Ulster and Connacht announce the URC match The42

The first weekend of the URC season was held an inter-county derby match between Ulster and Connacht at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday evening (7.35pm).

Following yesterday’s announcement of Ulster’s plan to dedicate a memorial stand on their grounds to former player Nevin Spence, the home team will wear black armbands to mark the 10th anniversary of his tragic death.

Ulster captain Alan O’Connor with Ian Henderson excluded, while Nathan Dock replaces injured John Cooney.

Jacob Stockdale is making his long-awaited return to the winger, and his new signature Jeff Touma-Allen could be delivered for the first time off the bench.

“It’s very interesting to have Interpro first in the new season,” said coach Dan MacFarland. “The players are looking to play with a full stopping point, but the Interpro element adds a little something extra. From my point of view it’s always a big showdown against Connacht.

“We have the position that it’s a great opportunity for us to test what we’ve been doing in pre-season, given what they’re giving about their streak speed, their unyielding defence, and their endless attacking. These are the areas that will test us.”

Ulster vs Connacht

15. Stuart Moore
14. Rob Balcon
13. Luke Marshall
12. Stuart McCluskey
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Billy Burns
9. Nathan Duke

1. Eric O’Sullivan
2. Tom Stewart
3. Marty Moore
4 – Alan O’Connor (Captain)
5. Sam Carter
6. Matty Ria
7. Marcos Rea
8. David McCann

Alternatives:

16. John Andrew
17. Calum Reed
18. Jeff Tumaga Allen
19. Cormac Izuchoko
20. Jordy Murphy
21. David Shanahan
22. Angus Curtis
23. Aaron Sexton

Meanwhile, Gavin Thornberry led Connacht’s captain for the first time.

There are debuts for Peter Dooley, Josh Murphy and Byron Ralston, while Shamus Hurley-Langton and David Huxshaw could also earn their first hats on Connacht as a substitute.

“We’ve had a very positive season and now there is a huge sense of excitement among the group,” said Andy Friend, Rugby Director Konnacht.

“There is real faith and optimism about what we can achieve in this first set of games, which all start in Belfast tomorrow night.

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“Ulster are a good team and our fights against them are always tough. We are really looking forward to competing head-to-head with them in what should be a great start to the season for both of us.”

Team Konnacht vs Ulster

15. Ternan O’Halloran
14. Byron Ralston
13. Tom Farrell
12. Tom Daly
11. John Burch
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Kieran Marmione

1. Peter Dooley
2. Dave Heffernan
3. Jack Unger
4 – Gavin Thornberry (Captain)
5.Fifit Cam
6. Josh Murphy
7. Conor Oliver
8. Paul Boyle

Alternatives:

16. Dylan Tierney Martin
17. Dennis Buckley
18. Sam Elo
19. Niall Murray
20. Shamus Hurley Langton
21. Kaolin Blade
22. David Huxshaw
23. Oran McNulty

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