With Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best ruled out with a groin injury, former Ireland international Kieron Dawson takes up the captain's role.
Nigel Brady replaces Best as hooker with Stuart Philpott named on the replacements bench alongside Neil Best, who will act as back row cover for Matt McCullough, Dawson and Roger Wilson.
Ryan Caldwell and Carlo Del Fava make up the second row with fans' favourite Justin Harrison named as a replacement.
Former Belfast High pupil Mark McCrea will make his first start at full back for his province and is among three changes in the back-line.
Paddy Wallace is omitted from the squad with Scotland international Rob Dewey forming a centre partnership with Andrew Trimble.
Isaac Boss is named on the bench with Paul Marshall starting at scrum half. Ulster 'A' centre Darren Cave will also be on bench duty, along with experienced Kiwi Paul Steinmetz.
Meanwhile, Ulster's remaining home Magners League fixtures against Glasgow Warriors and Cardiff have had their dates and kick-off times confirmed.
Ulster's re-fixed interprovincial clash with Munster has also been moved to Wednesday, April 30.
For anyone who was unable to get a ticket for the original Ulster v Munster date in January, there are just under 1000 terrace tickets available to purchase now online at http://www.ulsterrugby.com/ or on tel: 02890493222 option 2 (please note, for consistency, any new tickets issued will be dated January 4).
Tickets for Ulster v Glasgow tie, which will be played on Saturday, May 3 (kick-off 3pm), are on sale now. Please click here to buy.
Tickets for the Ulster v Cardiff game (Friday, May 9) will go on sale on Monday, April 21.
ULSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Mark McCrea; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Rob Dewey, Mark Bartholomeusz; Niall O'Connor, Paul Marshall; Justin Fitzpatrick, Nigel Brady, Tom Court, Carlo Del Fava, Ryan Caldwell, Matt McCullough, Kieron Dawson (capt), Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Stuart Philpott, Bryan Young, Justin Harrison, Neil Best, Isaac Boss, Paul Steinmetz, Darren Cave.