With regular full-back Bryn Cunningham out with a shoulder injury, Paddy Wallace will deputise in the number 15 shirt for Ulster's Celtic League opener away to Cardiff.
CELTIC LEAGUE: Friday, September 9
Cardiff Blues v Ulster, Arms Park, 7.10pm (live Setanta Sports)
Cunningham's injury, picked up in the friendly win over Rotherham two weeks ago, has not healed in time for the Arms Park' test so back-up number 10 Wallace, with Ireland's record points scorer David Humphreys back from a calf strain at fly-half, steps in.
Tomorrow's clash will see Ireland Under-21 centre Andrew Trimble claim his first cap for the province on the left wing, while new signings Justin Fitzpatrick and Justin Harrison are included in the pack.
Ballymena's Neil McMillan, the province's Young Player of the Year in 2003, also starts his first competitive game for a year having been sidelined for the majority of last season with a serious cruciate knee ligament injury.
Ireland prop Simon Best captains Ulster for the first time for what coach Mark McCall expects to to a stiff examination from the Welsh region.
The former Ireland centre said: "Confidence and self-belief come from preparing well and looking at your opposition carefully and Cardiff are a side we know very well. They should have won their first game last weekend against Connacht and are still a very good side."
Having had a free weekend, McCall will be determined to gain something out of the province's first four games - three of which are away from their fortress of Ravenhill. Form is against them doing that, however.
Ulster have lost their last nine games on the road in all competitions since last November's 20-19 victory at the Borders. Ulster have also not won in Wales since a 28-0 victory over the Celtic Warriors at Bridgend in March of last year.
CARDIFF: Nick Macleod; Chris Czekaj, Rhys Williams (Capt), Trystan Davies, Craig Morgan; Nicky Robinson, Mike Phillips; John Yapp, Rhys Thomas, Martin Jones, Craig Quinnell, Rob Sidoli, Maama Molitika, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Andy Powell.
Replacements: Ben Evans, Gareth Williams, Deiniol Jones, Mark Lewis, Ryan Powell, Lee Thomas, Matthew Nuthall.
ULSTER: Paddy Wallace; Tommy Bowe, Kevin Maggs, Paul Steinmetz, Andrew Trimble; David Humphreys, Kieran Campbell; Justin Fitzpatrick, Paul Shields, Simon Best (Capt), Matt McCullough, Justin Harrison, Neil Best, Neil McMillan, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Rory Best, Bryan Young, Campbell Feather, Rowan Frost, Paul Marshall, James Topping, Jonny Bell.
Referee: Rob Dickson (Scotland)