Former Ireland Sevens international Nick Timoney will pack down at number 8 when Ulster visit four-time champions Toulouse in Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Ernest Wallon (kick-off 1.30pm local time/12.30pm Irish time).
With Marcell Coetzee missing out through injury, Timoney is drafted into the back row along with Jordi Murphy, who was also a second half replacement during last week’s Guinness PRO14 final defeat to Leinster.
John Cooney and Jack McGrath are promoted from the bench too as head coach Dan McFarland makes four changes for the resumption of their promising 2019/20 European campaign.
Cooney’s inclusion – at the expense of former All Black Alby Mathewson – is the only alteration in an otherwise unchanged back-line which has Billy Burns at out-half and Michael Lowry at full-back.
It will be the 22-year-old Lowry’s fourth European start, while there is a third for young winger Rob Lyttle (23), and a Champions Cup debut is the reward for 22-year-old James Hume’s impressive form in midfield.
Ireland internationals Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey complete the backs division, with McGrath rejoining Rob Herring and 21-year-old tighthead Tom O’Toole in the front row.
Fresh from his return from a shoulder operation, captain Iain Henderson remains a vital cog in the second row alongside Alan O’Connor. Sean Reidy switches to the blindside role in an athletic back row.
McFarland has again gone for a six-two split on the bench, the forward options provided by John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Martin Moore, Sam Carter, Kieran Treadwell and Matthew Rea. Kiwi pair Mathewson and Matt Faddes complete the matchday 23.
ULSTER (v Toulouse): Michael Lowry; Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (capt), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Martin Moore, Sam Carter, Kieran Treadwell, Alby Mathewson, Matt Faddes, Matthew Rea.