Stephen Ferris set to make first start in 16 months
Ireland flanker named on the bench for Pro12 clash with Scarlets at Ravenhill
Stephen Ferris training with Ulster at Ravenhill on Thursday. The Ireland flanker will start on the bench against Scarlets on Friday. Photograph: Matt Mackey Inpho/Presseye
Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris is set to make his first appearance in 16 months after being named on the bench for Ulster’s RaboDirect 12 clash against Scarlets at Ravenhill on Friday night (7.05pm).
Paddy Jackson will start at outhalf after he missed out on Ireland’s trip to Paris, but the news of a potential first appearance since November 2012 for blindside Ferris will be widely welcomed with the 28-year-old set to undergo a staged comeback from a serious ankle injury.
Tommy Bowe will start on the right wing after he was released from the Ireland squad earlier in the week and there’s a a first start for centre Stuart McCloskey who came on as a substitute in the win over Newport Gwent Dragons a fortnight ago.
In the pack, John Afoa returns to the starting XV at tighthead while Nick Williams returns at No 8 after missing a number of matches having returned to New Zealand without permission from the province
ULSTER (v Scarlets, Ravenhill, Friday, 7.05pm): J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Scholes; P Jackson, R Pienaar; : C Black, R Herring, J Afoa; J Muller (capt), R Diack; R Wilson, S Doyle, N Williams. Replacements: N Annett, T Court, R Lutton, L Stevenson, S Ferris, M Heaney, C Gilroy, R Andrew.