Jump to main content


Hume And Moxham Pair Up In Midfield For Ulster

Hume And Moxham Pair Up In Midfield For Ulster

James Hume is pictured on the attack during Ulster's European win away to Clermont Auvergne last month ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has finalised the team to travel to play Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday in their first game of 2022 (kick-off 7.35pm).

James Hume will make his 50th appearance for the Ulstermen, as he starts in the centre alongside 20-year-old talent Ben Moxham who makes his first start of the season.

Michael Lowry is selected at full-back with Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Half-backs Billy Burns and John Cooney complete the back-line.

Jack McGrath will make his first start of the season at loosehead prop, with Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole completing an all-Ireland international front row.

Alan O’Connor will captain the side, partnered by Australian Sam Carter at lock. Springbok Duane Vermeulen anchors a back row that also contains Greg Jones and Nick Timoney, who has scored five tries this season.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell and Marcus Rea provide the forward options on the bench, while Nathan Doak, Angus Curtis and Rob Lyttle are the back-line replacements.

Commenting on the province’s Covid-19-disrupted preparations over the festive period, second row Carter said: “It’s only been two weeks and we were doing a little bit of contact and conditioning when we could with the protocols in place.

“It’s tough, but trust me, I know exactly what it feels coming back from an off-season in that first game, you do get stiff and sore. Hopefully it’s not like this as we’ve been able to keep up the contact over the last couple of weeks.

“Munster will be kind of disappointed in how they played that game (last week), although full credit to Connacht. They played really well in the last couple of weeks and got the better of us at Aviva Stadium a couple of months ago.

“It’s going to be tough because Munster off the back of a loss down in Thomond Park is no easy task for us. I only found out that we haven’t won there since 2014.

“It was brought up in a meeting this morning. I’ve played there twice and came off the bench last year where we didn’t put in our best performance.”

The 32-year-old added: “Any Irish team at home is tough and heading all the way to Limerick where they pride themselves on being physical is going to be a difficult ask, but we’ve been building nicely throughout the season.

“We hadn’t won in Leinster in a couple of years and we were able to knock off that one. That’s the momentum we want to build and put in a good performance on Saturday.”

ULSTER (v Munster): Michael Lowry; Craig Gilroy, Ben Moxham, James Hume, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor (capt), Sam Carter, Greg Jones, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Angus Curtis, Rob Lyttle.