Rory Best, Tommy Bowe and Jared Payne have all been named in the Ulster team to face Connacht in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 derby match at the Sportsground (kick-off 2.40pm).
They are three of 13 Ireland internationals named in the Ulster squad for the interprovincial clash, the first of three in a row for Neil Doak’s men.
Rory Best returns to captain the side at hooker, with Jared Payne named at outside centre and Tommy Bowe selected on the right wing.
Bowe is joined in the back-three by Louis Ludik and the PRO12’s leading try scorer so far this season, Craig Gilroy. Darren Cave partners Payne in the centre with Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar continuing together at half-back.
Up front, Callum Black and Wiehahn Herbst start either side of Best with Dan Tuohy and Franco van der Merwe selected in the second row.
Roger Wilson returns to the starting line-up at number 8 with Iain Henderson picked at blindside flanker and Chris Henry (pictured above) at openside in what will be his first start since recovering from heart surgery.
Forwards Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Bronson Ross, Robbie Diack and Clive Ross join backs Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Stuart McCloskey on the replacements bench.
ULSTER (v Connacht): Louis Ludik; Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Rory Best (capt), Wiehahn Herbst, Dan Tuohy, Franco van der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Bronson Ross, Robbie Diack, Clive Ross, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Stuart McCloskey.