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Ireland Internationals Provide Big Boost for Ulster

Ulster have mixed fortunes ahead of their first inter-provincial clash of the season against Munster this weekend but could receive a massive boost for the game

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(Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster have confirmed that they have picked up three injuries ahead of their trip to Munster this Saturday but could be boosted by the return of some international stars.

The province have confirmed that Louis Ludik, Will Addison and James Hume have all picked up injuries over the last week or so. 

Ludik looks likely to miss the game after sustaining a concussion during last weekend’s 22-7 win over Zebre and will follow return to play protocols, while Addison also injured his shoulder in that game and will be monitored throughout the week to see if he may be in selection contention. 

However, Hume will miss around four months of action after undergoing surgery on a torn hamstring last week. 

Although there is a huge positive for the northern men who are expected to welcome back some of their Irish international contingent this weekend with skills coach Dan Soper hopeful that they will come through the week unscathed. 

“They have integrated into parts, so they haven’t been a part of full training yet those guys. We didn’t want to throw them in at the deep-end, but they’ve done parts of training and look like they’re tracking pretty good. If they get through the rest of the week then hopefully we might see some part of them involved,” he said on the internationals returning. 

The likes of Jacob Stockdale, Jordi Murphy and captain Iain Henderson are among those who have come back from the Irish camp and would be welcome returns to the Ulster set-up. 

However, having been thumped 64-7 on their last trip to Thomond Park last season Soper’s is aware that his side will have a tough challenge to beat their rivals especially as some of their respective internationals return to the fold. 

“I think they’re 17 on the bounce at home. It’s a hell of a challenge, a pretty exciting one to get stuck in to,” he added. 

Meanwhile the game will see former Munster starlet Bill Johnston return to his former side but he is insistent that his past with the club has nothing to do with this game. 

“It’s just a game, there’s four or five points up for grabs,” he said when questioned about the subject. 

Ulster head into the game in second-spot in Conference A with four wins from their opening five games, and are five-points behind leaders Leinster and will hope that they can cut into that lead with a win against Conference B toppers Munster this weekend.

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Ulster make changes for Ospreys clash

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Craig Gilroy is set to become the eighth Ulster man to make 200 appearances for the province if called upon on Saturday, as he is named among the replacements in the match-day squad to face Ospreys on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Mike Lowry has been selected at full-back, with Ethan McIlroy on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune on the right. Stuart McCloskey and Angus Curtis will form the midfield pairing. John Cooney and Billy Burns have been named scrum-half and out-half respectively.

Brad Roberts will come in to start at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole either side of him in the front row. Alan O’Connor will captain the team and is named in the second row with Kieran Treadwell. Sean Reidy comes in to start at blindside, with Nick Timoney at openside and David McCann completing the base of the pack.

Jack McGrath makes his return to the Ulster side after recovering from injury and is named among the replacements. Although named on the bench last week versus Leinster, Tom Stewart wasn’t called upon, so could make his senior debut on Saturday as he is selected again in the replacements with fellow forwards, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney and Marcus Rea. Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore and potential double-centurion, Craig Gilroy will provide the back line cover.

Ulster team to play Ospreys, United Rugby Championship Round 7, Saturday 4 December at Swansea.com Stadium, 3pm kick-off, live Premier Sports and URC TV:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, Angus Curtis, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Brad Roberts, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

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Du Preez to join Glasgow Warriors

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

South African second-rower JP du Preez has become the first new signing announced by Glasgow Warriors ahead of the 2022/23 season, after agreeing to make the move north from Sale Sharks at the end of the current campaign subject to visa.

Standing at 6’10”, the du Preez became the tallest player to have ever played a Super Rugby match when he made his competitive debut for the Emirates Lions back in 2015.

The man from Roodeport joined Sale Sharks in November 2020, making 18 appearances for the English Premiership side to date.

A physical presence with ball in hand, he has also proven a menace for Premiership lineouts; currently the second-rower sits joint-fourth in the table for lineout steals, as well as providing Sale with a platform from which to launch their attack.

Prior to his switch to Sale, du Preez made 31 appearances for the Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14 between 2018 and 2020.

Indeed, the newest Warrior has previous experience of playing in front of the Scotstoun faithful, having come off the bench for the final five minutes of Glasgow’s 35-17 victory over the Cheetahs in 2019.

Source – Glasgow Rugby

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Munster Rugby Travel Update

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Munster - Pixabay

In a hugely positive development the wider Munster touring party departed Cape Town tonight after a group of 34 players and staff received negative results on completing a fourth round of PCR testing in six days.

Team management worked tirelessly on securing scheduled flights at short notice and the group are expected to land in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

Another four positive cases were identified in Tuesday’s round of PCR testing and a total group of 14 will see out their respective isolation periods at the designated quarantine hotel in Cape Town.

This is a difficult time for all players and staff involved and we are very mindful of their wellbeing and the understandable concern from family and friends at home. The group will be well looked after with team liaisons Warren Morris and Kubaan Lorens remaining on site with medical support provided daily.

As outlined by the government earlier this week, on arrival from South Africa the returning players and staff will follow mandatory self-isolation at their own locations.

Munster Rugby would like to say a huge thank you to the management and staff at Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel for all their help and efforts over the last few days, especially at a time when last-minute support and requirements were needed for a large group.  The contribution Warren and Kubaan made during this time cannot be overstated and we are indebted to the duo for their professionalism and support.

Again, we wish to take this opportunity to thank the Irish government, the IRFU, South Africa Rugby, URC, and the health authorities for their assistance in particular with regards to facilitating the safe return of our staff and players.

Source – Munster Rugby

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