Ruan Pienaar is back in the Ulster team for the first time in 2017
Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall and Tommy Bowe all in XV for Glasgow Warriors’ visit
Ruan Pienaar starts against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho
Ulster have been bolstered by the return of scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, and the inclusion of Irish internationals Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall and Tommy Bowe, for Saturday’s Pro12 encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3.00pm).
Pienaar will make his first appearance of 2017, having recovered from a knee injury sustained in the New Year’s Eve fixture away to Leinster.
The South African will partner Pete Nelson at half-back, with the latter successfully coming through the full 80 minutes in last weekend’s victory over Edinburgh, following a 14-month layoff.
Gilroy, who shone with a 14-minute hat-trick for Ireland versus Italy, will join Bowe and Louis Ludik, one of Ulster’s four try-scorers versus Edinburgh, in the back three.
Luke Marshall comes into the side at outside centre, meaning Darren Cave shifts inside to occupy the number 12 jersey.
Up front, Callum Black will start at loosehead prop alongside John Andrew and Ricky Lutton in the front row, while Pete Browne and Franco van der Merwe will renew their second row partnership.
Club captain Rob Herring has suitably recovered from injury to take up a place among the replacements along with fellow forwards Andy Warwick, Wiehahn Herbst, Kieran Treadwell and Robbie Diack.
Academy player Jack Owens, who has featured at wing and full-back for the Ulster A team in this season’s British and Irish Cup, is in line to make his senior debut if called upon.
Paul Marshall and Jacob Stockdale will provide the additional backline cover from the bench.
ULSTER: L Ludik; T Bowe, L Marshall, D Cave, C Gilroy; P Nelson, R Pienaar; C Black, J Andrew, R Lutton; P Browne, F van der Merwe; S Reidy, C Henry (captain), M Coetzee.
Replacements: R Herring, A Warwick, W Herbst, K Treadwell, R Diack, P Marshall, J Stockdale, J Owens.