John Cooney and Jack McGrath have a point to prove in Wales
Duo named in Ulster team to play Ospreys after being left out of the Ireland squad
Ulster scrumhalf John Cooney was left out of Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad. File photograph: Inpho
Ospreys v Ulster, Liberty stadium (5.15, live on Eir Sport)
Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made several changes to the side that beat Benetton for the difficult trip to Wales against an Ospreys team that arguably produced the best performance, in result terms, of the opening weekend of the Pro14 with a 25-10 victory away to Edinburgh.
Matt Faddes replaces Craig Gilroy on the wing, Ian Madigan is in for Michael Lowry at outhalf, while up front, Alan O’Connor will partner Iain Henderson at lock and Marcus Rea joins his older brother, and last week’s man of the match, Matthew, in the backrow.
McFarland has opted for a 6-2 split on a bench that includes the addition of Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones and David Shanahan to the matchday 23.
Ospreys’ coach Toby Booth has named an unchanged side to the one that beat Edinburgh.
John Cooney will want to prove a point having been omitted from Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad, so too Jack McGrath, while it will be interesting to see if the talented young midfield of James Hume and Stewart Moore can build on last week’s impressive contribution.
The visitors to the Liberty stadium will want to retain the high tempo and offloading game that was effective in their patterns last weekend but must improve an at times brittle defence that leaked tries a little too easily.
Ospreys: D Evans; M Protheroe, O Watkin, K Williams, L Morgan; S Myler, R Webb; N Smith, S Parry, T Botha; A Beard, A W Jones; O Cracknell, J Tipuric (capt), M Morris. Replacements: D Lake, R Jones, M Fia, B Davies, D Lydiate, H Morgan, J Thomas, T Thomas-Wheeler.
Ulster: J Stockdale; M Faddes, J Hume, S Moore, R Lyttle; I Madigan, J Cooney; J McGrath, R Herring, M Moore; A O’Connor, I Henderson (capt); Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, M Coetzee. Replacements: A McBurney, E O’Sullivan, G Milasinovich, K Treadwell, G Jones, D Shanahan, L Ludik, S Reidy.
Referee: M Adamson (Scotland)