herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Time for Jackson to lead in absence of Pienaar

CARDIFF BLUES v ULSTER

The Arms Park, Tonight 7.35, BBC Wales

THERE is nothing off-kilter about Ulster's attack policy, stitching together back-to-back try bonus points.

The irony of their predicament is that Ireland's defence coach Les Kiss has been in charge of a collective that leaked four tries against Scarlets in round one.

History tells us Ulster struggle to find their gears in Wales where they have won just once since 2012.

It came at The Ospreys last October. This is an incredible statistic.

However, the Ulster arsenal is further sharpened by the appearance of Ireland duo Paddy Jackson and Tommy Bowe with inside centre Stuart Olding looking the real deal in the midfield.

It will all come back to Jackson at ten and how he will cope without Ruan Pienaar there to shepherd him through the storms that are coming his way over the next five or six weeks.

The placement of Paul Marshall at scrum-half leaves Ulster looking physically light down the 9-10 channel.

They will be targeted there for as long as Pienaar is out. Jackson is brave and willing. Marshall can be found wanting for sheer size.

There is enough grunt up front where Wiehahn Herbst already looks like a solid steel anchor at the scrum beside captain Rory Best and lock Franco van der Merwe, a more robust version of Johann Muller.

The Blues have done well in the market place, managing to land Welsh stalwart Adam Jones in beside captain Matthew Rees and take Josh Turnbull from The Scarlets.

The outgoing of Robin Copeland prompted the capture of the Fijiian Italy international Manoa Vosawai to carry the fight.

VERDICT: Ulster

Cardiff: R Patchell; A Cuthbert, A Thomas, G Evans, R Smith; G Davies, L Jones; S Hobbs, M Rees (capt), A Jones, J Hoeata, F Paulo, J Turnbull, J Navidi, M Vosawai.

Ulster: L Ludik; A Trimble, D Cave, S Olding, T Bowe; P Jackson, P Marshall; A Warwick, R Best (Capt), W Herbst, D Touhy, F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams.

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