Billy Burns returns to captain Ulster as they face Cardiff
Ireland squad members Stuart McCloskey and John Cooney are also included in squad
Ulster’s Billy Burns will captain the team in their game against Cardiff. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Pro14: Cardiff Blues v Ulster
Kick-off: 6pm, Monday. Venue: Rodney Parade. On TV: Live in Eir Sport.
Ulster centre Luke Marshall returns from injury to make his first appearance of the season while flanker Matty Rea wins a 50th cap for the province. The Guinness Pro14 clash will take place at Rodney Parade because Cardiff’s home ground is unavailable.
Ireland squad members Stuart McCloskey and John Cooney have been included in Dan McFarland’s starting team while another player returning from injury, outhalf Billy Burns, will captain the team. McCloskey partners Stewart Moore in midfield while Craig Gilroy and Michael Lowry are named at wing and fullback respectively.
Former Ireland under-20 hooker Adam McBurney is starting his first match of the season at hooker as is secondrow Kieran Treadwell. The 27-year-old Matt, the older of the Rea brothers, and Nick Timoney are other changes in the pack. Academy prospect Ethan McElroy is named among the replacements.
Cardiff coach John Mulvihill makes two changes to the side that pushed Munster last weekend. Will Boyde is back following injury, Josh Turnbull after suspension and they join James Botham, a grandson of former England cricket Ian, in the backrow.
Mulvihill said: “Ulster will present another formidable challenge. They are undefeated and are a hugely physical team with good variety to their attack and they do not lose many players to the international game.
“We will have to be at our best but we still have some confidence and momentum, we have prepared well and have a pretty good record at Rodney Parade. If we can perform to our potential, cut out the mistakes and play for the 80 minutes, I am confident we can get the result.”
Cardiff Blues: M Morgan; A Summerhill, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, H Amos; J Evans, L Jones; C Domachowski, K Dacey, D Arhip; J Ratti, R Thornton; J Turnbull, J Botham, W Boyde.
Replacements: E Lewis, B Thyer, S Andrews, B Murphy, O Robinson, J Hill, J Tovey, G Smith.
Ulster: M Lowry; C Gilroy, S Moore, S McCloskey, L Ludik; Billy Burns (capt), J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, A McBurney, M Moore; A O’Connor, K Treadwell; M Rea, J Murphy, N Timoney.
Replacements: J Andrew, J McGrath, R Kane, S Carter, S Reidy, A Mathewson, L Marshall, E McIlroy.
Referee: S Grove White (Scotland).