Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made six changes to the team for Sunday’s Guinness PRO14 match against the Scarlets at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm).
A total of 1,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the game. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all fans, staff and stewards, Ulster Rugby have launched a Covid-19 spectator code of conduct.
Prop Tom O’Toole, who has not played since September, is back from an ankle injury and is set to make his seasonal debut off the bench.
Wingers Matt Faddes and Rob Lyttle rejoin Michael Lowry in the back-three, with Luke Marshall and Stewart Moore, who both touched down against Zebre, continuing as the province’s centre pairing.
Following his 17-point showing in Parma, Tipperary native Bill Johnston is retained at out-half. This time he will be partnered at half-back by John Cooney.
Kieran Treadwell swaps in for Sam Carter in an otherwise unchanged tight five. Alan O’Connor is his second row partner, while Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew and Martin Moore form the front row again.
This will be tighthead Moore’s seventh straight start of the campaign. Marcell Coetzee, another cornerstone of the pack, anchors a back row which includes the final two changes in Matthew Rea and Sean Reidy.
Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, David O’Connor, Jordi Murphy and the fit-again O’Toole are the back-up to the forwards. Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Craig Gilroy offer a good deal of experience to call upon as replacement backs.
Speaking ahead of the visit of the Welsh side, Kiwi scrum half Mathewson said: “It’s another tough game. There are no easy games in the PRO14. Scarlets, they have very dangerous backs, they play some exciting rugby.
“We’ve got a big focus on us again. If we can play the way we want to play, implement our style and game-plan, then that can go a long way to getting us a result.
“We know whilst Scarlets do offer a lot, we’ve got a big focus on ourselves as well.”
ULSTER (v Scarlets): Michael Lowry; Matt Faddes, Luke Marshall, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle; Bill Johnston, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor (capt), Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Jordi Murphy, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Craig Gilroy.