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Ulster Include Experienced Trio In Squad

Ulster Include Experienced Trio In Squad

Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe has named a 26-man squad ahead of Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 opener against Glasgow Warriors at Ravenhill (kick-off 7.05pm), his first competitive game in charge.

Paul Marshall, Darren Cave and Tom Court have all been included in the panel for the first round clash with the Scottish side in Belfast.

The trio will add experience to a youthful squad that has registered impressive pre-season wins over Bayonne and Newcastle Falcons and also drew with Leicester Tigers.

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New signings Sean Doyle, Nick Williams and Michael Heaney are set to make their competitive debuts for the province.

Speaking ahead of the Glasgow game, Mark Anscombe told URTV: “It’s been a good pre-season, a good eight weeks. We’ve been training in mixed conditions – we’ve had the good and bad – but we’ve managed to put in a lot of good work.

“We’ve had three games that have allowed us to look at the depth of the squad, and we’ve had an opportunity to look at some of the players who haven’t had a lot of game-time for Ulster in the past. It’s been really worthwhile.

“We have some outstanding, world class players here but they’re not available all the time. The fact is if we’re going to be consistent and be competitive and do well in the Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12, we can’t rely just on those (top) players.

“We’ve got to build our depth and our player base, so that gives the young guys a chance to show they can play at this level. They’ve done it in pre-season and now they have to go into the heat of the fire (in competitive games), keep the composure and perform as we need them to do.”

Asked about the support at Ravenhill during the pre-season fixtures, the New Zealander added: “I come from a country that loves their rugby but the crowds don’t support their teams like that.

“To get the noise created by 7,000 in pre-season…I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like when there is a full house. I think it will be quite inspirational.”

Tickets for the Ulster v Glasgow Warriors match are still available by calling 02890493222 (241) or by clicking here.

ULSTER Squad (v Glasgow Warriors) – Backs (11): Peter Nelson, Jared Payne, Niall O’Connor, Michael Heaney, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Paul Marshall, Chris Farrell, Michael Allen, Darren Cave.

Forwards (15): Niall Annett, Adam Macklin, Callum Black, John Afoa, Lewis Stevenson, Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Johann Muller, Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle, Nick Williams, Rob Herring, Tom Court, Nigel Brady, Declan Fitzpatrick.