Sam Carter will lead out the Ulster men for the first time, as they take on Leinster in the final round of the Guinness PRO14 regular season at Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm).
Both Ulster and Leinster go into Saturday’s game having already confirmed their place in the PRO14 semi-finals, with Ulster looking forward to an away trip to Edinburgh next weekend.
Australia international Carter is also one of eight changes to the starting XV that faced Connacht in the return to rugby action last Sunday, and he will be partnered by Kieran Treadwell in the second row. It’s all-change in the front row, as Rob Herring returns to the side at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole taking up the starting loosehead and tighthead positions. Matthew Rea comes in at blindside, with Jordi Murphy once again starting at openside flanker and Marcell Coetzee at number eight.
Jacob Stockdale retains his starting berth at full-back and is joined in the back three by returning wingers Rob Lyttle and Matt Faddes. The midfield combination of Stuart McCloskey and James Hume remains in situ, while recent signing Ian Madigan will make his first start at fly-half for Ulster, linking up with John Cooney for up an all-Irish international half-back pairing.
In the replacements, John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor and Nick Timoney provide the forward bench options, and David Shanahan, Bill Johnston and Louis Ludik are the backline cover.
Ulster team to play Leinster, Guinness PRO14 Round 15, Saturday 29 August at Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports & eir Sport):
(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter (Capt.), Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Bill Johnston, Louis Ludik.