The teams have been announced for tonight’s pre-season friendly match between Ulster and Wasps which takes place at Ravenhill, kick off 19:30.

It’s a pity it clashes directly with the France v Ireland 2017 Women’s World Cup fixture which is a poor piece of planning by Ulster Rugby who will be hosting the World Cup Semi Finals and Finals next week! The France v Ireland game kicks off at 19:45 and will be shown live on ITV 4.  😯

All the fans will have been hoping to see Christian Lealiifano start but that now looks like it was a premature announcement, no doubt timed to put pressure on the IRFU to allow the deal to go through. Instead it looks like Brett Herron and Peter Nelson will fill the out half berth in a match that will see Ulster effectively field two teams throughout the night.

There will also be no early sighting of Ulster’s confirmed signings, John Cooney or Schalk van der Merwe, maybe Cooney hasn’t been able to find boots big enough yet, but Jean Deysel should get an run out from the bench. It’s also disappointing, and worrying, not to see Marcell Coetzee in the team sheet.

Wasps will be missing their England and Lions contingent with Daly, Eastgate, Eastmond, Gaskell, Gopperth, Haskell, Hughes, Jones, Launchbury, Le Roux, Lundberg, Moore, Mullan, Simpson, Stuart, Taylor, Umaga, West, and Young all not making the trip so the match won’t give any real indications of what’s going to happen when these sides meet in the European Champions Cup.

Of interest is the inclusion of Adam McBurney as one of the replacement hookers and Aaron Cairns as one of the replacement scrum halfs.

McBurney, had a particularly impressive U20’s Championship in 2016 and shows huge potential in what is one of Ulster’s more competitive positions. Cairns has been tried out by Ulster in a couple of positions over the years but it looks like the’s going to be given a chance at scrum half this season. It may take him a game or two to settle in but his attitude has always impressed.

ULSTER SELECT XV   WASPS SELECT XV
Louis Ludik 15 Rob Miller
Andrew Trimble 14 Marcus Watson
Callum Patterson 13 Brendan Macken
Stuart McCloskey 12 Gaby Lovobalavu
Craig Gilroy 11 Josh Bassett
Brett Herron 10 Danny Cipriani
Paul Marshall 9 Craig Hampson
Callum Black 1 Simon McIntyre
John Andrew 2 Ashley Johnson
Wiehahn Herbst 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley
Peter Browne 4 Will Rowlands
Alan O’Connor 5 Kearnan Myall
Clive Ross 6 Jack Willis
Chris Henry 7 Guy Thompson
Nick Timoney 8 Alex Rieder
Rob Herring 16 Tom Cruse
Adam McBurney 17 Ben Harris
Andy Warwick 18 Paul Doran-Jones
Kyle McCall 19 Matt Symons
Rodney Ah You 20 Marcus Garratt
Jonny Simpson 21 Antonio TJ Harris
Robbie Diack 22 Dan Robson
Jean Deysel 23 Juan De Jongh
Caleb Montgomery 24 Guy Armitage
Matthew Rea 25 Christian Wade
Aaron Cairns 26 Owain James
David Shanahan 27
Peter Nelson 28
Tommy Bowe 29
Charles Piutau 30
Jack Owens 31
David Busby 32

#SUFTUM