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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 18 December, 2014

Stephen Ferris back on the bench for Ulster after injury layoff since November 2012

Great news for the Ireland international.

Ulster's Stephen Ferris.
Ulster's Stephen Ferris.
Image: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

STEPHEN FERRIS RETURNS to the bench for Ulster for tomorrow night’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Scarlets after injury layoff since November 2012.

The Ireland international hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in November 2012 and after months of rehabilitation will make a phased return to play over the coming weeks.

Roger Wilson will make his 150th appearance for Ulster in the game and starts at blindside flanker. The match will also see a first start for centre Stuart McCloskey who came on as a substitute in the win over Newport Gwent Dragons a fortnight ago.

But it’s the return of Ferris that is the main talking point after the blindside flanker has endured a tough time being out of action.

Jared Payne starts the game at full back, with Tommy Bowe, who scored two tries on his return against Dragons, named on the right wing and Ireland Under 20s player, Rory Scholes, continuing on the left wing.

Man of the match from the Dragons game, Darren Cave, is selected alongside 21 year-old McCloskey. Ruan Pienaar is selected at scrum-half, with Paddy Jackson, who has been released from international duty, named at outhalf.

In the pack, John Afoa returns to the starting XV where he joins Callum Black and Rob Herring in the front row. Johann Muller starts in the second row and is partnered by Robbie Diack who starts at 5.

Sean Doyle starts at openside, with Wilson at blindside and Nick Williams named at Number 8.

Ferris is joined on the bench by forwards Niall Annett, Tom Court, Ricky Lutton and Lewis Stevenson, with Michael Heaney, Craig Gilroy and Ricky Andrew completing the match-day squad.

ULSTER: J Payne, T Bowe, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Scholes, P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring, J Afoa, J Muller (Captain), R Diack, R Wilson, S Doyle, N Williams;

Replacements: N Annett, T Court, R Lutton, L Stevenson, S Ferris, M Heaney, C Gilroy, R Andrew.

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