Dave Shanahan set for first senior start with Ulster

Les Kiss has made four changes to his team to take on Exeter Chiefs on Sunday

Ulster’s Director of Rugby Les Kiss has made four changes for their Champions Cup clash with Exeter Chiefs. Photo: Kevin Barnes/Inpho

Ulster’s Director of Rugby Les Kiss has made four changes for their Champions Cup clash with Exeter Chiefs. Photo: Kevin Barnes/Inpho

 

Les Kiss has made three changes for the Champions Cup trip to play Exeter Chiefs on Sunday.

Dave Shanahan will make his first senior start after being named at scrumhalf, while Charles Piutau and Pete Browne are also brought into the starting XV.

Shanahan has made 10 previous appearances for the Province, all of which have come from the replacements bench. He will be partnered at half back by Paddy Jackson, who kicked a match-winning drop goal when the two sides met at Kingspan Stadium in Round 2 in October. Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey will continue their midfield combination outside the Ireland flyhalf.

Piutau, ranked second in the competition for metres made in attack, is selected on the right wing, with captain Andrew Trimble moving to the opposite flank. Louis Ludik, who was impressive in last week’s game at Parc y Scarlets, is retained at fullback.

Ross Kane will make his first European start after being selected in an unchanged front row that also includes Ireland skipper Rory Best and Callum Black.

Browne’s inclusion in the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell means that Iain Henderson will shift to the back row and will wear the number 6 jersey. Chris Henry and Sean Reidy are the other loose forwards named by Kiss.

Clive Ross, Paul Marshall and Jacob Stockdale make way for the new faces in the starting side, but the trio are included among the replacements. John Andrew, Andy Warwick, Jonny Simpson, Franco van der Merwe and Brett Herron also remain in the match day squad.

Ulster team & replacements to play Exeter Chiefs, Champions Cup, Sunday 15th January, Sandy Park (5.30pm kick-off) – live on BT Sport 2:

L Ludik, C Piutau, L Marshall, S McCloskey, A Trimble (capt), P Jackson, D Shanahan; C Black, R Best, R Kane, K Treadwell, P Browne, I Henderson, C Henry, S Reidy.

Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, J Simpson, F van der Merwe, C Ross, P Marshall, B Herron, J Stockdale.

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