Tuesday 30 May 2017

B&I Cup Previews

Nottingham v Munster, Meadow Lane, 7.45

MUNSTER name their 'A' side this morning for tonight's clash with Nottingham after announcing an initial 22-man squad.

Most unusually for a British and Irish Cup match, there will be a sprinkling of glamour at Notts County's Meadow Lane this evening as rising star Ian Nagle will get to test himself against All Black Ali Williams, who is enjoying a month-long stint in the English midlands in order to be fit for the start of the Super Rugby season.

Fellow countryman Peter Borlase is among those making the relatively short journey, with Barry Murphy and Billy Holland representing the more senior element in a young Munster squad.

Duncan Williams' return from injury continues as he battles for a starting spot with Conor Murray, while Simon Zebo, Tom Gleeson and Scott Deasy will add zip behind the scrum.

Nottingham won their only Pool B match so far, a 37-23 away win over Bristol, while Munster have won one from two -- beating Ulster and losing to Llanelli.

With Munster's front-liners heading for their showdown with Toulon, a bonus point defeat would be a decent return.

Verdict: Nottingham

Munster (squad v Nottingham) -- Forwards: D Kilycoyne, P Borlase, S Archer, D Casey, S Henry, D O'Callaghan, I Nagle, D Foley, B Holland, T O'Donnell, K Essex, P Butler. Backs: D Williams, C Murray, D Cusack, S Deasy, I Dineen, B Murphy, T Gleeson, D Barnes, S Zebo, S Scanlon, TBC.

Ulster Ravens v Neath, Shaw's Bridge, 7.0

ON the eve of the senior team's biggest match in some time, the Ulster Ravens get the rugby weekend under way in Belfast tonight as they play host to Neath.

Gary Longwell's charges are top of Pool C after two matches, but tonight's opponents have yet to get their campaign under way and will be hoping for a winning start.

The ex-Ireland second-row has named an exciting backline, with promising winger Craig Gilroy alongside Jamie Smith, the highly rated Paddy Jackson at 10 and the exciting Luke Marshall at inside centre.

The Ravens followed a win over Swansea with defeat to Bedford and they now face a side second in the Welsh Premiership.

Verdict: Ulster Ravens

Ulster Ravens -- J Smith; T Seymour, J Shiels, L Marshall, C Gilroy; P Jackson, I Porter; C Carey, A Kyriacou, J Cronin; N McComb, R Caldwell; A Birch, D McGuigan, TJ Anderson (capt). Replacements: N Annett, K McCall, I Henderson, P Pritchard, M Heaney, N O'Connor, M McCrea.

Irish Independent

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