Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss has named ten internationals in his starting XV for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 clash with Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (kick-off 3.35pm local time/2.35pm Irish time).
Andrew Trimble captains the side and will equal Roger Wilson’s record of 221 appearances for Ulster. The 32-year-old has been named on the right wing, with Louis Ludik, on the left wing, and full-back Charles Piutau completing the back-three.
John Cooney and Christian Lealiifano, who have had an impressive start to the season as a new combination, return to occupy the half-back positions, while Luke Marshall will partner Darren Cave in midfield.
Hooker John Andrew will make his first start of the season and is joined in the front row by experienced props Callum Black and Rodney Ah You. Peter Browne and Iain Henderson form a mobile second row partnership, while Les Kiss has selected a loose forward trio of Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy and Jean Deysel.
Abbey Insurance Academy hooker Adam McBurney, a regular starter for Ballymena in the Ulster Bank League, could make his first competitive appearance for Ulster after being named among the replacements.
Andrew Warwick, Wiehahn Herbst, Kieran Treadwell and Nick Timoney – the try-scoring man-of-the-match in last week’s 52-25 win over the Dragons, will provide further cover for the forwards, while David Shanahan, Peter Nelson and Robert Lyttle are the back-line options in Kiss’ 23-man panel.
ULSTER (v Zebre): Charles Piutau; Andrew Trimble (capt), Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Louis Ludik; Christian Lealiifano, John Cooney; Callum Black, John Andrew, Rodney Ah You, Peter Browne, Iain Henderson, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Jean Deysel.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Wiehahn Herbst, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Peter Nelson, Robert Lyttle.