All change for Ulster Edinburgh clash at Ravenhill
With Ulster and Edinburgh alike minus key players due to international calls by Ireland and Scotland respectively, both are much-changed for tomorrow night’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash at Ravenhill (7.05pm).
Ulster have made nine changes — seven of them in the pack — to the side which started in last Friday’s win over NG Dragons, while Edinburgh have opted for five to the team beaten at the death by second-placed Scarlets last time out.
The return of Stephen Ferris is one of Ulster coach Mark Anscombe's changes, with another being the inclusion of full-back Ricky Andrew who makes his first start, Jared Payne — the usual incumbent, at 15, albeit that Tommy Bowe wore that number last week - is named at outside-centre which was his position at Auckland Blues.
His partner is Paddy Wallace and with Paul Marshall and Ruan Pienaar retained at half-back, that means a continuation of last weekend’s nine, 10, 12 axis.
Chris Cochrane and Craig Gilroy are the right and left wingers.
Callum Black, Nigel Brady — who captains the side — and John Afoa form the front row, with Ricky Lutton, Niall Annett and Adam Macklin — an all-Belfast Harlequins trio — providing the back-up from the bench.
If deployed, this will be Development prop Lutton's debut as an Ulster senior.
Lewis Stevenson and Neil McComb are the locks from whom Ulster will expect line-out ball.
Ferris — who last played on October 5 — needs game-time if he is to answer Ireland's call against the Sprinboks next weekend so he starts at six. Mike McComish lines out on the other flank, with Roger Wilson completing the breakaway forwards’ unit.
Robbie Diack and Nick Williams cover the second and back rows from the bench, the make-up being competed by Stuart Olding, Niall O’Connor and Peter Nelson.