Ulster's Gilroy to start from bench

Published Thursday, 06 December 2012
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The Ulster team has been announced for Friday's Heineken Cup clash with Northampton Saints and it sees in-form Craig Gilroy start from the bench.

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Rory Best will return to the starting line-up after suffering from an injury and will join Tom Court - replacing Rob Herring - and Callum Black in the front row.

A number of players who were rested for the trip to Scarlets on Sunday have returned to the fold, so the team has eight personnel changes and one positional switch.

Gilroy's absence sees the experienced Andrew Trimble given the nod on the left wing.

The exclusion of Gilroy might come as a surprise because of his recent debut for Ireland, which saw him score a try and come off the field to rave reviews.

Many pundits were claiming he could even be selected for the British and Irish Lions squad next year.

Ruan Pienaar, Paddy Wallace and Jared Payne are all included in the starting team and Tommy Bowe, who was rested last weekend, will line out on the right wing for his 50th Heineken Cup appearance.

Paddy Jackson and Darren Cave retain their places in the backline, but the likes of Luke Marshall and Paul Marshall miss out.

Commenting on tough task of selecting the starting team, Anscombe said: "There were some difficult decisions but that's what you want.

"The guys who have missed out this week have been outstandingly positive and that's very pleasing."

Focusing on the battle between the forwards, he said: "They have a strong pack and they build their game around that.

"They don't hide from that fact and they're confident in it. Their set piece is very strong and we've got to be excited about meeting that front on.

"The tight five have to step up and show their qualities, but I'm confident in them, they've all played international rugby."

Having played each other in the pool stages in 2002/03 and again in the quarter final of the 2010/11 campaign, this will be the fourth European encounter between the two sides.

All three previous meetings have been won by the team playing at home.

Ulster Squad

J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, P Wallace, A Trimble; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry, R Wilson.
Replacements: N Brady, C Black, R Lutton, R Diack, N Williams, P Marshall, L Marshall, C Gilroy.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Paddy in Downpatrick wrote (495 days ago):
Want to wish all the guys good luck for the game and hope Craig comes off the bench about the hour mark with fresh legs and does some of his fancy footwork to run a couple of good trys. SUFTUM
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