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Ulster begin their inaugural United Rugby Championship campaign when they welcome Glasgow Warriors to the Kingspan Stadium on Friday, September 24.
The provincial outfit will be looking to get off to another good start in the league and build upon their three previous seasons – both seasons saw the side come close to silverware but fall short.
Dan McFarland, formerly an assistant coach with the Scottish outfit, led Ulster to 10 straight wins in the Pro14 at the start of last season but two losses to Leinster denied the Ulstermen a second league final in a row.
Ulster won both meetings with Glasgow Warriors last season and earned a bonus point in a 25-point win over Danny Wilson’s side at Ravenhill.
Glasgow, on the other hand, have not got one over their opponents since May 2019 – a 30-point thrashing in the 2018-19 Pro14 semi-final.
The side will be looking for their first win against Ulster on the road since September 2013.
The Warriors lost the final to Leinster that year and have not finished in the top two of their conference since.
10 players were unavailable for selection by McFarland and his backroom for the Ulster matchday squad, including Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy.
New signing Duane Vermuelen will not join up with the squad until his duties with South Africa wrap up for the year.
The backs in the starting XV are mostly Ireland internationals – all aside from Ethan McIlroy have lined out for the boys in green.
Sam Carter captains the side from the second row.
Brad Thyer and Simon Berghan are in line for their debuts with the club at prop with Johnny Matthews starting at hooker in between them.
Scott Cummings and Richie Gray form a respectable second-row partnership while Ryan Wilson captains the Warriors for his 193rd cap with the side from blindside flanker.
Fly-half Duncan Weir is the most experienced player in the starting lineup with 107 caps and he plays in the same backline as a back three with only 46 caps to their name altogether.
The sole survivor from Glasgow’s last win in Belfast, Rob Harley, begins the game on the bench.
Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti and Ross Thompson are among the names that join him there.
The Fagerson brothers and Ali Price are among those unavailable for selection while Sebastian Cancelliere, Domingo Miotti and Enrique Pieretto are all on international duty.
Ulster Rugby: Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Brad Roberts, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (C), Greg Jones, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Mick Kearney, Matty Rea, Nathan Doak, Mike Lowry, Will Addison.
Glasgow Warriors: Forbes, Steyn, Tuipulotu, Johnson, McLean, Weir, Horne; Thyer, Matthews, Berghan, Cummings, Gray, Wilson (C), Darge, Dempsey.
Replacements: Brown, Bhatti, McCallum, Bean, Harley, Dobie, Thompson, Smith.
Ulster Rugby 1/8
Glasgow Warriors 5/1
Where To Watch
The game will kick-off at 7:35 pm and will be available to watch on Premier Sports 1 and URC TV (dependent on location).