Jared Payne will make his Ulster debut in Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 game versus Cardiff at Ravenhill (kick off 7.05pm).
The New Zealander will start at fullback in place of Adam D’Arcy who drops to the bench. The backline is otherwise unchanged from the side that played Aironi on Saturday.
There are three personnel changes up front with Declan Fitzpatrick is named at loosehead prop with Paddy McAllister named among the replacements. Andi kyriacou and Jerry Cronin complete the front row.
Lewis Stevenson comes in to partner Dan Tuohy in the second row, with Neil McComb providing positional cover on the bench. In the back row, Robbie Diack is named at number 8 meaning Chris Henry moves round to the openside flanker berth.
Mike McComish may make his first competitive appearance for Ulster from the bench, having tasted some action in pre-season.
With Cardiff notching two bonus point wins in the opening two rounds, this is expected to be Ulster’s toughest test yet this season. Ulster too are in good form, especially at home, where they have won all eight of their games in 2011.
Tickets are still available for this game and can be bought online at www.ulsterrugby.com or by calling 02890493222 (option 2).
Ulster Rugby would like to remind supporters that this season ticket zoning and scanning will be in operation at the ground and supporters should check their tickets to ensure that are entering through the correct gate. More details are available at http://www.ulsterrugby.com/news/9575.php.
Ulster Rugby also encourages supporters coming to the game to avoid parking along Onslow Parade/Ravenhill Park and Mount Merrion Avenue as traffic control will be in operation.
Ulster (15-9): J Payne; C Gilroy, D Cave, N Spence, I Whitten; I Humphreys, P Marshall;
(1-8): D Fitzpatrick, A Kyriacou, J Cronin, L Stevenson, D Tuohy, P Wannenburg, C Henry, R Diack;
Replacements (16-23): N Brady, P McAllister, A Macklin, N McComb, M McComish, I Porter, P Jackson, A D’Arcy
Unavailable due to injury: Callum Black (neck)