Ulster wing Craig Gilroy ready to face 'unpredictable' Barbarians

Rob Herring (left) and Craig Gilroy will both be in action for Ulster against the Barbarians
Rob Herring (left) will captain Ulster against the Barbarians on Thursday with Craig Gilroy hoping to score tries in what's expected to be an entertaining game
Friendly: Ulster v Barbarians
Date: Thursday, 1 June Venue: Kingspan Stadium Kick-off: 19:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Red button and the BBC Sport website from 19:20

Ulster winger Craig Gilroy hopes the province can finish a "disappointing" season by entertaining fans against the Barbarians in Belfast on Thursday.

"It's been a tough season for us in a few ways so hopefully we can finish with some running rugby," said Gilroy.

"The Barbarians are going to throw the ball about. Hopefully we can do the same and have a bit of fun."

Thursday's match at Kingspan Stadium will be live on the BBC Red button and the BBC Sport website.

Former France star Thierry Dusautoir is captaining a strong Barbarians squad which also includes Australian star Adam Ashley-Cooper, England players Alex Goode and Steffon Armitage, Samoan trio Census Johnston, Joe Tekori and Kahn Fotuali'i plus Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan.

The Baa-Baas were beaten 28-14 by a young England side at Twickenham on Sunday.

Thierry Dusautoir
Thierry Dusautoir will be part of the Barbarians squad at Kingspan Stadium

Entertaining encounter anticipated

Ireland winger Gilroy expects the visitors to Kingspan Stadium to play their traditional expansive game against an Ulster squad which is set to include the retiring Roger Wilson and the departing Ruan Pienaar.

"They are so unpredictable - I've played against them a few times now, we just have to keep talking because they could throw whatever at us.

"It's good to have the Baa-Baas game for Ruan and Roger. They had a good send-off against Leinster but they have one last chance to pull on the jersey.

"It was a disappointing season with no silverware but I think the guys we brought in did a great job for us and it was obviously good to finish with a win against Leinster.

"Ultimately we want to see some silverware as players. I think next season might be a bit different with the changes in personnel and coaches so that could maybe be seen as a bit of a fresh start."

'Disappointed' to be omitted from Ireland squad

The Ulster squad will return for pre-season training on 3 July, but Gilroy is preparing himself to play before then should he be called into action by Ireland.

"I was a bit disappointed not to be in the original squad but Joe (Schmidt) just said to me he knows what I can do and he wants to give some other guys a bit of an opportunity and that I'm still on standby.

"I just have to take what he said and keep ticking over. I have to bring my boots and my gum shield wherever I go in case I get the call.

"There are always injuries. There'll be injuries with the Lions and they'll have a knock-on effect on the national team as well so I'll keep myself ticking over and if the call comes I'll be ready.

"If not, I'll just enjoy a bit of time off and come back here and look forward to hitting the ground running for next season."

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