Ulster have been given a boost ahead of their PRO14 encounter against Ospreys with the return of Iain Henderson from injury.
Henderson looked set to miss most of the Six Nations due to a thumb injury, but has had a quicker-than-expected recovery meaning he could be back in the Ireland team for next week's Six Nations match against Italy.
He will be joined in the second row by captain Alan O’Connor.
Stuart McCloskey will make his 100th Ulster appearance at Morganstone Brewery Field tomorrow night.
The 26-year-old centre made his debut against Dragons in February 2014 and has been a regular in the side since then, as evidenced by his tally of 17 starts in the current campaign.
Prop Eric O’Sullivan, who has played in 18 of Ulster’s 20 games so far this season, Rob Herring and Marty Moore complete the tight five. Clive Ross, starting for the first time this season, is joined in the back row by Nick Timoney and Jordi Murphy. The latter has been released by the Ireland coaching team.
Scrumhalf John Cooney is another to be discharged from international duty and he will partner Michel Lowry at halfback. It will be Lowry’s first start in the flyhalf berth.
McCloskey will combine with Darren Cave in midfield and together they boast 319 Ulster caps. Angus Kernohan, Louis Ludik and Peter Nelson are named in the back three.
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT 📋 | versus Opsreys
💯 Milestone for @Stuart_Mc12
💥 @HendersonIain returns
3️⃣ Academy players in starting XV pic.twitter.com/2l5CKkAXHU— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) February 14, 2019
The forward replacements are John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Sean Reidy, while the backline cover will be provided by Dave Shanahan, James Hume and Rob Lyttle.
Ulster: P Nelson; A Kernohan, D Cave, S McCloskey, L Ludik; M Lowry, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (captain), I Henderson, C Ross, J Murphy, N Timoney;
Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, T O'Toole, K Treadwell, S Reidy, D Shanahan, J Hume, R Lyttle.