Duane Vermeulen Will Captain Ulster Against Cell C Sharks


Following the postponement of the Round 6 United Rugby Championship fixture, Ulster Rugby will face the Cell C Sharks on Saturday at 14:00 (SA Time) looking to secure a second win on South African soil this season.

Springbok Duane Vermeulen will lead the Ulster men in the Number Eight jersey in a starting line-up that sees him joined in the back row by two physical and versatile players in Nick Timoney and Jordi Murphy.

The side, which can expect to face challenging temperatures, sees Alan O’Connor paired in the second row with Academy player, Harry Sheridan, who scored his first try for Ulster last weekend against Glasgow in Scotstoun Stadium.

In a change to the front row, Rory Sutherland comes in at loosehead prop, while Jeff Toomaga-Allen, who scored a try the last time out against South African opposition in the URC, retains his place at tighthead, with John Andrew, set to add to his tally of over 100 caps for the province at hooker.

Scrum-half John Cooney, who racked up 10 points when Ulster beat the Sharks last season, will be looking to repeat this performance, with Jake Flannery coming in at fly-half. Flannery was responsible for a try and four conversions in a win over the Airlink Pumas when he was last in South Africa with Emerging Ireland.

Known for his speed, Aaron Sexton, forms the back three alongside Ulster stalwart, Craig Gilroy, and Mike Lowry who scored a try last time out against Sharks, and was named Player of the Match in the province’s memorable win at Ellis Park in Johannesburg back in October.

Stewart Moore graduated from the Emerging Ireland tour and completes the starting line-up in a centre partnership with Luke Marshall.

Forward cover comes from Tom Stewart, Andy Warwick, Gareth Milasinovich, Cormac Izuchukwu and Dave McCann. On the bench for the backline are Dave Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy.

Ulster: 15. Mike Lowry, 14. Craig Gilroy, 13. Luke Marshall, 12. Stewart Moore, 11. Aaron Sexton, 10. Jake Flannery, 9. John Cooney, 8. Duane Vermeulen (c), 7. Nick Timoney, 6. Jordi Murphy, 5. Harry Sheridan, 4. Alan O’Connor, 3. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2. John Andrew, 1. Rory Sutherland. Replacements: 16. Tom Stewart, 17. Andy Warwick, 18. Gareth Milasinovich, 19. Cormac Izuchukwu, 20. Dave McCann, 21. Dave Shanahan, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Ethan McIlroy.