Alan O’Connor will make his 100th appearance for Ulster when they take on defending champions Leinster in Friday’s GUINNESS PRO14 derby clash at the RDS (kick-off 7.35pm). Match tickets are available to buy online here.
O’Connor will also captain the province’s much-changed team from that which recorded an impressive 34-10 bonus point victory over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop last Friday.
Robert Lyttle makes his return to the back-three, this time in the full-back position. He will be joined by Craig Gilroy and Angus Kernohan on the right and left wings respectively.
New Zealander Matt Faddes switches to outside centre and will pair up with Angus Curtis in midfield. Tipperary youngster Bill Johnston will make his fourth start of the season at out-half, combining with David Shanahan.
Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney and Tom O’Toole make up the starting front row, while stand-in skipper O’Connor will be joined in the engine room by his 24-year-old brother David, who will be making his first start for Ulster.
Matthew Rea and Nick Timoney have been selected to start on the flanks, with Greg Jones, who has been performing well of late in the Banbridge number 8 jersey, completing the pack at the base of the scrum.
Three Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy prospects – Jack Regan, Azur Allison and Stewart Moore – are set to earn their first senior caps off the bench, as is Ethan McIlroy from the sub-Academy. John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane and Jonny Stewart round off the matchday squad.
ULSTER (v Leinster): Robert Lyttle; Craig Gilroy, Matt Faddes, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan; Bill Johnston, David Shanahan; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Alan O’Connor (capt), Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Greg Jones.
Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane, Jack Regan, Azur Allison, Jonny Stewart, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy.