| 14°C Belfast

Ulster v Sharks: How can I watch, when is it and what’s on the line in crucial URC clash?


Ulster's Stuart McCloskey is available to face the Sharks after injury (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey is available to face the Sharks after injury (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey is available to face the Sharks after injury (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

It’s a massive game for Ulster and the Cell C Sharks tonight as they clash in the final United Rugby Championship regular season game with a lot to play for.

Here’s all you need to know about the fixture...

When and where is the game?

The game is tonight, Friday May 20, at 7:35pm, being played at Ravenhill in Belfast.

How can I get tickets?

Tickets can be bought on Ticketmaster and must be pre-purchased, there are none available on the gates at the stadium.

Adult tickets range from £25 to £80, while junior tickets cost between £15 and £20.

How can I watch the game?

The game will be broadcast live on Premier Sports, BBC Northern Ireland, TG4 and on URC TV. For those in South Africa, the game will be shown on SuperSport.

Who is playing?

For Ulster, they have named what is as strong a line-up as they can put out without their injured stars. Notably, captain Iain Henderson and centre Stuart McCloskey have been passed fit after injury scares earlier in the week.

The Sharks, meanwhile, have a significant returnee in centre Lukhanyo Am, with the South African international having been named player of the series against the British and Irish Lions last year. Six South African international start in the visitors’ line-up, including lightning winger Makazole Mapimpi and captain Siya Kolisi.

What’s on the line?

Both sides are already qualified for the end-of-season play-offs but that doesn’t mean this is a dead rubber – in fact there’s plenty on the line.

It’s a winner-takes-all game at Ravenhill, with the victors claiming a top-four place in the final URC standings and a home quarter-final in the play-offs, which start the first weekend of June.

Neither side will know who exactly they play in the quarter-finals until the remaining final round fixtures are completed tomorrow, regardless of whether they win tonight or not.

For Ulster, they could even finish second in the table and earn a home semi-final – if they won their quarter-final – if they win and other results go their way on Saturday, with both Munster and the DHL Stormers needing to lose to Leinster and the Scarlets respectively for them to finish runners-up.

How have Ulster played against the Sharks in the past?

Well, they haven’t!

Rugby Round Up Newsletter

Exclusives and expert analysis from the sports team straight to your inbox

This field is required

This is the first meeting between these two sides as this is the first season that has included the new South African teams. Ulster have, however, faced other South African sides at Ravenhill over the last few years and have won all five of their meetings with southern hemisphere opponents in Belfast thus far.

They have lost their last two games against South African teams, though, being beaten by the Stormers and Vodacom Bulls in Cape Town and Pretoria last month.

Who is the referee?

It’s Ben Blain of Scotland, who takes charge of his 20th league game. He’s assisted by Peter Martin and Paul Haycock, both from Ireland, while the TMO is Six Nations referee Mike Adamson.

Top Videos