The Ulster coaching team have named a much-changed match day squad for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Leinster (RDS Arena, 5.15pm).
The starting XV includes four Abbey Insurance Academy players in the form of Matthew Dalton, Angus Kernohan, James Hume and Michael Lowry, while Rob Lyttle has returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines to start on the right wing.
Lyttle, who scored two tries in his last outing for Ulster, against Southern Kings back in February 2018, is joined in the back three by Kernohan and Lowry.
Hume and Darren Cave are paired together in midfield, with Dave Shanahan and Johnny McPhillips set to combine in the half back positions.
Up front, Greg Jones will make his first start of the season after being included in the back row alongside Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney.
Alan O’Connor has recovered from an injury sustained against Cardiff Blues in early December and will partner Dalton, who will make his first appearance of the season, in the second row.
Wiehahn Herbst is another to have returned from injury, having not featured since September, and he will pack down in the front row with hooker Adam McBurney and loosehead prop Kyle McCall.
There are two potential debutants named on the bench as versatile Banbridge RFC forward Caleb Montgomery and Ballymena RFC flyhalf Bruce Houston, another Academy prospect, are included in the panel.
Forwards John Andrew, Andy Warwick, Tom O’Toole and Clive Ross, along with backs Jonny Stewart and Peter Nelson, make up the remainder of the match day 23.
The match will be televised live on Premier Sports and eir Sport, with radio commentary on BBC Radio Ulster and RTE Radio.
Ulster team to play Leinster, Guinness PRO14, Saturday 5th January, RDS Arena (5.15pm):
(15-9): M Lowry; R Lyttle, D Cave, J Hume, A Kernohan; J McPhillips, D Shanahan;
(1-8): K McCall, A McBurney, W Herbst, M Dalton, A O’Connor (captain), G Jones, S Reidy, N Timoney;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, A Warwick, T O’Toole, C Montgomery, C Ross, J Stewart, B Houston, P Nelson.