Adam D’Arcy, Mark McCrea, Paddy McAllister, Dan Tuohy and Chris Henry have been drafted into the Ulster team for Friday’s Magners League encounter with Edinburgh at Murrayfield (kick-off 7.05pm).
Injuries and the IRFU’s player management programme means that Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has made a mix of personnel and positional changes to the team that lost to Biarritz Olympique last Sunday.
There are five changes in personnel, with Adam D’Arcy and Mark McCrea added to the backs, and Paddy McAllister, Dan Tuohy and Chris Henry selected in the forwards.
With Simon Danielli ruled out by a shoulder injury, David McIlwaine moves from full-back to the left wing and Australian D’Arcy takes over in the number 15 jersey.
McCrea will make his first competitive start of the season on the right wing, with Andrew Trimble joining Ian Whitten in the centre and Ian Humphreys making way for Paddy Wallace at out-half.
The 21-year-old McAllister is set for his first Magners League start, after four run-outs as a replacement. He comes in for Tom Court at loosehead prop.
Tuohy partners Johann Muller in the second row, and the rotation of the back rowers continues – Henry starting ahead of Pedrie Wannenburg, with Stephen Ferris moving to the blindside flank.
Looking forward to his side’s return to Magners League action, Ulster captain Rory Best said: “Murayfield is a very, very difficult place to go, and Edinburgh are a very dangerous team.
“Over the years, we’ve done alright there without being fantastic. We’d a good bonus point win there last season when our backs were against the wall, so we have no fear going there.
“But, at the same time, we have to respect Edinburgh for what they are and that’s a very good rugby team.”
ULSTER (v Edinburgh): Adam D’Arcy; Mark McCrea, Andrew Trimble, Ian Whitten, David McIlwaine; Paddy Wallace, Ruan Pienaar; Paddy McAllister, Rory Best (capt), BJ Botha, Johann Muller, Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack.
Replacements: Andi Kyriacou, Tom Court, Bryan Young, Ryan Caldwell, Pedrie Wannenburg, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Nevin Spence.