Ulster ‘A’ coaches Kieran Campbell and Willie Anderson have named their squad that will travel to Jersey for Saturday’s final British & Irish Cup pool game at St. Peter (kick-off 2pm).
With the Ulstermen currently sitting top of Pool 1, the team will make the trip knowing that a win would guarantee both a spot in the knockout stages for the first time in five years, and a home quarter-final.
Alan O’Connor will add considerable experience to the Ulster pack as he makes his first appearance since returning from an injury obtained in the Champions Cup win over Exeter in October. O’Connor will captain the side from the second row where he is partnered by John Donnan.
It will be a new-look front row for Ulster ‘A’ as hooker Jonny Murphy is joined by Eric O’Sullivan and Peter Cooper. The back row of Stephen Mulholland, Conor Joyce and Lorcan Dow, which functioned so effectively in last week’s 38-21 win over London Scottish, is retained.
The half-back pairing of Jonny Stewart and Johnny McPhillips also remain in place as the management opt for youth across the back-line for the crucial round 6 clash. Ireland Under-20 star Jacob Stockdale joins the Hughes Insurance Ulster Academy pairing of David Busby and Jack Owens in the back-three, while fellow Academy player Rory Butler comes in to partner Mark Best in midfield.
Zack McCall, Chris Cundell, Matthew Rea and Nick Timoney are named as the forward replacements, while Johnny Creighton, Andrew Magrath and Callum Patterson will provide backline cover from the bench.
ULSTER ‘A’ (v Jersey Reds): Jack Owens; David Busby, Rory Butler, Mark Best, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny McPhillips, Jonny Stewart; Eric O’Sullivan, Jonny Murphy, Peter Cooper, Alan O’Connor (capt), John Donnan, Stephen Mulholland, Conor Joyce, Lorcan Dow.
Replacements: Zack McCall, Chris Cundell, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Johnny Creighton, Andrew Magrath, Callum Patterson.