Andrew Trimble starts for Ulster against Ospreys

22-year-old outhalf Peter Nelson handed start by Neil Doak in strong home side

Ulster v Ospreys, Kingspan stadium (Friday, 7.35, live on BBC 2)

Peter Nelson has been handed the number 10 jersey in the absence of the injured Ian Humphreys and Sam Windsor for a tough opening encounter in this season's Guinness Pro12.

The talented and versatile 22-year-old has previously lined out at fullback and wing for the province but has played outhalf for Dungannon and Ulster A. He's got plenty of pace and footballing ability in the three quarter line with the two wings in particular, Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy, keen to start the season impressively. Nick Williams is back after suspension in a powerful Ulster pack led by hooker Rob Herring.

The Ospreys give debuts to De Kock Steenkamp and Gareth Delve, while Tom Habberfield makes his 50th appearance for the Welsh region. Head coach Steve Tandy admitted: ""Ulster is always a tough place to go. They have a strong squad and a big, passionate and loud crowd who get behind whoever is wearing the Ulster shirt, whatever the circumstances.


“It can be a real test of character out there so we need to be sure that we are 100 per cent switched on and everybody is completely focused on the job in hand. It’s about the small things, attention to detail, that can make a big difference on the night.”

Given the relative strength of the respective teams anything other than a home victory would constitute a surprise.

Ulster: L Ludik; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, C Gilroy; P Nelson, P Marshall; A Warwick, R Herring (capt), W Herbst; D Tuohy, F Van der Merwe; R Wilson, W Faloon, N Williams. Replacements: J Andrew, R Lutton, B Ross, P Browne, C Ross, S Reidy, D Shanahan, S Arnold.

Ospreys: D Evans; K Phillips, J Spratt, B John, T Grabham; S Davies, T Habberfield; M Thomas, S Parry, D Arhip; L Ashley (capt), De Kock Steenkamp; J Bearman, L Evans, G Delve. Replacements: S Otten, N Smith, C Griffiths, R Thornton, D Baker, S Underhill, B Leonard, A Beck.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)