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Trimble's pride and delight at record 200 Ulster caps

By Michael Sadlier

Andrew Trimble is ready to make history by becoming the first Ulster player to rack-up 200 appearances for the province in tomorrow's derby clash with Munster at a sold-out Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3.00 and live on Sky Sports).

Having already become Ulster's most-capped player in October, by notching up 190 games and overtaking Paddy Wallace's previous record of 189, Trimble will get a special Kingspan standing ovation when he leads the team out for their first game of the New Year in front of the capacity 18,000 crowd.

And should the popular winger add to his career total of 67 tries for the province then the stadium is sure to erupt for the 31-year-old Ireland international who made his Ulster debut back in September 2005.

"I'll be the first person to get 200 and that will never change," he said ahead of what is a hugely important PRO12 encounter for both sides.

"That is something that I am very proud of... to have represented Ulster Rugby more than anybody. It is something that means a lot. When it (reaching the double-century) became a realistic possibility you have to try to achieve it.

"This is a big occasion, it's an interpro here and it's going to be packed out," the long-serving player added on what will be also be a proud day for the Trimble family.

Coach Les Kiss has made four changes to the Ulster side which defeated Connacht last weekend as they bid to kick-off the New Year with a fifth win in a row.

All the alterations are up front with skipper Rory Best and flanker Chris Henry being the most notable changes with Henry returning from a fortnight out with a shoulder injury.

Elsewhere, loose-head prop Kyle McCall is back while Lewis Stevenson comes in for Alan O'Connor at second row.

Ulster: L Ludik, A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Scholes, P Jackson, R Pienaar; K McCall, R Best (Capt), W Herbst, L Stevenson, F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams

Replacements: R Herring, C Black, R Lutton, A O'Connor, R Wilson, P Marshall, I Humphreys, S Arnold.

Munster: A Conway; R O'Mahony, F Saili, R Scannell, L- Amorosino; I Keatley, T O'Leary; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; D Foley, M Chisholm; J O'Donoghue, T O'Donnell, CJ Stander (capt).

Replacements: N Scannell, J Ryan, M Sagario, B Holland, R Copeland, D Williams, T Bleyendaal, D Hurley.

Ref: G Conway (IRFU)

big match countdown: Pages 50-51

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