McLaughlin announces squad ahead of Aironi visit

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has named a 27-man squad ahead of Ulster’s Heineken Cup opener with Italian side Aironi on Friday night at Ravenhill (kick off: 7:30pm).

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has named a 27-man squad ahead of Ulster’s Heineken Cup opener with Italian side Aironi on Friday night at Ravenhill (kick off: 7:30pm).

BJ Botha returns to action after missing last weekend’s victory over Glasgow Warriors. Irish international prop Tom Court, who has been packing down at tight-head in Botha’s absence, is expected to revert to loose-head for the visit of the Magners League new boys.

Springbok lock Johann Muller is a certainty to start at lock forward for the match, while Ryan Caldwell, Dan Tuohy and Tim Barker will be vying for the other starting position in the engine room.

Ruan Pienaar, who impressed on his Magners League debut last weekend, is named in the matchday squad.

Stephen Ferris is still recovering from a shoulder injury sustained playing against Connacht two weeks ago, and is an absentee for Friday’s game.

Ulster (v Aironi)

Forwards: Tom Court, Paddy McAllister, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Rory Best, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Tim Barker, Johann Muller, Ryan Caldwell, Dan Tuohy, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack, Pedrie Wannenburg, Chris Henry

Backs: David McIlwaine, Jamie Smith, Simon Danielli, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Paddy Wallace, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor, Ruan Pienaar, Paul Marshall, Ian Porter

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