Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made two changes to the team that defeated Harlequins as the sides prepare for Friday’s rematch in round four of the Heineken Champions Cup at the Twickenham Stoop (kick-off 7.45pm).
Versatile back Matt Faddes returns to the starting line-up on the right wing, rejoining the back-three alongside Ireland star Jacob Stockdale who retains his position at full-back, and Louis Ludik who switches over to the left wing.
Stuart McCloskey, the man-of-the-match during last Saturday’s dramatic 25-24 home win, is once again paired in the centre with Luke Marshall. The familiar half-back duo of Billy Burns and John Cooney is also retained, with Cooney now on 35 points for the pool stages.
The second change sees Kieran Treadwell return to start alongside captain Iain Henderson in the engine room, sandwiched by the unchanged front row and back row units – there are starting berths again for Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Martin Moore, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee.
23-year-old hooker Adam McBurney, who scored his first European try last week, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Matthew Rea will provide the forwards back-up, and David Shanahan, Bill Johnston and Craig Gilroy are the back-line reinforcements.
While delighted to make it three wins from three in the tournament last time out, blindside flanker Reidy is well aware that there are areas for improvement when Ulster make the trip over to the Stoop for the crunch return clash.
“We left a lot of points out there and probably got dominated at the breakdown a little bit by (Chris) Robshaw and the other back rowers, so it’s important we go over there and really take it to them,” insisted Reidy, the twice-capped Ireland international.
“They slowed up our ball and got a lot of turnovers, we got quite sloppy in the end. We certainly created opportunities here and made some good carries but then couldn’t finish those two-on-ones and we were a bit sloppy with a few offloads.
“We have to front up over there. Basically, it can be two totally different games. You might play them at home and put on a relatively good performance. Then when you go in front of their home crowd, their home supporters, it can be a totally different game.”
ULSTER (v Harlequins): Jacob Stockdale; Matt Faddes, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Martin Moore, Kieran Treadwell, Iain Henderson (capt), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, Bill Johnston, Craig Gilroy.