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Del Fava in mood to give Ulster boost

By Ciaran Donaghy

It may only be four games into the Magners League but Ulster's clash with Irish rivals Leinster at Ravenhill on Friday night is already hugely significance.

Mark McCall's men are bottom of the table and desperate for a win to inject some impetus into their season.

With only Matt McCullough and Paul Steinmetz unavailable and the return of all the World Cup players, it's the strongest squad Ulster have had all season and Italian lock Carlo Del Fava believes that could be the catalyst the side needs.

"It will be the first game for a lot of the boys at Ravenhill. There are a lot of new guys and hopefully they will bring new energy and enthusiasm.

"We have been away from home for a few games now and I think we need to find our rhythm and the confidence to get on a winning streak and what better place to start than at Ravenhill on Friday night," said the Italian.

It may be the lock's first Irish derby, but he's hoping the experience he's picked up from various local clashes will stand him in good stead for what is likely to be a furious battle up front.

"I've played in a few derbies in France and Italy but I'm going to be new to this one and it's always a hard game against Leinster no matter where you play them," he added.

"I think we have got a bit of an advantage because it will be easy to get the guys fired up and get our running game going.

"We definitely need to walk away with points and confidence so we can get on a roll for the rest of the season.

"We have been working really hard over the last two weeks because we know we need to do a lot more to get higher up the league. If everything goes to plan then we should have no problems at all."

Del Fava will be no stranger to many of his opponents on Friday night, having faced them many times before in Europe and at international level.

"With Bourgoin we were in the same group as Leinster a few years ago and I've played against some of them at internationa level as well, " he continued.

"They have a lot of experience with Malcolm O'Kelly and Leo Cullen and we are going to have our work cut out at the line-out but it's nothing we can't handle."

David Humphreys is named in the squad for the first time this season after recovering from an ankle injury.

Andrew Trimble and Rob Dewey are also brought in but there is no place for winger Simon Danielli.

In the pack, former Irish international Kieron Dawson has won the battle of the open sides over Neil McMillan and David Pollock.

McCall has a decision to make in the front row, perming two props from Declan Fitzpatrick, Justin Fitzpatrick and Bryan Young.

Leinster have included all their internationals as coach Michael Cheika named a 26 man squad.

Belfast Telegraph


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