Ulster vs Ospreys: Three new signings set to make Ulster debuts in PRO14 opener but Stuart McCloskey not in squad
Three of Ulster's summer signings will make their club debuts at Kingspan Stadium on Friday evening.
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Jack McGrath, Sam Carter and Matt Faddes will all earn their first Ulster caps in the Guinness PRO14 opener against Ospreys (kick-off 7.35pm).
The province, of course, have injury concerns with six players ruled out of the game while there is no place in the squad for last year's Player of the Season Stuart McCloskey, who had not appeared on the injury-list.
His and Will Addison's absence means James Hume partners Luke Marshall at centre. Craig Gilroy makes his first competitive start in 11 months along with Rob Lyttle on the wings as Robert Baloucoune is out with an ankle problem. Faddes completes the back three with Louis Ludik on the bench.
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Billy Burns and John Cooney complete a first-choice half-back pairing, backed up by Michael Lowry and Dave Shanahan on the bench.
In the pack, Marty Moore is missing at prop, where Tom O'Toole joins McGrath either side of captain Rob Herring.
Carter partners Kieran Treadwell at lock, ahead of Matthew Rea, Jordi Murphy and Sean Reidy, who complete a back row without Marcell Coetzee and Nick Timoney.
John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor and Greg Jones will provide the forward options from the bench.
Tickets for the game, priced from £17 for adults and £12 for juniors, are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.
Ulster team to play Ospreys
(15-9): Matt Faddes; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, James Hume, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8): Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt), Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Matthew Rea, Jordi Murphy, Sean Reidy.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Louis Ludik.
Belfast Telegraph Digital