Ulster bid to get their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign back on track this weekend, when they welcome Italian side Treviso to Ravenhill (7.00pm). The Irish side made a great start to the season but have now lost two in a row after their surprise defeat away to the Dragon’s last weekend.
Brian McLaughlin’s men will be keen to return to winning ways and couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to do so as they welcome Italian side Treviso to Belfast. Ulster are currently unbeaten in their last nine games in front of their home supporters and with the greatest of respect to the visitors, a home tie against Treviso should be well within Ulster’s capabilities.
Speaking to the Ulsterrugby.com ahead of the game, McLaughlin was confident that his side would bounce back from their recent dip in form “These are huge learning curves for our young players. We were in this place last year when we lost three matches after a good start to the season, so now it’s about knuckling down, getting the hard work done and making sure we come back better as a result of these hard lessons.”
The Italians have already lost to Connacht this season (at home) and would not be regarded as one of the stronger sides in the competition having one two of their 5 games so far and anything less than a comprehensive victory and a bonus point, would be seen as failure by Ulster.
The Irish side have already beaten Glasgow, Aironi and Cardiff in the earlier rounds and before they Welsh nightmare they were hugely impressive.
The likes of Darren Cave and Craig Gilroy have shown that they are well capable of making the step up to the international team in the near future and have led their province with great gusto all season.
Cave suffered an injury in his side’s penultimate game in the series and was a huge loss against the Dragons. He returns to the fold this weekend and his presence will be an added boost to the home side.
Ian Humphreys, Jared Payne and Cave all return to the squad having missed the disappointing defeat to the Dragons at the weekend however Callum Black is still ruled out with a neck injury.
Paddy McAllister, Conor Carey, Jerry Cronin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Adam Macklin, John Burns, Andi Kyriacou, Niall Annett, Nigel Brady, Dan Tuohy, Lewis Stevenson, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Pedrie Wannenburg, Chris Henry, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack
Paul Marshall, Ian Porter, Blane McIlroy, Ian Humphreys, Paddy Jackson, James McKinney, Ian Whitten, Luke Marshall, Nevin Spence, Darren Cave, Jared Payne, Conor Gaston, Craig Gilroy, Adam D’Arcy