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O’Sullivan And Kernohan Earn First PRO14 Starts For Ulster

O’Sullivan And Kernohan Earn First PRO14 Starts For Ulster

There are six changes to Ulster’s starting XV for their GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with the Toyota Cheetahs at Toyota Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 7.15pm local time/6.15pm Irish time).

Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy players Eric O’Sullivan and Angus Kernohan are set to make their first starts for the province after producing impressive performances off the bench in recent weeks, including in last Sunday’s 28-7 win over the Isuzu Southern Kings.

The other newcomers to the team this week are tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst, blindside flanker Matthew Rea, scrum half David Shanahan and full-back Will Addison, who was a late withdrawal before the Kings game due to illness.

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O’Sullivan and Herbst will pack down in the front row alongside captain Rob Herring, while Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell are retained in the second row. The selection of Rea sees a slight reshuffle in the back row, with the in-form Marcell Coetzee moving to number 8, while Sean Reidy stays in the number 7 jersey.

Shanahan comes in at scrum half for John Cooney, who sustained a head injury during the three-try victory in Port Elizabeth, and he will partner Billy Burns at half-back. Henry Speight shifts to the centre to play alongside Stuart McCloskey, so the 19-year-old Kernohan, who scored his first senior try as a replacement against the Kings, gets an opportunity from the start. Addison and Craig Gilroy complete the starting back-line.

Forwards John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Jean Deysel and Nick Timoney will hope to provide head coach Dan McFarland with plenty of impact off the bench. Jonny Stewart is poised to make his first appearance of the season if called upon, while fellow backs Angus Curtis and Darren Cave are also in the matchday 23.

ULSTER (v Toyota Cheetahs): Will Addison; Craig Gilroy, Henry Speight, Stuart McCloskey, Angus Kernohan; Billy Burns, David Shanahan; Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring (capt), Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee;

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Jean Deysel, Nick Timoney, Jonny Stewart, Angus Curtis, Darren Cave.