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Rodney Ah You: Just wait and see what I can do for Ulster

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 14/09/2016

While Ulster did not enjoy any success against the Scarlets last season, at least Rodney Ah You has fond memories of facing the men from Llanelli.

When champions Connacht hosted Scarlets back in February, it was Ulster's newest front-row recruit barging his way over for a bonus point try but does he have any tips for his team-mates who have won only three of their last eight meetings with the west Wales outfit?

Feeling at home: Rodney Ah You at Kingspan Stadium yesterday with his focus on Friday’s home debut
Feeling at home: Rodney Ah You at Kingspan Stadium yesterday with his focus on Friday’s home debut

"I think I probably just tried to run them over," he recalled with a laugh.

"We've seen how heavy their pack is so we're going to have to hold onto our ball and sort of try and shut down their forwards. Just watching their last couple of games, we'll try to try and dominate them in the scrum and the front-row."

Friday's visit from Wayne Pivac's men will be Ah You's first competitive outing in Ulster colours at Kingspan Stadium after he missed the season-opening win over Dragons with a concussion.

Having got a taste of the atmosphere during the friendly win over Northampton, the native Kiwi is relishing a crack at the real thing come Friday evening.

"I'm very much looking forward to it," he said. "Having played the pre-season game against Northampton I've been looking forward to getting back out here since. It was unbelievable to play here at home.

"It was really frustrating, the first home game against Newport, I just had a knock on the head but I feel fine now. I had the kids up in the family stand so it was good that they got the experience of it instead."

Ulster figure to name their strongest line-up of the season against Scarlets thanks to a combination of returning injuries and Irish internationals.

Craig Gilroy missed out last week against Treviso thanks to a concussion but seems set to come back into the side while Charles Piutau is fully recovered from the thumb injury he sustained in training.

Four of Ulster's Ireland summer tourists have already featured this season - Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Sean Reidy and Stuart Olding - with Paddy Jackson looking certain to figure this week.

It is thought there remains a possibility that Iain Henderson and Andrew Trimble could come into the mix but Rory Best and Jared Payne will still be held in reserve.

"There are a few guys being released but not everybody," revealed forwards coach Allan Clarke.

"There are two or three players back in the squad for Friday so that's pleasing in terms of the depth and quality that we will be able to field.

"Paddy Jackson will hopefully be available. He had a run through, other boys have a bit to go yet.

"Craig Gilroy came through and hopefully there will be no repercussions but he came through well and is back to his bubbly self.

"There were just a few bumps (from Treviso) but we managed them during training and they should be fine for Friday night."

With Best still to make his seasonal bow, Rob Herring looks sure to win his 100th cap for his adopted province with Clarke thrilled for the man who this summer became the squad's co-captain.

"I think Rob Herring is a fantastic person," said Clarke who was hooker when the province won the European Cup in 1999. "He is a brilliant professional, he is competing with one of the best hookers in Irish Rugby in Rory Best.

"I have seen a huge development in him in the last 12 months and in particular during this summer period which is reflected in his appointment as co-skipper.

"Fundamentally around the set piece he is really starting to impress and he is growing and maturing.

"He will be competing for a national jersey down the track but one of his biggest strengths is he wants to deliver here and now for Ulster and earn the right and rewards."

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