Springbok star Marcell Coetzee will pull on an Ulster jersey for the first time tonight as he lines out against Edinburgh.
Capped 28 times for South Africa, Coetzee starts at No 8 following knee reconstruction surgery. Also making a start is Peter Nelson who slots in at fly-half alongside Paul Marshall following over 15 months out with a foot problem sustained in the corresponding fixture last season.
International Stuart Olding is at midfield beside Darren Cave for his first appearance since sustaining an injury in October. Boosting the bench are Tommy Bowe and Stuart McCloskey, who were released from Ireland duty.
Cave, who played alongside Olding on the Ireland team, is now determined that Ulster, who will be captained by Chris Henry make up for some disappointing times of late.
“In many ways, it was a good time for a break after a disappointing result (in the Champions Cup),” he said. “You keep looking back and there’s no hiding there’s been some disappointing results,” said Cave who is looking forward to Coetzee’s first appearance.
“He is a world-class player, there’s a reason why we signed him and I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but I’m looking forward to seeing him in a white jersey.”
Cave said: “Edinburgh proved against Munster last weekend you can’t take them for granted. There’s also no hiding from the fact we struggled against them earlier in the year. If you look at how they’ve gone in the Challenge Cup in a pretty tough pool with Harlequins and Stade Francais, they topped the pool so they’re a good side. There are points available in the next six games and it’s really going to shape our season. “
L Ludik; J Stockdale, D Cave, S Olding, C Piutau’ P Nelson, P Marshall; A Warwick, J Andrew, R Lutton, K Treadwell, A O’Connor, R Diack, C Henry (capt), M Coetzee;
J Murphy, C Black, W Herbst, P Browne, S Reidy, D Shanahan, S McCloskey, T Bowe.
B Kinghorn, D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, T Brown, J Tovey, S Kennedy; J Cosgrove, N Cochrane (capt), M McCallum, F McKenzie, B Toolis, V Mata, J Hardie, M Bradbury.
S McInally, D Appiah, N Beavon, L Carmichael, V Fihaki, S Hidalgo-Clyne, M Allen, R Scholes.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved