Ulster squad announced for trip to Scarlets

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Ulster Rugby Head Coach Jono Gibbes has made just two changes to the starting XV for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 16 clash away to Scarlets.

Ulster’s record appearance holder, Andrew Trimble, will earn his 229th cap, as he is recalled to the starting team in place of the injured Craig Gilroy on the right wing.

The only other change to the side that suffered an agonising last gasp defeat to Edinburgh last weekend sees John Andrew come in at hooker.

O’Connor to Captain

Alan O’Connor will captain the Ulster men for the third game in a row alongside Kieran Treadwell in the second row, while props Andy Warwick and Wiehahn Herbst complete the front five.

Nick Timoney, who topped the PRO14 tackle count last weekend, continues at openside flanker, as does Matty Rea at blindside and Jean Deysel at number 8.

Behind the scrum, John Cooney has been released from Ireland duty to play at scrum-half, while Johnny McPhillips has recovered from a shoulder knock to take his place at fly-half.

The impressive midfield duo of Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall also remain in situ, with Tommy Bowe and Louis Ludik joining Trimble in the back three.

Among the replacements, Rob Herring, Kyle McCall and Rodney Ah You will provide the front row backup, with Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy player Matthew Dalton and Chris Henry named as the additional forward options. Paul Marshall, who is in line for his first appearance since December, Peter Nelson and Darren Cave, provide versatile backline cover from the bench.

Watch Live

Ulster Rugby team to play Scarlets, Saturday 24th February at Parc y Scarlets, kick-off 7.35pm (live on BBC NI)

(15-9): L Ludik; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, T Bowe; J McPhillips, J Cooney;

(1-8): A Warwick, J Andrew, W Herbst, A O’Connor (Captain), K Treadwell, M Rea, N Timoney, J Deysel;

Replacements (16-23): R Herring, K McCall, R Ah You, M Dalton, C Henry, P Marshall, P Nelson, D Cave.