Jump to main content


Lowry To Make 100th Appearance For Ulster

Lowry To Make 100th Appearance For Ulster

Belfast native Michael Lowry is pictured on the attack for Ulster against Cardiff at Kingspan Stadium last month ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ulster’s interim head coach Richie Murphy has announced the team to play the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday (kick-off 3.05pm), in round 16 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Ulster have won their last two fixtures by tight margins, defeating Cardiff (19-17) and Benetton (38-34) both at home, and sit seventh in the table ahead of their final regular season game outside of Ireland.

Alan O’Connor, who captains the team again from the second row, is partnered by Kieran Treadwell who returns from the hand injury he sustained against the DHL Stormers at the end of March.

There are three more personnel changes to the province’s starting pack, with Rob Herring joining Eric O’Sullivan and 21-year-old tighthead Scott Wilson in the front row.

Cormac Izuchukwu, who scored his first senior try for Ulster last time out, and Nick Timoney are added to the back row, where David McCann switches from number 8 to openside flanker.

Having kicked 13 points against Benetton in a BKT URC player-of-the-match performance, John Cooney continues at half-back alongside Billy Burns. Ethan McIlroy’s inclusion on the right wing is the only alteration to the back-line.

Michael Lowry, stationed at full-back, will reach the milestone of 100 caps when he runs out at Parc y Scarlets. Alongside him in the back-three, Jacob Stockdale will be hoping to add to his seven URC tries so far this season.

Will Addison teams up again with Stuart McCloskey at centre, having worn the number 13 jersey for the first time since May 2021 in the last round. He deputised successfully for James Hume who will miss the rest of the season due to upcoming ACL surgery.

Murphy’s forward options on the bench are eight-try hooker Tom Stewart, Andrew Warwick, James French, Harry Sheridan, Reuben Crothers, and Dave Ewers, while Nathan Doak and Stewart Moore both return from injury as the replacement backs.

Speaking ahead of the crunch clash with the west Walians, Ulster assistant coach Dan Soper said: “Three games left, it’s so tight in that top eight and it could be a top seven if the Hollywoodbets Sharks win the Challenge Cup. One game at a time and Scarlets this weekend.

“I think it will be tough. We know Jared Payne and Dwayne Peel very well, and they know us well. They have had a tough season, a few jiggle arounds with their coaching staff too. If you look at their form in the past few weeks they are improving.

“It’s good to have Rob Herring and Stewart Moore back from injury for this weekend. Jacob Stockdale and Dave Shanahan are back after their HIAs from Benetton.

“James Hume is in good spirits and is getting ready for surgery for his ACL. He’s a determined young man so he will see it as an opportunity to get better at other things for when he comes back.”

He added: “This is the first long week into a game since back in the Six Nations period. Having a week like last week was valuable to get stuck into some coaching that is difficult to do with games every week.

“Having the training week meant there was detail we could spend time on, so we want to see how that’s transferred into the match.”

ULSTER (v Scarlets): Michael Lowry; Ethan McIlroy, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Scott Wilson, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor (capt), Cormac Izuchukwu, David McCann, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Andrew Warwick, James French, Harry Sheridan, Reuben Crothers, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Dave Ewers.