Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Bryan Keane/INPHO Ulster's contingent in the USA Test get a group photo post-match.
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Cooney, Murphy and McCloskey back in Ulster starting line-up for Cardiff clash
The northern province will have six internationals back after their November exploits.

ULSTER HEAD COACH Dan McFarland has been able to recall six of his international stars for tomorrow’s Pro14 meeting with Cardiff Blues at the Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3pm, eir Sport).

John Cooney, Jordi Murphy and Stuart McCloskey, fresh from starting against the USA for Ireland last week, are among the starters again with McCloskey paired with academy centre James Hume in midfield.

The Blues clash will represent Cooney’s first chance to play for Ulster in six weeks due to a combination of international commitments and injury, but he will reform his half-back partnership with Billy Burns.

Rob Herring will win his 150th Ulster cap as starting hooker. Front-line internationals Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale will have to wait slightly longer to get back in provincial action. The pair were involved in the win over New Zealand a fortnight ago and are on the Ulster bench. Will Addison, who was replaced at half-time of the win over USA after failing a HIA, and Iain Henderson are not among the 23.

Munster native Ian Nagle will provide lock cover among the replacements with Alan O’Connor captaining the side from the second row with Marcell Coetzee pushed to number 8 to accommodate Murphy’s return to the fold.

Ulster (v Cardiff Blues):

15. Mike Lowry
14. Henry Speight
13. James Hume
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Louis Ludik
10. Billy Burns
9. John Cooney

1. Andy Warwick
2. Rob Herring
3. Marty Moore
4. Alan O’Connor (captain)
5. Kieran Treadwell
6. Sean Reidy
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Marcell Coetzee

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16. Rory Best
17. Eric O’Sullivan
18. Ross Kane
19. Ian Nagle
20. Nick Timoney
21. Dan Shanahan
22. Johnny McPhillips
23. Jacob Stockdale

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