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Allen Clarke not slow to ring changes for Ravens

By Michael Sadlier

After a disappointing start, the Ulster Ravens will be going all out to make sure they secure a winning outcome in tonight's second round of pool games in the British and Irish Cup when they cross swords with Jersey at Ravenhill (kick-off 7.30pm).

Following last weekend's 34-17 bonus point defeat at Cornish Pirates, Ravens' coach Allen Clarke knows it is vital for his squad's qualification chances to bounce back with a win over Jersey, who also opened their B&I account at Ayr with a bonus point victory and are tied on five points at the top of Pool six with the Pirates.

Clarke has made four changes to the starting side which lost in Penzance last weekend which sees flanker Sean Doyle, props Michael Cromie and Chris Taylor and scrum half Ian Porter all beginning tonight's must-win clash.

There are also some positional alterations to the pack with last week's skipper Lewis Stevenson dropping out – presumably because of the senior squad's injury profile – and Neil McComb moving from number eight to fill Stevenson's place while Niall Annett takes over the captaincy.

The knock-on effect is that Mike McComish moves across to number eight while Doyle now gets a start at openside flank. In the front row, loose-head prop Paddy McCallister drops out and fellow Ballynahinch prop Cromie starts while on the tight-head side, Taylor gets the nod ahead of Bronson Ross.

Elsewhere, Porter starts in front of Michael Heaney who is benching in an otherwise unchanged backline to the one which began proceedings last week at Cornish Pirates. Hard-running centre Chris Farrell gets another chance to impress while inside him James McKinney is again at out half.

Jersey have two familiar faces with former Ulster out half Niall O'Connor and Ravenhill squad member Mark McCrea both starting for the side currently eighth in the English Championship.

Ulster Ravens: D McIlwaine, C Cochrane, R Andrew, C Farrell, P Nelson, J McKinney, I Porter; M Cromie, N Annett (Capt), C Taylor, A O'Connor, N McComb, C Joyce, S Doyle, M McComish; Replacements: J Murphy, M McGrath, M Rea, F Taggart, M Heaney, S McCloskey, D Busby.

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