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Ulster Ravens Side Boasts Senior Experience

Ulster Ravens Side Boasts Senior Experience

Ulster Ravens welcome Cardiff to Ravenhill this Saturday for a crucial British & Irish Cup Pool 1 encounter (kick-off 2.30pm).

Allen Clarke’s selected Ulster Ravens team contains 14 players who have represented the province at senior level, with a further three on the bench.

The side is captained by Neil McComb, who has been in impressive form in his recent RaboDirect PRO12 outings.

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The front five is made up entirely of Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins players as McComb is joined by fellow lock James Simpson and front rowers Conor Carey, Richard Lutton and Niall Annett.

Malone clubman Conor Joyce is in the back row along with Ali Birch and Mike McComish.

Belfast Harlequins duo Michael Heaney and Stuart Olding pair up again at half-back, with Niall O’Connor and Michael Allen forming the centre partnership. Wingers Chris Cochrane and Ricky Andrew join Adam D’Arcy in the back-three.

Rob Herring, who has made nine senior appearances since his arrival in the summer, will provide quality back up for Annett at hooker.

Adam Macklin will make his return from a medial ligament injury having been named as the replacement prop. Alan O’Connor and Sean O’Connell will cover lock and back row respectively.

The back-line replacements are development scrum half Blane McIlroy, young Dungannon centre Stuart McCloskey and Ireland Under-20 full-back/winger Rory Scholes.

The Ravens started the campaign well with a comprehensive 49-19 win at home to Bridgend in mid-October. The following week proved more difficult as a trip to former cup winners Bristol ended in a 34-28 loss.

However, Clarke’s charges did manage to claim two bonus points for finishing within seven points of a strong Bristol outfit and for scoring four tries.

They currently sit second in the table on seven points, just one behind Bristol. Cardiff are yet to pick up a win in the competition and occupy the bottom pool position as a result.

Tickets for the game are available to either pre-purchase or to buy at the gate on Saturday afternoon. Full details are available on www.UlsterRugby.com.

ULSTER RAVENS (v Cardiff): Adam D’Arcy; Ricky Andrew, Michael Allen, Niall O’Connor, Chris Cochrane; Stuart Olding, Michael Heaney: Conor Carey, Niall Annett, Richard Lutton, James Simpson, Neil McComb (capt), Conor Joyce, Ali Birch, Mike McComish.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Adam Macklin, Alan O’Connor, Sean O’Connell, Blane McIlroy, Stuart McCloskey, Rory Scholes.