INTER-PRO: Nick Williams included in strong Ulster side to face Connacht

Ulster powerhouse forward Nick Williams
Ulster powerhouse forward Nick Williams

Nick Williams will return to action for Ulster ‘A’ as they face Connacht Eagles at Deramore Park, Belfast (5pm) today in coach Alex Colding’s first game in charge.

Williams sat out last week’s bonus point win by the senior team over Treviso due to personal reasons.

Colding a former second row capped once by England under Sir Clive Woodward against Argentina in 2002 arrived in Belfast in the summer having previously coached at clubs including London Welsh, London Scottish and Rotherham Titans.

Colding has picked a mixture of youth and experience for the first of three interpros before the British and Irish Cup kicks off in November.

Robbie Diack and Clive Ross join Williams in a powerful back row.

Lewis Stevenson captains the side and is partnered in the engine room by Ballymena’s Alan O’Connor.

Callum Black starts at loose head prop to get some game time under his belt as he has only played 48 minutes in Ulster’s opening three Pro12 games.

Bronson Ross starts at tight head with John Andrew at hooker.

Behind the pack young exciting out half Johnny McPhilips will made his A team debut.

A product of Sedbergh School in Cumbria McPhillips was part of the Newcastle Falcons academy and has represented England at U18 level and is joined at half back by Ballymena pivot David Shanahan.

Belfast Harlequins centre Mark Best has recovered from a dislocated thumb to take his place in midfield beside Sam Arnold.

David Busby and Rory Scholes are on the wings with Robert Lyttle at full back.

Connacht Eagles include former Ulster scrum half Ian Porter in their starting line up.

Ulster A: R Lyttle; D Busby, S Arnold, M Best, R Scholes; J McPhillips, D Shanahan;

C Black, J Andrew, B Ross, A O’Connor, L Stevenson (captain), R Diack, C Ross, N Williams;

Replacements: J Murphy, R Murphy, K McCall, A Thompson, C Joyce, S Mulholland, P Rowley, A Magrath, K Joyce, A Kane

Connacht Eagles: D Leader, C Gaffney, C Brennan, P Robb, N Adeolokun, C McKeon, I Porter, J Walshe, J Dinneen, J East, C Romaine, A Muldowney, S McVeigh, R Moloney, S O’Brien

Replacements: P O’Toole, M Murphy, C Kenny, P Claffey, M Kelly C Blade, A Moynihan, E O’Keefe, C Gallagher