Saturday 17 August 2019

Gilroy: Losses haven't dented our confidence

Ulster's Craig Gilroy. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Ulster's Craig Gilroy. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's Craig Gilroy has assured fans the side's belief is as strong as ever despite two recent defeats.

The province lost to Munster and Connacht over the last two weekends in preparation for welcoming Leicester to Kingspan Stadium for this evening's Champions Cup opener.

"Despite the losses our heads haven't dropped," he said. "We still know what we're about. We've a few guys back from injury which has lifted the squad and the coaching panel have done a really great job.

"We still know how good we can be and we know there's only a couple of per cent between being good and being great.

"We've strengthened our squad for this week and everyone is looking forward to it."

Gilroy is one of two survivors from the 2012 win over the Tigers and he has scored twice against the two-time champions.

"We've had some really good memories with Leicester coming here in the past, some of my fondest in an Ulster jersey," he said.

"It would be really good to make another couple this weekend. It's another chance at home to put in a big performance in a new competition. It's a clean slate to make our mark."

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Along with Gilroy, Ulster are able to bring back Jordi Murphy and Will Addison, while prop Marty Moore is set to make his debut after his summer move from Wasps.

Twenty-year-old Mike Lowry is also included for a first senior start, getting the nod at full-back.

  • Ulster v Leicester, Live, BT Sport, 5.30

 

SCOUTING REPORT

Leicester tigers

League position: 5th

Coach: Geordan Murphy (1st season)

How they beat you: Leicester will be mindful of the relative inexperience of both Ulster props and having wily old characters like Tom Youngs and Dan Cole in their front-row, the visitors are sure to target them at scrum time.

George Ford has shown signs of a return to his best and if the out-half can get the likes of Kyle Eastmond and Manu Tuilagi decent ball, the powerful midfield duo could cause damage.

How you beat them: A good start is paramount for Ulster. Leicester have yet to win on any of their four trips to Belfast and if they fall behind early on, they may struggle.

As ever, Iain Henderson will be crucial, as will Marcell Coetzee, who like several of his team-mates, must improve his discipline.

Player to watch: Manu Tuilagi is explosive at his best and will have to be watched carefully by Ulster’s defence.

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