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Changes Made For Ulster Ravens’ Bristol Clash

Changes Made For Ulster Ravens’ Bristol Clash

A strong Ulster Ravens team has been named for their British & Irish Cup Pool 1 encounter with former champions Bristol at the Memorial Ground on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

The selected Ulster Ravens side sees five personnel changes and two positional switches from last weekend’s comprehensive 49-19 win over Bridgend.

All five newcomers to the team have featured prominently for the senior side so far this season – Michael Allen, Luke Marshall and Michael Heaney in the backs, and Robbie Diack and Adam Macklin in the forwards.

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Diack will start in a strong back row alongside Ali Birch and Roger Wilson, who is continuing his return to action following a hamstring tear.

Macklin comes in at tighthead prop to link up with fellow Belfast Harlequins front rowers Niall Annett and Richard Lutton. Alan O’Connor and Neil McComb will continue their second row partnership, with the latter named as captain.

In the backs, Marshall and Allen will form an all-new centre pairing with Stuart Olding moving from inside centre to the out-half berth.

Heaney will start at scrum half in place of Blane McIlroy. Peter Nelson and Chris Cochrane are again named in the back-three, with Ricky Andrew switching from outside centre to the right wing to cover for the injured Adam D’Arcy.

The province’s bench also has a strong look about it with the experienced Nigel Brady covering hooker. Academy players Kyle McCall, James Simpson and Conor Joyce are the other forward replacements.

McIlroy, out-half Niall O’Connor and Dungannon outside back Stuart McCloskey will provide cover for the back-line positions.

The Ulster Ravens picked up five points against Bridgend and have a wealth of experience in their management team this season with Allen Clarke, Gary Longwell, Alan Rankin, Kieran Campbell and David Drake all involved.

ULSTER RAVENS (v Bristol): Peter Nelson; Ricky Andrew, Michael Allen, Luke Marshall, Chris Cochrane; Stuart Olding, Michael Heaney; Richard Lutton, Niall Annett, Adam Macklin, Alan O’Connor, Neil McComb (capt), Robbie Diack, Ali Birch, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: Nigel Brady, Kyle McCall, James Simpson, Conor Joyce, Blane McIlroy, Niall O’Connor, Stuart McCloskey.