Robert Baloucoune will make his Heineken Champions Cup debut on Saturday after being named in the Ulster team for their huge round 5 game against Pool 4 leaders Racing 92 at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3.15pm).
Seated areas of the stadium are completely sold out for the mouth-watering Ulster v Racing 92 fixture, but a limited number of terrace tickets are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.
The 21-year-old Robert Baloucoune, who returns from his two-week suspension, is joined in the back-three by Louis Ludik and Jacob Stockdale, who will earn his 50th Ulster cap. Stockdale is the tournament’s joint-top try scorer with four tries and is the only player to have scored in every round so far.
Will Addison and Stuart McCloskey are reunited in an all-Ireland international midfield, with Billy Burns and John Cooney making their third European start together at half-back. Burns currently leads the way for assists in the Champions Cup with four.
Rory Best returns to captain the side from hooker and will pack down beside Abbey Insurance Academy prop Eric O’Sullivan and Martin Moore. Alan O’Connor, one of only two players retained from the team that lost to Leinster last weekend, partners Kieran Treadwell in the second row.
Sean Reidy, the other player who started at the RDS, will line out alongside fellow Ireland international Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee in the back row. The South African powerhouse was man-of-the-match against Munster in Ulster’s last home game.
Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Ian Nagle and Nick Timoney are the forward replacements, while David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, who has come through the return-to-play protocols this week, and Darren Cave are the back-line reinforcements.
Ulster’s 1999 European Cup-winning squad will be in attendance on Saturday and will be introduced to the crowd on the pitch just before 3pm. Supporters are encouraged to arrive early and to collect a complimentary Ulster Rugby flag upon entering the stadium. Gates will open at 1.15pm.
ULSTER (v Racing 92): Louis Ludik; Robert Baloucoune, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, Rory Best (capt), Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Ian Nagle, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Darren Cave.