European Champions Cup: Ulster make late change for Toulouse game with Rea replacing Murphy

Jordi Murphy in action for Ulster in September
Jordi Murphy was a late withdrawal from the Ulster side on Friday morning
Venue: Kingspan Stadium, Belfast Date: Friday, 11 December Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website

Ulster have made a late change for Friday’s Champions Cup opener against Toulouse with Matthew Rea replacing Jordi Murphy in the back row.

With Ulster not divulging what has ruled out Murphy, Rea moves up from the replacements with Sean Reidy switching flanks to open-side.

Greg Jones has been drafted into the matchday 23.

Jacob Stockdale is named at wing as Ulster face the side who knocked them out of last season’s competition.

Stockdale, who has played at full-back for Ireland recently, is joined in returning by international team-mate Stuart McCloskey at centre.

Alan O’Connor will partner Sam Carter in the second row, with Carter leading the side in the absence of injured captain Iain Henderson.

Kieran Treadwell is suspended.

Friday’s first Pool B fixture is a repeat of last season’s quarter-final between the sides in September in France, which Toulouse won 36-8.

However, Dan McFarland’s side go into this match having won all eight of their opening Pro14 matches of the new campaign after a convincing victory away to Edinburgh in their last outing.

Stockdale, who has not played for the province since early October, is joined in the back three by Michael Lowry at full back and Matt Faddes on the opposite wing, with James Hume partnering McCloskey in midfield.

Ian Madigan at fly-half and John Cooney at scrum-half complete the back line.

Eric O’Sullivan, who made his Ireland debut against Scotland last week, starts at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from international duty to play hooker, with Marty Moore once again named at tighthead.

The in-form Marcell Coetzee will be flanked by Rea and Reidy in the back row for a match that will be attended by 500 fans, as Friday marks the end of Northern Ireland’s two-week circuit breaker which prohibited spectators from attending elite sports events.

Ulster: Lowry; Faddes, Hume, McCloskey, Stockdale; Madigan, Cooney; O’Sullivan, Herring, Moore; O’Connor, Carter; Rea, Reidy, Coetzee.

Replacements: Andrew, Warwick, O’Toole, O’Connor, Jones, Mathewson, Moore, Gilroy.

Toulouse: Médard; Lebel, Guitoune, Ntamack, Kolbe; Ramos, Dupont; Baille, Marchand, Faumuina; Arnold, Tekori; Elstadt, Placines, Tolofua.

Replacements: Marchand, Neti, Ainu’u, Meafou, Madaule, Youyoutte, Ahki, Bales.

BBC News