2 minutes, 29 seconds Read

The Ulster Ravens squad, sponsored by CD Group, has been named ahead of Friday’s fixture against Connacht Eagles at Deramore Park, Belfast (kick off 6.00pm).

Paul Marshall and Stuart Olding, both capped by Ireland earlier this year, will form a potent half back partnership for the hosts. The versatile Olding will have the opportunity to play at outhalf at his club ground after recent appearances at centre and fullback for the senior Ulster side.

Chris Farrell and Michael Allen form a dangerous midfield pairing, while Peter Nelson – who has been in excellent form for Dungannon – is joined in the back three by David McIlwaine and Ricky Andrew

The forwards will have the sizeable Nick Williams packing down at 8, with Sean Doyle and Mike McComish on either side of the scrum. Robbie Diack makes a rare start in the second row where he will partner captain Lewis Stevenson. Belfast Harlequins duo Ricky Lutton and Niall Annett are joined in the front row by talented loosehead prop Kyle McCall.

The bench also has a strong look about it; Callum Black, Adam Macklin, Conor Joyce and James McKinney having all represented the senior Ulster side. Dungannon hooker Paul Jackson, brother of Ireland outhalf Paddy, has been handed an opportunity to impress after a strong start to the season for the Stevenson Park outfit. Hughes Insuranace Academy players Stuart McCloskey (Dungannon), Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University) and David Shanahan (Ballymena) are also included.

Commenting on selection, Ulster coach Neil Doak said: “With a few guys coming back from injury it’s a good opportunity for us to give them some game time to improve their match fitness. It’s a difficult period with the Autumn Internationals so it’s good to see guys in different positions as we might need them down the line in the senior team.”

He continued: “There’s no pressure on anyone to win the game and get league points so we’re looking to go out and play a bit. We’d like to hold onto the ball and, weather permitting, throw the shackles off.”

Doak feels that the club and Hughes Insurance Academy players will benefit from playing with so many professionals. He said: “The Ravens is always going to be a mixture of club, Academy, development and senior players so there’s a nice blend in there. Hopefully the experienced guys can help guide the younger ones through the game. It’s always good to play with more senior players and hopefully the younger guys can come in and learn from the experience and build their repertoire.”

Ulster Ravens XV & Replacements v Connacht Eagles, Deramore Park, Belfast, Friday 15th November (kick off 6.00pm):

(15-9): R Andrew; D McIlwaine, M Allen, C Farrell, P Nelson; S Olding, P Marshall;
(1-8): K McCall, N Annett, R Lutton, L Stevenson (capt), R Diack, M McComish, S Doyle, N Williams;
Replacements (16-23): P Jackson, C Black, A Macklin, L Dow, C Joyce, D Shanahan, J McKinney, S McCloskey.

Similar Posts