Marcell Coetzee is set to make his first appearance in an Ulster jersey since the opening gameweek of last season as Ulster travel to Coventry to take on Wasps in their final pre-season friendly.
New signings Will Addison, Marty Moore and Alex Thompson are named in the squad while Eric O’Sullivan is set to make his first start for the senior side.
Former Leinster U20s player, O’Sullivan starts at loosehead prop and is joined by John Andrew and Marty Moore in the front row. The Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell partnership is renewed from last season in the second row with the former continuing as captain. Coetzee is listed on the blindside with Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney at 7 and 8 respectively.
Jonny Stewart continues as Ulster’s scrum half and is joined by Johnny McPhillips at out half. Fresh from signing a new three-year contract extension earlier this week, Stuart McCloskey starts at 12 while the services of Stewart Moore are retained at outside centre. Angus Kernohan impressed last week and continues on the left wing. Addison is named at fullback with Craig Gilroy on the right wing.
Wasps suffered a hammering last week against Connacht, with Dai Young admitting that he was very disappointed with his side’s performance. Nevertheless, they have named a strong team featuring six internationals. Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Nathan Hughes and Joe Launchbury start as does Nizaam Carr, who was excellent in the last meeting between these sides in January.
With Hughes and Carr in the back row along with new signing Joe Atkinson, we’ll see Ulster’s back row face a big test in this friendly match. Reidy and Timoney offer extra lineout options particularly as this was a disappointing aspect of the Champions Cup match in January.
I am pleased to see the services of Kernohan and Moore retained in the back line. Both had decent first outings for the senior side and another good performance could force themselves into contention for a spot against the Scarlets next week.
The FRU predicts: Next week’s PRO14 opener against Scarlets will be in the back of the player’s minds. Ulster lost here in January and Wasps should beat them again, but a build on last week’s solid performance will do me.
|Rob Miller||15||Will Addison|
|Christian Wade||14||Craig Gilroy|
|Elliot Daly||13||Stewart Moore|
|Juan de Jongh||12||Stuart McCloskey|
|Josh Bassett||11||Angus Kernohan|
|Billy Searle||10||Johnny McPhillips|
|Dan Robson||9||Jonny Stewart|
|Ben Harris||1||Eric O’Sullivan|
|Tom Cruse||2||John Andrew|
|Kieran Brookes||3||Marty Moore|
|Joe Launchbury (c)||4||Alan O’Connor ©|
|Will Rowlands||5||Kieran Treadwell|
|Nizaam Carr||6||Marcell Coetzee|
|Joe Atkinson||7||Sean Reidy|
|Nathan Hughes||8||Nick Timoney|
|Tommy Taylor||Adam McBurney|
|Zurabi Zhvania||Andrew Warwick|
|Will Stuart||Tom O’Toole|
|James Gaskell||Alex Thompson|
|Thomas Young||Caleb Montgomery|
|Craig Hampson||David Shanahan|
|Michael Le Bourgeois||Angus Curtis|
|Gaby Lovobalavu||Darren Cave|
|Marcus Watson||Greg Jones|
|Charlie Matthews||Chris Henry|
|Ashley Johnson||Jack Owens|