Ulster will bid to end their run of four weekends without a Magners League win when they travel to Firhill to take on Glasgow Warriors on Friday night. Mark McCall’s men have been victorious on their last two visits to Glasgow.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, November 2
GLASGOW WARRIORS v ULSTER, Firhill, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports 2)
Team News: The selected Ulster team shows two changes to the side that drew 16-16 with Leinster at Ravenhill last Friday. David Humphreys, who kicked the levelling penalty against Leinster, will make his first start of the season at out-half, with Paddy Wallace dropping to the bench.
The other change in the starting line-up sees former Australian lock Justin Harrison partnering Ryan Caldwell in the second row, with Italy’s Carlo Del Fava making way.
The back row remains unchanged with Kieron Dawson lining up alongside Neil Best and Stephen Ferris.
Interestingly, Andrew Trimble, Ulster’s sole try scorer against Leinster, will again be partnered by Scottish international Rob Dewey in the centre. The powerfully-built Dewey will be lining up against several of his international team-mates.
Included in an Ulster squad for the first time this season is hooker Stuart Philpott, who is listed amongst the replacements and will be hoping to win his second cap for his province.
Meanwhile, Glasgow’s Samoan international prop Justin Va’a returns to the Warriors line-up for tomorrow’s tie. The Scots’ team also sees Johnnie Beattie reclaim the number 8 jersey with Kelly Brown moving to blindside flanker.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Bernardo Stortoni; Lome Fa’atau, Andrew Henderson, Daryl Gibson, Thom Evans; Dan Parks, Chris O’Young; Justin Va’a, Fergus Thomson, Moray Low, Andy Newman, Alastair Kellock (capt), Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements: Eric Milligan, Ed Kalman, Dan Turner, James Eddie, Sam Pinder, Scott Barrow, Hefin O’Hare.
ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Rob Dewey, Mark McCrea; David Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Justin Fitzpatrick, Rory Best (capt), Bryan Young, Justin Harrison, Ryan Caldwell, Neil Best, Kieron Dawson, Stephen Ferris.
Replacements: Stuart Philpott, Declan Fitzpatrick, Carlo Del Fava, Roger Wilson, Kieran Campbell, Paddy Wallace, Mark Bartholomeusz.
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Coach Speak: Sean Lineen (Glasgow) – “This is the last of our run of home games against Irish opposition and it’s going to be the hardest. There is no way Ulster are a bottom of the league side. They have strong running backs and a powerful pack.
“But the best is still to come from Glasgow and I’ve been very impressed with the way the boys have prepared for this one.”
Mark McCall (Ulster) – “We identified our defence as a problem against the Scarlets and on Friday against Leinster it was clear that progress had been made, although they had a lot of the ball we had good structure and shape to our game.
“When we play our game as we did in the last 30 minutes against Leinster, we show that we are a good team with some great players.
“Everybody accepts that in the last two years Glasgow have probably been the most improved side in the league – they have recruited well and made some big signings including Daryl Gibson from Leicester.
“The Warriors have also benefited from the demise of the Borders and have signed some of their top players including Scottish flanker Kelly Brown.
“Their home record is impressive with only a couple of defeats at home in the last 14 months, one of those defeats was to us and we hope that it is going to be a happy hunting ground for us yet again on Friday.”
Top Scorers: 2007/08 Magners League – Points: Glasgow: Colin Gregor 41; Ulster: Niall O’Connor 23; Tries: Glasgow: Jamies Eddie, Colin Shaw, Sam Pinder, John Beattie, Bernardo Stortoni, Moray Low, Hefin O’Hare, Lome Fa’atau 1 each; Ulster: Simon Danielli, Mark Bartholomeusz, Tom Court, Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble 1 each.
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
August 24, 2001: Glasgow 25 Ulster 25, Hughendan
November 30, 2002: Celtic League Quarter-Final – Glasgow 17 Ulster 20, Hughenden
September 12, 2003: Ulster 33 Glasgow 6, Ravenhill
February 20, 2004: Glasgow 27 Ulster 25, Hughenden
October 16, 2004: Glasgow 34 Ulster 20, Hughenden
March 4, 2005: Ulster 30 Glasgow 3, Ravenhill
January 7, 2006: Ulster 25 Glasgow 23, Ravenhill
April 15, 2006: Glasgow 18 Ulster 27, Firhill
January 6, 2007: Glasgow 8 Ulster 19, Hughenden
April 27, 2007: Ulster 10 Glasgow 24, Ravenhill
– This is a fourth successive home fixture for Glasgow Warriors and they are unbeaten at home since returning to Firhill over the summer
– Glasgow complete a full house of matches against the four Irish provinces in successive rounds of the Magners League – they have not lost at home to Irish opposition since Ulster were visitors to Hughenden last January
– Ulster are winless in their last four Magners League encounters since defeating the Ospreys at Ravenhill on September 21. The Ulstermen have won on their last two visits to Glasgow, including a 27-18 victory on their only previous appearance at Firhill in April 2006
ULSTER MATCH REPORTS:
October 26: Ulster 16 Leinster 16
October 12: Llanelli Scarlets 32 Ulster 8
October 6: Newport Gwent Dragons 31 Ulster 11
September 28: Edinburgh 24 Ulster 10
September 21: Ulster 17 Ospreys 16