CROCKED STEPHEN Ferris will miss Ulster’s crucial trip to Glasgow this evening.
But Ruan Pienaar is ready to pull on the jersey as Ulster try and maintain their winning ways in the Heineken Cup when they travel to Glasgow this evening.
Glasgow will be out to prove a point this evening after losing their opening match in the Heinken Cup to Northampton.
Pienaar came off the bench at Ravenhill last Friday to claim the crucial bonus point for his side.
His inclusion will see out of luck Paul Marshall resigned to sitting on the bench.
Ruan Pienaar is relishing this evening’s clash with Glasgow who have a point to prove on their home turf back among his Ulster team mates.
“It was great to see all the familiar faces again,” said Pienaar, who arrived in Belfast last week straight from Rugby Championship duty with the Springboks.
“While I was away, I kept a close watch on things and the guys have done really well.
“I said to the guys before I left to link up with South Africa that I have to be realistic about getting back into the team when I returned.
“When I did arrive back, I was told not to put too much pressure on myself and that being put on the bench would be a good idea.
“I haven’t really had a break since last season, but it was great just to slot right in again and get a bit of game time with the boys.
“While I’m still healthy, I just want to play. Ulster have a lot of talented scrum-halves and if something happens, there is plenty of back-up.
“I came back to a satisfied camp. It’s only natural to keep working really hard for each other. That is one thing I noticed about the new coach, in that there is a harder work ethic both on and off the pitch.
“There is more emphasis put on the small details of our game. The coach is very hard on small things in both attack and defence.”
Nick Williams is likely to return from injury. The number 8 along with Stephen Ferris have been named in an extended squad, but the Ireland flanker is suffering from back spasms and is not expected to play.
Coach Mark Anscombe knows that his squad will have to up their game against Glasgow this evening if they are to progress to the further stages of the Heineken Cup and reach the final again which is being held in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next year.
“We played well in the first half, scored a few good tries but then we started to loosen up and let ourselves down a bit in the execution of our play,” said Anscombe after last Friday night’s clash on the hallowed Ravenhill turf.
“The second half was pretty average and fortunately we got a bonus point. And we will take it.”
He heaped praise on scrum half Paul Marshall who bagged himself two tries to boost Ulster’s points tally.
“He did what he does best. He snipes, he’s sharp and he’ good on his feet. He asks questions of the defensive teams around the fringes.
“I was really pleased because his kicking game was very good tonight.”
And Anscombe also sung the praises of his front row who battled hard all evening against their opposite numbers.
“I thought Chris Henry was outstanding. His work and what he did, his tidying up was outstanding. He really showed off the qualities that he has got.”
Ruan Pienaar’s last-gasp try gave Ulster a deserved bonus-point win over Castres in the Heineken Cup opener.
- Tries from Andrew Trimble and Paul Marshall put Ulster in control before Marc Andreu touched down for Castres.
Ulster led 23-10 at the break and Marshall scored his second try as the hosts surged clear, although Marcel Garvey went over for the French side.
Last season’s finalists clinched the added point in the 82nd minute when Pienaar broke clear from deep.
Ulster were forced into a late change in the back row with Mike McComish coming in for Stephen Ferris, who pulled out with a back injury.
Castres made a bright start in the Pool 4 clash and Romain Teulet fired over a fifth-minute penalty before the Pro12 leaders took a grip on affairs.
Jackson levelled with a penalty while Jared Payne set up the opening try on 13 minutes, breaking through from halfway and the full-back’s pass sent Trimble over at the corner.
Jackson added the extras and the young fly-half converted a second penalty after Peirre Bernard missed a penalty for Castres.
Marshall’s opportunist try came after 22 minutes, the little scrum-half spotting a gap and kicking through before touching down.
Jackson made it 20-3 but the visitors hit back, mounting a spell of sustained pressure before Bernard’s pinpoint kick found the unmarked Andreu in the corner and his easy try after 33 minutes was converted by Teulet.
Ulster responded four minutes later with Jackson slotting over to give the Irish side a 13-point advantage at the break.
Marshall extended the lead three minutes after the restart, darting through and stretching to make the touch from a line-out and drive.
Jackson missed the conversion although he struck his fourth penalty before Castres scored their second try on 52 minutes.
Garvey capitalised on good work from his forwards by nipping in and touching down on the line before Teulet added the conversion.
Ireland prop Tom Court was sin-binned in the 58th minute after bringing down a Castres maul although Jackson kicked over another penalty three minutes later.
Ulster went in search of the fourth try and bonus point but they were frustrated by handling errors and solid Castres defending.
Castres prop Yannick Forestier was sinbinned with five minutes left for kicking the ball away after Ulster were awarded a penalty.
The visitors secured the bonus point in the second minute of added time.