Andrew Trimble will become Ulster’s most-capped player of all-time on Sunday when he lines out in the Champions Cup round 2 encounter with La Rochelle at Stade Marcel-Deflandre (kick-off 4.15pm local time/3.15pm Irish time).
Andrew Trimble will earn his 222nd cap, surpassing the record of 221 that he currently shares with Roger Wilson. The Coleraine native has scored 74 tries for the province since he made his competitive debut against Cardiff Blues in September 2005.
Robbie Diack could become just the third player to reach 200 Ulster appearances after he was named among the replacements by director of rugby Les Kiss. The Ireland-capped forward moved to Belfast in the summer of 2008 and made his debut against the Scarlets in September of that year.
Ireland captain Rory Best has also been included on Ulster’s bench and is set to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in training last month.
Iain Henderson, who captained Ulster for the first time during the 19-9 home win against Wasps last Friday, will again lead the side. He will line out in the back row alongside Chris Henry, who has recovered from a larynx injury, and number 8 Sean Reidy.
Callum Black will join hooker Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst in the front row, with recent Ireland debutant Kieran Treadwell and Alan O’Connor occupying the second row berths.
Paul Marshall will partner Christian Lealiifano at half-back, with Ireland internationals Stuart McCloskey and Darren Cave combining in midfield. Trimble will link up with Tommy Bowe and Charles Piutau in an all-international back-three.
Ballymena clubman Matthew Rea could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, while Kyle McCall and Rodney Ah You will provide further forward cover along with Diack and the returning Best.
John Cooney, Luke Marshall and Jacob Stockdale, who all started against Wasps in the opening round, are also named in the matchday squad and will offer plenty of attacking threats as the reserve backs.
ULSTER (v La Rochelle): Charles Piutau; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Tommy Bowe; Christian Lealiifano, Paul Marshall; Callum Black, Rob Herring, Wiehahn Herbst, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (capt), Chris Henry, Sean Reidy.
Replacements: Rory Best, Kyle McCall, Rodney Ah You, Robbie Diack, Matthew Rea, John Cooney, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale.