The RaboDirect PRO12 resumes with Ulster and Glasgow Warriors both hoping to bounce back from European defeats. Brian McLaughlin’s men completed the double over the Scotland side last season and were 28-14 winners at Ravenhill in September.
RABODIRECT PRO12: Friday, November 25
GLASGOW WARRIORS (4th) v ULSTER (7th), Firhill Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/RTÉ Two/BBC ALBA)
Team News: Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin has rested four players for Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Glasgow Warriors at Firhill Stadium.
The team to run out at Firhill Stadium shows four personnel changes and one positional switch to the one that started last weekend’s Heineken Cup defeat in Leicester.
Rory Best and Stephen Ferris have been rested as part of the IRFU’s player management programme, so Andi Kyriacou and Robbie Diack come in as their direct replacements at hooker and blindside flanker respectively.
Chris Henry is also rested by the Ulster management with Willie Faloon taking his place in the back row, but the rest of the pack remains unchanged.
In the backs, Craig Gilroy, who like Henry has played in all of Ulster’s 10 games so far this season, gets a well-earned break from the action.
The one positional change sees Simon Danielli move from full-back to his customary wing position in place of Gilroy, while Adam D’Arcy is promoted from the bench to don the number 15 jersey.
Tim Barker, Mike McComish and Ian Whitten have been added to the replacements bench.
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen has made six changes to his starting line-up for their second successive game against Irish opposition.
Samoa World Cup winger David Lemi, a renowned Aviva Premiership try scorer with London Wasps and Bristol, makes his Glasgow debut in a back-line where Federico Aramburu, Troy Nathan and Henry Pyrgos also come into the mix.
Up front, loosehead prop Jon Welsh makes his first start since suffering an ankle injury against the same opponents back in September, while Tom Ryder has been drafted into the second row.
Having played for Ayr in the British & Irish Cup last weekend, tighthead Moray Low is among the Glasgow replacements and is set to make his first appearance of the campaign for the Warriors.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; David Lemi, Troy Nathan, Graeme Morrison, Federico Aramburu; Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos; Jon Welsh, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Tom Ryder, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, John Barclay, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Finlay Gillies, Ryan Grant, Moray Low, Richie Gray, Chris Fusaro, Chris Cusiter, Alex Dunbar, Colin Shaw.
ULSTER: Adam D’Arcy; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Nevin Spence, Simon Danielli; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall; Tom Court, Andi Kyriacou, Declan Fitzpatrick, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg.
Replacements: Nigel Brady, Paddy McAllister, Adam Macklin, Tim Barker, Mike McComish, Ian Porter, Paddy Jackson, Ian Whitten.
Referee: Stefano Penne (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Andy Macpherson, Alan Forrest (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 4/6; Draw: 18/1; Ulster to win: 6/5
Pre-Match Quotes: Brian McLaughlin (Ulster) – “Whenever you are playing a Scottish side you’ve got to make your breakdown as accurate and as positive as possible.
“They’ll be all over you like a rash so we’ve got to make sure that we’re clinical in there and that we’re producing the ball.
“The other thing is that with Scottish sides buzzing about all over the place, you’ve got to make sure you keep their forwards all in one place as much as possible.
“We’ve talked about varying little things, varying our lineouts and what we’re doing off them. Hopefully that will help us as the game progresses.
“Welford Road last weekend was annoying. We had everything more or less right but we just made little errors at crucial time which cost us.
“We played through some fantastic phases but made mistakes in crucial areas. If we’re going to go on and get to where we want to be as a team then we’ve got to eradicate those individual errors.”
Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “We were disappointed with the manner of our loss to Leinster, and as a group we’ve been working hard all week to address the areas where we didn’t get it right.
“The players have shown great character and determination in the last couple of months, securing a number of excellent results in the process, and that’s what we’re looking for in spades come Friday night.
“Ulster are a tough proposition all over the field, we’ll need to show real aggression in contact and appetite for the battle.
“The guys have delivered that many times already this season, so I’ve every confidence they’ll put in a much improved performance.
“We’ve freshened things up a little bit this weekend, while also being mindful of the need to have options on the bench for what is sure to be another tight match.”
Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 116; Tries: Troy Nathan, Nick Campbell, Peter Horne, Duncan Weir, Colin Gregor, James Eddie, Tommy Seymour, Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray 1 each; Ulster – Points: Ian Humphreys 56; Tries: Darren Cave 3
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Friday, April 17, 2009 – Glasgow Warriors 19 Ulster 20, Firhill Stadium
Friday, December 4, 2009 – Ulster 13 Glasgow Warriors 25, Ravenhill
Friday, April 16, 2010 – Glasgow Warriors 25 Ulster 18, Firhill Stadium
Friday, October 1, 2010 – Ulster 19 Glasgow Warriors 17, Ravenhill
Friday, March 25, 2011 – Glasgow Warriors 19 Ulster 22, Firhill Stadium
Friday, September 2, 2011 – Ulster 28 Glasgow Warriors 14, Ravenhill
– Glasgow Warriors’ five-match winning run in all competitions was ended by RaboDirect PRO12 rivals Leinster at the RDS last Sunday
– The Warriors have won five of their last six matches in the RaboDirect PRO12, and have been victorious in their last three encounters at Firhill Stadium
– Ulster’s 22-3 triumph over Connacht in round 8 ended a four-game losing streak in the RaboDirect PRO12
– The Ulstermen have won five of their last six clashes with Scottish opponents
– Ulster have won their last three matches against the Warriors, and have won on three of their five previous visits to Firhill Stadium