Oh, how much easier it is to look optimistically at this season after a game like last weekend. I had more than a little trepidation facing into Friday evening. Sure, they had a few injuries, but so did we. They were resting their best scrum half but it seemed ours only had one arm. Whether they have been playing well coming into the derby or not, Ulster have traditionally been able to outmuscle Connacht and drag a result out of the game. When Ulster have been on form, they’ve often ripped Connacht to shreds. And Ulster had been on form so far.
Though I may live to regret this statement, there’s seemingly never been a better time to face Ulster either at home or away. The summer brought unheralded transition and upheaval as we all know, but the new season has brought injuries in key areas. At second row Ulster are now, at least while O’Connor serves his ban, probably even worse off than Connacht. Cave appears to be either out of favour or brushed aside as a result of Payne’s pursuit of a green jersey, and there is endless speculation about the two on the Ulster fan forum. Meanwhile, Trimble and Luke Marshall are recently injured, adding to the list of key players out of commission including Henderson, Tuohy and Pienaar. Continue reading