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Bill Johnston set for Ulster debut while Ruan Pienaar captains Cheetahs for PRO14 clash

Bill Johnston
Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston will make his competitive debut for Ulster against the Cheetahs on Saturday.

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The former Munster fly-half comes in to replace Billy Burns, who drops out of the match-day squad in the only change to the team that beat 38-14 in their season-opener at Kingspan Stadium last week.

It is understood that Burns has not picked up any sort of injury and has been switched out on a selection basis by head coach Dan McFarland.

That means Johnston, 22, will partner John Cooney at half-back, with the pairing of James Hume and Luke Marshall continuing in midfield.

Craig Gilroy, who marked his return to playing action last week with a brace of tries, retains his right wing berth, with Rob Lyttle on the left. Matt Faddes, another summer signing who touched down on his debut against Ospreys, is once again named at fullback.

The pack remains unchanged with hooker Rob Herring captaining the side alongside Jack McGrath and Tom O’Toole in the front row. Sam Carter and Kieran Treadwell continue in the second row, with Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy and Greg Jones selected as the loose forward trio.

On the bench, John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor and Clive Ross will provide the forwards backup, with David Shanahan, Michael Lowry and Louis Ludik covering the backline options.

Meanwhile, Ulster hero Ruan Pienaar has been named, as expected, in the Cheetahs starting side. The scrum-half will captain his new side against his former province.

Ulster's game against the Cheetahs kicks off at 5.15pm BST on Saturday and we'll have live updates on our blog.

Ulster team to play Cheetahs

(15-9): Matt Faddes; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, James Hume, Rob Lyttle; Bill Johnston, John Cooney;

(1-8): Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt), Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Greg Jones.

Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Clive Ross, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Louis Ludik.

Cheetahs team to play Ulster

(15-9): Rhyno Smith, William Small-Smith, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Dries Swanepoel, Anthony Volmink, Tian Schoeman, Ruan Pienaar

(1-8): Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba, Erich de Jager, Sintu Manjezi, Walt Steenkamp, Gerhard Olivier, Junior Pokomela, Henco Venter

Replacements: Reinach Venter, Boan Venter, Neethling Fouche, JP du Preez, Sias Koen, Jasper Wiese, Tian Meyer, Louis Fouche

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