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Ulster v Cardiff Blues: Darren Cave and Paddy Jackson back in the fold

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's cause against Cardiff Blues tonight will be boosted by the return to the squad of Ireland players Darren Cave and Paddy Jackson.

The pair - who only returned to Belfast on Monday night following the disappointment of a World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina - will be on the bench at Kingspan Stadium after combining for 100 minutes of game-time during the tournament.

Cave's claim for more action was ignored by Joe Schmidt, despite injuries to both starting centres Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw while Paddy Jackson was unable to displace Ian Madigan as Johnny Sexton's primary back-up and was an unused substitute at the Millennium Stadium last weekend.

Both will be itching to get back into the fray and make a point over the coming weeks, starting against Danny Wilson's side this evening.

With Payne and Tommy Bowe facing lengthy spells on the sidelines, the rest of the Ireland contingent - Iain Henderson, Rory Best and Chris Henry - remain absent for the time being.

There will be a first start of the season for Ian Humphreys at out-half after his cameo against Edinburgh last week with Peter Nelson not in the matchday 23.

Injury however means that both Robbie Diack and Dan Tuohy miss out.

Subsequently, the back five will be Lewis Stevenson and Franco van der Merwe in the engine room with a loose forwards trio of Roger Wilson Sean Reidy and Nick Williams. Up front, captain Rob Herring is joined at the coalface by props Callum Black and Wiehahn Herbst. Humphreys half-back partner will be Paul Marshall with the number 10 the only change to the backline that took on Alan Solomons' men.

The back-three consists of Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy for a fourth time this season while Sam Arnold gets another go at outside centre with Stuart McCloskey again at 12.

Joining Cave and Jackson on the bench are front-rowers Andrew Warwick, John Andrew and Ricky Lutton, with Peter Browne and Willie Faloon the other forwards.

Cardiff continue to rest their World Cup stars with Welsh quartet Sam Warburton, Alex Cuthbert, Gethin Jenkins and Lloyd Williams not involved.

Samoa's Rey Lee-Lo is also afforded extra-rest.

Belfast Telegraph

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