Ravens looking to finish with a big performance
It has been another bitterly disappointing British and Irish Cup campaign for the Ulster Ravens but they can at least try to finish it off with a flourish tonight against Pool Six winners Cornish Pirates at Deramore (kick-off 7.30pm).
With their hopes of making the quarter-finals extinguished by three defeats in their previous five outings – the trio of reverses all coming away from home against the Pirates, Ayr and last week's 37-19 thumping at Jersey – the Ravens have nothing but pride to play for against a side who have won all their pool games and, as a result, have already qualified.
"We've just got to show we're better players than the performances we've been putting in for the Ravens," skipper Lewis Stevenson said ahead of tonight's game.
"We've got guys with a lot of PRO12 experience who just aren't ticking when it comes to playing for the Ravens.
"Against Jersey the wheels really fell off for us and simple mistakes hurt us so much.
"We now have to get our pride back and that is a big factor for us.
"We now have an opportunity to put our names forward as guys who can play for the first team," Stevenson added.
Ravens' coach Allen Clarke has made four changes to the side which fell to Jersey and one positional switch, with the latter seeing Peter Nelson move to full-back in place of David McIlwaine.
Rory Scholes comes in for Chris Cochrane on the right wing, with the Belfast Harlequin making his comeback from the hip injury which has wrecked his season, while Ireland U20 squad member David Busby is on the left flank.
Up front, Adam Macklin starts as Ricky Lutton is likely to be benching at Welford Road on Saturday, while Lorcan Dow is at openside flanker and switches places from last week with Josh Atkinson.
Ulster Ravens: P Nelson, R Scholes, R Andrew, S McCloskey, D Busby, J McKinney, M Heaney; K McCall, N Annett, A Macklin, L Stevenson (capt), N McComb, C Joyce, L Dow, M McComish. Replacements: P Jackson, A Warwick, M Cromie, M Campbell J Atkinson, D Shanahan, R Adair