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nikora-ulster 

Ulster are coming to Galway this Saturday on the back of their momumental victory over a toothless Munster in the Heineken Cup.

CONNACHT

Ulster

Starting XV:

Replacements:

Starting XV

Replacements:

15. Gavin Duffy (C)
14. Tiernan O'Halloran
13. Kyle Tonetti
12. Henry Fa'afili
11. Fetu'u Vainikolo
10. Miah Nikora
09. Frank Murphy
08. George Naoupu
07. Ray Ofisa
06. John Muldoon
05. Mike McCarthy
04. Michael Swift
03. Ronan Loughney
02. Ethienne Reynecke
01. Brett Wilkinson

16. Adrian Flavin
17. Denis Buckley
18. Rodney Ah You
19. Mick Kearney
20. Johnny O'Connor
21. Paul O'Donohoe
22. Matthew Jarvis
23. Eoin Griffin

15. S Terblanche
14. I Whitten
13. N Spence
12. P Jackson
11. A D'Arcy
10. I Humphreys
09. P Marshall
08. R Diack
07. W Faloon
06. M McComish
05. N McComb
04. L Stevenson
03. T Court
02. N Brady (C)
01. P McAllister

16. A Kyriacou
17. C Black
18. A Macklin
19. I Henderson
20. A Birch
21. R Pienaar
22. C Gilroy
23. M Allen

 


 The Ulster side that will play against Connacht tomorrow has the look of a second string about it. In the backs Trimble, Cave, Wallace, Gilroy and Pienaar make way for Whitten, Spence, Jackson, D'arcy and Marshall, with Pienaar and Gilroy moving to the bench while the others drop from the matchday squad altogether. In the forwards a predicatable rest is given to the Ulster backrow, and in fact only Tom Court remains from the starting pack that played Munster. Brady and Stevenson are promoted from their bench places against Munster, and Mike McComish is parachuted in to play against his former club mates.

 The Connacht squad is largely unchanged from the side that beat the Dragons in Wales, with the only change being in the backrow to accomodate the return of George Naoupu. The other changes are the return of two Connacht regulars to the squad; Johnny O'Connor and Eoin Griffin.

The large amount of changes to the Ulster side will certainly lead to some level of rustiness from the Ulstermen. The entirely new backrown of Faloon, Diack, and McComish will have a tough evening of it, especially as we have JOC waiting in the wings to make a reappearance. They do not lack experience however and it remains to be seen how well they gel as a unit for tomorrow. Interesting as well will be a similar battle in teh front rows, where the Ulster lads will be put under immense pressure by the very effective combination of Loughney, Reynecke and Wilkinson.

In the Paul Marshall Ulster have a very good apprentice for Pienaar, however he has not had the level of experience that he would have hoped when his quality was seeing him start regularly over two seasons ago. Outside him he has a young center pairing in Paddy Jackson (a star of this year Irish U-20s team) and Nevin Spence. Their defence against the strong and direct running of Fa'afili will be an imporant factor, especially given that Connacht will fancy their wingers to be more dangerous than their counterparts.

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