Duane Vermeulen will pack down in a powerful Ulster loose trio against his former side the Stormers when the two sides renew hostilities in a Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-final in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Springbok No 8 is down to start in his customary position at the back of the scrum for the Irish with Nick Timoney, who was named in the 2021-22 URC Dream Team this week, at openside flanker and Marcus Rea named at blindside.
In the regular-season clash between Saturday’s semi-final opponents the Stormers had to weather a second-half onslaught from Ulster as the Capetonians successfully defended a three-point lead in the final 20 minutes.
The Ulstermen head into the clash at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday unchanged from the side that beat Munster in Friday’s quarter-final in Belfast.
SA-born Ireland hooker Rob Herring starts in the front row with Andrew Warwick and Tom O’Toole either side of him, while captain Iain Henderson are paired with Alan O’Connor in the second row.
John Cooney, who made his 100th appearance for Ulster last week, is selected at scrumhalf to partner flyhalf Billy Burns. James Hume, who was also selected in URC’s Dream Team, is named with Stuart McCloskey in midfield. Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy and Rob Baloucoune complete the starting back three.
Providing forward reinforcements from the bench are John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell and Matty Rea. Nathan Doak, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham will offer backline cover.
Ulster – 15 Stewart Moore, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Marcus Rea, 5 Ian Henderson (c), 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Andrew Warwick.
Subs: 16 John Andrew, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Matty Rea, 21 Nathan Doak, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Ben Moxham.
Will the Cape side make two in a row against Ulster?
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) June 10, 2022