Reidy to start for Ulster in Champions Cup clash with Scarlets while Connacht name two Academy players
Ulster flanker Sean Reidy has been passed fit to keep his spot in the line-up for Friday evening's Champions Cup game against Scarlets.
Head Coach Dan McFarland is able to name an unchanged line-up, including the bench, for the game at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).
Ulster, of course, edged a 24-25 win at Parc y Scarlets last week and are looking to complete the double. Reidy had departed the action early but came through return to play protocols to make the starting XV.
Ian Nagle had been added to Ulster's European panel as he battled to return from a rib injury but the lock has not been included in the matchday squad.
Captain Rory Best will become Ulster's most capped player in European competition when he wins his 72nd European cap to move ahead of Andrew Trimble.
Best will pack down in the front row beside Marty Moore and Eric O’Sullivan, the Abbey Insurance Academy prop who made 22 tackles last week in an impressive 80-minute display.
Iain Henderson and Kieran Treadwell are paired together in the second row, while Reidy, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee will combine in the back row.
Billy Burns will again partner John Cooney at half-back, with Stuart McCloskey and Will Addison retained in midfield. Jacob Stockdale, who was named as BBC NI Sports Personality of the Year earlier this week, is selected in the back three alongside the experienced Louis Ludik and Henry Speight.
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Scarlets, meanwhile, have made three changes to their side, with Jake Ball returning at lock as Lewis Rawlins shifts to cover for injured flanker James Davies. Welsh pair Hadleigh Parkes and Wyn Jones come in to replace Keiron Fonotia and Rob Evans at centre and prop respectively.
Connacht, meanwhile, have named academy players Conor Fitzgerald and Kieran Joyce in their starting team to face Perpignan in the Challenge Cup while Matthew Burke makes the bench.
Ulster team to play Scarlets
(15-9): L Ludik; H Speight, W Addison, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns, J Cooney;
(1-8): E O’Sullivan, R Best (captain), M Moore, I Henderson, K Treadwell, S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee;
Replacements: R Herring, K McCall, T O’Toole, M Rea, N Timoney, D Shanahan, J McPhillips, D Cave.
Scarlets team to play Ulster
(15-9): J McNicholl; T Prydie, J Davies, H Parkes, S Evans; R Patchell, G Davies
(1-8): W Jones, K Owens (capt), S Lee, J Ball, D Bulbring, L Rawlins, W Boyde, U Cassiem.
Replacements: R Elias, P Price, W Kruger, T Price, J Helps, S Hidalgo-Clyne, D Jones, PAsquith.
Connacht team to face Perpignan
(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Kieran Joyce, David Horwitz, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, James Mitchell, (1-8) Peter McCabe, Dave Heffernan (Capt), Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Gavin Thornbury, Sean O’Brien, James Connolly, Robin Copeland.
Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Matthew Burke, Conor Carey, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Jack Carty, Kyle Godwin.