Ulster Ravens coach Neil Doak has named his starting line-up and replacements for Saturday’s British & Irish Cup semi-final against Munster at Thomond Park (kick-off 3.30pm).
Ulster Ravens topped Pool C in the British & Irish Cup with an unbeaten won 4, drawn 1 record.
The Ravens attained victories at Ravenhill against Bedford Blues (29-3), London Welsh (21-17) and Aberavon (62-0), and also won away at Moseley (32-21) and drew at Llanelli (21-21).
Neil Doak’s side, along with Doncaster, finished the pool stages with the best attacking record, having scored 22 tries in their five matches.
Commenting on Saturday’s interprovincial derby, Doak said: “Training has been going really well this week. We all know the experience Munster have. They have a big squad that they can rotate, which feeds into their ‘A’ team.
“It is always hard travelling to Thomond Park to play Munster. With the British & Irish Cup game being played before the Munster v Ospreys Magners League fixture, there should be a great atmosphere for the players.
“This is the younger players’ chance to shine on a big stage. If we perform well and do the basics well, we have a good chance.”
Ulster and Ireland Wolfhounds hooker Nigel Brady will captain the Ravens side on Saturday.
Ulster’s resources will be tested by two big games over the weekend, the second of which is the senior side’s Magners League trip to Edinburgh on Sunday.
Interestingly, Doak’s selection includes seven players from the Queen’s University side that topped AIB League Division 3 in fine style.
Queen’s half-backs James McKinney and Ian Porter are a talented pair, while full-back David McIlwaine, centre Jonny Shiels and lock Andrew Linton all touched down for the Belfast students in their Division 3 semi-final win over Banbridge last Saturday.
Brady and Declan Fitzpatrick add some experience in the Ravens front row, with Chris Cochrane and top try scorer Tommy Seymour offering plenty of pace on the wings.
American international Scott La Valla, who will captain Dublin University next season, will get another chance to impress the Ulster management – this time off the base of the Ravens scrum.
ULSTER RAVENS (v Munster): David McIlwaine (Queen’s University); Chris Cochrane (Dungannon), Michael Allen (Belfast Harlequins), Jonny Shiels (Queen’s University), Tommy Seymour (Ballymena); James McKinney (Queen’s University), Ian Porter (Queen’s University); Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch), Nigel Brady (Dungannon) (capt), Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon), Andrew Linton (Queen’s University), Neil McComb (Belfast Harlequins), Ali Birch (Dungannon), Stephen Dougall (Malone), Scott La Valla (Dublin University).
Replacements: Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins), Paul Karayiannis (Queen’s University), Neville Magee (Dungannon), Stuart McKenzie (Dungannon), Michael Pyper (Queen’s University), Luke Marshall (Ballymena), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon).
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