Ulster Ravens coach Gary Longwell has named his starting XV and replacements to take on Munster A in the British & Irish Cup quarter final at Ravenhill this Friday (kick off 7.30pm)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Longwell has stuck largely with the squad that went through the group stages winning four from four. The only player ruled out through injury is fullback Peter Nelson, the Ravens top try scorer this season.

Nigel Brady, a week after winning his 100th cap for the senior team, will captain the side from hooker and is joined in the front row by Ballynahinch props Jerry Cronin and Paddy McAllister. The latter was yesterday invited to join the Ireland training squad ahead of their 6 Nations campaign despite missing the last few outings with Ulster through injury.

Tim Barker and Neil McComb, who have been central to the Ravens run to the quarter final, will once again combine in the second row. Conor Joyce, Ali Birch and Mike McComish form a mobile back row.

Blane McIlroy gets an opportunity at scrumhalf ahead of Ian Porter, where he is joined at halfback by Paddy Jackson, who has returned from an ankle injury. Luke Marshall is also making his way back from an ankle injury and will line out at centre alongside Chris Farrell. Michael Allen joins Dungannon players Chris Cochrane and Conor Gaston in an energetic back three.

Phoenix Academy forwards Niall Annett, Conor Carey, James Simpson and Iain Henderson are joined on the bench by Belfast Harlequins prop Richard Lutton. Ian Porter and James McKinney provide cover for the backs.

Munster A will have a number of players who played in the group stages unavailable for the quarter final. The increasing injury situation in the senior squad has led to a number of ‘A’ squad members gaining promotion as cover. But Head Coach Ian Costello will see this as an opportunity to expose more Academy and Development players at this level.

Gary Longwell’s side have not played a competitive fixture for over a month but he believes the current good form of the senior team will inspire his squad. He said: “There has been a great buzz in training on the back of some great performances from the seniors in recent weeks. The win over Leicester in particular, has given the whole of Ulster Rugby a lift. Hopefully we will get a big crowd out at Ravenhill to cheer on the boys. It would be a great start to the weekend if we could get a result on Friday but we are well aware how difficult it will be.”

Longwell continued: “Munster have a great Academy structure and have an abundance of talent coming through the ranks. As with all Munster teams, we are expecting a very tough game. They will be strong up front and we will need to match them physically if we want to progress further in this competition. But it’s a challenge that the player and coaching staff are all relishing.

“A match like this, in the knockout stages against a team like Munster, will do a great deal for the development of some of our young players. It will also give some of the senior players the chance to put their hand up and we’ll be looking for them to use their experience by helping the younger players.”

Tickets for the game are on sale from the Ravenhill Ticket Office, over the telephone on 02890493222 or online at www.ulsterrugby.com.

The Grandstand and Promenade side of the ground will be open for the game and tickets are priced at £10 adult and £5 child for anywhere in the ground. Entry is free to 11/12 Season Ticket Holders who can show their pass on match night to gain entry.

Please be aware that gates open at 6.30pm and parking will available within the grounds but will be on a first come first served basis. We are keen to minimise disruption caused to local residents and would ask that any supporters attending the fixture refrain from parking along Onslow Parade, Ravenhill Park and Ravenhill Park Gardens. Thank you for your co-operation.

Ravens XV & replacements to play Munster A in the British & Irish Cup Quarter Final, Ravenhill, Friday 20th January (kick off 7.30pm):
1 Paddy McAllister
2 Nigel Brady (capt)
3 Jerry Cronin
4 Tim Barker
5 Neil McComb
6 Conor Joyce
7 Ali Birch
8 Mike McComish
9 Blane McIlroy
10 Paddy Jackson
11 Chris Cochrane
12 Luke Marshall
13 Chris Farrell
14 Michael Allen
15 Conor Gaston

16 Niall Annett
17 Conor Carey
18 Richard Lutton
19 James Simpson
20 Iain Henderson
21 Ian Porter
22 James McKinney

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