The fit-again Will Addison will make his first appearance this season when Ulster host Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm).
Tickets for the GUINNESS PRO14 round 4 game, priced from £17 for adults, £12 for juniors, and £46 for a family of four, are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.
Ireland international Addison, whose Rugby World Cup hopes were dashed by a calf injury, is named at full-back and is one of five changes to the team that recorded a comprehensive 40-17 bonus point win over the Isuzu Southern Kings last time out.
The returning Addison is joined in the back-three by Louis Ludik and Craig Gilroy – Ulster’s current most-capped player who will make his 172nd appearance. James Hume returns to partner Luke Marshall in a powerful midfield pairing.
John Cooney, who tallied up 22 points against the Kings, starts at scrum half and will be one step closer to his 50th cap milestone, making his 49th appearance. He lines out alongside Billy Burns who will captain Ulster for the first time in a competitive game.
There are three changes in the pack – Ireland international Jack McGrath returns at loosehead, along with John Andrew at hooker and Tom O’Toole anchoring the tighthead position. Kieran Treadwell pairs up with the PRO14’s top tackler in round 3, Alan O’Connor, in the second row.
The province’s back row remains unchanged with Matthew Rea at blindside flanker, Sean Reidy at openside, and South African star Marcell Coetzee at number 8.
Nick Timoney has completed his recovery from a hand injury sustained in pre-season and features on the replacements bench, along with fellow forwards Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane and Sam Carter. David Shanahan, Bill Johnston and Matt Faddes are the reserve backs.
ULSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Will Addison; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, James Hume, Louis Ludik; Billy Burns (capt), John Cooney; Jack McGrath, John Andrew, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Sam Carter, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Bill Johnston, Matt Faddes.