Ulster boosted by return of injured quartet for clash with Geordan Murphy’s Tigers

ULSTER HAVE BEEN handed a much-needed boost with the news four key players have returned to fitness in time for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup opener against Leicester Tigers in Belfast.

Jordi Murphy, Craig Gilroy and Will Addison have all shaken off injuries to be named in Dan McFarland’s side for the visit of Geordan Murphy’s Tigers, while Marty Moore is in line for his Ulster debut off the bench at Kingspan Stadium [Ko 5.30pm, BT Sport].

Murphy is fit again to bolster Ulster’s pack. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Murphy has recovered from an ankle injury he sustained during his debut appearance for the northern province last month and starts in a back row unit alongside Marcell Coetzee — who will make his European debut — and Nick Timoney.

Moore, meanwhile, could make his long-awaited debut having been sidelined with a calf injury since his summer arrival from Wasps. 

The fit-again Gilroy makes up an exciting back three alongside academy fullback Michael Lowry and Jacob Stockdale, while Addison is back in the side to partner Stuart McCloskey in midfield.

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Billy Burns will make his Champions Cup debut for the club at out-half, having previously played in the competition for Gloucester, with John Cooney contuining at scrum-half.

Rory Best will skipper the side from hooker and will pack down in the front row alongside Ross Kane and Andy Warwick.

Coetzee and Murphy will combine in an explosive back row that also features the impressive Timoney, while Iain Henderson and Al O’Connor are paired together in the second row.

Having lost back-to-back inter-pros to Munster and Connacht, Ulster are in desperate need of an opening-day victory against their Premiership opponents, with McFarland’s honeymoon period in charge very much over.

History is, however, on Ulster’s side with the province winning all four of their previous home games against Leicester.

As for Leicester, interim head coach Murphy has two changes in personnel to his side, with both David Denton and Jonny May ruled out through injury.

England international May misses out with the shoulder injury suffered in the win over Northampton Saints at Twickenham last Saturday, but Wallabies Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau come back into the 23 after the Rugby Championship. 


15. Michael Lowry
14. Craig Gilroy
13. Will Addison
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Billy Burns
9. John Cooney

1. Andrew Warwick
2. Rory Best
3. Ross Kane
4. Alan O’Connor
5. Iain Henderson
6. Marcell Coetzee
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Nick Timoney


16. Adam McBurney
17. Eric O’Sullivan
18. Marty Moore
19. Kieran Treadwell
20. Sean Reidy
21. David Shanahan
22. Angus Curtis
23. Angus Kernohan. 

Leicester Tigers:

15. Jonah Holmes
14. Adam Thompstone
13. Manu Tuilagi
12. Kyle Eastmond
11. Jordan Olowofela
10. George Ford
9. Ben Youngs

1. Greg Bateman
2. Tom Youngs (c)
3. Dan Cole
4. Mike Williams
5. Harry Wells
6. Guy Thompson
7. Brendon O’Connor
8. Sione Kalamafoni


16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. David Feao
18. Joe Heyes
19. Sam Lewis
20. Tommy Reffell
21. Sam Harrison
22. Matt Toomua
23. Gareth Owen.

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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