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2020-21 ERCC Gloucester Rugby Provincial Rugby Men Ulster Rugby

ERCC: Teams up for Gloucester v Ulster

Ulster are without Sam Carter and Marcell Coetzee for the clash against Gloucester as they hope to breathe life into their European Cup campaign.

Nick Timoney starts at eight while David O’Connor starts alongside his brother in the second row.

Jordi Murphy also returns to the side after his partner gave birth last week while we also welcome back Billy Burns into the starting team after he picked up an injury on Irish duty last month. This will be the first time Billy faces his old side where he made 101 appearances since his move in 2018.

The opposition

Gloucester were comprehensively beaten away to Lyon last week although that was to be expected after they sent a very young squad to take on the French side. Debutant Seb Nagle-Taylor scored his side’s only try in a 55-10 defeat with Lyon running in eight tries.

Despite Danny Cipriani departing Kingsholm midweek, Gloucester have bolstered their midfield with the signing of Georgian international Giorgi Kveseladze who scored a wonder try against Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Kveseladze presumably has to complete two week’s isolation and isn’t named in the Gloucester match day panel. Highly rated Louis Rees-Zammit is named on the left wing while England internaitonal Lewis Ludlow captains the side from flanker.

Jack Singleton was a loanee from Saracens but has recently made his move to Gloucester permanent while Charlie Sharples is an experienced operator on the right wing. Argentina international Matias Alemanno and former Lions player Ruan Ackermann start at lock and number eight respectively.

Both sides have met four times competitively in the European Cup with Ulster winning just once, while another two friendly matches have both resulted in Gloucester wins. The last meeting was a pre-season friendly in August 2018 while the last competitive meeting was January 2008 in a 29-21 win to the English side.

George Skivington‘s side sit in ninth in the Gallagher Premiership table. They bounced back from a heavy opening day defeat to Leicester Tigers with a 40-24 win at home to Wasps before Harlequins came away from Kingsholm with a victory in round three.

The teams

Gloucester RugbyUlster Rugby
Kyle Moyle15Michael Lowry
Charlie Sharples14Matt Faddes
Chris Harris13James Hume
Mark Atkinson12Stuart McCloskey
Louis Rees-Zammit11Jacob Stockdale
Lloyd Evans10Billy Burns
Charlie Chapman9John Cooney
Val Rapava-Ruskin1Eric O’Sullivan
Jack Singleton2Rob Herring
Ciaran Knight3Marty Moore
Ed Slater4Alan O’Connor
Matias Alemanno5David O’Connor
Jordy Reid6Sean Reidy
Lewis Ludlow7Jordi Murphy
Ruan Ackermann8Nick Timoney
Henry Walker16John Andrew
Alex Seville17Kyle McCall
Jamal Ford-Robinson18Tom O’Toole
Alex Craig19Matthew Rea
Seb Nagle-Taylor20Greg Jones
Toby Venner21Alby Mathewson
George Barton22Ian Madigan
Henry Trinder23Ethan McIlroy

The man in the middle

Alexandre Ruiz replaces Pascal Gauzere as the referee for Saturday’s encounter after the 43 year old had to withdraw due to injury.

Ulster have a 100% win record under Ruiz in the six matches he’s reffed in since his first against Exeter Chiefs in 2016. Three of those were crucial European Cup away fixtures which helped the club qualify for the knockout rounds in the last two tournaments.

DateCompetitionOppositionVenueUlsterOpposition
22-10-16Champions CupExeter ChiefsRavenhill1918
15-12-17Champions CupHarlequinsRavenhill5224
7-12-18Champions CupScarletsParc-y-Scarlets2524
19-1-19Champions CupLeicester TigersWelford Road1413
13-12-19Champions CupHarlequinsThe Stoop3410
18-1-20Champions CupBathRavenhill2215

The FRU predicts

If Ulster have any aspirations of progressing, a four try win would be beneficial but this is a real possibility for this side. I think this could be a high scoring game with both sides scoring multiple tries.

Despite the lengthy absentee list I’m still expecting an Ulster win at Kingsholm tomorrow afternoon. Without Kieran Treadwell, Marcell Coetzee and Iain Henderson we are lacking in bruising ball carriers in the pack but I have enough faith in the side chosen by Dan McFarland to get the job done.

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