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McBurney determined to make impact for 'A' team

 

By Michael Sadlier

The British and Irish Cup is back on the agenda for Ulster 'A' today when they host the Scarlets Premiership Select side at Banbridge's Rifle Park base (kick-off 2.30pm).

The team coached by Kieran Campbell and Willie Anderson will be looking to get their campaign off to a positive start as the 'A' squad bid to emulate last season when they reached the quarter-finals before exiting at the hands of Munster.

The emphasis in selection is very much on youth and emerging talent with some experienced heads from the senior squad being brought in up front with loose-head prop Andy Warwick and second row Peter Browne in the starting side.

Tight-head prop Ross Kane leads the side in a game unlikely to attract much local interest as it clashes with Banbridge travelling to Armagh for the Senior Cup quarter-final.

The backline is much more callow-looking and Campbell will be hoping for good game management from the half-back pairing of Aaron Cairns, who has played for Ulster, and former Ireland U20 out-half Johnny McPhillips, who also tog out together at Ballynahinch.

Ballymena's Callum Patterson is at centre alongside Rory Butler while the back three is made up of wingers Angus Kernohan and David Busby along with full-back Jack Owens.

Ulster 'A' know they have pace in their backline but dominating up front will be key and, here, hooker Adam McBurney is eager to get to work on his B&I Cup debut.

"Individually it (the Cup) is massive," said the 21-year-old Ballymena player, who made his first appearance for the senior side when coming off the bench in the defeat in last month's clash at Zebre.

"It is where you want to be if you are a player on the fringes and it is the best opportunity you can get to prove what you can do at a high level if you are not playing for the seniors regularly.

"The Scarlets will be a tough test but with the squad we have I think we can really compete. We definitely want to go further (in the Cup) this year and hopefully if we get through to the quarter-finals then we can keep on going."

Ulster 'A': J Owens, D Busby, C Patterson, R Butler, A Kernohan, J McPhillips, A Cairns; A Warwick, A McBurney, R Kane (capt), J Regan, P Browne, C Montgomery, A Hall, J Dunleavy

Replacements: Z McCall, M Cromie, M Dalton, G Jones, J Stewart, B Herron, M Lowry

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