Stuart Olding will make his first Ulster senior appearance in ten months when he lines out at inside centre for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 clash with Benetton Treviso at Stadio di Monigo (kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time).
Stuart Olding, who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury against Cardiff Blues last March, is one of seven changes to the side that defeated Oyonnax 56-3 in the Champions Cup last weekend.
Two Hughes Insurance Academy players, Lorcan Dow and Jacob Stockdale, are in line to make their competitive debuts for the province after being named on the replacements bench, continuing Les Kiss’ policy of giving opportunities to young players.
Rob Herring has been released from the Ireland RBS 6 Nations squad and will captain the side from hooker. Callum Black replaces Kyle McCall who suffered concussion last Saturday, at loosehead prop, while Ricky Lutton is retained at tighthead.
Franco van der Merwe, who signed a one-year contract extension earlier this week, will continue his second row partnership with Alan O’Connor.
Loose forwards Roger Wilson and Clive Ross are elevated to the starting line-up and will be joined in the back row by Sean Reidy. Nick Williams has aggravated an old groin injury and is unavailable this week.
The half-back berths will be occupied by Paul Marshall and Ian Humphreys, who has scored tries in his last two appearances for the Ulstermen.
The fit-again Olding will line out in midfield alongside Darren Cave, while the back-three will comprise of Craig Gilroy, Rory Scholes and full-back Louis Ludik.
Dow and Stockdale are joined in the matchday squad by fellow Academy player Dave Shanahan. John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Bronson Ross, Peter Browne and Luke Marshall are the other replacements.
ULSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Louis Ludik; Rory Scholes, Darren Cave, Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall; Callum Black, Rob Herring (capt), Ricky Lutton, Alan O’Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Clive Ross, Sean Reidy, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Bronson Ross, Peter Browne, Lorcan Dow, Dave Shanahan, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale.