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Ravens bid to end campaign on high

By Michael Sadlier

The Ulster Ravens will be bidding to end yet another miserable British and Irish Cup campaign today by registering their first win when they host Aberavon at Deramore (kick-off 2.00pm).

After five straight defeats, the Ravens will be eager to try and bring the curtain down by not only getting the better of Aberavon - who beat them 18-14 in Wales in the opening game in October - but also managing to avoid finishing bottom of Pool Two, a fate which will fall to their visitors should Kieran Campbell's men manage to finish ahead on the scoreboard.

The Welsh side go into the game a mere point ahead of the Ravens, with the latter having picked up four along the way from a try bonus and three losing bonus points.

Campbell has made five changes to the side which lost 27-19 at Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday with an entirely new front row and half-back pairing being selected.

It means that Kyle McCall, John Andrew and Ricky Lutton are today's starting front row while Sean O'Hagan and Conor Young are the new 10 and nine respectively and come in for Josh Bingham and Michael Heaney, the latter finding himself on bench duty for the senior side.

The Ravens are again skippered by Lewis Stevenson while the back row of Ronald Raaymakers, Sean Reidy and Charlie Butterworth get another chance to show what they can do.

In the backline, Ricky Andrew, Peter Nelson, Sam Arnold, Jacob Stockdale and Jack Owens are all retained while the bench is notable in that Rory Scholes makes his return to fitness after an early season injury.

The remainder of the subs are made up of forwards Paul Jackson, Dave Ryan, John Donnan and Frank Taggart and backs David Shanahan and Bingham.

Ulster Ravens: P Nelson; J Owens, R Andrew, S Arnold, J Stockdale; S O'Hagan, C Young; K McCall, J Andrew, R Lutton, L Stevenson (capt), N McComb, R Raaymakers, S Reidy, C Butterworth.

Replacements: Paul Jackson, Dave Ryan, John Donnan, Frank Taggart, David Shanahan, Josh Bingham, Rory Scholes.

Belfast Telegraph


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