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Warwick, Short Return For Connacht

Warwick, Short Return For Connacht

Connacht have made two changes to their starting XV for tonight’s Celtic League visit to meet Ulster at Ravenhill – both Paul Warwick and Christian Short come back into the side.

Paul Warwick fails to prevent a try for Munster’s Marcus Horan last weekend

Connacht have made two changes to their starting XV for tonight’s Celtic League visit to Ravenhill to meet Ulster – both Paul Warwick and Christian Short come back into the side.

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CELTIC LEAGUE: Friday, October 7

Ulster v Connacht, Ravenhill, 7.10pm (live Setanta Sports)

Home side Ulster have made one change – Bryn Cunningham comes back in at full-back in place of Paddy Wallace.

The 27-year-old Cunningham has yet to play a league match this season but is fit again after a shoulder problem, which he sustained against Rotherham Titans in a pre-season friendly.

The switch means Wallace, who scored a try but put in a lacklustre display on the whole against Leinster last week, drops back down to the bench.

Joining him there is new Ulster signing Isaac Boss. The Irish-qualified scrum half lined out for Ulster ‘A’ against their Leinster counterparts last Friday night, and will be expecting some action against the westerners.

Ulster coach Mark McCall said of tonight’s Interprovincial tie: “There are expectations of us at home this Friday, but no one on this team are underestimating a Connacht side, who simply never lie down.

“Although Munster put over 40 points on them last weekend, there was only a point of difference at half-time and at Llanelli, Connacht pushed the Welsh side all the way.

“They are coming up to Ravenhill desperate to get something and we know if we are not at our best and do not give them the respect they deserve we could fall flat on our faces.”

Ulster’s unbeaten start to the season was ended by Leinster (30-23) last Saturday so Mark McCall’s side will be doubly determined to see off Connacht. History is certainly with Ulster.

Connacht’s only win in their last ten clashes with Ulster was back in November 2003 (31-20, The Sportsground, Galway). The westerners have not won in Belfast for almost 45 years – losing on each of their last 23 visits to Ravenhill since November 1960.

Connacht coach Michael Bradley has made two changes to his side from last weekend’s 44-19 loss to Munster at the Sportsground. Fly-half Warwick, who was a substitute against Munster, comes in for the injured David Slemen at number 10 with former Ireland Under-21 John Hearty taking his place on the bench.

Short replaces Andrew Gallagher in the second row, with Michael Swift coming into the squad amongst the replacements. Joe Merrigan also takes hooker Chris Venter’s place on the bench.

ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Tommy Bowe, Kevin Maggs, Andrew Trimble, James Topping; David Humphreys, Kieran Campbell; Justin Fitzpatrick, Rory Best, Simon Best (Capt), Justin Harrison, Matt McCullough, Neil Best, Neil McMillan, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: Paul Shields, Bryan Young, Rowan Frost, Campbell Feather, Isaac Boss, Paddy Wallace, Tyrone Howe.

CONNACHT: Matt Mostyn; Keith Matthews, Darren Yapp, James Downey, Conor McPhillips; Paul Warwick, Chris Keane; Ray Hogan, John Fogarty, Stephen Knoop, Christian Short, Andrew Farley (Capt), John Muldoon, Matt Lacey, Colm Rigney.

Replacement: Joe Merrigan, Dan McFarland, Michael Swift, Brendan O’Connor, Conor O’Loughlin, John Hearty, Ted Robinson.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Leinster)