Andrew Trimble and his Ireland buddies Rory Best and Stephen Ferris are champing at the bit to get a piece of RaboDirect Pro 12 action tonight when Italian minnows Aironi arrive at a bone-dry Ravenhill.
The Ireland trio have not played for their province since the final Heineken Cup group game in Clermont 10 weeks ago. Now Trimble is excited about playing in front of his own fans.
“The last couple of weeks have been frustrating after the Twickenham defeat and I think whenever we are back with Ireland that will be in the back of our heads, we’ll use that as motivation heading into the tour (of New Zealand in the summer),” he said.
“For us now, it’s all about Ulster and building towards that big quarter-final against Munster next week. It’s important we do the work against Aironi and produce a good performance.
“It’s good to be back in a white jersey. Hopefully I can help play a part in building some momentum,” said Trimble, who is one of several changes from Ulster’s win at Treviso last week.
Trimble’s return sees Craig Gilroy switching to the left wing with Stefan Terblanche moving to full-back at the expense of Adam D’Arcy.
Up front, Ferris joins Chris Henry and the fit again Pedrie Wannenburg in the back-row while Lewis Stevenson gets a rare start at lock with Dan Tuohy given a well-earned rest against an Italian side that Ulster have scored 14 tries from their three bonus-point wins so far this season.
Trimble says that was down to preparation. “I think the reason why we have scored the tries in the fixtures this year is because we have done our homework, we know what sort of way we attack the opposition. It’s important we don’t take them for granted and continue to look at this game the right way.”
ULSTER: S Terblanche; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), L Stevenson, S Ferris, C Henry, P Wannenburg.
Replacements: N Brady, P McAllister, A Macklin, D Tuohy, W Faloon, P Marshall, I Whitten, A D’Arcy.
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