Ulster Head Coach Brian McLaughlin has named his starting XV, and replacements, for the Munster Magners League game at Ravenhill on Saturday 2nd January.
A number of changes have been made from the team that played Leinster, in the Boxing Day inter-pro clash in Dublin last weekend. Ulster’s four Irish squad players Stephen Ferris, Tom Court, Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trimble all return to front line duty. Trimble replaces Timoci Nagusa on the wing, Nagusa moving to the replacements bench. Paddy Wallace replaces Darren Cave in the centre and Ian Humphreys will play at out half, Niall O’Connor returning to the bench. Phoenix Ulster Rugby Academy player Jamie Smith retains his place at fullback.
Up front Tom Court replaces Bryan Young at loose head, with Young moving to the replacements bench. Brady and Botha are retained at hooker and tight head. The second row is unchanged. Stephen Ferris starts at blindside, with Willie Faloon at openside, and Chris Henry will once again captain the side at number 8.
Ulster Coach Brian McLaughlin said: "We were very disappointed after last weekend in Dublin. I thought that we competed well but should have made a lot more of our scoring opportunities; we definitely deserved at least something from that game. It is Munster this Saturday, a home match at Ravenhill. We have to make sure we are up for the game, we have to compete and we have to make sure we beat them at Ravenhill. We have to go to town with them up front and we have to show that we are more than capable of dealing with them."
"In our last three games we have created a lot of chances. We had lots of chances against Stade away and Leinster away, against Stade at home we created chances and didn’t take some of them but we took the vital ones that gave us the victory."
"At training this week we have worked hard in certain areas of the pitch, we’ve put down patterns of play we’ll be using and it’s just a matter of us holding onto the football and making the best use of it possible."
Ulster hooker Nigel Brady said: "It is another Irish derby, it is Munster at home at Ravenhill, it is huge, we don’t need any motivation for this one. Obviously they are riding high after a couple of big wins and we are off the back of a few defeats although we played some positive rugby, so it is key that we are at home this weekend."
Ulster winger Andrew Trimble said: "I think any opportunity to play against another province is always a great experience. Munster at Ravenhill, it is just brilliant, especially after the last couple of weeks away from home when we haven’t got the results we were after. We have performed in little bits and pieces, but we haven’t got the results we wanted so this is a great opportunity to put things right in front of our home crowd at Ravenhill."
(15-9) Jamie Smith, Andrew Trimble, Ian Whitten, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli, Ian Humphreys, Isaac Boss
(1-8) Tom Court, Nigel Brady, BJ Botha, Ed O’Donoghue, Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry (Capt)
(16-22) Andy Kyriacou, Declan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Caldwell, T.J. Anderson, Cillian Willis, Niall O’Connor, Timoci Nagusa