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Tommy Bowe to make season debut in Ulster side to face Zebre


Tommy Bowe has been out for six months.

Tommy Bowe has been out for six months.

©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Tommy Bowe has been out for six months.

Tommy Bowe will make his long-awaited season debut for Ulster in Saturday's Zebre Guinness Pro12 fixture.

Bowe has been out of contention since suffering a knee injury at the World Cup with Ireland.

Andrew Trimble was unable to travel after picking up an illness, so Bowe is selected on the right wing for the clash at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Franco van der Merwe will make his 50th appearance for the club on Saturday, a considerable feat given that he is in just his second season with the Province.

Bowe will be joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy and Jared Payne, who was Man of the Match in the win over Connacht a fortnight ago.

Stuart Olding comes into the backline at inside centre in place of Stuart McCloskey, who is unavailable due to a shoulder injury. He will be partnered in midfield by Luke Marshall, while Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson will direct affairs from the half back positions.

Rory Best will captain the side from hooker, with Callum Black and Ricky Lutton continuing alongside him in the front row. Pete Browne is named as van der Merwe's second row partner.

Sean Reidy, Iain Henderson and Roger Wilson form the back row trio as Nick Williams continues to be ruled out by a shoulder injury.

Rob Herring, Kyle McCall, Andy Warwick, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Darren Cave and Rory Scholes are named on a strong bench.

Ulster team and replacements to play Zebre, Guinness PRO12, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, Saturday 16th April (kick off 5pm local / 4pm GMT):

(15-9): J Payne; T Bowe, L Marshall, S Olding, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar;

(1-8): C Black, R Best (captain), R Lutton, P Browne, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Wilson;

(16-23): R Herring, K McCall, A Warwick, R Diack, C Henry, P Marshall, D Cave, R Scholes.

Belfast Telegraph