Ulster will roll out their strongest available line-out when they visit 2015 Guinness Pro12 winners Glasgow tonight.
Ireland duo Iain Henderson and Jared Payne start, while Rory Best will get 40 minutes off the bench. Payne gets his first taste of action this season, at full-back, with Charles Piutau moving to the left wing in a side that shows nine changes from last week’s win over the Scarlets. Stuart McCloskey and Darren Cave are in the midfield, with Louis Ludik on the right wing. Up front, Franco van der Merwe starts alongside Alan O’Connor in the engine room, while Sean Reidy and Roger Wilson are in the back-row alongside Henderson, who got 40 minutes of action last week and expects a tough encounter.
“Glasgow are definitely a top-flight side. They will have similar aspirations to us and will be disappointed in losing to Cardiff last week and will be coming out looking to turn us over on their home patch. They have a really good offload game, and they flood the channels, while their counter-attacking game is excellent. We just need to be smart in that respect and close down those channels and prevent them getting into their free-flowing offloading game. Stuart Hogg is a game changer and we have to box smart and close him down.
“It can be frustrating playing against them. They are such a good side and they play right to the end. If you don’t stay alert and switch off, they will punish you, like they did to us last season in the semi-final.”
Warriors have Scottish half-backs Finn Russell and Henry Pyrgos starting together for the first time this season.
S Hogg, L Sarto, M Bennett, A Dunbar, T Seymour, F Russell, H Pyrgos (co-captain); G Reid, F Brown, Z Fagerson, G Peterson, J Gray (co-captain), T Uanivi, L Wynne, R Wilson. Replacements: P MacArthur, A Allan, S Puafisi, S Thomson, M Fagerson, A Price, N Grigg, R Hughes.
J Payne, L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey, C Piutau; P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick, R Herring (captain), R Ah You, A O’Connor, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Wilson.
R Best, C Black, R Kane, P Browne, C Ross, P Marshall, S Olding, R Lyttle.
Ian Davies (WRU)
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