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Four players set for Ulster debuts in Benetton Treviso clash at Kingspan Stadium

By Gareth Hanna

As many as four players could make their senior Ulster debut during Friday's Guinness Pro14 clash with Benetton Treviso at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.05pm).

Schalk van der Merwe could finally take to the pitch after sustaining a shoulder injury that required surgery in June.

Definitely making his senior bow is Ballynahinch openside flanker Aaron Hall while Academy forwards Greg Jones and Matthew Dalton could also make their debuts, named as replacements.

Paul Marshall is a replacement on an evening that could see him earn his 200th appearance while Christian Leali'ifano has been named as captain of a patched-up side hit by injuries and players on international duty.

Rob Herring and Kieran Treadwell both return from Ireland. Treadwell starts while Herring is named as a replacement.

Captain Lealiifano is joined in midfield by Louis Ludik. John Cooney and Peter Nelson are paired at half-back, while Craig Gilroy, Tommy Bowe and Charles Piutau form the back three.

Tight-head prop Ross Kane will make his first senior start of the season, with Callum Black and John Andrew joining him in the front row. Kieran Treadwell, who featured in Ireland's win over Fiji last week, returns to the second row alongside Alan O'Connor.

Aaron Hall and Nick Timoney, both of the Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy, are named at openside flanker and number 8 respectively and Clive Ross completes the back row.

Ulster Rugby team to play Benetton Treviso

(1-8): Callum Black, John Andrew, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O'Connor, Clive Ross, Aaron Hall, Nick Timoney;

(9-15): John Cooney, Peter Nelson, Craig Gilroy, Christian Lealiifano, Louis Ludik, Tommy Bowe, Charles Piutau.

Replacements (16-23): Rob Herring, Schalk van der Merwe, Andy Warwick, Matthew Dalton, Greg Jones, Paul Marshall, Darren Cave, Andrew Trimble.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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