Robbie Diack, Callum Black and Charles Piutau will play their final games in Ulster colours after being named in the starting XV for Sunday’s crunch Champions Cup qualification play-off against the Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3.05pm).
Tickets for Sunday afternoon’s clash in Belfast, which is part of the GUINNESS PRO14 final series, are available from just £12 for children and £17 for adults via ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.
The Ulster management team have been boosted by the return of key backs John Cooney and Charles Piutau, who missed the PRO14 derby trip to Munster earlier this month due to concussion and personal reasons respectively.
However, Rory Best (hamstring), Iain Henderson and Clive Ross (both knee) have been ruled out through injury, so Rob Herring, Kieran Treadwell and Robbie Diack come into the line-up. That means that there are five personnel changes to the side that drew 24-all at Thomond Park.
Cooney, the newly-announced Bank of Ireland Ulster Player of the Year, will start at scrum half, resuming his half-back partnership with fellow former Ireland Under-20 international Johnny McPhillips, who is set for his ninth consecutive start.
The Bistol-bound Piutau’s inclusion at full-back sees Louis Ludik switch to the right wing berth, with Jacob Stockdale named on the other flank. Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall will form a familiar partnership in the province’s midfield.
Diack, who will earn his 206th Ulster cap on Sunday, will be joined in the back row by Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney. With Best out injured, Herring comes in to start at hooker and will also take over the captaincy role. Callum Black and Ross Kane will pack down either side of their skipper, while Alan O’Connor and Treadwell are paired together in the second row.
Abbey Insurance Academy lock Jack Regan could make his senior debut after being named among the replacements. Fellow Academy player Tom O’Toole, hooker John Andrew, prop Andrew Warwick and back rower Chris Henry are also included on the bench, and David Shanahan, Darren Cave and Craig Gilroy are the reserve backs.
ULSTER (v Ospreys): Charles Piutau; Louis Ludik, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney; Callum Black, Rob Herring (capt), Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney;
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Jack Regan, Chris Henry, David Shanahan, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy.