Ross gets chance to prove worth for Ulster

Former Lansdowne flanker Clive Ross will make his first competitive start for Ulster when they travel to Parma to face Zebre later this afternoon (3pm kick-off Irish time).

Ross gets chance to prove worth for Ulster

Ross, cousin of Ireland prop Mike, has a chance to stake a permanent role with Ulster and upgrade his two-month trial period. The 25-year-old is one of 10 changes to the side that defeated Cardiff Blues last week, with the team captained by Roger Wilson in a side that features eight internationals in the starting line-up.

There is a new front-row with Callum Black, Rob Herring and fit-again Declan Fitzpatrick in front of Springbok Franco van der Merwe and Neil McCombe. Openside Ross is joined by Wilson and Nick Williams in the back row.

Ireland winger Craig Gilroy starts at full-back with the big striding Stuart McCloskey inside Darren Cave in midfield, while Tommy Bowe and Michael Allen are on the wings. Paddy Jackson is at fly-half partnered by Michael Heaney, who will seek to set out his stall in the absence of Ruan Pienaar.

“I have to make the most of my opportunities as is always that case as I’m behind two internationals,” said Heaney, “so hopefully this weekend I can show what I’m worth.

“I think we have got to look at the here and now as a team. While we’re happy at being unbeaten in the season we haven’t been entirely happy with our performances. We have played well in bits, we have to look at getting better week on week. If we started to look ahead to Europe now, we’d probably creep down the league and that is not what we want at this time of the year.”

ULSTER: C Gilroy; T Bowe, D Cave, S McCloskey, M Allen; P Jackson, M Heaney; C Black, R Herring, D Fitzpatrick; N McComb, F van der Merwe; R Wilson (capt), C Ross, N Williams.

Replacements: R Best, R Murphy, W Herbst, L Stevenson, M McComish, P Marshall, I Humphreys, A Trimble.

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