IRISH internationals, Dan Tuohy and Chris Henry have returned to the Ulster side for the visit of Munster to Ravenhill on Friday for the first of this season’s RaboDirect PRO12 derby clashes.
It is a timely boost for Ulster, who like Munster, are unbeaten from two starts in the league campaign and this game is being seen as the litmus test for last season’s beaten Heineken Cup finalists in spite of last week’s rare win in Swansea over Ospreys and the opening victory against Glasgow.
Tuohy and Henry are likely to start from the bench, just as the previous returning players have done in the past fortnight.
However, when one considers how the emptying of the bench last week in Swansea saw Ulster turn defeat into victory on the back of an average enough performance for the first hour.
Head coach, Mark Anscombe, said: “Last week our bench brought something to the game and I think if you look at the last 15 minutes of that game we produced some great rugby.”
In respect of Henry and Tuohy coming back, Anscombe admitted that it was great to have them, likes others, coming back but he was guarded as to if they would start from the bench or on the pitch.
“The players coming back have not any rugby for three or four months in some cases.
“It takes time for players to get into the grove again and we just have to manage the situation correctly.”
From that point of view, Anscombe may certainly look to start Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson in the halfback partnership, while Andrew Trimble, Stephen Ferris and Tom Court are almost set to start having come off the bench last week.
FORWARDS: Rob Herring, Nigel Brady, Declan Fitzpatrick, Callum Black, Tom Court, John Afoa, Lewis Stevenson, Neil McComb, Johann Muller, Dan Tuohy, Mike McComish, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Sean Doyle, Nick Williams
BACKS: Paul Marshall, Michael Heaney, Niall O’Connor, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Darren Cave, Michael Allen, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble, Peter Nelson, Jared Payne
Unavailable for selection: Rory Best, Paddy McAllister, Tommy Bowe, Roger Wilson, Paddy Wallace, Ruan Pienaar