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Baptism of fire: Jackson to start Heineken Cup semi-final

The province will begin the biggest match of its recent history with Irish U-20 captain Paddy Jackson at fly-half.

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

ULSTER COACH BRIAN McLoughlin has named his starting 15 to face Edinburgh in tomorrow’s Heineken Cup semi-final.

Paddy Wallace, Pedrie Wannenburg and Paul Marshall have passed late fitness tests to guarantee their inclusion in the squad, but influential flanker Chris Henry has failed in his bid to recover from an ankle sprain suffered during last week’s RaboDirect Pro12 defeat to Leinster.

Henry’s absence from the pack is counterbalanced by the return of rested Irish internationals Stephen Ferris, Rory Best and Dan Tuohy to the  starting line-up, while the naming of an unchanged back-line grants Irish U-20 captain Paddy Jackson an opportunity to impress at fly-half.

Speaking to reporters following the announcement, McLoughlin explained the difficulty he encountered in overlooking several veterans, among whom Ian Humphries and Marshall could be numbered.

“Nobody wants to miss an occasion like this. These kind of games don’t come around too often; it’s been 13 years since we’ve had a game this big. It really wasn’t easy selecting the squad this week… Paddy [Jackson] has come in over the last few weeks and done exceptionally well. His performances have warranted selection. It’s a very tough call on Ian (Humphreys) who has been exceptional for us over the past couple of seasons, but we felt Paddy deserved a shot .”

Ulster team to face Edinburgh: Terblanche, Trimble, Cave, Wallace, Gilroy, Jackson, Pienaar; Court, Best, Fitzpatrick, Muller (c), Tuohy, Ferris, Faloon, Wannenburg.

Replacements: Brady, McAllister, Macklin, Stevenson, Diack, Marshall, Humphreys, D’Arcy.

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