Who are the four players set for Ulster debuts at Leinster? All you need to know about Jack Regan, Azur Allison, Stewart Moore and Ethan McIlroy
Ulster Rugby look set to hand out as many as four debuts when they travel south to play Leinster in the PRO14 on Friday evening.
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Dan McFarland has made as many as 14 changes to his starting XV and has found room on the bench for three Academy stars as well as one sub-Academy player.
So who are they?
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Here's a quickfire guide to the new quad in the squad:
Age: 22 - Academy Year 3
Height: 1.98m (6'6)
Weight: 108kg (17 stone)
Rugby story: His is more of a sports journey rather than just rugby, having been born into a respected Irish sporting family. His father Daithí is an All-Ireland winning hurler, part of the Offaly team that won the Championship via a famous late comeback in the final against Limerick. Jack is the non Ulster native among the four, having grown up in Birr, County Offlay. A Leinster man amongst the Ulster ranks is certainly no lone soldier nowadays and Regan made the switch north very early, joining the Academy back in 2017.
International honours: Regan was an ever-present in Ireland Under 20s Six Nations and World Championship campaigns of 2017
Age: 20 - Academy Year 2
Position: Number eight
Height: 1.93m (6'4)
Weight: 95kg (14 stone 13)
Rugby story: He will know fellow debutant Stewart Moore well, as the duo played together at Ballymena Academy, before joining the Academy together in 2018. Like others his age, Jacob Stockdale has provided Allison with extra motivation to succeed at the top level. Now he's getting the opportunity to follow into the Ulster senior side.
International honours: Allison captained Ireland at Under 19 level and moved to the Under 20s during the summer.
Age: 20 - Academy Year 2
Height: 1.83m (6'0)
Weight: 91kg (14 stone 5)
Rugby story: Moore grew up in Ballymoney, introduced to rugby with his hometown club's minis set-up. Having quit the sport to concentrate on football, he would return to rugby on attending Dalriada secondary school. A call-up to the Ulster U16 squad hinted at a big future in the game and so he moved to Ballymena Academy to concentrate on his potential sporting career.
International honours: Moore has played for Ireland U18s, U19s and U20s, although missed last year's historic Grand Slam through concussion.
Crowning moment: You may remember Moore's barn-storming try against Australia in June. It was only his second cap for the Irish U20s but he managed to steal the headlines by doing this:
Position: Back Three (Sub Academy)
Rugby story: Ethan was a huge part of Methody's Schools' Cup victory earlier this year, his dynamic displays and accurate kicking helping to fire the Belfast school to their first title since 2014. He scored seven points with his boot in the quarter-final, a try and four points from the tee in the semi and added another five conversions in the final walkover against Campbell. McIlroy, perhaps surprisingly, didn't make it into the Ulster Academy this term but, like Angus Kernohan last season, his sub-Academy status has not prevented him from senior involvement.
Belfast Telegraph Digital