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Ulster Name Strong Side For Visit Of Glasgow

Ulster Name Strong Side For Visit Of Glasgow

Ulster centres Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are pictured in action against Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 last February ©INPHO/Craig Watson

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has finalised his team for Friday’s United Rugby Championship first round clash with Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm).

Tickets for the game, priced from £20 for adults and £12 for juniors, are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

In the back-three, Ethan McIlroy, the player-of-the-match away to Saracens, features at full-back, with Ireland internationals Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune occupying the wing berths.

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James Hume and Stuart McCloskey make up a powerful centre combination, while Billy Burns and John Cooney are tasked with leading the back-line.

Rainey Old Boys’ Brad Roberts, who has penned a one-year deal with the province, will make his first competitive start at hooker, flanked by Andrew Warwick and Martin Moore.

Australian lock Sam Carter will captain the Ulstermen and is partnered in the second row by Dubliner Alan O’Connor.

In the back row, Greg Jones is named at blindside flanker, with Sean Reidy back from a shin injury at openside and recent Ireland debutant Nick Timoney at number 8.

Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Mick Kearney and Matthew Rea are named as the forward replacements, and Ireland Under-20 starlet Nathan Doak, Michael Lowry and Will Addison will provide the back-line cover.

Looking forward to the URC’s opening night in Belfast, McFarland said: “We’re setting off on a new competition. There’s plenty of excitement.

“From the fans’ point of view, the very fact that they’re able to come back and watch competitive rugby in numbers is brilliant in itself.

“Our focus is on the new competition, the new format of the competition where apart from the derby games, we only get to play each team once.

“So, we get one shot at Glasgow this year and our minds have to be totally focused on that game.

“We’re fully aware of the history between the two clubs. we’ve suffered at the hands of what is a really good club on a number of occasions, and we really don’t want that to happen (on Friday).”

Unavailable for selection, on this occasion, were Jack McGrath, Gareth Milasinovich, Iain Henderson, Kieran Treadwell, Cormac Izuchukwu, Jordi Murphy, Ian Madigan, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle and Aaron Sexton.

ULSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Ethan McIlroy; Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Brad Roberts, Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (capt), Greg Jones, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Mick Kearney, Matthew Rea, Nathan Doak, Michael Lowry, Will Addison.