ULSTER HEAD COACH Mark Anscombe has selected Ireland international Tommy Bowe at outside centre for his side’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash with Connacht at Ravenhill tomorrow evening [KO 7.05pm].
The 30-year-old will be alongside Luke Marshall in midfield, while Ricky Andrew replaces the suspended Jared Payne at fullback. Craig Gilroy comes into the team in the left wing spot vacated by Bowe’s move to 13.
There is further change in the halfbacks, where Paul Marshall starts in place of the sidelined Ruan Pienaar. On the right wing, Ulster are relieved to have Andrew Trimble available after he completed the return-to-play protocols following a concussion against Saracens last weekend.
In the pack, academy player Andrew Warwick makes his first start for the province at loosehead prop in a front row that also includes Rob Herring and Ricky Lutton. Iain Henderson comes into the second row alongside captain Johann Muller.
Robbie Diack, Nick Williams and Chris Henry make up the back row, while Darren Cave and Stephen Ferris have been rested for the weekend.
Meanwhile, Connacht coach Pat Lam has named an unchanged side for the fourth game in-a-row ahead of the visit to Belfast for this inter-provincial tie.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
There is one alteration to the bench as academy prop Finlay Bealham replaces the injured Nathan White. 23-year-old lock Mick Kearney is set to earn his 50th cap for the province, while John Muldoon captains the side from the back row.
Ulster: Ricky Andrew; Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton; Johann Muller (capt.), Iain Henderson; Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Niall Annett, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, Lewis Stevenson, Sean Doyle, Michael Heaney, James McKinney, Stuart McCloskey.
Connacht: Robbie Henshaw; Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Fionn Carr; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You; Aly Muldowney, Mick Kearney; John Muldoon (capt.), Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Finlay Bealham, Michael Swift, Andrew Browne, Frank Murphy, Miah Nikora, Darragh Leader.