Ulster aiming to halt Glasgow’s momentum

New head coach Neil Doak plumps for Ian Humphreys at outhalf in place of the sidelined Paddy Jackson

The timing of Neil Doak's accession to the Ulster throne as head coach sees him begin with the game of the weekend.

First up are the upwardly mobile Glasgow today, with a trek to Leicester a precursor to hosting European champions Toulon at the start of an extraordinary run of games. Warriors' progress under Gregor Townsend means the high-flying pacesetters are the toughest proposition which the Pro12 can throw up right now.

Accordingly, more than 15,500 tickets have been sold for the match and the crowd is already the biggest of the season at Kingspan Stadium.

Doak has made three changes to the side that beat Edinburgh last weekend. With Paddy Jackson sidelined due to concussion, Ian Humphreys will start in what will be his 88th appearance for the province.

Up front, Andrew Warwick is selected at loosehead in place of Ruaidhri Murphy while Nick Williams returns at number eight in place of Roger Wilson.

In a demonstration of their strength-in-depth, Gregor Townsend makes 12 changes in personnel and one positional switch from the side that beat Treviso 40-23 last weekend.

Outside centre

Lions back three player Sean Maitland will make his first appearance of the season on the right wing (hence ex-Ulster winger and their leading try scorer Tommy Seymour swaps flanks). Peter Murchie replaces Stuart Hogg at full-back, Mark Bennett comes in for Sean Lamont at outside centre and new half-back pairing sees Henry Pyrgos and Finn Russell takes over from Niko Matawalu and Duncan Weir – with Matawalu to provide impact of the bench along with Lamont and

James Downey

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In the pack, Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Euan Murray form a new front-row,

Tim Swinson and Leone Nakarawa do the same in the second-row, while Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro return in the back-row, with captain and number eight Josh Strauss the only forward to retain his place.

While Warriors have won the last three meetings with Ulster, Doak’s men should be seriously up for this test.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times

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