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Saracens Gain Revenge

Tuesday 13th December 2005

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 13/12/2005 16:13

- 13/12/2005 16:13

Ulster flanker Neil McMillan has won his race to fitness for this weekend’s crunch Heineken Cup game against Saracens at Vicarage Road this Saturday.
McMillan sustained an injury to his ribs during Friday night’s match and was replaced by Stephen Ferris at half-time, however a scan revealed no bone damage and he has recovered sufficiently to take his place in Saturday’s line-up.

His inclusion sees Mark McCall naming an unchanged starting line-up for the match following Ulster’s 19 – 10 victory at Ravenhill last Friday night. The only change on the bench is the return of Justin Fitzpatrick, who has recovered from a hand injury and who replaces Rod Moore.

This Saturday’s match will see Ulster stalwart David Humphreys make his 50th Heineken Cup appearance and enter the “Elite 50” club of players. He will be only the 18th player in the history of the competition to reach this landmark, joining former Ulster team-mate Gary Longwell.

Meanwhile Ben Johnston and Taine Randell have been passed fit for Saracens but there is no place on the bench for Andy Farrell.

 The Saracens coaching staff waited until this morning for assessments on the trio and the final selection sees Johnston come into the starting line-up to replace the injured Kevin Sorrell in the only change to the starting XV. Randell takes a place on the bench.


Head Coach Mike Ford said: “Andy Farrell is not ready yet, but we’re delighted to welcome back Ben Johnston and Taine Randell. Johnston will take the place of Sorrell who was injured during last week’s game at Ravenhill while Randell is named on the bench.”


Saracens lost 19-10 at Ravenhill last week and will be looking for a victory over the Belfast side to maintain hopes of reaching the qualifying stages of the competition.


“It should be an exciting game,” added Ford. “Both sides will be looking to play football and with the table as it currently stands, bonus points will start to become important, but the first thing we have to concentrate on is to win. We know that Ulster are a very good side, but it’s a game we are looking forward to.”


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Saracens Gain Revenge

Tuesday 13th December 2005

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 13/12/2005 16:13

- 13/12/2005 16:13

Ulster’s hopes of quarter-final qualification were dealt a huge blow by their defeat to Saracens at Vicarage Road.
Ulster boss Mark McCall was able to name the same starting line-up who ground out last weekend’s 19-10 win after flanker Neil McMillan recovered from a rib injury.

But the result was not to be repeated after a determined effort by the home side.

Ulster fly-half David Humphreys missed an early shot at goal after some powerful driving from the visitors’ in-form backrow, but it was the home No 8 who scored the first points.

Saracens centre Johnston chipped through a flat Ulster defence and backrower Ben Skirving galloped through to collect the ball and score near the uprights.

Ulster hit back with a stunning length-of-the-field try. Backrower Neil McMillan charged down Thomas Castaignede’s dropped-goal attempt and linked with Paul Steinmetz, who spun the ball wide to give right winger Tommy Bowe the space for a 50-metre run to the line.

But Saracens went into the half leading 12-7 when prop Kevin Yates powered over from close range.

The visiting Irish side held on in a frantic second half, and trailed by just five points after Tommy Bowe had levelled Ben Skirving’s early try, and they thought they had snatched a dramatic late win when Kevin Maggs touched down a minute from time following a break by the wing.

But the video official ruled out the score after stating Bowe had put his foot in touch under Dan Scarbrough’s tackle before delivering his pass to Maggs.

When Glenn Jackson added a penalty five minutes into injury time, Ulster lost their losing bonus point.


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