Ulster returns to the bread and butter of Celtic league rugby when they travel to Scotland to face the Glasgow Warriors. Like their hosts on Friday night (kick off 7.35pm) Ulster will head into this fixture with one win and one loss from their opening two Heineken cup games. An impressive second half showing against Clermont followed up with a 20-9 loss to Leicester.
Despite just two wins in their last 8 games the Ulstermen will approach this game with confidence, having won five of their last six matches against Scottish opponents. A 22-3 win over Connacht stopped a run of 5 successive losses and with two wins from their last three games Ulster could be turning a corner again after a strong opening few weeks to the season.
7th place Ulster beat Glasgow 28-14 in their opening game of the new season while both games last season were tight affairs with Ulster winning 19-17 at home and then 22-19 away.
Glasgow meanwhile are enjoying their season so far, currently sitting 4th in the table, a stark improvement on last season when they finished second bottom. Sean Lineen’s side had a mixed start to season when they lost 3 of their first 4 games, they have bounced back to hit form in recent weeks and have only lost once in their last 6 games.
That sole setback came in the Heineken cup loss to Leinster in Dublin and overshadowed impressive wins over Bath, Aironi, The Ospreys, The Dragons and Cardiff.
Brian McLaughlin has named a 30 man squad for the game with Stephen Ferris and Rory Best the most high profile absentee’s. The duo have been given a week off by the Ulster management after a busy few weeks of rugby for club and country and will the injured trio of Paddy Wallace, Ruan Pienaar and Jared Payne in the stands for the clash in Firhill.
Wallace is expected to be out of action for 6-8 weeks after he underwent surgery to repair tendon damage in his thumb earlier this week while Pienaar continues to miss out with a hamstring strain with long term absentee Payne one month in to lengthy spell on the side lines with a ruptured Achilles.
McLaughlin has been boosted by the return of Luke Marshall and Jerry Cronin who returned to training this week after jaw and neck problems respectively. Callum Black is also named in the provisional 30 and the 25 year old could make his competitive debut for the Province after recovering from a neck injury.
Glasgow meanwhile have named their side and have made six changes to the team that lost to Leinster with Samoa World Cup winger David Lemi coming in for his Glasgow debut alongside a re-jigged back line that includes winger Federico Aramburu centre Troy Nathan and scrum half Henry Pyrgos
The changes continue up front with loose-head prop Jon Welsh making his first start since he suffered an ankle injury against Ulster on the opening weekend with Tom Ryder, the final change, coming into the second row.
SportsNewsIreland will have line score updates from Ulster’s trip to play Glasgow Warriors, Fri 25th November, Firhill Stadium (kickoff 7.35pm). The market on this game is very tight with Betfair putting Glasgow at a very low 1.04 to win under 12.5pts and given their home form of late and the fact that historically these games are close knit affairs seems a chance at a low profit.
Ulster squad: Paddy McAllister, Callum Black, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Jerry Cronin, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Lewis Stevenson, Johann Muller, Dan Tuohy, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Michael McComish, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack, Paul Marshall, Ian Porter, Ian Humphreys, Paddy Jackson, Nevin Spence, Luke Marshall, Ian Whitten, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy, Simon Danielli, Andrew Trimble, Adam D’Arcy
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 David Lemi, 13 Troy Nathan, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Federico Aramburu, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 1 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 3 Mike Cusack, 4 Tom Ryder, 5 Al Kellock (captain), 6 Rob Harley, 7 John Barclay, 8 Ryan Wilson
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Moray Low, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Alex Dunbar, 23 Colin Shaw