The Ulster side for this evening’s match against Bayonne has just been released by Ulster Rugby. As is the norm at this time of year it’s a fairly experimental side, bereft of many of the big name players and a bit light looking up front.
It is an exciting young back line with the main point of note being, Ireland U20′s star, Peter Nelson starting at full back with Jared Payne moved to the centre alongside Farrell, I expect however to see Nelson and Payne swapping round throughout the match.
The unknown, well to me anyway, Sean Doyle gets a start at in the back row along side McComish and Diack with Ali Birch benching so I’ll be interested to hear reports of Doyle’s play.
Bayonne are mid way through a series of matches in their build up for the Top 14. Historically this has been a fairly physical encounter for Ulster and I expect nothing different this time round. The home side should be firm favourites to take this game but at this stage of the season for Ulster it’s all about working on combinations for Ulster.
From Ulster Rugby:
Mark Anscombe has named his match day squad for the pre season friendly against Bayonne at the Parc des Jean Dauger this evening (KO 7pm BST).
In his first match in charge, Anscombe has selected a team with a mix of youth and experience, and it will give him the chance to look at some interesting combinations.
The match will see Australian born openside flanker Sean Doyle make his debut for Ulster in the back row. Jared Payne will start the game at outside centre, in what will be his first outing since he damaged his Achilles against Cardiff in September last year.
Doyle is joined in the back row by the experienced Robbie Diack and Mike McComish. Johann Muller will skipper the team and is partnered at lock by Neil McComb. The front row will be made up of Callum Black, Niall Annett and Adam Macklin, who will be starting a game together for the first time.
Former Methodist College classmates Blane McIlroy and Patrick Jackson will form the half back combination, while Academy player Chris Farrell will play alongside Payne in midfield. Chris Cochrane, Craig Gilroy and Peter Nelson will provide plenty of attacking intent from the back three.
The match in France is part of a four day training camp before Ulster return for home friendlies against Leicester (18th Aug) and Newcastle (24th Aug).
Ulster: Peter Nelson, Craig Gilroy, Jared Payne, Chris Farrell, Chris Cochrane, Paddy Jackson, Blane McIlroy, Callum Black, Niall Annett, Adam Macklin, Johann Muller (c), Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Sean Doyle, Robbie Diack. Replacements: Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, John Afoa, Lewis Stevenson, Ali Birch, Michael Heaney, Niall O’Connor, Luke Marshall, Michael Allen, Ricky Andrew