Ross Moriarty returns to captain Dragons

Date published: October 14 2021 - News Desk

There are two games scheduled to take place on Friday in the inaugural United Rugby Championship season as Dragons and Ulster take on the Stormers and Lions respectively.

Dragons v Stormers

Wales international Ross Moriarty has recovered from injury to take his place in the Dragons XV for their clash with the Stormers on Friday.

Moriarty was absent for the Connacht clash, which resulted in an outstanding 35-22 victory, but the 27-year-old has returned to the back-row where he starts alongside Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham.

The powerhouse flanker also captains a side which has made two other changes to their line-up for the game at Rodney Parade.

Dean Ryan, the Welsh region’s director of rugby, has brought in Gonzalo Bertranou and lock Ben Carter for Rhodri Williams and Joe Maksymiw respectively, who drop to the bench.

Meanwhile, loose forward Junior Pokomela will make his Stormers debut in this encounter in Newport.

The inclusion of Pokomela on the flank is the only change to the Cape Town-based outfit’s forward pack that started the 20-20 draw against Edinburgh at the DAM Health Stadium last week.

There are five alterations to the backline, though, as the Stormers aim to end their European tour on a high.

The fit-again half-back pairing of Stefan Ungerer and Manie Libbok take their places in the starting line-up, along with centres Dan du Plessis and Ruhan Nel and wing Leolin Zas, who all started the week before against Munster.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Jack Dixon, 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ross Moriarty (c), 5 Ben Carter, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Greg Bateman
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Joe Maksymiw, 21 Ollie Griffiths, 22 Rhodri Williams, 23 Josh Lewis

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Leolin Zas, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Salmaan Moerat (c), 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Juan de Jongh

Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (WRU), Ben Breakspear (WRU)
TMO: Emanuele Tomo (FIR)

Ulster v Lions

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has named his matchday squad to face the Lions at Kingspan Stadium on Friday in what will be the first ever meeting between the two sides.

The starting XV is unchanged to the side that defeated Benetton last Friday. Will Addison is selected at full-back alongside Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Stewart Moore and James Hume form the centre partnership while Nathan Doak and Billy Burns are the starting half-backs.

Andrew Warwick is named in the front-row at loosehead with Ulster’s latest double-centurion Rob Herring at hooker and Tom O’Toole at tighthead prop.

Sam Carter will again lead the side, and is paired with Alan O’Connor in the engine room. Matty Rea is retained at blindside, with Nick Timoney at openside and David McCann is number eight.

Kieran Treadwell makes his return from injury to the forward replacements alongside Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane and Sean Reidy. Mike Lowry could make his 50th appearance for the province if called upon from the bench. The other backline replacements are David Shanahan and Ben Moxham.

Meanwhile, Carlu Sadie, Reinhard Nothnagel and Sibusiso Sangweni will start for the Lions when they take on Ulster in their final tour match.

Sadie makes a return to the starting line-up at tighthead prop, while Nothnagel (lock) and Sangweni (flanker) will be collecting their first starting berths in the United Rugby Championship.

Nothnagel comes in for the injured Pieter Jansen van Vuren, while Sangweni features in what reflects a few selection rotations in the matchday 23.

Wilhelm van der Sluys (lock), Emmanuel Tshituka (loose forward) and Fred Zeilinga (fly-half) will all have an opportunity to make their tournament debuts off the bench on Friday.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Will Addison, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 James Hume, 12 Stewart Moore, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Nathan Doak, 8 David McCann, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Sam Carter (c), 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Andrew Warwick
16 Brad Roberts, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Mike Lowry, 23 Ben Moxham

Lions: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 EW Viljoen, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Ruhan Straeuli, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Wandisile Simelane

Venue: Kingspan Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Robert O’Sullivan (IRFU), Dermot Blake (IRFU)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)