Rory Best and Paddy Jackson to return for Ulster
Iain Henderson and Luke Marshall also start for Les Kiss’ side in trip to take on Scarlets
Ulster captain Rory Best is among those returning for their clash with Scarlets in the Pro12. Photo: Inpho
Ireland quartet Rory Best, Iain Henderson, Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall return to the Ulster team for their Pro12 clash with Scarlets on Friday (Parc y Scarlets, 7.35pm, live on BBC2 NI).
Those players are among nine new faces in the starting XV, after a number were ruled out by injury earlier this week.
Best will start at hooker and will be joined in an all-new front row by props Callum Black and Ross Kane, who will make his second senior start.
Henderson will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row, while Chris Henry is elevated from the bench to start in the back row alongside Clive Ross and Sean Reidy, who switches to number eight.
Louis Ludik and Jacob Stockdale come into the back three, where they are joined by captain Andrew Trimble. Marshall and Stuart McCloskey will line up in midfield, with Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson occupying the half back positions.
Named among the replacements, Jonny Simpson will be hoping to earn his second cap after impressing off the bench last week against Leinster. John Andrew, Andy Warwick, Franco van der Merwe and Pete Browne will provide additional forward cover.
Elsewhere, Dave Shanahan could make his first senior appearance of the season, if called upon. Brett Herron and Tommy Bowe complete the match day squad.
Scarlets are one of the competition’s in-form teams, having been defeated just once in the last nine rounds of Pro12 action.
The Welshmen have won their last eight matches at home in all competitions and Kiss will be aware of the challenge facing his side at Parc y Scarlets, given the 22-12 loss suffered at the venue last season.
Ulster team & replacements to play Scarlets, Guinness PRO12, Friday 6th January, Parc y Scarlets (7.35pm kick-off):
L Ludik, A Trimble (captain), L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, P Jackson, P Marshall; C Black, R Best, R Kane, K Treadwell, I Henderson, C Ross, C Henry, S Reidy.
Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, J Simpson, F van der Merwe, P Browne, D Shanahan, B Herron, T Bowe.