However, Justin Fitzpatrick, Matt McCullough, Cillian Willis, Ian Porter, Adam Macklin, Bryn Cunningham and Willie Faloon were not considered due to injury.
Scrum half Willis unfortunately joined the province's injury list last week when he broke his leg during the Ulster Ravens' loss to Connacht 'A' at Barnhall RFC.
Young number 9 Michael Heaney from Belfast Harlequins has been included in the Ulster panel after playing his part in the Ireland Under-20s' Six Nations title win.
Brian McLaughlin's men head into Friday's game in seventh place in the Magners League table, just two points clear of their hosts Cardiff.
The Blues will travel to Ravenhill for the return leg on Saturday week (April 3), with that game kicking off at 7.30pm.
ULSTER Squad (v Cardiff Blues) - Backs (14): Jamie Smith, Paul Marshall, Simon Danielli, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Timoci Nagusa, Ian Humphreys, Niall O'Connor, Isaac Boss, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble, Michael Heaney, Jonny Shiells, Mark McCrea.
Forwards (16): Declan Fitzpatrick, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Ed O'Donoghue, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Caldwell, Chris Henry, Tom Court, Stephen Ferris, Robbie Diack, Thomas Anderson, Neil McComb, David Pollock, Rory Best.