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Murphy To Captain Ulster For First Time

Murphy To Captain Ulster For First Time

Ireland international Jordi Murphy will captain Ulster from the back row when they resume their Guinness PRO14 campaign ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Jordi Murphy will captain Ulster for the first time in Friday’s return to Guinness PRO14 action, while the trip to Glasgow will also mark significant milestones for Kieran Treadwell and Martin Moore. 

Murphy will start at openside flanker for the game at Scotstoun (kick-off 7.35pm), alongside fellow loose forwards Nick Timoney and Marcell Coetzee. Treadwell will become the latest Ulster centurion, partnering Alan O’Connor in the second row.

In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan returns from Ireland’s Guinness Six Nations camp to join John Andrew and Moore, who will make his 50th Ulster appearance in Scotland.

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In the backs, John Cooney and Stuart McCloskey are also released from the Ireland set-up and will start in their familiar number 9 and 12 jerseys respectively.

Fellow international Ian Madigan combines with Cooney at half-back, with James Hume joining McCloskey in midfield. Rob Lyttle makes his return from injury on the left wing, with Craig Gilroy on the right and Michael Lowry at full-back.

Meanwhile, Academy second row and Ireland Sevens international Cormac Izuchukwu has been included on the bench and is set to make his senior debut for the province.

Joining the 21-year-old in the replacement forwards are Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, who also returns from international duty, and Greg Jones. Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Matt Faddes will provide the back-line cover.

With Ulster now trailing Leinster by four points at the top of Conference A, head coach Dan McFarland said: “The way we’ve got to approach it is that we’ve got five games, finishing out this section of the competition, and really we need to win them all, probably with bonus points.

“That narrows the mind and the focus to each game, as clichéd as it is, that’s what we had to do. When we go to Glasgow this weekend, we have to focus on them and what they have to offer.

“We’ll be playing the first game that we’ve played for five weeks, playing on an artificial surface and against a team that is capable of producing top quality rugby and are very dangerous.

“If we take our mind off what’s directly in front of us, it becomes a difficult proposition. There is an excitement to us coming out of this five-week break.

“In training there is a bounce in the step because there is a game at the end of the week and that is exciting for the coaches, the players and everyone here.”

ULSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Michael Lowry; Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Ian Madigan, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (capt), Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes.