Paddy Wallace will play for Ulster for the first time in nine months as the Province take on Zebre at Ravenhill tomorrow evening in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Wallace, who has made a record 188 appearances for Ulster, suffered an ACL injury against Glasgow in February. He returns to the senior team following two games for the Ulster Ravens in the British and Irish Cup.
He starts at inside-centre and is one of nine personnel and three positional switches to the side that beat Treviso last weekend as Head Coach, Mark Anscombe, chooses to rotate his squad.
Ricky Andrew starts at fullback with Jared Payne moving to outside centre. Craig Gilroy switches flanks and starts on the left wing with Michael Allen coming in on the right.
Ruan Pienaar continues at scrumhalf with James McKinney starting at outhalf.
There is a whole new front row, with Callum Black replacing Tom Court at loosehead, Niall Annett selected at hooker and Ricky Lutton named at tighthead.
Lewis Stevenson has recovered from the medial ligament injury he picked up last month and joins captain Johann Muller in the second row.
With Roger Wilson sustaining a mild ankle injury last weekend, Robbie Diack moves to Number 8, with Sean Doyle keeping his place at openside and Mike McComish coming in at blindside.
Adam Macklin is named as a replacement and is also in line to make his return to first team action having suffered an ACL injury last season.
Declan Fitzpatrick was unavailable for selection as he is suffering from a virus. John Afoa is in New Zealand.
Looking ahead to the game, Paddy Wallace said:
“My motivation is through the roof. I hope that I can bring a few players along with me because I am so pumped up to play again at Ravenhill. So many people have supported me through a hard time such as the medical staff and the strength and conditioning coaches and I want to do their support justice.”
Ulster XV and replacements to face Zebre, RaboDirect PRO12, Ravenhill, Friday 20th December (kick off 19:05); R Andrew, C Gilroy, J Payne, P Wallace, M Allen, J McKinney, R Pienaar; (1-8): C Black, N Annett, R Lutton, J Muller (Captain), L Stevenson, M McComish, S Doyle, R Diack; Replacements (16-23): R Herring, T Court, A Macklin, N McComb, C Joyce, M Heaney, P Nelson, D McIlwaine