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Gilroy delighted to get back into his groove, while Ulster's unlucky Ireland stars return to club stage

Club scene: Will Addison and Jordi Murphy are on Ulster duty
Club scene: Will Addison and Jordi Murphy are on Ulster duty

By Michael Sadlier

As flagged, Dan McFarland has rung the changes for today's second and final pre-season friendly with Glasgow Warriors (kick-off 2.30pm) at Scotstoun Stadium.

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The most eye-catching, but also expected, move is the inclusion of the four players who failed to make Ireland's final World Cup cut.

So, Will Addison, who starts at full-back, will get his first game time in an Ulster shirt since last January, while Rob Herring and Jordi Murphy - the latter on the bench - get to wear their club colours after being at Ireland's pre-World Cup camp.

The fourth is new signing Jack McGrath, who has been named on the bench in McFarland's 28-man squad and will get to make his debut after moving north from Leinster.

With this being the last hit-out before the Guinness PRO14's opening salvos are fired on September 27, when Ulster host the Ospreys, McFarland will be looking for a more challenging game against his former employers than last Saturday's 50-19 demolition job at Kingspan Stadium when his side scored 43 unanswered points.

Other notable selections include the pairing of new signing Matt Faddes with Stuart McCloskey in a starting side containing 12 changes from the first game.

Only Billy Burns, again named as skipper, Faddes and Craig Gilroy retain their starting spots.

For Gilroy, the first game of the season was particularly welcome after nearly a year out with a back issue.

He only played the first half but the 28-year-old touched down for two tries to remind us all that he still very much retains the ability to finish with aplomb.

"I was just really happy to be able to put the jersey on and run out there," he said.

"I needed to get on the pitch and get through it (the game) and stay off the physio bed.

"I wanted to hit the ground running and just do what I love doing."

He will want to put down another marker today against a more robust Warriors selection now that both sides are closing in on when the serious business begins with overall performance rather than actual result being the priority.

As Gilroy explained: "The guys need to remind themselves coming into these games that we've money in the bank essentially with all the hard work we've done (in training).

"So it's about showing up on the pitch."

ULSTER: W Addison; C Gilroy, M Faddes, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns (Capt), J Cooney; E O'Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, K Treadwell, S Carter, Matty Rea, S Reidy, N Timoney

Subs: J Andrew, K McCall, J McGrath, T O'Toole, A O'Connor, J Murphy, G Jones, D Shanahan, B Johnston, J Hume, A Curtis, A Kernohan, M Lowry

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