| 3.5°C Dublin

Foley looks to Howard but Ulster will have no fear

Close

Ulster's Rory Best during their captain's run ahead of their Guinness Pro12, Round 9, match against Munster on Friday

Ulster's Rory Best during their captain's run ahead of their Guinness Pro12, Round 9, match against Munster on Friday

SPORTSFILE

Ulster's Rory Best during their captain's run ahead of their Guinness Pro12, Round 9, match against Munster on Friday

Short-term signing Pat Howard will make his first start for Munster in a mouth-watering Inter-provincial bout in Limerick this evening.

There is also a second successive shift at full-back for JJ Hanrahan with Ireland international Felix Jones held back for Clermont duty.

Coach Anthony Foley's rotation system is working out fine and dandy as he brings in five new men.

Tight-head BJ Botha, number eight CJ Stander, scrum-half Duncan Williams, wing Gerhard van den Heever and Howard round out the quintet.

There is plenty of impact off the wood from Jones, prop Dave Kilcoyne and flanker Tommy O'Donnell.

The signs are positive for Munster as they have won their last half-dozen match between the PRO12 and The Champions Cup.

The return to traditional values has not taken too long with Munster's set-piece and close in work a feature of their way forward.

The manner of their kicking game against Saracens in Europe reflected a very Schmidt-like pragmatic approach.

The ball was in the air more often than it was put through the hands as the Red machine pushed the phrase 'playing in the right areas' right to the limit.

Last week, they decoded and destroyed The Dragons at hostile Rodney Parade with a degree of efficiency that was worthy of taking note.

In fact, Munster have taken 23 points from their last six matches in the League and have shown superior form away from home.

They will look back in regret at their first round loss to Edinburgh and a second to The Ospreys as evidence of what can happen when they don't bring their A-Game.

Ulster head coach Neil Doak has been blessed to have his captain Rory Best released by Ireland for what is certain to be a battle royal in the front row.

The hooker is one of four changes with Ian Humhpreys playing at fly-half for the injured Paddy Jackson.

Former Leinster Age Grade interpro Alan O'Connor will join Franco van der Merwe in the engine room with the beef of Nick Williams planted at number eight.

The Northern men are tied at the top of the League with The Ospreys.

The fortress that once was Thomond will hold no fear for them. Ulster have lost just one of their last four against Munster.

They will be plotting the downfall of their southern rivals in Limerick for the second consecutive visit.

The last time that occurred was way back in the early 1990s.

MUNSTER: JJ Hanrahan; G van den Heever, P Howard, D Hurley, R O'Mahony; I Keatley, D Williams; J Ryan, D Casey, BJ Botha, D O'Callaghan (capt), B Holland, R Copeland, P Butler, CJ Stander.

ULSTER: S Olding; L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey C Gilroy; I Humphreys, P Marshall; C Black, R Best (capt), W Herbst, A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, R Wilson, S Reidy, N Williams.

MUNSTER v ULSTER

Thomond Pk, Tonight (KO 7.35) Live TG4


Privacy