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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster

Glasgow Warriors have proven difficult opponents for the provinces this season, with the Scots recording five wins and two losses against the Irish sides in the current campaign. Ulster are next up to try and storm Scotstoun.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Friday, April 18

GLASGOW WARRIORS (4th) v ULSTER (2nd), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/BBC ALBA)

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Team News: Head coach Mark Anscombe has made three personnel changes and three positional switches to the Ulster team that hammered Connacht 58-12 last weekend.

The Ulstermen return to RaboDirect PRO12 action on Friday against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium, in a game that will be broadcast live on BBC 2 Northern Ireland.

Last week’s man-of-the-match and hat trick hero Andrew Trimble switches to the left wing and Tommy Bowe reverts to the right as Darren Cave returns in the centre following a week’s rest.

Ricky Andrew retains his position at full-back, with Jared Payne’s suspension lasting one more week. Paul Marshall continues at scrum half alongside Paddy Jackson.

Up front, Tom Court makes his return to the front row with Rob Herring named at hooker and Ricky Lutton selected at tighthead prop.

The second row is unchanged with captain Johann Muller starting alongside Iain Henderson.

In the back row Chris Henry moves to blindside flanker to replace the injured Robbie Diack, Nick Williams is selected at number 8 and Sean Doyle comes in at openside.

Declan Fitzpatrick has returned from concussion protocols to join Niall Annett, Andy Warwick, Lewis Stevenson and Mike McComish on the bench alongside backs Michael Heaney, James McKinney and Craig Gilroy.

Stephen Ferris sustained an ankle injury in training this week and is unavailable for selection.

Meanwhile, Peter Horne will start his first game for Glasgow Warriors since the semi-final defeat to Leinster last May when he lines out against Ulster.

The centre has been out injured for the majority of the season but returned to action earlier this month as a replacement in the win over Benetton Treviso and also featured off the bench in last weekend’s win at Munster.

Horne comes in at inside centre with Mark Bennett selected outside him and Finn Russell moving to out-half in place of Duncan Weir.

It is the same back-three which started at Thomond Park last Saturday, with Peter Murchie at full-back and Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland on either wing.

Chris Cusiter, who will once again captain the side from scrum half, forms a new half-back pairing with the 21-year-old Russell.

There are no changes to the pack so Gordon Reid, Dougie Hall and Jon Welsh link up again in the front row.

Tim Swinson and Jonny Gray are in the engine room, while Chris Fusaro, Ryan Wilson and Josh Strauss, who was the Scots’ man-of-the-match against Munster, continue in the back row.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Chris Cusiter (capt); Gordon Reid, Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, Josh Strauss, Chris Fusaro, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Ryan Grant, Geoff Cross, Leone Nakarawa, Rob Harley, Niko Matawalu, Ruaridh Jackson, Richie Vernon.

ULSTER: Ricky Andrew; Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Andrew Trimble; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Tom Court, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, Johann Muller (capt), Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Sean Doyle, Nick Williams.

Replacements: Niall Annett, Andrew Warwick, Declan Fitzpatrick, Lewis Stevenson, Mike McComish, Michael Heaney, James McKinney, Craig Gilroy.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: David Changleng, Graeme Marshall (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 8/13; Draw: 20/1; Ulster to win: 13/10

Pre-Match Quotes: Mark Anscombe (Ulster) – “You sort of watch these games and you wonder who do you want to win. Am I happy that the Ospreys beat Leinster? I don’t know. It allows us to catch Leinster but it keeps Ospreys in the picture.

“But at the end of the day, we’d be lying if we didn’t say it, we’d like a home semi-final.

“So to do that, we’d at least have to win two of our last three and if we beat Leinster we could go first. It is achievable and that’s what we’ve got to do.

“A lot of people said, ‘what’s to go for now?’, after being knocked out of Europe. Well, the season started in September and this was our goal, to be successful in this competition, because that’s what started the year off.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Disappointed? Yes. Hurt? Yes. But we’ve got to get back on it and think as a group we’re not going to be together again in four or five weeks’ time. So we believe we’re good enough. Now let’s show we are.”

Gregor Townsend (Glasgow Warriors) – “Last week was a precious win for the club (away to Munster) but we have another huge game in prospect at Scotstoun on Friday night.

“Ulster are coming to Glasgow high on confidence and ahead of us in the league, so it’s a very important game for both sides.

“What impressed me most last weekend was our players’ work-rate and how we kept taking the game to Munster. We’ll need to repeat that effort again on Friday.

“Our goal is to build on the win in Limerick and ensure we keep the momentum going over the next few weeks.”

Top Scorers – 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 64; Tries: Niko Matawalu 5; Ulster – Points: Paddy Jackson 145; Tries: Darren Cave, Tommy Bowe 5 each


Friday, March 25, 2011 – Glasgow Warriors 19 Ulster 22, Firhill Stadium
Friday, September 2, 2011 – Ulster 28 Glasgow Warriors 14, Ravenhill
Friday, November 25, 2011 – Glasgow Warriors 17 Ulster 9, Firhill Stadium
Friday, August 31, 2012 – Ulster 18 Glasgow Warriors 10, Ravenhill
Friday, February 22, 2013 – Glasgow Warriors 20 Ulster 14, Scotstoun Stadium
Friday, September 13, 2013 – Ulster 12 Glasgow Warriors 13, Ravenhill


– Glasgow Warriors have won their last four RaboDirect PRO12 matches and have only failed to score a try in just one game in any competition this season: at home to Munster in October

– The Warriors’ record against Irish provinces this season is won five and lost two

– Ulster have lost just one of their last eight PRO12 encounters: 28-23 at Cardiff Blues in round 18

– The eight tries they tallied up in their derby defeat of Connacht last Friday was the most they have scored in a PRO12 game since May 2006

– Glasgow have won their last two encounters with Ulster and are attempting to record a first season’s double over the Ulstermen since the 2009/10 season