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Preview: Ulster v Ospreys

23rd February 2012 12:27

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Paul Marshall Leicester

Starter: Paul Marshall

Paul Marshall, Andi Kyriacou and Pedrie Wannenburg all return to Ulster's starting XV for Friday's PRO12 clash with the Ospreys.

Marshall is included at scrum-half, with versatile South African Ruan Pienaar moving to fly-half and Ian Humphreys dropping down to the bench.

The backline remains otherwise unchanged from the one that faced Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Up front, Wannenburg has returned from a foot injury and will pack down at number eight in place of Robbie Diack. Chris Henry will again captain the side from the blindside, with Willie Faloon remaining on the other side of the scrum.

Dan Tuohy and Lewis Stevenson continue the partnership at lock. There are two changes in the front-row meanwhile with Paddy McAllister coming in at loosehead prop for Callum Black and Kyriacou replacing Nigel Brady at hooker.

Meanwhile, the Ospreys have been decimated by international call-ups and have subsequently named an inexperienced forward pack for the trip to Belfast.

With hooker Richard Hibbard joining Ryan Jones, Adam Jones, Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones, Ian Evans and Justin Tipuric in the Welsh squad that will face England, the region have included Joe Rees and Scott Baldwin in the front-row, with Sam Lewis on the flank.

"It's good to go to Ulster off the back of two wins but we know that there's going to have be a real improvement from last week if we are going to make it three from three," said a confident forwards coach, Jonathan Humphreys.

"Ravenhill is always a difficult place to go, even more so when they are in the kind of form they've shown during their European campaign this season. It's likely to be a full house, a passionate atmosphere, and a difficult evening for what is largely a young Ospreys team, with a sprinkling of experience. It's nights like these where you learn a lot about a team, about the character and spirit of young guys. It's going to be a great test.

"We've got ourselves in a good position in the PRO12, mainly down to these guys, who've been here during the World Cup and Six Nations. We need to maintain our focus now and make sure we finish the job in the coming weeks and secure that home semi-final."

Form: Ulster's three game winning run in the RaboDirect PRO12 ended at the Arms Park against Cardiff Blues on Friday. The Ulstermen's only defeat at Ravenhill in their last 17 matches in all competitions was 12-23 to Treviso on 7 October. Ospreys have won three of their last four encounters in the RaboDirect PRO12. The Welshmen have won all six fixtures they have played against the Irish provinces so far this season. Ospreys have won their last two games against Ulster and have won at Ravenhill on four occasions in this tournament - only Leinster have done as well in Belfast.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Nevin Spence, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry (capt), 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Tim Barker, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Ian Humphreys, 22 Simon Danielli, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Smith (capt), 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Joe Rees, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Jonathan Thomas/Lloyd Peers, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Ashley Beck.

Date: Friday, February 24
Kick-off: 19:05
Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: tbc (Wales)
Assistant referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)
Assessor: Brian Stirling (Ireland)

  • Ospreys Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , December 6
Ospreys vs Racing Metro 9215:15
Saturday , December 13
Racing Metro 92 vs Ospreys17:15
Saturday , January 17
Ospreys vs NorthamptonTBC
Saturday , January 24
Benetton Treviso vs OspreysTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , January 31
Gloucester vs Ospreys15:00
Saturday , February 7
Bath vs Ospreys15:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Ulster vs OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Saturday , December 20
Ospreys vs Ulster17:15
Saturday , December 27
Ospreys vs Scarlets17:15
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
  • Ospreys Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
LV= Cup
Friday , November 14
Ospreys 35 - 51 DragonsOspreys vs Dragons Report
Friday , November 7
Ospreys 9 - 21 Saracens
More LV= Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Ospreys 26 - 11 ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Northampton 34 - 6 Ospreys
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton Treviso
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , October 12
Ospreys 26 - 15 Cardiff Blues
Friday , October 3
Zebre 14 - 15 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Racing Metro Paris28
2Northampton25
3Ospreys25
4Treviso20