Prop Andrew Warwick will become the latest player to reach the 100-cap milestone for Ulster in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 derby match against Munster at Thomond Park (kick-off 7.35pm).
Andrew Warwick, the 27-year-old loosehead, made his debut against Cardiff Blues in March 2014. He features in the starting front row this week alongside fellow Ballymena clubman Adam McBurney, who comes in for his first start of the season, and Ross Kane.
Alan O’Connor will captain the Ulstermen from the second row, with Ireland international Iain Henderson returning to partner him in the engine room. Dan McFarland’s men are back on Irish soil after picking up seven points from their tour games against the Isuzu Southern Kings and the Toyota Cheetahs.
Matthew Rea and Nick Timoney are named at blindside and openside respectively in the back row, with former Munster forward Jean Deysel packing down at number 8. John Cooney returns from the scalp laceration he sustained against Kings a fortnight ago to join Billy Burns at half-back.
Ireland Under-20 international Angus Curtis will also earn his first start for the province, getting he nod to partner Darren Cave in midfield. Wingers Angus Kernohan and Craig Gilroy join Peter Nelson in the back-three as the flame-haired full-back runs out for the 50th time in an Ulster senior jersey.
John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole will provide the front row cover, with Kieran Treadwell and Clive Ross named as the additional forward options. David Shanahan, who crossed twice against the Cheetahs, will cover scrum half, while the Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy and Banbridge duo of Michael Lowry and James Hume are set to earn their first Ulster senior caps as replacements.
ULSTER (v Munster): Peter Nelson; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor (capt), Iain Henderson, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, James Hume.