ULSTER COACH MARK ANSCOMBE has been able to name Andrew Trimble, Roger Wilson and Ruan Pienaar for his side’s Pro12 clash with Scarlets.
The trio of Test players were all released from international training commitments to rejoin the province and have been drafted straight into the starting XV for Saturday’s league clash in Wales.
Anscombe has moved Jared Payne back to the fullback position he filled so effectively last season. The Kiwi has been bestowed the honour of captaining the team. Michael Allen — the league’s joint top tryscorer — takes his place on the left win. Trimble, who was training with Ireland all week, starts on the opposite wing while Pienaar [South Africa] is in the halfback pairing with scrumhalf Paul Marshall.
Wilson starts at openside and is partnered in the back row by Robbie Diack and Nick Williams. John Afoa adds some international experience to the tight five.
Munster eye top spot
Donncha O’Callaghan and James Coughlan are also back from Ireland duty. The lock starts while back-row Coughlan is named on the bench.
Ronan O’Mahony, who impressed in preseason, gets his first league start at Thomond Park on the left wing. Hooker Damien Varley captains a side without injured Andrew Conway and James Downey but eyeing top spot after defeating Glasgow last weekend.
The Scots find themselves in Galway on Saturday against a Connacht team at the opposite end of the league standings. The home side have named Dave McSharry and Darragh Leader as their centre partnership while the burgeoning back row unit — Mata Fifita, Jake Heenan and George Naoupu — get a third successive start.
Ulster: Jared Payne (c); Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Chris Farrell, Michael Allen; Ruan Pienaar, Paul Marshall; Callum Black, Rob Herring, John Afoa; Lewis Stevenson, Neil McComb; Robbie Diack, Roger Wilson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: N Annett, K McCall, R Lutton, M McComish, S Doyle, J McKinney, R Andrew, D McIlwaine.
Munster: Felix Jones; Johne Murphy, Casey Laulala, Ivan Dineen, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley (c), BJ Botha; Donncha O’Callaghan, Dave Foley; Dave O’Callaghan, Sean Dougall, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, John Ryan, Billy Holland, James Coughlan, Cathal Sheridan, JJ Hanrahan, Cian Bohane.
Connacht: Gavin Duffy; Fionn Carr, Darragh Leader, Dave McSharry, Matt Healy; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright; Michael Swift (c), Craig Clarke; Mata Fifita, Jake Heenan, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, Nathan White, Aly Muldowney, Mick Kearney, Paul O’Donohoe, Craig Ronaldson, Tiernan O’Halloran.
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