Danielli to wing it for Ulster on opening night
Published 06/09/2007 | 08:38
Scottish international Simon Danielli will make his Ulster debut on Saturday evening against Gloucester in the pre-season friendly at Ravenhill.
Danielli left the Borders in the summer and was part of Scotland's World Cup preparations but was omitted from Frank Hadden's final panel for France.
He starts on the left wing and, after spending time in Portugal at Ulster's warm weather training camp, Danielli is raring to go.
"It will be great to start for Ulster at Ravenhill and have the supporters on my side for a change. Training has been really positive and I feel I have settled in well to the squad and now I am just looking forward to playing some rugby."
Tommy Bowe starts on the other wing after coming off the bench during last week's win over Leeds while Bryn Cunningham has recovered from the back spasms that kept him out of that game and he replaces Mark Bartholomeusz at full back.
Seamus Mallon partners Paul Steinmetz in the midfield while young Niall O'Connor gets another chance at out half beside Kieran Campbell.
Coach Mark McCall has kept the tight five that started against Leeds but makes two changes in the back row.
Matt McCullough comes in at blindside flanker to replace Chris Henry.
The Ballymena man missed the second half of last season due to injury but came through a 20- minute spell last weekend.
Ireland's U-20 winning grand slam captain David Pollock comes in on the open side for Neil McMillan and Roger Wilson once again takes the skipper's armband.
Justin Harrison and Keiron Dawson are fit enough to be named on the bench as is new signing Matt Miles.
The former Wales U-21 hooker has joined Ulster on a one-year contract as cover for Neil Hanna who will miss the whole season due to injury.
Gloucester, who topped the Guinness Premiership league last season before losing the playoff final to Leicester, are in a strong position going into the 2007/08 season with only six players on World Cup duty - Scotland's Chris Paterson and Rory Lawson, Italy captain Marco Bortolami, Welshmen Gareth Cooper and Will James and Fijian flanker Akapusi Qerae.
However the Cherry and Whites have made a host of summer signing and are likely to include former rugby league star Lesley Vainikolo.
Nicknamed the Volcano, the Kiwi international was voted as the best rugby league player in the world in 2003. He lived up to that accolade the following season by breaking the Super League try scoring record with 37 in only 26 appearances, including five hat-tricks, and is likely to start on the left wing.