The Abbey Insurance-sponsored Ulster Rugby Academy will take on an Ulster Clubs Talent Radar Select XV this evening at Banbridge RFC (kick-off 6.30pm).
The Ulster Clubs Talent Radar Select team will be a collection of the best club talent throughout the province. The team will be coached by Banbridge RFC director of rugby Dan Soper and Ballymena RFC head coach Andy Graham, and managed by Banbridge’s Gareth Bronte.
Commenting on the organisation of this unique fixture, Kieran Campbell, who is the Head of the Ulster Rugby Academy, said: “This is a new idea aimed at giving club players an opportunity to show off their ability and test themselves against our Academy roster. It’s very important for us to ensure we remain integrated with the club game, and for the players involved it is a chance to stake a claim for a place within the player development pathway at Ulster.
“We are always open to providing opportunities for players why may not have came through the traditional route, as we have seen in recent times with the likes of Matthew Rea, Tommy O’Hagan, Callum Patterson and even Stuart McCloskey, who was somewhat of a late starter.
“I know Dan and Andy will have the team well prepared and I expect a full-blooded encounter, so it should be a really enjoyable and beneficial game.”
ULSTER RUGBY ACADEMY: Conor Kelly; Angus Kernohan, Josh Jordan, Rory Butler, Robert Balacoune; Callum Smith, Michael Stronge; Eric O’Sullivan, Adam McBurney, Peter Cooper, Jack Regan, John McCusker, Aaron Hall, Stuart Doddington.
Replacements: Alexander Clarke, Anton Lupari, Josh Bill, Tommy O’Hagan, Tom O’Toole, Matthew Dalton, Matthew Agnew, Rhys O’Donnell, Stewart Moore.
ULSTER CLUBS TALENT RADAR SELECT: Rodger McBurney (Ballymena); Tom Caesar (Exile), Andrew Morrison (Banbridge), Michael Cartmill (Malone), Matthew Norris (Ballymena); Chris Swash, Glen Baillie (Ballymena); Michael Cromie (Banbridge), Peter Cromie (Banbridge), Sean O’Hagan (Dungannon), Ronan McCusker (Rainey Old Boys), Connor Smyth (Ballymena), Robin Sinton (Banbridge), Zac Ward, Adrian Hamilton (Ballymena).
Replacements: Ross Harkin (City of Derry), David Cave (Malone), Darryl Morton (City of Armagh), Steven Irvine (Banbridge), James Gallagher (Belfast Harlequins), Richard Fahy, Jonny Little (Banbridge), Michael Poskitt (Coleraine).