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Coetzee Ends Injury Spell As Ulster Resume PRO14 Campaign Against Kings

Coetzee Ends Injury Spell As Ulster Resume PRO14 Campaign Against Kings

Fit-again back rower Marcell Coetzee needs game-time ahead of Ulster's Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster in Dublin ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made five personnel changes to the team for Saturday’s crucial GUINNESS PRO14 tie against the Isuzu Southern Kings at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 5.30pm).

McFarland’s men are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions and will hope to continue that recent good form as they battle for a play-off spot in Conference B. Tickets for the round 18 game, which is Ulster Rugby’s annual family fixture, are available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets, with junior tickets costing just £5.

Four of the new faces are up front, with loosehead prop Andrew Warwick, lock Ian Nagle and back rowers Matthew Rea and Marcell Coetzee reintroduced to the starting pack. Coetzee will make a welcome return from a hamstring injury, having not featured since January’s decisive Heineken Champions Cup pool defeat of Leicester Tigers.

Rob Herring and Martin Moore will join Warwick in the front row, while captain Alan O’Connor partners Nagle in the second row. Nick Timoney, so impressive during the province’s 28-15 bonus point win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade last time out, is named as the other loose forward.

The only alteration to the back-line is at half-back where David Shanahan comes in to partner Billy Burns. Darren Cave and Stuart McCloskey continue together in midfield, and pacy wingers Robert Lyttle and Robert Baloucoune, who both touched against Zebre recently, are again selected in the back-three alongside Louis Ludik.

John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst and Tom O’Toole will provide front row cover on the bench, while Kieran Treadwell and Clive Ross are the other forward options. John Cooney, Michael Lowry and Angus Kernohan, who helped the Ireland Under-20s claim a terrific Six Nations Grand Slam last weekend, are the back-line replacements.

ULSTER (v Isuzu Southern Kings): Louis Ludik; Robert Baloucoune, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Robert Lyttle; Billy Burns, David Shanahan; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor (capt), Ian Nagle, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross, John Cooney, Michael Lowry, Angus Kernohan.