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Jackson and Trimble handed timely night off

Published 12/04/2013

Ulster's Paddy Jackson will not face the Dragons tomorrow
Ulster's Paddy Jackson will not face the Dragons tomorrow

Ulster have decided to give Irish international pair Andrew Trimble and Paddy Jackson time out.

With the Heineken Cup dream over, their focus now is on the RaboDirect PRO12 in which they play second-bottom Newport Gwent Dragons tomorrow night at Ravenhill (7.05pm).

But coach Mark Anscombe – whose players had Monday and Tuesday off following Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final flop against Saracens – has decided he has sufficient fire-power to see off the struggling Welsh.

Thus winger Trimble and fly-half Jackson have been given a breather.

"The workload these guys have had in the recent past has just left them knackered. They just need a break," Anscombe said.

"Andrew Trimble I think has missed only two games in the entire year.

"He has been outstanding. All of February he was going back and forth to Dublin, but he kept bouncing back and coming back to play for us. The guy just needs to have a few days with his family.

"Paddy Jackson's the same. He played in three internationals – big campaign for a young guy – and then he was straight back into it with us. He just needs a week off to rest his young head before coming back and hopefully taking us through what we need to do."

While those were his own calls, four other decisions were made for him. Three internationals – captain and lock Johann Muller (left bicep), centre Luke Marshall (concussion) and open-side Chris Henry (knee) – are ruled out by injury.

As well as that, tight-head John Afoa has gone back to New Zealand to be with his wife, Theresa, and their new-born baby, Violet.

Roger Wilson, who was to have been on the bench against Saracens but was ruled out by a knee injury late on, has not even made the extended squad on this occasion.

So tomorrow night's line-up will be much-changed from that which faced Saracens, with only nine of the 15 in the squad of 25 – to be trimmed to 23 at noon tomorrow – named for a match Ulster must win in order to maintain their hopes of a home semi-final play-off.

Belfast Telegraph

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