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Ravens go to leaders still looking for first win


First start: Ronald Raaymakers makes his Ravens debut

First start: Ronald Raaymakers makes his Ravens debut

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First start: Ronald Raaymakers makes his Ravens debut

Ulster Ravens redeploy for action today in the British and Irish Cup when they do battle with unbeaten Pool Two leaders Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane (kick-off 2pm).

Three games in and the Ravens find themselves winless at the foot of the table which also sees them 10 points adrift of the Titans with any already remote chance of qualification likely to evaporate this weekend should they succumb to the Titans again after losing to them 31-29 at Deramore last time out in October.

So the Ravens' focus just has to be on winning even if their chances of advancement are less than healthy looking.

Selection wise there is a notable inclusion as second row Ronald Raaymakers - signed last month on a short-term deal from New Zealand's Counties Maukau - makes his bow after overcoming an injury he shipped before arrival and he packs down alongside skipper Neil McComb.

There is also a fair amount of ballast up front with Ricky Lutton and Bronson Ross in the front row while the experienced Mike McComish is one third of a decent enough back row which includes Connor Joyce and Charlie Butterworth. Academy player Conor Young is at scrum-half and links up with Ritchie McMaster at half-back.

The last time the sides met it turned out to be former Ulster player James McKinney's conversion - he is on the bench with Adam Macklin, another familiar face from these parts as is Ali Birch who starts - which sealed that result after a late try gave the Titans their chance to snatch the victory which appears to have done so much damage to the Ravens' cause.

Belfast Telegraph