Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Gloucester boss Ryan names strong squad for Ulster test

If Ulster are looking a test in their final pre-season game against Gloucester this evening at Ravenhill (kick-off 6.30pm) then they will get one, as the crack Premiership side have named a strong line up.

After last week's win over a Leeds side who lacked ambition, Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan has selected as close to his full strength as he can with the Premiership kick off only eight days away.

The side is sprinkled with internationals as the coach wants a tough workout before facing Leeds next weekend and Ryan has selected a better side than the one that was beaten 40-10 by the Cardiff Blues.

"We have a few players we want to see play again and we also have guys still getting used to the systems we have in place," he said.

"Cardiff were further down the line than us a fortnight ago but I want to see us being more competitive in a lot of areas. I was disappointed with aspects of that performance and we need to see an improvement. We appreciate the significance of this game, we have plenty to get out of it and we have another exciting side.

"It is still pre-season, but we've got to have some strong indicators that we are physically ready and mentally able to compete further down the line."

Rugby league convert Lesley Vainikolo is given another chance on the wing after making his debut in Cardiff and is joined by England internationals James Simpson-Daniel and Olly Morgan in a backline that has plenty of try scoring ability.

Simpson-Daniel comes off his favoured wing position to form a midfield partnership with rising English star Anthony Allen with Morgan at full back.

Former Munster pivot Mike Prendergast starts after joining Gloucester on a two-year deal form Bourgoin in the summer and he'll have ex-Otago fly half Willie Walker outside him.

Ryan has gone for power up front with England's Andy Titterell staring beside Italy's Carlos Nieto. There is experience in the back row with Peter Buxton, Adam Hazel and Adam Balding while Ryan can afford to leave Olivier Azam, Leon Lloyd and Iain Blalshaw on the bench.

Tickets for the game are available at the gate starting from £10 Adults and £5 Children.

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