Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has confirmed an unchanged matchday 23 for Friday night’s Heineken Champions Cup round 4 encounter with the Scarlets at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Ulstermen registered a superb 25-24 bonus point win over last season’s beaten semi-finalists at Parc y Scarlets last Friday, and tickets for tomorrow’s eagerly-awaited return fixture are available from ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.
The game will see Rory Best become Ulster’s most-capped player in Europe’s top tier tournament (72 appearances), moving one ahead of Andrew Trimble. Best will again captain the province from the front row alongside Martin Moore and Eric O’Sullivan, the Abbey Insurance Academy prop who made 22 tackles last week in an impressive 80-minute display.
Ireland internationals Iain Henderson and Kieran Treadwell continue together in the second row, while Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee, the scorer of Ulster’s fourth and final try in Llanelli, combine again in the back row.
Billy Burns and John Cooney feature at half-back with Will Addison and Stuart McCloskey retained in midfield. Jacob Stockdale, the newly-announced BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year, is selected in the back-three alongside the experienced Louis Ludik and Henry Speight.
Kyle McCall, who was recalled to the squad last week after a six-month injury lay-off, could make his 50th Ulster appearance if introduced from the bench. Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Matthew Rea and Nick Timoney are the other forward replacements, with David Shanahan, Johnny McPhillips and Darren Cave the reserve backs.
ULSTER (v Scarlets): Louis Ludik; Henry Speight, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, Rory Best (capt), Martin Moore, Iain Henderson, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: Rob Herring, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Johnny McPhillips, Darren Cave.