Ulster Rugby: Chris Henry on move as Mark Anscombe tinkers
Even with full-back Jared Payne sitting out the second match of two-games ban and Stephen Ferris re-joining Ulster's lengthy injury list, coach Mark Anscombe has been able to name a strong 23-man group for tonight's crucial game against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun (7.35pm).
The other injury-enforced absentees are forwards Rory Best, John Afoa, Dan Tuohy, Roger Wilson and Robbie Diack, plus scrum-half Ruan Pienaar, so it says much for the depth of the Ulster players' pool that they are able to include a World Cup-winning Springbok alongside nine Ireland internationals in the starting 15, plus two more on the bench.
The result is three changes plus a trio of positional switches to the side which blew Connacht away in an eight-try whirlwind en route to a 58-12 Ravenhill rout a week ago.
With Glasgow boasting a particularly potent back row and Ulster's options in that department seriously curtailed by the absence of Wilson and Diack, Anscombe has had to improvise and Chris Henry has been asked to solve a problem on the blind-side. The flanker, who excelled at seven in Ireland's Six Nations success, plays at six tonight, with Sean Doyle filling the resultant vacancy.
There is a change in the Ulster front row too, with Tom Court returning on the loose-head ahead of Andrew Warwick.
The locks are unchanged, with skipper Johann Muller and Iain Henderson together again in a hard-scrummaging double-act.
Behind the pack, too, Anscombe has made changes. The halves are the same as against Connacht, with Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson retained, with Luke Mashall at inside-centre.
Beyond that, however, there is significant movement. Darren Cave's reinstatement at 13 sees Tommy Bowe move back out to the wing, but significantly, it is the right wing, which means that Andrew Trimble, who scored a hat-trick from that position in last weekend's man of the match performance, wears 11 rather than his preferred 14 on this occasion.
Bowe's inclusion at 14 and Trimble's switch to 11 means Craig Gilroy must make do with number 23. That will be a hard-to-stomach a reminder to the 23-year-old – scorer of the last of Ulster's eight tries a week ago – that he has work to do if he is to force his way to the top of the queue.
The only member of the back three named in the same position as against Connacht is full-back Ricky Andrew who, of course, has just signed a year-long contract.