Ulster are back in action for the first time since their 24-12 defeat to Leinster on January 8th as they travel to Scotstoun to take on a Glasgow Warriors side chasing automatic Champions Cup qualification.
Dan McFarland has made seven changes from the last match, one of which is Kieran Treadwell who is set to make his 100th appearance for the province at just 25 years of age. Signed from Harlequins in 2016, he’s established himself as a quality option to have and made his debut for Ireland in the summer tour of 2017.
Eric O’Sullivan and John Andrew return to the front row while Nick Timoney starts at six alongside Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee. Ian Madigan takes the reigns at out half, while Rob Lyttle returns from injury to start on the left wing. Craig Gilroy hasn’t featured since the match against Connacht and earns a spot in the back three.
Adam Hastings will make his first appearance since October while Richie Gray partners future Ulster player Leone Nakarawa in the second row. The Fijian is making his first start in over a year. Huw Jones is one to watch in the back line.
Off field issues have hampered Glasgow’s season and they lie in fourth position in Conference A, 15 points behind the Ospreys in third and only two points ahead of the Dragons in fifth. Fourth will secure a Champions Cup play off spot at the end of the season.
Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg departed for Exeter Chiefs, Finn Russell left for Racing 92 while John Barclay retired and none of these players have been replaced with similar quality, ultimately leading to a downturn in results. Last it was announced that Glasgow lock Leone Nakarawa would be joining Ulster at the end of the season and since then, they have confirmed the capture of Australian international Jack Dempsey.
They’ve recorded just three league wins all season against Scarlets, Cardiff and Edinburgh and suffered a heavy defeat at Ulster as well as a shock loss at home to the Dragons earlier in the season.
Ulster have an abysmal record at Scotstoun, winning only two of their nine games against the Scottish side. The last win came back in 2016, while they suffered a thumping at the hands of tomorrow night’s opposition in the semi finals of 2018-19 PRO14 season.
|25-3-16||Celtic League||Scotstoun||John Lacey||17||27|
|23-9-16||Celtic League||Scotstoun||Ian Davies||22||17|
|18-2-17||Celtic League||Ravenhill||Daniel Jones||37||17|
Scottish referee Ben Blain takes charge of his eighth PRO14 match and first Ulster match tomorrow. Hollie Davidson and Dunx McClement are the assistant referees.
The FRU Predicts
With the Champions Cup rounds three and four cancelled Ulster have found themselves with an extended break. I’m not expecting a result like the Ravenhill leg and think it will be struggle to overcome Danny Wilson’s side.
|Huw Jones||15||Michael Lowry|
|Ratu Tagive||14||Craig Gilroy|
|Robbie Fergusson||13||James Hume|
|Sam Johnson||12||Stuart McCloskey|
|Rufus McLean||11||Rob Lyttle|
|Adam Hastings||10||Ian Madigan|
|Jamie Dobie||9||John Cooney|
|Oli Kebble||1||Eric O’Sullivan|
|Johnny Matthews||2||John Andrew|
|Enrique Pieretto||3||Marty Moore|
|Richie Gray||1||Alan O’Connor|
|Leone Nakarawa||5||Kieran Treadwell|
|Rob Harley||6||Nick Timoney|
|Thomas Gordon||7||Jordi Murphy (C)|
|Ryan Wilson (C)||8||Marcell Coetzee|
|Grant Stewart||16||Adam McBurney|
|Aki Seiuli||17||Andrew Warwick|
|D’arcy Rae||18||Tom O’Toole|
|James Scott||19||Cormac Izuchukwu|
|TJ Ioane||20||Greg Jones|
|Sean Kennedy||21||Alby Mathewson|
|Ross Thompson||22||Stewart Moore|
|Ollie Smith||23||Matt Faddes|