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Ulster Hand Senior Debut To Sevens Flyer Baloucoune

Ulster Hand Senior Debut To Sevens Flyer Baloucoune

Ulster have handed Ireland Sevens international Robert Baloucoune his senior debut for the province, with the young winger set to feature against the Dragons in the GUINNESS PRO14 at Kingspan Stadium on Friday (kick-off 7.55pm).

Robert Baloucoune was part of the Ireland Men’s Sevens team that captured the Challenge trophy to finish ninth overall at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July, while he also won the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series title with the men in green last month.

The 21-year-old speedster, who developed his game at Portora Royal School and Enniskillen RFC, is one of three Academy players in Ulster’s starting XV, with Banbridge duo Michael Lowry and Eric O’Sullivan included at full-back and loosehead prop respectively. Tickets for the round 7 game are available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

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Australia international Henry Speight has recovered from a knee injury he picked up against the Toyota Cheetahs in September and will join young guns Baloucoune and Lowry in the back-three.

Will Addison, who was named in the Ireland squad yesterday for the November internationals, will partner Stuart McCloskey in midfield, while Johnny McPhillips and David Shanahan, who touched down against Toulouse in the Champions Cup, will combine in the half-back positions.

O’Sullivan will pack down alongside his captain and Banbridge club-mate Rory Best, as well as Martin Moore. Iain Henderson and Kieran Treadwell are paired together in the second row, with Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee selected together as the loose forward trio.

Rob Herring, who also sustained a toe injury against the Cheetahs, has returned to the squad and will provide back-up for Best at hooker. Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Greg Jones, who could feature for the first time since January, are the other forward replacements.

Jonny Stewart, Craig Gilroy and Academy winger Angus Kernohan are the back-line options for head coach Dan McFarland as the province resume their GUINNESS PRO14 campaign on home soil.

ULSTER (v Dragons): Michael Lowry; Robert Baloucoune, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Henry Speight; Johnny McPhillips, David Shanahan; Eric O’Sullivan, Rory Best (capt), Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Greg Jones, Jonny Stewart, Angus Kernohan, Craig Gilroy.