Doak set for first Ulster start against Zebre

Zebre v Ulster Oct 2 2021

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Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has announced his matchday 23 that will face Zebre at the Stade Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma, Italy on Saturday evening at 5:15 pm BST.

19-year-old scrum-half, Nathan Doak, will make his first competitive start for Ulster as John Cooney is currently out through injury – Doak played 50 minutes against Glasgow after the Ireland international’s withdrawal.

Doak, who scored his first senior try against Glasgow Warriors last Friday, has been named alongside Billy Burns at out-half.

In the midfield, James Hume has been paired up with Stewart Moore while Ethan McIlroy makes a positional switch to the left-wing, with Craig Gilroy coming in to take up the right-wing position, and Will Addison named at full-back.

It’s all change in the front row with Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole coming in to prop at either side of Rob Herring, who will be just one appearance away from the ‘200’ milestone when he takes the field tomorrow.

Alan O’Connor will skipper the Ulster side and is partnered by former Zebre lock Mick Kearney in the second row.

Matty Rea is selected at blindside flanker, and Nick Timoney switches to openside, with David McCann named at Number Eight.

Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Marty Moore, Sam Carter and Sean Reidy are the forward options from the bench, and David Shanahan, Mike Lowry and Ben Moxham offer backline cover.

12 players are unavailable for the game, including Cooney, Jordi Murphy and club captain Iain Henderson.

Ulster Team v Zebre

(15-9) Will Addison, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Mick Kearney, Matty Rea, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Mike Lowry, Ben Moxham.

Players not considered due to injury or unavailability:

Jack McGrath, Iain Henderson, Luke Marshall, Cormac Izuchukwu, David O’Connor, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Stuart McCloskey, Robert Baloucoune, Kieran Treadwell, Ian Madigan, Jacob Stockdale.

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