Jack McGrath to start for Ulster in Pro14 opener versus Ospreys

Craig Gilroy will make his first competitive outing in over 11 months on the wing

Jack McGrath will make his first Pro14 start for Ulster on Friday night. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jack McGrath will make his first Pro14 start for Ulster on Friday night. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Summer signings Jack McGrath, Sam Carter and Matt Faddes will all earn their first Ulster caps in Friday’s Pro14 opener versus Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm).

McGrath starts in the frontrow alongside captain Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole, with Carter partnering Kieran Treadwell in the secondrow.

Matthew Rea, Jordi Murphy and Sean Reidy are selected as the loose forwards.

Last season’s pivotal halfback partnership of John Cooney and Billy Burns continues, with James Hume and Luke Marshall paired in the Ulster midfield.

Following impressive showings in pre-season, Craig Gilroy will make his first competitive outing in over 11 months, and he joins Rob Lyttle and Faddes in the back three.

John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor and Greg Jones will provide the forward options from the bench, with David Shanahan, Michael Lowry and Louis Ludik covering the backline.

ULSTER: Matt Faddes; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, James Hume, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt), Tom O’Toole; Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter; Matthew Rea, Jordi Murphy, Sean Reidy.

Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Louis Ludik.

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