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Ulster make four changes for Ospreys clash at Kingspan

Ulster face the Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium
Ulster face the Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium

Head Coach Jono Gibbes has confirmed the Ulster team to host Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium in Round 20 of the Guinness PRO14 Championship on Friday evening (kick-off 7.35pm).

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The starting 15 features four personnel changes from the team that recorded an impressive win away to Edinburgh last weekend.

Props Callum Black and Ross Kane are given a starting spot either side of captain Rory Best in the front row.

Kieran Treadwell is drafted in to partner Iain Henderson, who touched down late on for the bonus point try last week, in the engine room.

In the back row, Sean Reidy comes into the side at number 8, with Jean Deysel switching to openside flanker and Matthew Rea continuing at blindside.

The backline, which contributed 27 of the 32 points against Edinburgh, remains in situ.

John Cooney and Johnny McPhillips continue their half-back partnership, while the midfield pairing of Stuart McCloskey and Darren Cave, who contributed so effectively in both attack and defence at Murrayfield, is retained.

Despite being withdrawn due to a back injury last time out, Louis Ludik has recovered to take his place on the right wing, with Jacob Stockdale on the left and fullback Charles Piutau completing the back three.

Tight-head prop Tom O’Toole, who impressed on his debut outing last week, is in line for his second cap from the bench, while Tommy Bowe will also be hoping to be called upon against the club with whom he enjoyed a four-year spell. Rob Herring, Andy Warwick, Alan O’Connor and Nick Timoney are the other forward replacements, while David Shanahan and Luke Marshall provide the additional backline cover.

Ulster Rugby team to play Ospreys, Friday April 13 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9): C Piutau, L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, J McPhillips, J Cooney;

(1-8): C Black, R Best (Capt), R Kane, K Treadwell, I Henderson, M Rea, J Deysel, S Reidy;

Replacements (16-23): R Herring, A Warwick, T O’Toole, A O’Connor, N Timoney, D Shanahan, L Marshall, T Bowe

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