Craig Gilroy is set to make his 150th provincial appearance after being named in the Ulster team to play the Southern Kings in round 8 of the GUINNESS PRO14 on Saturday (kick-off 3pm local time/1pm Irish time).
Ulster’s first ever competitive fixture on South African soil will be played at Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakele, Port Elizabeth, with live coverage tomorrow on BBC 2 Northern Ireland.
Craig Gilroy, who scored two tries on his senior debut against Cardiff Blues back in November 2010, has not featured for Les Kiss’ side this season after picking up a back injury during pre-season.
Chris Henry will captain the Ulstermen for this historic clash, teaming up in the back row with Sean Reidy and Ballymena’s Matthew Rea, who will be making his seventh senior appearance of the season.
Andrew Warwick, John Andrew and Wiehahn Herbst make up the front row, while Kieran Treadwell, a member of Ireland’s 38-man squad for the fast-approaching GUINNESS Series, is paired with Alan O’Connor in the second row.
John Cooney has recovered from injury to partner Christian Lealiifano at half-back, with Darren Cave and Louis Ludik combining in midfield. Gilroy is joined in the back-three by Charles Piutau and Andrew Trimble, who became Ulster’s most-capped player (222 caps) a fortnight ago against La Rochelle.
Young scrum half Jonny Stewart – a debutant during last weekend’s derby defeat to Leinster – is named among the replacements along with fellow Abbey Insurance Academy player Adam McBurney, the Ballymena hooker.
Callum Black, Ross Kane, Robbie Diack and Clive Ross are the forwards kept in reserve, while Peter Nelson and Tommy Bowe are the additional back-line options for Kiss and his coaching staff.
ULSTER (v Southern Kings): Charles Piutau; Craig Gilroy, Louis Ludik, Darren Cave, Andrew Trimble; Christian Lealiifano, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor, Matty Rea, Chris Henry (capt), Sean Reidy.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Callum Black, Ross Kane, Robbie Diack, Clive Ross, Jonny Stewart, Peter Nelson, Tommy Bowe.