Early return on cards for Botha

SPRINGBOK tight-head BJ Botha could be tossed into the fray quicker than anticipated when an unbeaten Ulster face Edinburgh at Ravenhill on Friday night (8.05pm).

Botha is still in pre-season training since his return from Tri-Nations duty with South Africa, but due to the calf injury sustained by Declan Fitzpatrick, coach Brian McLaughlin has added the prop to his 27-man squad.

McLaughlin revealed: “BJ is not ready yet, but due to the injury to Declan we may use him at some stage. He has trained with us this week for the first time. Tom Court will again start at tight-head with Bryan Young at loose. We will wait and see if Rory (Best) is available to start.”

With Paddy Wallace rested in respect of Ireland’s player management programme, a fit-again Ian Whitten will partner Darren Cave in midfield while Andrew Trimble has been included after recovering from hand surgery.

Stephen Ferris returns to the blindside giving South African flanker and crowd favourite Pedrie Wannenburg a much-needed respite after his five-star performances so far this season. It will mean another run at number seven for Chris Henry, with the impressive Robbie Diack remaining at number eight.

ULSTER: (forwards): T Court, PMcAllister, B Young, BJ Botha, R Best, N Brady, A Kyriacou, T Barker, C Henry, R Caldwell, W Faloon, S Ferris, R Diack, P Wannenburg, J Muller (capt).

(Backs): A D’Arcy, J Smith, D McIlwaine, P Emerick, J Shiels, D Cave, I Whitten, I Humphreys, N O’Connor, I Porter, P Marshall, J Smith.


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