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Preview: Glasgow v Ulster

24th March 2011 12:25

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rory best

Ulster: Best on the bench

Glasgow return to Firhill for the second time in a fortnight and will be looking to follow-up last weekend's win over Treviso with victory over play-off chasing Ulster on Friday.

The Warriors welcome international fly-half Ruaridh Jackson and flanker Richie Vernon back from the Scotland camp following the Six Nations. They also have winger DTH van der Merwe, who signed a new two-year-deal this week, back from a wrist injury.

In the backs, Van der Merwe and Jackson replace Hefin O'Hare and Duncan Weir respectively - both of whom drop to the bench.

In the forwards, Rob Harley moves up into the second row in place of Tom Ryder who is unavailable due to a thigh injury. As a result, James Eddie slots into the blindside role.

Ryan Wilson retains his place at openside whilst Vernon comes in for Johnnie Beattie.

"The players were delighted to get the win over Treviso," said head coach Sean Lineen.

"It was a very hard game against big physical men and to get that victory was really encouraging. The team spirit was strong and to score three tries was very good."

Although Ulster's Irish internationalists have been named among those available for selection this week, it is their overseas players that Lineen feels could have a bigger say in the match.

"There could be one or two guys back from the Ireland camp," he said.

"But the strength of the Ulster team is in their foreigners. Pedrie Wannenburg, Johann Muller and one certain Ruan Pienaar are phenomenal players. But we've just got to control what we can."

Meanwhile, Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has continued his rotation policy, bringing in six new faces.

Irish players Tom Court and Paddy Wallace join Scotland international Simon Danielli in the starting line-up as they all return from Six Nations duty, while Rory Best takes a place on the bench.

Andrew Trimble picked up a slight quad injury playing for Ireland and is unavailable.

Paul Marshall is included at scrum-half after his cameo against the Dragons and Ruan Pienaar moves to the fly-half position as a result. Conor Gaston will make his second appearance on the wing after impressing on his debut last week.

Danielli will start at full-back which means Adam D'Arcy is named among the replacements and Wallace will play inside centre in place of Luke Marshall who misses the rest of the season.

Andi Kyriacou and Declan Fitzpatrick remain in the front row and are joined by Court. Dan Tuohy is promoted to the bench to partner captain Johann Muller in the second row.

The back row is reshuffled again with Pedrie Wannenburg named instead of Willie Faloon. Wannenburg is named at number eight, Robbie Diack moves to blindside flanker and Chris Henry is at openside.

Tommy Seymour is among the replacements again after his heroics last week but there is no place for fellow try-scorer Darren Cave.

The return of Ulster's international players is a timely boost as every point will count in the Magners League and the Heineken Cup quarter-final is just over two weeks away.

Ulster currently lie fourth in the Magners League so McLaughlin will be hoping for an improved performance this week to continue their challenge.

"If we want to make that semi-final spot in the Magners League then every game is a cup final and we have to perform in every game," said McLaughlin.

Form: Glasgow gained their first Magners League victory of 2011 at home to Treviso last Friday. The Warriors' solo defeat at Firhill in their last five matches all competitions was 15-26 to Cardiff Blues on February 11. Ulster have lost only one of their last eight games in all competitions: 22-23 at Ospreys on February 13. The Ulstermen have won just once in their last four trips to Scotland: 37-25 at Edinburgh on April 25. Ulster won 19-17 at Ravenhill when the two teams met on October 1, and have also been victorious on two of their last three visits to Firhill.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Federico Aramburu, 12 Peter Murchie, 11 Alex Dunbar, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Colin Gregor (c), 8 Richie Vernon, 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 James Eddie, 5 Robert Harley, 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Moray Low, 2 Fergus Thomson, 1 Jon Welsh.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Kevin Tkachuk, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Chris Fusaro, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Hefin O'Hare.

Ulster: 15 Simon Danielli, 14 Conor Gaston, 13 Nevin Spence, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack,5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Bryan Young, 19 Tim Barker, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Ian Whitten, 22 Tommy Seymour, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Date: Friday, 25 March
Venue: Firhill
Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Referee: David Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Graham Knox (Scotland), Bob Nevins (Scotland)
Television match official: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

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