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Alan O'Connor will lead out the side.
Alan O'Connor will lead out the side.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ulster academy graduate O'Connor to captain province against Southern Kings

Jono Gibbes has named his first Guinness Pro14 squad.
Feb 8th 2018, 12:29 PM 5,203 15

THE ULSTER TEAM has been named for the historic first-ever visit of Southern Kings to Kingspan Stadium in the Guinness Pro14 on Friday night [KO: 7.35pm].

The game, of course, will be head coach Jono Gibbes’ first in charge of Ulster following the departure of Les Kiss and he has named Alan O’Connor, a graduate of the Ulster academy, as captain.

Out-half Johnny McPhillips, who has made four appearances as a replacement, will make his first senior start while Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy return from injury lay-offs to earn starting berths at outside centre and right wing respectively.

McPhillips will have experience either side of him in the form of scrumhalf John Cooney and inside centre Stuart McCloskey, while Rob Lyttle and Charles Piutau will join Gilroy in the back-three.

Andy Warwick, John Andrew and Wiehahn Herbst form the front-row, with Kieran Treadwell partnering O’Connor at lock. The loose forwards are Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney.

Hooker Rob Herring has been released from the Ireland national camp to provide cover on the bench, while Ireland U20 duo Matthew Dalton and Jonny Stewart are also included among the replacements.

Ulster XV to play Southern Kings

15. Charles Piutau
14. Craig Gilroy
13. Luke Marshall
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Rob Lyttle
10. Johnny McPhillips
9. John Cooney

1. Andy Warwick
2. John Andrew
3. Wiehahn Herbst
4. Alan O’Connor (captain)
5. Kieran Treadwell
6. Matthew Rea
7. Sean Reidy
8. Nick Timoney

16. Rob Herring
17. Kyle McCall
18. Rodney Ah You
19. Matthew Dalton
20. Chris Henry
21. Jonny Stewart
22. Darren Cave
23. Louis Ludik

Southern Kings XV to face Ulster

15. Masixole Banda
14. Yaw Penxe
13. Berton Klaasen
12. Luzuko Vulindlu
11. Anthonie Volmink
10. Martin Du Toit
9. Rowan Gouws

1. Schalk Ferreira
2. Michael Willemse (C)
3. Pieter Scholtz
4. Stephan Greeff
5. Bobby De Wee
6. Andisa Ntsila
7. Martinus Burger
8. Ruaan Lerm

16. Stephan Coetzee
17. Johan Smith
18. Dayan Van der Westhuizen
19. Jurie Van Vuuren
20. Eital Bredenkamp
21. Godlen Masimla
22. Barend Janse van Rensburg
23. Harlon Klaasen

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