Monday 23 April 2018

Ulster to celebrate memory of Spence

Ulster’s Luke Marshall
Ulster’s Luke Marshall

The tie of the round will take place in Ulster where the champions Scarlets come to town this evening (Live TG4/ BBC2 NI 7.35).

Director of Rugby Les Kiss has made four changes, introducing Chris Henry as captain, as well as Luke Marshall, Kyle McCall and Alan O'Connor.

It is certain to be an emotional night as it comes five years to the day since the tragic loss of their centre Nevin Spence, his father Noel and brother Graham to a farm accident.

In pure rugby terms, this is a tussle of two unbeaten sides, Scarlets leading Co nference B by merit of taking maximum points, one more then their hosts, from the openings two games.

Connacht will have to be close to their best to overcome the Dragons at Rodney Parade tonight (KO 7 .30).

There are seven changes for The Westerners as they bid to make it two wins from the first three rounds in their first away game against an old ally in Bernard Jackman.

Backs Rory Scholes and Caolin Blade, and forwards Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux and Jake Heenan make their first starts.

While loose-forward Eoghan Masterson makes his second.

"They have some real firepower with Ashton Hewitt, Zane Kirchner, and the boot of Gavin Henson," said backs coach Nigel Carolan.

"It is going to be a very difficult game for us and we have to make sure we build on last week and are more effective than we were against the Kings."

Ulster: L Ludik; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; C Lealiifano, J Cooney; K McCall, R Herring, W Herbst, K Treadwell, A O'Connor, C Henry (capt), S Reidy, J Deysel.

Scarlets: L Halfpenny; J Mcnicholl, H Parkes, S Williams, S Evans; R Patchell, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens (capt), S Lee, J Ball, T Beirne, A Shingler, W Boyde, J Barclay.

Verdict: Scarlets.

Dragons: Z Kirchner; A Hewitt, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos; G Henson, S Pretorius; B Harris, E Dee, L Brown, R Landman, C Hill (capt), H Keddie, O Griffiths, J Benjamin.

Connacht: T O'Halloran, D Leader, T Farrell, B Aki, R Scholes, J Carty, C Blade; D Coulson, T McCartney, C Carey, Q Roux, J Cannon, E Masterson, J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt).

Verdict: Dragons.

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