Planet Rugby

Preview: Ulster v Cardiff Blues

24th October 2013 12:33

Share:

stuart olding ulster

Full-back: Stuart Olding

Ulster boss Mark Anscombe has made two personnel changes and one positional switch to the team that beat Montpellier.

Jared Payne moves from full-back to outside centre, with Darren Cave selected on the bench. Stuart Olding starts his first game for Ulster at 15.

Up front, Callum Black starts at loosehead with Tom Court, who was named in Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad this week, moving to the bench.

A late change sees All Black tighthead prop, John Afoa, startl in place of Declan Fitzpatrick who has failed a late fitness test. Ricky Lutton comes in on the bench as a front-row replacement.

Mike McComish, man-of-the-match for the Ulster Ravens against Jersey last Friday night, is on the bench in place of Iain Henderson who will be out for up to six weeks with a toe injury.

"When the team was read out and I wasn't playing at fly-half or centre, I thought that I was going to be on the bench again, but I was really pleased when I learned that I would be starting at full-back," said Olding.

"It is a position that I really enjoy playing in. I was fullback for Ireland Under 20s in the Six Nations and the Junior World Championship so I am very confident there and I am looking forward to tomorrow night's game."

Meanwhile, Richard Smith is handed his first start of the RaboDirect Pro12 season for Cardiff Blues as they travel to face Ulster.

Smith is named on the wing, replacing the injured Alex Cuthbert, as Blues make a total of two changes to the side that defeated European champions Toulon last weekend.

The other changes to the starting line-up sees Dafydd Hewitt comes in at centre for Owen Williams, with Cory Allen moving to outside centre.

The pack remains the same and will again be captained by prop Gethin Jenkins in the front row. Taufa'ao Filise and Chris Czekaj return among the replacements.

Director of Rugby Phil Davies has called on his Blues to build on the region's Heineken Cup exploits, but acknowledged that Ulster will also be full of confidence after defeating Montpellier last week.

"We know what it is like to try and go to Montpellier and get a result so you have got to give them huge credit for that. It was a great performance by Ulster," said Davies.

"They are an outstanding team with some excellent players. They have got Johannn Muller who is a great catalyst for them with Nick Williams. You have John Afoa in the scrum with Rory Best so their platform is really good.

"You then have the half backs with Ruan Pienaar who navigates them around the field and Paddy Jackson is playing well. They have good finishing power on the wings with Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. They are a very good team all-round.

"Ravenhill has been redeveloped and it will be a great atmosphere and a sell-out. It will be a great occasion and hopefully a great game."

Form: Ulster are on an impressive run of five successive victories in all competitions. The Ulstermen's only reversal at Ravenhill Stadium since February came by the narrowest of Margins, 13-12, to RaboDirect PRO12 table topping Glasgow in round 2. Ulster have won four of their last five contests with Welsh regions, whilst the only Welsh side to have won at Ravenhill in the last four seasons has been Ospreys. Cardiff Blues have won two of their last three fixtures in all competitions, but away from home have not been successful since they visited Murrayfield and beat Edinburgh 17-16 in February. The Blues have won just one of their last five encounters with Irish provinces: 21-10 over Connacht at The Arms Park in Round 2. Cardiff Blues only win in their last six fixtures with Ulster was 21-14 at the Arms Park on 17th February 2012, whilst they have not been victorious at Ravenhill since April 2010.

Ulster: 15 Stuart Olding, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Darren Cave, 23 Michael Allen

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Chris Czekaj

Date: Friday, 25 October
Venue: Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast
Kick-off: 19.05pm BST (18:05 GMT)
Referee: Giuseppe Vivarin (FIR)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway, Eanna O'Dowd (both IRFU)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter828
2Bath828
3Northampton726
4Saracens724
5Wasps820