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Wallace Returns To Ulster Team

Wallace Returns To Ulster Team

Paddy Wallace will play for Ulster for the first time in nine months as the province take on Zebre at Ravenhill on Friday in the RaboDirect PRO12 (kick-off 7.05pm).

Paddy Wallace, who has made a record 188 appearances for Ulster, suffered an ACL injury against Glasgow Warriors in February. He returns to the senior team following two games for the Ulster Ravens in the British & Irish Cup.

He starts at inside centre and is one of nine personnel and three positional switches to the side that beat Benetton Treviso last weekend as head coach Mark Anscombe chooses to rotate his squad.

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Ricky Andrew starts at full-back with Jared Payne moving to outside centre. Craig Gilroy switches flanks and starts on the left wing with Michael Allen coming in on the right.

Ruan Pienaar continues at scrum half with James McKinney starting at out-half.

There is a whole new front row, with Callum Black replacing Tom Court at loosehead prop, Niall Annett selected at hooker and Ricky Lutton named at tighthead.

Lewis Stevenson has recovered from the medial ligament injury he picked up last month and joins captain Johann Muller in the second row.

With Roger Wilson sustaining a mild ankle injury last weekend, Robbie Diack moves to number 8, Sean Doyle keeps his place at openside flanker and Mike McComish comes in on the blindside.

Adam Macklin is named as a replacement and is also in line to make his return to first team action having suffered an ACL injury last season.

Fellow prop Declan Fitzpatrick was unavailable for selection as he is suffering from a virus, while John Afoa is back home in New Zealand.

Looking ahead to the game, the fit-again Wallace said: “My motivation is through the roof. I hope that I can bring a few players along with me because I am so pumped up to play again at Ravenhill.

“So many people have supported me through a hard time such as the medical staff and the strength and conditioning coaches and I want to do their support justice.”

ULSTER (v Zebre): Ricky Andrew; Craig Gilroy, Jared Payne, Paddy Wallace, Michael Allen; James McKinney, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Niall Annett, Ricky Lutton, Johann Muller (capt), Lewis Stevenson, Mike McComish, Sean Doyle, Robbie Diack.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, Neil McComb, Conor Joyce, Michael Heaney, Peter Nelson, David McIlwaine.