RABO DIRECT PRO12:
Ulster v Scarlets
Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson will start for Ulster as they entertain the Scarlets at a sold-out Ravenhill this evening.
Jackson, along with Iain Henderson and Luke Marshall, has been released from international squad involvement and feature in a starting line-up that sees seven changes from the side that defeated the Ospreys last week.
As well as Jackson returning, Marshall comes in at number 12 with Darren Cave pushing across to outside centre while Jared Payne is named at full-back. Up front, Henderson replaces the injured Dan Tuohy as skipper Johann Muller’s engine-room partner while Roger Wilson is at blindside with Nick Williams coming in at number eight.
Meanwhile, Rob Herring may be temporarily filling the enormous boots left by Ireland’s Rory Best, but the Cape Town-born, but Irish-qualified hooker is getting plenty of action to highlight his many attributes.
Herring will be packing down in an unchanged front row as second-placed Ulster face Welsh opposition again, having beaten Ospreys last week. Herring, who was part of that excellent Ireland Wolfhounds victory over the England Saxons last month, hopes the weather improves from last week.
“It was pretty tough night and it is definitely the worst weather I’ve had at Ravenhill since I’ve been here.
“It was tough at the lineouts but we have really good jumpers and Johann makes the right calls all the time which makes it easier for us. I think we lost two lineouts, one was a bad throw, and the other was tapped out of the guy’s hand. But we still managed to get some good quality ball.”
The 24-year-old who had a spell with both the Western Province, and London Irish back in 2010, sees a big test ahead for Ulster this evening.
“They should have a full strength pack and their backs are good,” said Herring, who arrived at Ulster two seasons ago. “The feeling when we played them was as a forward pack we didn’t front up and that was disappointing and this week the emphasis is on us to put that right.
“I’m just trying to get my set phase right and offer a bit more in the loose. Johann (Muller) and John (Afoa) sort of take control of the lineout and the scrum. I’m just trying to do the best I can with the game time I’m getting,” said Herring who was thrilled at his Wolfhounds outing. “To play for the Wolfhounds was one of the goals I set to achieve at the start of the season.”
ULSTER: J Payne; C Gilroy, D Cave, L Marshall, M Allen; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Herring, J Afoa, J Muller, capt, I Henderson, R Wilson, S Doyle, N Williams. Replacements: N Annett, C Black, R Lutton, R Diack, M McComish, P Marshall, R Scholes, R Andrew.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved