Jordi Murphy named in Ulster team for Leicester clash
Murphy is among a group of players who have returned from injury for the province
Jordi Murphy will start for Ulster in their Champions Cup meeting with Leicester Tigers. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Michael Lowry and Marcell Coetzee will make their European debuts for Ulster after being included in the team to take on Leicester Tigers in their Heieneken Champions Cup opener (Saturday, 5.30pm, Kingspan Stadium – live on BT Sport and Irish Times liveblog).
Head coach Dan McFarland has made a total of five changes from the team that lost to Connacht in the Pro14 last weekend.
Included in those changes are the returns of Jordi Murphy, Craig Gilroy and Will Addison who have all shaken off injuries to start at Ravenhill on Saturday.
Marty Moore could also make his debut for the province after recovering from a calf injury which has plagued him since he joined from Wasps.
Rory Best will skipper the side from hooker and will pack down in the front row alongside Ross Kane and Andy Warwick. George Coetzee and Murphy will combine in an interesting back row that also features Nick Timoney, while Iain Henderson and Al O’Connor are paired together in the second row.
John Cooney and Burns will operate in the half back positions, with the in-form Stuart McCloskey partnering Addison in midfield. Jacob Stockdale joins Lowry and Gilroy in the back three.
Ulster have won all four of their previous home games against Leicester, the victories coming with an average margin of 23 points. However, they come into this game off the back of consecutive inter-pro defeats to Munster and Connacht.
ULSTER: M Lowry; C Gilroy, W Addison, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns, J Cooney; A Warwick, R Best (captain), R Kane; A O’Connor, I Henderson; M Coetzee, J Murphy, N Timoney.
Replacements: A McBurney, E O’Sullivan, M Moore, K Treadwell, S Reidy, D Shanahan, A Curtis, A Kernohan.
LEICESTER TIGERS: Jonah Holmes; Adam Thompstone, Manu Tuilagi, Kyle Eastmond, Jordan Olowofela; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Greg Bateman, Tom Youngs (captain), Dan Cole, Mike Williams, Harry Wells; Guy Thompson, Brendon O’Connor, Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, David Feao, Joe Heyes, Sam Lewis, Tommy Reffell, Sam Harrison, Matt Toomuu, Gareth Owen.