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O’Connor To Start For Ulster

O’Connor To Start For Ulster

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has named his starting line-up and replacements for the province’s crucial Heineken Cup Pool 4 encounter with Bath at the Rec on Saturday (kick-off 3.45pm).

The only change to the Ulster team that gained a much-needed victory over Edinburgh last weekend at Ravenhill is at out-half. Niall O’Connor will pull on the number 10 jersey, with Ian Humphreys dropping to the replacements bench.

Chris Henry will once again captain the province in Rory Best’s absence.

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Commenting on Saturday’s showdown with Bath, Ulster assistant coach Neil Doak said: “It was good to get the win last weekend. We owed Edinburgh a turnaround after them beating us twice previously in the season. It was a good victory and it sets us up nicely for going to Bath this weekend.

“Bath are going to be a hard team to beat, it’s their home ground. They’re going to be very physical up front, so we’re going to need to be solid at set piece time to get some good quality ball in order to put them under pressure defensively.

“We’ve got to go in with the attitude that we’ve got to win the game first, and then go for the bonus point.”

He added: “It’s great to know how many Ulster supporters are travelling. It’s always nice to have a contingency away from home, if there are a thousand supporters it’ll be very good.

“I think they’ll probably make as much noise as the entire Bath support. So it’s about us and the team getting it right on the day, giving our supporters plenty to shout about, which hopefully we can do over there.”

Ulster skipper Chris Henry said: “This game is like a cup final, it is literally win or bust. We have to go to Bath with confidence because we know from some of our performances and results this season, we need not fear anyone.

“There is a great buzz in the squad, mainly because everyone has bought into what was said a few months ago about wanting to be in the mix in Europe, right up until the last pool game.

“Everyone knows that this is it – we have to turn up and give it everything we have, only our best will do.

“It would be a shame to slip up now. If it is not the Heineken Cup we are playing in after this weekend, we have to make sure we are in the Amlin Challenge Cup. To do any of that, we have to win at the Rec.”

Ulster head into the clash in second place in Pool 4 on 13 points, trailing pool leaders Stade Francais by four points. Bath currently reside in fourth place behind Edinburgh.

ULSTER (v Bath): Jamie Smith; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli; Niall O’Connor, Isaac Boss; Tom Court, Nigel Brady, BJ Botha, Dan Tuohy, Ed O’Donoghue, Stephen Ferris, David Pollock, Chris Henry (capt).

Replacements: Andy Kyriacou, Bryan Young, Declan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Caldwell, Thomas Anderson, Cillian Willis, Ian Humphreys, Timoci Nagusa.