Friday 18 October 2019

Ulster welcome back Jacob Stockdale and Louis Ludik for PRO14 semi-final at Glasgow

Jacob Stockdale. Photo by Ross Parker/Sportsfile
Jacob Stockdale. Photo by Ross Parker/Sportsfile

Adam McKendry

Ulster have welcomed back Ireland star Jacob Stockdale and winger Louis Ludik from injury for their Guinness PRO14 semi-final at the Glasgow Warriors.

The pair have missed the last several weeks due to hamstring and knee injuries respectively, but both have recovered to be named in the starting line-up for tomorrow's game (7.35pm).

The exciting experiment that saw Stockdale impress at full-back against Edinburgh is given another run-out as he lines up at 15 for Ulster.

As a result, Dan McFarland is able to call upon one of his strongest line-ups of the season for the knockout clash, a rematch of the 2015 PRO12 semi-final at Scotstoun Stadium.

Stockdale and Ludik are the only two changes to the team which defeated Connacht in the quarter-final as the coaching staff retain faith in the team that got them to this point.

That means the talented young duo of Michael Lowry and Rob Lyttle drop out of the team, with the former on the bench and the latter not involved at all.

Academy flier Robert Baloucoune completes the back three alongside Stockdale and Ludik, while Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey continue their strong midfield pairing.

John Cooney and Billy Burns continue at half-back to round out the back line.

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The front row sees Eric O'Sullivan and Ross Kane pack down at prop either side of captain Rory Best in what could be his final game for the province should they lose.

In the second row, Iain Henderson and the impressive Kieran Treadwell continue, while the back row now has a stable look to it as Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee are all retained.

On the bench, Rob Herring, Andy Warwick and Tom O'Toole provide cover in the front row, with Alan O'Connor and Sean Reidy the loose forwards.

David Shanahan, Lowry and Darren Cave, another who could be making his final Ulster appearance, are the backs replacements.

The winner of tomorrow's semi-final is in line for a meeting with either Leinster or Munster at Celtic Park, Glasgow in the PRO14 final on May 25.

ULSTER: (15-9) Jacob Stockdale; Robert Baloucoune, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik; Billy Burns, John Cooney; (1-8) Eric O'Sullivan, Rory Best (captain), Ross Kane; Iain Henderson, Kieran Treadwell; Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.

Substitutes: Rob Herring, Andy Warwick, Tom O'Toole, Alan O'Connor, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Darren Cave.

GLASGOW: (15-9) Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn, Sam Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; (1-8) Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray; Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins (captain), Matt Fagerson.

Substitutes: Grant Stewart, Oli Kebble, D'Arcy Rae, Ryan Wilson, Tom Gordon, George Horne, Pete Horne, Huw Jones.

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