PRO14: Ethan McIlroy to make first start for Ulster in Italy

McIlroy, 20, will be joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy on the right wing and Michael Lowry at full-back.
PRO14: Ethan McIlroy to make first start for Ulster in Italy

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland 

Academy winger Ethan McIlroy will make his first start for Ulster in tomorrow evening's PRO14 clash in Italy against Zebre.

McIlroy, 20, will be joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy on the right wing and Michael Lowry at full-back.

"Zebre will be physical and aggressive," said Lowry. "They have a dangerous back three as well, so we will have to connect well as a team and nullify them."

Dan McFarland's side come into the game on the back of an explosive start to the season which has seen them win each of their first five matches.

Stewart Moore and Luke Marshall play in the centre while Bill Johnston and Alby Mathewson will form the starting half-back pairing.

While Ulster have been free-scoring, notching up 40 points twice already this season, it is dominating upfront where the key to winning this game is for the province, according to forwards coach, Roddy Grant.

"Playing at home means a lot to them, but our mindset is to play and to win," he said.

The Ulster pack includes number eight Marcell Coetzee is set for his 50th appearance for the province in the clash at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Coetzee is joined back row alongside Greg Jones – making his first start this season – and Jordi Murphy.

Sam Carter captains the side from the second row, where he plays alongside Alan O’Connor.

The starting front row consists of Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew and Marty Moore.

The Italians have a poor record against Irish sides, their most recent victory over a province was on their trip to Connacht in February 2018.

Against today's opponents, Ulster have lost just one of their last seven encounters - a 27-23 reversal in Parma in 2017.

ULSTER (v Zebre): M Lowry, C Gilroy, L Marshall, S Moore, E McIlroy, B Johnston, A Mathewson; E O’Sullivan, J Andrew, M Moore, A O’Connor, S Carter, G Jones, J Murphy, M Coetzee.

Replacements: A McBurney, A Warwick, G Milasinovich, D O’Connor, S Reidy, D Shanahan, I Madigan, R Lyttle.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox