Craig Watson/INPHO Ulster's Stuart McCloskey.

Ulster injury boost as McCloskey returns for crucial Sharks clash

Dan McFarland’s side could secure a home URC quarter-final with a victory at the Kingspan Stadium

ULSTER HAVE RECEIVED a significant injury boost ahead of their crucial URC clash with the Sharks tomorrow night (KO 7.35pm, TG4).

Stuart McCloskey has recovered from the groin problem which he suffered in the win over Edinburgh last month to take his place at centre alongside James Hume.

Dan McFarland’s side could secure a home quarter-final with a victory at the Kingspan Stadium and the return of McCloskey will be a shot in the arm.

Ulster are just one point behind third-place Sharks and could leapfrog them with a win.

Iain Henderson will lead from the second row and is partnered by Alan O’Connor, Ireland international Rob Herring is hooker, while Marcus Rea is picked at blindside flanker with Nick Timoney given the nod at openside. Duane Vermeulen completes the pack in the number eight jersey.

Scrum-half John Cooney will be just one cap away from 100 Ulster appearances on Friday after Ulster named him to partner Billy Burns in the halfbacks.

Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, and Ethan McIlroy make up the back three.

Meanwhile, the Sharks have confirmed that Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am comes straight back into their starting XV after his recent return from a short-term stint playing in Japan.


  • 15. Mike Lowry
  • 14. Rob Baloucoune
  • 13. James Hume
  • 12. Stuart McCloskey
  • 11. Ethan McIlroy
  • 10. Billy Burns
  • 9. John Cooney
  • 1. Andrew Warwick
  • 2. Rob Herring
  • 3. Tom O’Toole
  • 4. Alan O’Connor
  • 5. Iain Henderson (captain)
  • 6. Marcus Rea
  • 7. Nick Timoney
  • 8. Duane Vermeulen


  • 16. John Andrew
  • 17. Eric O’Sullivan
  • 18. Gareth Milasinovich
  • 19. Kieran Treadwell
  • 20. Matty Rea
  • 21. Nathan Doak
  • 22. Stewart Moore
  • 23. Rob Lyttle


  • 15. Aphelele Fassi
  • 14. Werner Kok
  • 13. Lukhanyo Am
  • 12. Marius Louw
  • 11. Makazole Mapimpi
  • 10. Curwin Bosch
  • 9. Jaden Hendrikse
  • 1. Ox Nche
  • 2. Bongi Mbonambi
  • 3. Thomas du Toit (captain)
  • 4. Ruben van Heerden
  • 5. Reniel Hugo
  • 6. Siya Kolisi
  • 7. Henco Venter
  • 8. Phepsi Buthelezi


  • 16. Kerron van Vuuren
  • 17. Ntuthuko Mchunu
  • 18. Khutha Mchunu
  • 19. Hyron Andrews
  • 20. Jeandre Labuschagne
  • 21. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
  • 22. Grant Williams
  • 23. Boeta Chamberlain

Referee: Ben Blain (SRU).

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