Recovering Ferris starts for Ulster in tough Murrayfield trip

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Recovering Ferris starts for Ulster in tough Murrayfield trip

Ferris made an encouraging return off the bench last week in the victory over the Scarlets and now he gets the big opportunity to show he is back as Ulster seek to consolidate their Pro12 top-four placing. Ferris is at blindside with Roger Wilson moving to number eight.

Further encouraging news for Ulster is the sprightly return to the bench of lock Dan Tuohy, who broke his arm playing for Ireland against Wales. Ireland squad member Iain Henderson returns to partner Johann Muller in the engine room.

Although Ulster have rested their main Six Nations heroes Rory Best, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble, and give scrum-half Michael Heaney a rare start, they will still run out at Murrayfield with a strong side with Paddy Jackson, Darren Cave, Tommy Bowe, Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy in the three-quarter line, with Jared Payne at full-back.

For Gilroy, it is a chance to rewrite a season which has been frustrating in the extreme. A severe groin injury sidelined him for eight weeks and saw him lose his international slot. Now after a couple of games from the bench, he is back in the starting line-up.

“I came off the bench on Friday and I felt good and sharp, I just wanted to get my hands on the ball and get back to what I do best, which is taking players on, beating defenders and going forward, and hopefully I made an impact. To be honest, I could have played another 80 minutes as I felt really good.

“It’s been a long season and it has been frustrating. I had one injury after another and I was out for ages, I just had stupid wee niggles that probably got my confidence down. I wasn’t playing the way I used to, but this is now probably the first time that I’ve feel 100% this season.

“I’ll just stay focused and do the basics right, play smart and if the opportunity comes, hopefully I can get a few tries, as it has been a while since I got across the line. There are two away games, Edinburgh tonight which will be tough and Cardiff next week, and we need a huge performance in both to get momentum for Europe.”

ULSTER: J Payne, T Bowe, D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, M Heaney; T Court, R Herring, J Afoa, J Muller (Captain), I Henderson, S Ferris, S Doyle, R Wilson.

Replacements: N Annett, A Warwick, R Lutton, D Tuohy, N Williams, R Diack, P Marshall, S McCloskey.

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