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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Bryan Keane/INPHO Will Hickey playing for St Michael's in 2020.
# Irish Abroad
Ex-Ireland U19s back row Hickey gets first start for the Ospreys
The 21-year-old back row will play against the Bulls in the URC tomorrow.

FORMER IRELAND U18 and U19 back row Will Hickey will make his first start for the Ospreys against the Bulls in South Africa on Saturday [KO 1pm, Viaplay/Premier Sports/URC TV].

Hickey, who joined the Welsh region’s academy last year, has already made one appearance off the bench but has been handed his first chance in the starting XV for tomorrow’s clash at Loftus Versfeld.

The 21-year-old has been named at openside flanker in Toby Booth’s side as they aim to start climbing the URC table after a tough opening block that saw them win just once in seven games.

Hickey is a graduate of St Michael’s College, Dublin and helped the school to the 2019 Leinster Schools Senior Cup, while also playing for the Irish underage sides and captaining the Leinster U19s.

He played for Leinster A in December 2020 but missed out on a place in the province’s academy, so moved to the Ospreys on an initial short-term trial that was set up by the region’s development director, Mike Ruddock, who previously worked in Irish rugby.

Hickey made his Ospreys debut off the bench in a Champions Cup clash against Racing 92 in January of this year. Head coach Booth praised Hickey for being a “very diligent and very committed” player in the wake of his first appearance.

Hickey has had to deal with injury frustration since but is now back fully fit and gets a big chance tomorrow against the powerful Bulls.

25-year-old former Ulster academy lock Jack Regan, who played for the Ireland U20s in 2017, is on the bench for the Ospreys. Offaly man Regan joined the Welsh side in 2021 after an impressive stint in New Zealand.

“The Vodacom Bulls are one of the toughest teams we’ll face this year,” said Booth. “The biggest challenge for us in this game is to prepare for the physicality of the Bulls and focus on how we deal with that.”

Ospreys (v Bulls):

  • 15. Max Nagy
  • 14. Luke Morgan
  • 13. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
  • 12. Keiran Williams
  • 11. Keelan Giles
  • 10. Jack Walsh
  • 9. Rhys Webb (captain)
  • 1. Garyn Phillips
  • 2. Scott Baldwin
  • 3. Tom Botha
  • 4. Bradley Davies
  • 5. Huw Sutton
  • 6. Ethan Roots
  • 7. Will Hickey
  • 8. Morgan Morris

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Replacements:

  • 16. Sam Parry
  • 17. Rhys Henry
  • 18. Ben Warren
  • 19. James Fender
  • 20. Jack Regan
  • 21. Reuben Morgan-Williams
  • 22. Luke Scully
  • 23. Cai Evans

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