The Ulster team has been named for Saturday evening’s GUINNESS PRO14 final round game against Conference B winners Leinster at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm).
The 226-times capped Darren Cave, who will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season, will captain the province from outside centre. Ulster are guaranteed to finish second in the Conference standings and host Connacht in a May 4 quarter-final at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 5.35pm). Click here to buy your tickets now.
Abbey Insurance Academy back rower Marcus Rea (21) will make his senior debut for Ulster against Leinster if he is sprung from the bench, meaning it could be a special day for the Rea family, with his older brother Matthew starting at blindside flanker.
David Busby, who suffered a long-term knee injury in pre-season, is in line to make his first Ulster appearance of the season. The utility back has previously played four games and scored a try on his debut against Zebre in February 2017.
Busby will be joined in the back-three by Academy players Michael Lowry and Angus Kernohan, who have made a combined total of 30 appearances to date this season. Cave will partner Peter Nelson in midfield, with Johnny McPhillips, who helped Ballynahinch win the Division 1B title alongside Busby, featuring at half-back with David Shanahan in the scrum half role.
Andrew Warwick, John Andrew and Ross Kane are selected in the front row, supported by Ian Nagle and Alan O’Connor in the engine room. Ballymena captain Matthew Rea, his club-mate Clive Ross and Ireland international Sean Reidy, who switches to number 8, complete the starting forwards.
Tommy O’Hagan, another of the Ballynahinch-attached players, and Jack Owens could make just their second appearances after being named on the bench alongside potential debutant Marcus Rea. Adam McBurney, Tom O’Toole, Nick Timoney, Jonny Stewart and Robert Lyttle are the other replacement options.
A limited number of match tickets are available in the Family Terrace and East Terrace from £20 for adults and £14 for juniors. To purchase tickets, simply click here or contact the Ulster Rugby Ticket Office for more information – (028) 9049 3222 (option 2). Tickets will be available on the gate from 3.15pm on Saturday, but it is recommended to book in advance for the best available tickets and to avoid queues.
ULSTER (v Leinster): Michael Lowry; David Busby, Darren Cave (capt), Peter Nelson, Angus Kernohan; Johnny McPhillips, David Shanahan; Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Ross Kane, Ian Nagle, Alan O’Connor, Matthew Rea, Clive Ross, Sean Reidy.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Tommy O’Hagan, Tom O’Toole, Nick Timoney, Marcus Rea, Jonny Stewart, Jack Owens, Robert Lyttle.