Ravens coach Gary Longwell has named an experienced team to take on Doncaster in their opening British & Irish Cup game on Friday evening at Deramore Park.
Eleven of the starting XV have played for the senior team in a competitive fixture, while the other four were all involved in pre-season friendly against Neath.
Callum Black is named at loosehead prop as he continues his efforts to return to the senior squad following a neck injury earlier in the season. He is joined by experienced hooker Nigel Brady and 22 year old development prop Adam Macklin. Neil McComb will partner Tim Barker in the second row, while Ali Birch, Mike McComish and Robbie Diack will combine in a dynamic back row.
Ballymena’s Blane McIlroy and Dungannon’s Paddy Jackson will form the half back pairing, with Phoenix Academy player Chris Farrell partnering the experienced Ian Whitten in the centre. Academy trio Chris Cochrane, Michael Allen and Peter Nelson will make up an exciting back three.
Ireland U20 captain Niall Annett is among those among the replacements, which is largely drawn from the Academy.
Two familiar faces will return to Ulster in the shape of Doncaster fullback David McIlwaine and flanker David Bradford, who both left the Province in the summer.
Longwell is glad to be able to call on a few experienced names: “We have been training well and the combinations are looking sharp. Having that sort of quality in our pack will hopefully provide our youthful back with a good platform to launch off. We expect Doncaster to be physical up front and we know they have the ability to hurt us if we don’t play to our potential.”
Ulster Ravens XV & Replacements to face Doncaster (British & Irish Cup, Deramore Park, Belfast, kick off 7.30pm)
(1-8): Callum Black, Nigel Brady, Adam Macklin, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Ali Birch, Mike McComish, Robbie Diack
(9-15): Blane McIlroy, Paddy Jackson, Chris Cochrane, Chris Farrell, Ian Whitten, Michael Allen, Peter Nelson
(16-22): Niall Annett, Conor Carey, James Simpson, Sean O’Connell, Michael Heaney, James McKinney, Ricky Andrew
Doncaster Knights (15-9): Lee Audis Tom Luke, Michael Bateman, PJ Gidlow, Fred Burdon, Ben Toft, David McIlwaine,
(1-8): Andy Brown, Jack Yeandle, Royce Burke Flynn, Glen Kenworthy, Dominic Parsons, Andy Boyde, David Bradford, Michael Noone
(16-22): Tom Davies, Stuart Corsar, Matt Challinor, Chris Planchant, Zack FarivarzOli Goss Dougie Flockhart
Admission is £10 for a family, £7 for an adult and £3 for kids. Everyone welcome and there is food available from the clubhouse.