Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 4°C
©INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry Iain Henderson takes a line-out in training yesterday.
# Tough Call
Heineken Cup: Henderson, Trimble preferred for Ulster's Northampton trip
Mark Anscombe has resisted the temptation to unleash Craig Gilroy and Nick Williams on the Saints from the start.

ULSTER HEAD COACH Mark Anscombe has opted for the experience of Andrew Trimble ahead of young tyro, Craig Gilroy for tomorrow’s Heineken Cup clash with Northampton in Franklin’s Gardens.

Many felt that Gilroy displayed enough attacking threat in Ireland’s final November Test win over Argentina to warrant first team selection in his province, but on this occasion, Anscombe has preferred the more robust presence of Trimble for what promises to be a hostile atmosphere.

However Iain Henderson, who also made his international debut last month is given the nod at blindside flanker alongside Chris Henry and Roger Wilson who lines out against his former club.

With Stephen Ferris set for a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing ankle tendon surgery, Henderson and Wilson are chosen in preference to Nick Williams who has been in impressive scoring form for the last remaining unbeaten team in Europe’s big three leagues.

The pack is further bolstered by the return from injury of captain and vice captain Johann Muller and Rory Best.

Behind the scrum, Ruan Pienaar is recalled from a rest following his latest stint with South Africa. He partners Paddy Jackson at half back as Paul Marshall is pushed to the bench.

“There were some difficult decisions but that’s what you want.” Anscombe said of the tight calls in his in-form squad. “The guys who have missed out this week have been outstandingly positive and that’s very pleasing.”

Ulster’s record away from home in Europe is less pleasing as they have managed just 12 out of 52. Defeat would end the northern province’s astounding 100 percent record in 13 games this season.

Ulster (v Northampton): J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, P Wallace, A Trimble; P Jackson, R Pienaar:  T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry, R Wilson;
Replacements : N Brady, C Black, R Lutton, R Diack, N Williams, P Marshall, L Marshall, C Gilroy.

Under the knife: Stephen Ferris had surgery on his ankle today

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