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Ulster team news: Tom O'Toole set for injury return in Scarlets clash to boost tight-head options


Upward arc: Tom O’Toole in action for Ulster

Upward arc: Tom O’Toole in action for Ulster

�INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Upward arc: Tom O’Toole in action for Ulster

Ulster's Tom O'Toole will make his return from injury against the Scarlets on Sunday evening.

The young tight-head has been absent since hurting an ankle against Leinster in the PRO14 final back in September but has been named among the replacement for this weekend's tie.

Having been on the verge of an Ireland cap back in February, his return fitness will be a considerable boost to head coach Dan McFarland, not least in order to give Marty Moore a breather.

Moore, who hobbled off with an ankle knock of his own against Zebre earlier this week, has started every game in O'Toole's absence and having shaken off what was ailing him will be wearing the number three jersey again against the Welsh visitors as the northern province look to make it seven wins from seven to start the season for a first time since 2012.

With John Andrew and Eric O'Sullivan also retaining their places, Ulster will field an unchanged front-row that keeps Kyle McCall and Adam McBurney on the bench but McFarland has shuffled the deck elsewhere.

Kieran Treadwell comes into the second-row alongside Alan O'Connor who takes on the captaincy from Sam Carter with his brother Dave O'Connor providing the cover.

Four-try hero Marcell Coetzee keeps his place from the win over Zebre, although he'll have new colleagues in the back-row with Sean Reidy and Matty Rea brought into the starting line-up and Jordi Murphy returning on the bench.

Having been rested for the trip to Zebre, John Cooney comes back into the nine jersey, meaning it's back to the replacements for Alby Mathewson, while Bill Johnston has been retained at out-half ahead of Ian Madigan.

Stewart Moore, like his namesake Marty, remains a constant presence in the starting team, joined in the midfield for a third game in succession by Luke Marshall.

But Mike Lowry is the only player in the back-three who will bookend the week with a pair of starts, Matt Faddes and Rob Lyttle taking the places of Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy, the latter likely to get a run from the bench.

Ulster: M Lowry; M Faddes, L Marshall, S Moore, R Lyttle; B Johnston, J Cooney; E O'Sullivan, J Andrew, M Moore; A O'Connor (Capt.), K Treadwell; M Rea, S Reidy, M Coetzee.

Replacements: A McBurney, K McCall, T O'Toole, D O'Connor, J Murphy, A Mathewson, I Madigan, C Gilroy.

Belfast Telegraph