Ulster head coach Neil Doak has made 12 changes to the side that drew with Munster for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 match against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
With a total of six players having picked up injuries last weekend and with the province already guaranteed a play-off place, only Franco van der Merwe, Louis Ludik and Chris Henry are retained from the side that faced Munster, with Ireland Under-20 centre Sam Arnold picked for his first start for the province.
Neil Doak has named a strong bench for the round 22 fixture with internationals Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Ruan Pienaar, Paddy Jackson, Roger Wilson and Iain Henderson all kept in reserve.
The six players nursing injuries from the derby clash with Munster are Callum Black (hamstring), Wiehahn Herbst (toe), Darren Cave (shoulder), Jared Payne (ankle), Dan Tuohy (hip) and Peter Nelson (hamstring), while top-scoring winger Craig Gilroy, who missed that game with a hamstring injury, also remains sidelined.
Andrew Warwick will line out at loosehead prop for his first start since January, with Rob Herring playing his 70th game for Ulster at hooker. Emerging Ireland player Ricky Lutton starts his first game of the season at tighthead having recovered from the injuries that have restricted his involvement in the campaign so far.
Lewis Stevenson, who recently captained Ulster Ravens against Munster ‘A’, features in the second row alongside South African van der Merwe, who runs out for his 27th game of the campaign and completes his first regular season for Ulster having played in all but one of the province’s matches.
Robbie Diack, who won his 150th cap for Ulster last weekend, starts at number 8, with Clive Ross named at blindside flanker and Ireland international Henry captaining the side from openside.
Paul Marshall plays his 22nd match of the season and starts at scrum half, while Ian Humphreys, who is currently third in the PRO12 Golden Boot standings, is selected at out-half.
Stuart McCloskey (pictured above), who was named BT Young Player of the Year at the recent Ulster Rugby Awards, forms a new centre partnership with the 19-year-old Arnold, who won Hughes Insurance Academy Player of the Year.
Michael Allen, who will play for Edinburgh next season, will line out on the left wing with Rory Scholes on the right and South African Ludik continuing at full-back. Props Kyle McCall and Bronson Ross join the aforementioned internationals on the bench.
ULSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Louis Ludik; Rory Scholes, Sam Arnold, Stuart McCloskey, Michael Allen; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, Lewis Stevenson, Franco van der Merwe, Clive Ross, Chris Henry (capt), Robbie Diack.
Replacements: Rory Best, Kyle McCall, Bronson Ross, Iain Henderson, Roger Wilson, Ruan Pienaar, Paddy Jackson, Tommy Bowe.