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Spence To Make First Start For Ulster

Spence To Make First Start For Ulster

Nevin Spence, who starred during the Ireland Under-20s’ recent Championship-winning campaign, has been named in the Ulster team for Friday’s Magners League match against Glasgow Warriors at Firhill Stadium (kick-off 7.05pm).

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has made seven changes in personnel to the team that went down 38-27 to the Ospreys on Tuesday.

With Paddy Wallace nursing a thigh injury, Simon Danielli switches to the full-back role and Ireland Under-20 international Nevin Spence comes in to make his full competitive debut for the province.

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Spence was used as a replacement towards the end of the Ospreys game.

The half-backs have been changed for the Scottish trip as Niall O’Connor and Isaac Boss drop to the bench and Ian Humphreys and Paul Marshall get a chance to impress from the start.

With four changes up front, McLaughlin has plumped for an entirely new front row in the form of Tom Court, Andi Kyriacou and Declan Fitzpatrick.

Kyriacou comes in for the injured Rory Best (calf) at hooker, and the final change sees Ryan Caldwell preferred to Dan Tuohy in the second row. Nigel Brady and Jamie Smith have been added to the replacements.

Speaking on Thursday morning, McLaughlin said: “We’re travelling to Glasgow this afternoon by boat, as the airports are now closed and we’re about to have our Captain’s Run at lunchtime.

“We had a good review of Tuesday night’s game against the Ospreys and we’ve got to look at our defence, we’re still suffering from inconsistency around our defence.

“For Andrew Trimble’s try, our defence was magnificent and for Simon Danielli’s try that also came from a defensive turnover, so we have to be more consistent in defence.

“Our set piece on Tuesday night was a lot more solid, we just have to stop giving away soft tries, Shane Williams’ try was a prime example and we gifted James Hook two tries under the posts so we must improve in this aspect of our play.

“Glasgow are another quality side and we’re expecting a very tough game. It’s been a quick turnaround for us, physically we’re in good shape so now we just have to get the boys mentally right for this very important game.”

ULSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Simon Danielli; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Nevin Spence; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall; Tom Court, Andi Kyriacou, Declan Fitzpatrick, Ed O’Donoghue, Ryan Caldwell, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry (capt), Robbie Diack.

Replacements: Nigel Brady, BJ Botha, Dan Tuohy, David Pollock, Isaac Boss, Niall O’Connor, Jamie Smith.