Ulster have eye on top spot with back-to-back Scarlets meetings
Ulster A are back in British and Irish Cup action today as they meet the Scarlets Premiership Select side, at Parc y Scarlets (kick-off 3pm), for the first of their back-to-back clashes.
And coach Alex Codling's squad will be looking for a healthy return from these games after the newly structured Welsh side shipped heavy defeats in their previous two B&I Cup games against current pool leaders Bedford and Bristol.
After losing without a bonus point at Bedford last time out, Ulster's ambitions to top the pool - they currently trail unbeaten Bedford, who are going back-to-back with Bristol, by five points - now require two notable results if they are to be fulfilled.
"It's really important to get the wins in both games and hopefully bonus points as well," said Ulster A scrum-half Dave Shanahan.
Nevertheless, the Ballymena player sounded a note of caution regarding any notion that Ulster will find the going relatively easy over the next two weeks.
"We have done a fair bit of video on them and they do actually look a handy outfit.
"They have a few boys who have Pro12 and European experience and we're expecting a tough battle," said the 22-year-old Ulster Academy player who hooks up again with out-half Sam Windsor.
"We're going to have to grind them down and hopefully the win will come at the end."
In terms of selection, Codling has a new starting midfield for the trip to west Wales with Belfast Harlequins player Mark Best and Ballymena's Callum Patterson getting the nod.
In the only other change to the backline from the Bedford defeat, Ballynahinch's Aaron Cairns, is on the right wing to make up a threatening looking back three comprising Jonny McPhillips, at full-back, and Rob Lyttle. Up front there are three alterations with Callum Black at loosehead prop and Ballymena pair Mattie Rea and Stephen Mulholland at second row and flanker respectively.
The A side is again skippered by Willie Faloon with an again strong back row being made up by Sean Reidy at number eight.
ULSTER A: J McPhillips, A Cairns, C Patterson, M Best, R Lyttle, S Windsor, D Shanahan; C Black, J Andrew, J Simpson, L Stevenson, M Rea, S Mulholland, W Faloon (capt), S Reidy
Replacements: J Murphy, R Murphy, R Kane, J Donnan, C Joyce, P Rowley, A McGrath