The team’s for tomorrow nights friendly have been announced, albeit unfashionably late by Ulster Rugby. Northamptons team has been available since before 12:00pm whereas we had to wait until after five for Ulster.  😐 

Not particularly fan friendly from UR but on the strength of the two teams below maybe it’s due to the fact that Northampton have more to shout about in their line up, the English side able to field their English internationals whereas Ulster are still without Best, Trimble, Jackson, Bowe, Tuohy, Olding, Marshall, Payne, Henderson, Reidy and Pienaar, for some reason.

It seems strange, with the PRO12 trying to reinvent themselves to their sponsors, that, yet again, the sponsors and supporters will be left short changed in the opening fixtures with leading players unavailable or underprepared. If the four nations involved with the PRO12 actually treated it with some respect it would maybe command the sort of broadcast revenue that they are chasing with their hare-brained schemes! 

It’s unfortunate ‘cos tomorrows game could have been a cracker but, as it is, I suspect we’ll see flashes of play from Ulster as they are slowly bludgeoned out of the game by the visitors forwards, the English having enough names in their thirty man squad to thoroughly work the young Ulster pack over twice. 

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Speaking of youngsters, it is a reunion of sorts for Harry Mallinder and Jacob Stockdale who last met in the World Rugby U20 Championship final in June and I suspect this will be a similar result for the English. 

Ulster   Northampton
Charles Piutau 15 Ben Foden
Louis Ludik 14 Ken Pisi
Darren Cave 13 Luther Burrell
Stuart McCloskey 12 Harry Mallinder
Robert Lyttle 11 Ahsee Tuala
Brett Herron 10 Stephen Myler
Paul Marshall 9 Lee Dickson
Andrew Warwick 1 Alex Waller
Rob Herring 2 Dylan Hartley
Rodney Ah You 3 Kieran Brookes
Pete Browne 4 Michael Paterson
Franco vd Merwe 5 James Craig
Robbie Diack 6 Tom Wood
Clive Ross 7 Jamie Gibson
Roger Wilson 8 Louis Picamoles
John Andrew 16 Campese Ma’afu
Callum Black 17 Mikey Haywood
Ross Kane 18 Paul Hill
Alan O’Connor 19 Courtney Lawes
Connor Joyce 20 Jordan Onojaife
Matthew Rea 21 Reece Marshall
Dave Shanahan 22 Lewis Ludlam
Sam Windsor 23 Sam Dickinson
Jacob Stockdale 24 Nic Groom
  25 JJ Hanrahan
  26 Howard Packman
  27 George Pisi
  28 Juan Pablo Estelles
  29 Tom Collins
  30 George Furbank