ULSTER have recalled their four Ireland squad members for Saturday’s Magners League derby against Munster at Ravenhill.
Stephen Ferris will return to the number six jersey, while a strong Ulster scrum will be further boosted by the return of loose-head Tom Court and Andrew Trimble is available to contend one of the wing positions. Skipper Paddy Wallace is also named in the 26-man squad but with a slight worry over an ankle injury, may opt to start from the bench.
Definitely out is openside David Pollock who was a late withdrawal last week in the defeat to Leinster when he picked up an ankle injury prior to the game.
“With a number of big and important games to come in January and with a lack of cover for the back-row we decided not to risk David and let him recuperate a little more,” said coach Brian McLaughlin, who is expecting a tough challenge from their Irish counterparts.
“They will be coming up with a so-called second-string pack so we have to match them for intensity and beat them if we are to win.
“We have to contest strongly at breakdown and we should be very able to do that and apply the killer touch.
“In our last three games we had numerous chances which we didn’t finish off, so from a coach’s point of view we have worked very hard to rectify matters in certain areas of the pitch,” added McLaughlin, who was disappointed at the two tries conceded at the RDS.
“We showed a little naivety against Leinster and it is something we have talked about. Munster will come with something different, and although they will not have their internationals available, you only have to look at what they did against New Zealand last year and you realise that they are going to be very, very tough.
“You only have to look at the players they have available to know they are a pretty well established second-string team, and one that will be coming in search of victory after a good win against Connacht last week.”
Meanwhile, Connacht skipper John Muldoon is among several players returning to the squad for Saturday’s clash with Leinster in the Magners League at the Sportsground (4pm).
Coach Michael Bradley has named a 25-man squad as Connacht bid to repeat their 19-18 success over Leinster at the same venue last season.
Full-back Gavin Duffy and prop Brett Wilkinson have been ruled out through injury. Connacht will announce their starting XV tomorrow.
ULSTER squad (vs Munster): Forwards: D Fitzpatrick, B Young, BJ Botha, N Brady, A Kyriacou, E O’Donoghue, D Tuohy, R Caldwell, C Henry, T Court, S Ferris, W Faloon, TJ Anderson. Backs: J Smith, C Schifcofske, S Danielli, D Cave, I Whitten, T Nagusa, I Humphreys, N O’Connor, I Boss, P Wallace, A Trimble, C Willis, J Shiells.
CONNACHT (vs Leinster): L Bibo, A Browne, F Carr, S Cronin, A Flavin, J Hagan, I Keatley, R Loughney, K Matthews, M McCarthy, M McComish, R Morris, F Murphy, J Muldoon, T Nathan, G Naoupu, M Nikora, R Ofisa, J O'Connor, C O'Loughlin, M Swift, N Ta'auso, B Tuohy, B Upton, A Wynne.
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