Ulster v Benetton – Preview and Team News – Kick off Friday 8.15pm

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Its Pro14 Rugby match Ulster v Benetton – Preview and Team News – Kick off Friday 8.15pm.

600 supporters will be allowed into Kingspan Stadium on Friday as Ulster begin their 2020-2021 Pro14 campaign at home against Benetton.

This follows a consultation process between the club, the IRFU, Belfast City Council and local government that has decided to begin trialing the safe return of supporters.

Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, said: “Following a number of very challenging months for us all, I’m encouraged that this weekend will mark the measured return of a limited number of spectators to Kingspan Stadium.

Addison Agony Continues

On the field the province will have to continue to plan without Irish international Will Addison, after he suffered a setback in his recovery from a back injury that has plagued him for some time.

The 28 year old has undergone surgery and Ulster say he will be out for “several months.”

More injury issues for Ulster

Elsewhere, Tom O’ Toole who suffered an ankle injury against Leinster will miss the game and will be out for several weeks.

Stuart McCloskey and Billy Burns who sustained injuries in the Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Toulouse will also miss Friday’s game.

They join Kyle McCall (head), Ethan McIlroy (ankle), Tom Stewart (hamstring), Andrew Warwick (hip), Luke Marshall (hip), Angus Curtis (knee), and Robert Baloucoune (hamstring) in missing Friday’s return to league action.

In the back three, Jacob Stockdale has been selected to start at full-back and will be joined by Rob Lyttle and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Stewart Moore will make his first senior start for Ulster, pairing with James Hume in midfield. Michael Lowry has been named to start at fly-half, alongside John Cooney at scrum-half.

Jack McGrath and Marty Moore will pack down either side of Rob Herring in the front row, and Sam Carter will partner captain Iain Henderson at lock. Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy and Marcell Coetzee have been selected as the starting loose forwards.

Back-row and Academy Player of the Year, David McCann, could make his senior Ulster debut if called upon from the bench, while prop Gareth Milasinovich is also set to earn his first cap following his return from a knee injury sustained shortly after joining the club last summer. They will be joined on the bench by fellow forwards Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan and David O’Connor. Alby Mathewson, Bill Johnston and Louis Ludik will provide the backline cover.

Ulster team to play Benetton Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 1, Friday 2 October 2020, at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports):

(15-9): Jacob Stockdale, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney.

(1-8): Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements (16-23): Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, David O’Connor, David McCann, Alby Mathewson, Bill Johnston, Louis Ludik.

The game kicks off on Friday at 8.15pm and is live on Eir Sport.

 

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