankle), while John Barclay and Richie Gray are rested following their Six Nations exploits.

And while Warriors coach Sean Lineen pinpointed the trio of Wannenburg, Johann Muller and Pienaar as Ulster's main threat, it's the Academy graduates who can tip the balance tonight.

Craig Gilroy has flourished in the Magners League while fellow wing Conor Gaston made a promising debut last time out as Ulster showed character to grind out a win over the Dragons, a characteristic that will serve McLaughlin's men well in the coming weeks.

Verdict: Ulster

Glasgow -- B Stortoni; DTH van der Merwe, F Aramburu, P Murchie, A Dunbar; R Jackson, C Gregor (capt); J Welsh, F Thomson, M Low; A Muldowney, R Harley; J Eddie, R Wilson, R Vernon. Reps: P MacArthur, K Tkachuk, R Grant, C Fusaro, J Beattie, H Pyrgos, D Weir, H O'Hare.

Ulster -- S Danielli; C Gaston, N Spence, P Wallace, C Gilroy; R Pienaar, P Marshall; T Court, A Kyriacou, D Fitzpatrick; J Muller (capt), D Tuohy; R Diack, C Henry, P Wannenburg. Reps: R Best, P McAllister, B Young, T Barker, W Faloon, I Whitten, T Seymour, A D'Arcy.

Glasgow v Ulster,

Live, BBC 2 NI, 8.05

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