Fit-again Ferris back in Ulster fold
Grand slam winner Stephen Ferris has recovered from a hand injury to take his place in Matt Williams’ Ulster squad for the trip to Glasgow on Friday night.
Ferris has been sidelined since picking up the injury in the opening exchanges of Ireland’s last Six Nations match and has had to sit out the defeats at Leinster and at home to the Ospresys.
The loose forward’s return to action will be a boost for Ulster as they look to make sure of Heineken Cup qualification for next season.
Williams’ side are eight points ahead of Connacht with four games left and three are on the road starting at Firhill.
Ulster lost 25-6 in Scotland last year but won the first meeting of the teams this season 12-0 at Ravenhill last month. Ulster threw away a winning position in their last outing against the Ospreys and Williams is hoping for a reaction.
"Every player knows they have to put in a performance against Glasgow, both individually and as a team. Glasgow are a powerful side, who will be out for the home win, so we must be 100% on our game until the final whistle blows,” said the Aussie.
There is a surprise call up for prop Dan Roache, the Australian came over last summer and has been playing his club rugby at Belfast Harlequins.
Roache is one of four props named in the squad along with internationals, BJ Botha, Tom Court and Bryan Young.
Ferris’ return leaves the coach with a selection dilemma in the back row, with Robbie Diack, Chris Henry Matt McCullough and David Pollock fighting for the three starting places.
Williams’ other main decision will be what out-half to start, Ian Humphreys played in the defeat at Leinster while Niall O’Connor got the nod against the Ospreys.
Fijian winger Timoci Nagusta will be chomping at the bit after only playing 11 minutes in the last two games after his return for injury.
Glasgow coach Sean Lineen keeps the same starting line-up which won 38-21 in their last outing in Llanelli.
That win lifted the Scottish side up to fifth in the table, five points behind Edinburgh.
Utility back Colin Gregor retains his position at full-back having slotted four conversions at the Parc Y Scarlets and centre Andrew Henderson makes the match squad for the first time following the broken hand which he sustained during Glasgow’s Heineken Cup win over Toulouse back in January.
FORWARDS: R Best, B Botha, N Brady, R Caldwell, T Court, R Diack, C Del Fava, S Ferris, C Henry, M McCullough, D Pollock, D Roach, B Young.
BACKS: I Boss, D Cave, S Danielli, I Humphreys, P Marshall, T Nagusa, N O'Connor, C Schifcofske, A Trimble, P Wallace, I Whitten.