Aironi v Ulster preview

Ulster travel to Italy to take on Aironi on Saturday in their Heineken Cup Pool 4 fixture after beating the Italians at Ravenhill last Friday, 31-10; kick-off is at 2.30pm.

Brian McLaughlin’s side are currently second in Pool 4 after their first three games saw them picking up two wins over Clermont and Aironi, and losing their second fixture to Leicester in November.

Aironi are bottom of Ulster’s pool with three defeats from their three games played and the Italians will be hoping to get their first win against Ulster this Saturday.

The Italian team are on a terrible run of games and haven’t picked up a win since they beat Edinburgh in the RaboDirect Pro12 back in September.

Since then, Aironi have gone on a nine-game run of straight defeats with last week’s loss at the hands of Ulster coming off the back of a massive 50-10 defeat to Edinburgh at the beginning of December.

Stephen Ferris will be hoping to continue his recent try-scoring form after getting on the scoresheet against Aironi at Ravenhill last week, having previously notched two tries against the Scarlets the week before.

Adam D’Arcy, Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson all grabbed tries against Aironi too, with Ian Humphries kicking three out of the five conversions, to secure the bonus point and put Ulster one point ahead of Leicester in Pool 4.

Clermont did the Ulstermen a favour last weekend when they beat Leicester 30-12 at the Stade Marcel Michelin to keep the top three teams in Pool 4 within two points of each other; making it the tightest pool in the Heineken Cup this year.

Ulster’s provisional 34-man squad includes Nevin Spence, who withdrew from last week’s game early with a rib injury but the centre will be assessed before Saturday’s trip to Italy, and may still play a part in the game; Paddy Wallace, Declan Fitzgerald and Jared Payne are still out with long term injuries.

Aironi are capable of shock defeats at their home ground, Stadio Brianteo in Monza; none more so than their victory over former European champions Biarritz last year in the pool stages of the Heinken Cup.

Ulster are still strong favourites however, and you can check out some of the options on them here, at

Ulster Squad:

Forwards: Paddy McAllister, Callum Black, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, John Afoa, Jerry Cronin, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Rory Best, Lewis Stevenson, Johann Muller (captain), Dan Tuohy, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Stephen Ferris, Michael McComish, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack
Backs: Paul Marshall, Ian Porter, Ruan Pienaar, Ian Humphreys, Paddy Jackson, Nevin Spence, Luke Marshall, Ian Whitten, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy, Simon Danielli, Andrew Trimble, Adam D’Arcy, Stefan Terblanche


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