McLaughlin keeps faith with stars
All of the players who started for Ulster against Munster last Saturday night have been named in the 28-man squad to face Ospreys at Ravenhill on Friday evening.
Against the odds, coach Brian McLaughlin has included both open side flank rivals, Willie Faloon and David Pollock.
Faloon was substituted at half-time last weekend after picking up a neck-shoulder injury which was serious enough to leave him unable to drive home.
And Pollock, who was nursing an ankle injury, missed out altogether against Munster.
With the squad being trimmed to 22 on Thursday, it may well be a simple case of McLaughlin attempting to keep his options open until he is forced to make decisions. And he has cover.
Thomas Anderson, who deputised when Faloon was injured against Munster, is in squad, as is recalled Neil McComb who can play in the second or back row, but with neither being a bona fide number seven, surprisingly there is no place for Ali Birch, who is.
Centre Paddy Wallace’s inclusion will also raise an eyebrow or two in view of the his on-going ankle problem. Having limped off again on Saturday night, there are serious doubts as to his fitness.
He is included in a back line retained en masse, with Clinton Schifcofske, Darren Cave, Timoci Nagusa, Cillian Willis and Jonny Shiells hoping to break in.