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Whitten To Captain Ulster Ravens

Whitten To Captain Ulster Ravens

Ireland international Ian Whitten will captain the Ulster Ravens in Friday night’s British & Irish Cup opener against the Bedford Blues at Ravenhill (kick-off 7.30pm).

Ulster Ravens coach Neil Doak has named his team and replacements to take on Bedford in the opening round of the British & Irish Cup, the new cross border competition. 

The Ulster side will be captained by Ireland centre Ian Whitten who features in an exciting back-line along with other young guns Tommy Seymour, Jonny Shiels and Chris Cochrane.

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Up front, there is a more experienced flavour to Doak’s selection. Bryan Young, Andy Kyriacou and Dan Tuohy, who all featured for Ireland ‘A’ against Tonga last week, will start along with fit-again flanker David Pollock.

Ian Humphreys, another ‘A’ international and Ulster’s top scorer in this season’s Magners League, could feature off the bench.

In a late change to the bench, Thomas Anderson has been withdrawn as a precaution due to a knee injury, with Chris Henry stepping in for him. 

Looking forward to the challenge of the British & Irish Cup, Ravens captain Whitten said: “Being captain just adds that little bit of intensity to the game. I captained Queen’s in my third year at University, that was a couple of years ago, so it was a bit of a surprise really when I was asked to be captain.

“I have done it before and enjoyed the experience, so I will make the most of it and try and do my best.

“The Blues are a good side, make no mistake about that. They play a good brand of rugby, and like to move the ball to the touchlines.

“They have quality half-backs, so we have got to be aware of what they can do and try and stop them from playing rugby, then hopefully we can play a bit ourselves.

“Our intention is to win every game, I think that with there being such a big break at this time of the season it is important to give the boys some game-time.

“We need to hit the ground running for the beginning of December, so it is important that the boys stay sharp and it’s important that we win on Friday night.”

Tickets for Friday’s match at Ravenhill will be available on the gates, which open from 6pm. Tickets are priced at £15 for the stand and £10 adults/£5 children for the promenade.

However, supporters are reminded of the savings they can make, particularly on child stand tickets if they purchase in advance online from the Ulster Rugby website, from the Ravenhill Ticket Office or Ticketline on 028 9049 3222 (Option 2).

ULSTER RAVENS (v Bedford Blues): Clinton Schifcoske; Tommy Seymour, Jonny Shiels, Ian Whitten (capt), Chris Cochrane; Niall O’Connor; Paul Marshall; Bryan Young, Andy Kyriacou, Declan Fitzpatrick, Dan Tuohy, Neil McComb, David Pollock, Willie Faloon, Tamaiti Horua.

Replacements: Nigel Brady, Paddy McAllister, Ed O’Donoghue, Chris Henry, Cillian Willis, Ian Humphreys, Jamie Smith.