Ulster coach Mark Anscombe makes six changes for Friday game

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe makes six changes for Friday game

ULSTER coach Mark Anscombe has made six changes to his team to face Zebre in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 game at Ravenhill on Friday night.

It follows his team’s 12 -16 defeat at the hands of Ospreys last Friday in east Belfast.

Back in the starting 15 are internationals Declan Fitzpatrick, Iain Henderson and Chris Henry after they were released by Ireland.

Also included are Paddy Jackson, Darren Cave and Chris Cochrane.

Dublin-born wing Neil Walsh, who joined Ulster from Melbourne last month, could make his debut after being included among the replacements.

Anscombe has made two positional switches as well as six changes in personnel for the league leaders.

Fitzpatrick’s return means Tom Court reverts back to his favourite loose-head position.

As Darren Cave returns at outside centre, Luke Marshall moves to inside centre in place of the injured Paddy Wallace.

John Afoa has returned from a spell in New Zealand, but starts on the bench.

Chris Cochrane joins Andrew Trimble and Ricky Andrew is an exciting back three.

Ruan Pienaar is deemed fit enough to start, despite hobbling off with a knee injury in the defeat to the Ospreys last week.

Paddy Jackson is recalled at out-half, meaning Stuart Olding drops to the bench.

The possible first appearance of Neil Walsh will interest Ulster fans.

The 27-year-old came to Ulster after a three year spell playing for Melbourne Rugby Club.

If he makes his debut, he will be the 46th player to represent Ulster this season – 41 of whom are Irish qualified.

Ulster have a seven-point advantage over closest challengers Glasgow Warriors going into the round 15 matches.

Zebre are rooted to the bottom, 12 points adrift of the 11th-placed Dragons.

Ulster: R Andrew, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, C Cochrane; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Herring, D Fitzpatrick, J Muller (capt), L Stevenson, I Henderson, C Henry, R Diack

Replacements: N Annett, C Black, J Afoa, N McComb, M McComish, M Heaney, S Olding, N Walsh.


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