Will Addison returns to starting Ulster line-up

Return of Irish international one of five changes to team for visit of Cardiff Blues

Ulster v Cardiff Blues, Kingspan Stadium, Friday, 7.35pm - Live on Eir Sport, Premier Sports

Will Addison has recovered from injury and will make his first appearance of the season when lining out at fullback for an Ulster side that shows five changes to the starting team that thumped the Southern Kings last time out as the second part of a two-game tour to South Africa.

He is one of three Irish internationals – prop Jack McGrath and secondrow Kieran Treadwell are the others – that head coach Dan McFarland has reintroduced to the starting team. Promising young centre and former underage international James Hume gets a chance alongside Luke Marshall in the midfield.

Outhalf Billy Burns captains the team for the first time in a competitive outing in the absence of Rob Herring, who flew to Japan last week, and the latter is replaced in the frontrow by John Andrew.


Two of Ulster's summer signings, Sam Carter and Matt Faddes are on the bench alongside a fit-again Nick Timoney who has recovered from a hand injury.

Ulster old boy Nick Williams will lead the Cardiff Blues as the Welsh side look to arrest a run of two defeats to Edinburgh and the Glasgow Warriors. Liam Belcher, Scott Andrew, Will Boyde and Jason Harries come into the starting team.

The home side have won two of their three outings in the Pro 14 to date, lie third in the conference table and will be keen to maintain the pressure on the top teams, the Cheetahs and Leinster.

The battle of the respective backrows provides a point of interest, particularly the tussle between an old Ravenhill favourite in Williams and South African Marcell Coetzee, hugely popular with the Ulster supporters.

Flanker Matty Rea is a fine prospect, while Irish international Sean Reidy and Olly Robinson, a son of former England and Scotland coach Andy, will go head-to-head in the battle of the number sevens.

Ulster certainly possess the quality in the three-quarter line if given a platform and will be keen to maintain a record of not having been beaten at home in over a year.

ULSTER: W Addison; C Gilroy, L Marshall, J Hume, L Ludik; Billy Burns (capt), J Cooney; J McGrath, J Andrew, T O'Toole; A O'Connor, K Treadwell; M Rea, S Reidy, M Coetzee.

Replacements: A McBurney, E O'Sullivan, R Kane, S Carter, N Timoney, D Shanahan, B Johnston, M Faddes.

CARDIFF BLUES: M Morgan; J Harries, G Smith, W Halaholo, A Summerhill; J Evans, L Williams; B Thyer, L Belcher, S Andrews; J Turnbull, R Thornton; W Boyde, O Robinson, N Williams (capt).

Replacements: K Dacey, C Domachowski, K Assiratti, S Davies, S Lewis-Hughes, L Jones, J Tovey, H Millard.

Referee: M Adamson (Scotland)

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer