RUGBY: Schalk van der Merwe makes Ulster debut with 'A' team in B&I Cup

Schalk van der Merwe
Schalk van der Merwe

Schalk van der Merwe will make his long awaited first appearance in an Ulster jersey as he is named in the Ulster 'A' squad for the British & Irish Cup Round 2 trip to Cornish Pirates on Sunday.

The Ulster A team, sponsored by CD Group opened their British & Irish Cup campaign with a 24-18 win over Scarlets Premiership Select, and van der Merwe is one of six personnel changes to the team that started in Banbridge last Saturday.

The South African prop, who picked up a shoulder injury shortly after joining the Province this summer, will start in the front row alongside hooker Adam McBurney and captain Ross Kane.

Craig Gilroy also completes his return to fitness from a stress fracture in his lower back to make his first start of the season on the right wing, with David Busby and Jack Owens completing the back three. The midfield partnership of Rory Butler and Callum Patterson is retained, while there is an all-new half-back pairing of Jonny Stewart and Peter Nelson.

The other changes in the pack see Matthew Dalton come into the second row beside fellow Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy Year 1 entrant Jack Regan, while Clive Ross will add senior experience to the back row alongside Academy prospects Aaron Hall and Joe Dunleavy.

Zack McCall, Jonny Simpson, Greg Jones and Caleb Montgomery make up the forward options from the bench, while Aaron Cairns, Brett Herron and Johnny McPhillips provide the backline cover.

Ulster A: Schalk van der Merwe, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane (Capt), Jack Regan, Matthew Dalton, Clive Ross, Aaron Hall, Joe Dunleavy;: Jonny Stewart, Peter Nelson, David Busby, Rory Butler, Callum Patterson, Craig Gilroy, Jack Owens.

Replacements: Zack McCall, Jonny Simpson, Greg Jones, Caleb Montgomery, Aaron Cairns, Brett Herron, Johnny McPhillips.