Ulster’s Gilroy hoping weather does not leave wingers exposed in Champions Cup clash with Leicester

Ulster's ''Craig Gilroy
Ulster's ''Craig Gilroy

The weather forecast for Saturday evening’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool Four match in Belfast for Ulster v Leicester Tigers is not particularly pleasant.

And for backline players - especially those further out the line, like wingers, it can be a longer than usual evening.

Flying Irish winger, Craig Gilroy, is hoping the forecast of heavy rain and strong gusts, does not fully materialise as he can see the opening Pool Four contest being a battle of the packs.

Gilroy returns to the starting line-up having recovered from injury and he is champing at the bit to get going.

Disappointed to miss the Connacht game last week, Ulster losing 22-17 in Belfast, Gilroy feels the European Champions Cup tie with Leicester is a great opportunity to right some wrongs.

“This week it is a chance for us to be at home and put in a big performance in this competition.

“It’s a clean slate and a really good opportunity for us to make our mark and we have some really good memories before of Leicester coming to us so the guys are looking forward to it.

“I have seen the weather report though and it does not look like it is going to be too good, so hopefully that will not affect the game too much,

“It will probably make things a little bit more trickier.

“For us it is just a case of looking after the ball, being disciplined and working on that back field, the wind will have a big part of play in the kicks as well, so we have to be switched on for that.

“Be aware of where it is coming from, who is with it and who has it behind them. The forecast is probably not great for being on the wing, but we just got to deal with that.”

In terms of this evening’s game, Gilroy is hoping for a big performance and a traditional Kngspan Stadium audience.

“I watched the Connacht game in the Stand last week with the rest of the fans and I could tell they were a wee bit frustrated and disappointed with the result.

“It is a good opportunity for me to be on the other side of the line, be on the pitch and hopefully change that feeling, create a good positive buzz and not only come away with a win but a good performance.

“We have some really good memories of Leicester here, some of my fondest in the Ulster jersey and it would nice to add to that this weekend.”

TODAY’S LINE-UPS

Ulster: M Lowry; C Gilroy, W Addison; S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns, J Cooney; A Warwick, R Best (c), R Kane, A O’Connor, I Henderson, M Coetzee, J Murphy, M Timoney.

Replacements: A McBurney, K Treadwell, E O’Sullivan, M Moore, S Reidy, D Shanahan, A Curtis, A Kernohan.

Leicester: Holmes, Thompstone, Tuilagi, Eastmond, Olowofela, Ford, Youngs, Bateman, Youngs (c), Cole, Williams, Wells, Thompson, O’Connor, Kalamafoni

Replacements: Polota-Nau, Feao, Heyes, Lewis, Reffell, Harrison, Toomua, Owen.