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Ulster welcome back Irish World Cup trio for Munster clash

By Josh Raisey
Ireland players, including Conor Murray, Iain Henderson, Finlay Bealham, Caelan Doris, Ryan Baird and Rónan Kelleher after thsir side's defeat in the 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Stade de France in Paris, France. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster will be boosted on Friday by the return of some of their World Cup players for their clash against United Rugby Championship winners Munster at the Kingspan Stadium.

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Centre Stuart McCloskey, lock Iain Henderson and hooker Rob Herring, three of Ireland’s four Ulster players at the World Cup, are set to feature in the all-Ireland affair. The fourth member of Ulster’s World Cup quartet, Tom O’Toole, has already featured this season, but will not face Munster.

McCloskey is straight back into the starting XV, while Herring and Henderson will start on the bench. This will be Henderson’s first game since starting in Ireland’s narrow World Cup loss in the quarter-finals against the All Blacks.

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CJ Stander speaks about the value Jacques Nienaber will add to Leinster

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CJ Stander speaks about the value Jacques Nienaber will add to Leinster

Meanwhile, Munster have already started to blood their Irish contingent back into their team, although they have held back some of Ireland’s frontline players. Despite having played already this season, this will be a first start together for the halfback pairing of Craig Casey and Jack Crowley- seldom used by Andy Farrell in France.

Munster will arrive in Belfast in second place in the URC table, while Ulster sit in eighth.

Ulster XV: Ethan McIlroy, Rob Baloucoune, Stewart Moore, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak; Eric O’Sullivan, Tom Stewart (C), Greg McGrath, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, David McCann, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney
Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Reid, Scott Wilson, Iain Henderson, Dave Ewers, John Cooney, Jake Flannery, Jude Postlethwaite

Munster XV: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Alex Nankivell, Seán O’Brien; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron (C), John Ryan; Edwin Edogbo, Fineen Wycherley; Alex Kendellen, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes
Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, Stephen Archer, Tom Ahern, Brian Gleeson, Paddy Patterson, Rory Scannell, Ben O’Connor

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