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Five Players Return To Boost Ulster Ranks

Five Players Return To Boost Ulster Ranks

Ulster have been boosted by the return of five players from injury ahead of their opening Heineken Champions Cup Pool 4 match against Leicester Tigers at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).

Craig Gilroy, Jordi Murphy, Will Addison, Michael Lowry and Martin Moore are all included in the province’s matchday 23 after overcoming their respective injuries. Tickets for the much-anticipated European opener are available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

It will be competitive debut for Ireland international Moore if introduced off the bench, while fellow summer signings Murphy, Addison and Billy Burns will make their Champions Cup bows for Ulster, having previously represented other teams in the competition.

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The 20-year-old Lowry, a member of the Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy, and South African powerhouse Marcell Coetzee are set to make their European debuts after being named in the starting XV at full-back and blindside flanker respectively.

Rory Best will skipper the side from hooker and pack down in the front row alongside Andrew Warwick and Ross Kane. Coetzee and Murphy will combine in an explosive back row that also features Nick Timoney, a try scorer against Connacht last Friday, while Iain Henderson and Alan O’Connor are paired together again in the second row.

Burns and John Cooney will operate in the half-back positions, the latter having scored 49 points in his first European campaign with Ulster last season. The in-form Stuart McCloskey is joined by Addison in midfield, and Jacob Stockdale, who made a try-scoring return last week, combines with Lowry and Gilroy in the back-three.

Head coach Dan McFarland has selected Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Moore, Kieran Treadwell and Sean Reidy as the forward replacements. Dave Shanahan, Angus Curtis (20) and 19-year-old winger Angus Kernohan are his back-line reinforcements.

ULSTER (v Leicester Tigers): Michael Lowry; Craig Gilroy, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Rory Best (capt), Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson, Marcell Coetzee, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Martin Moore, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan.