Cardiff Blues v Ulster: Henderson and Stockdale return for PRO14 clash
Irish grand slam stars Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale will return to provincial action this Saturday after being named in the Ulster team to play Cardiff Blues (BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 3.15pm, Sky Sports Arena).
Stockdale, who was named as Six Nations Player of the Championship, having scored seven tries in five outings, will start on the left wing, with Henderson selected in the back row.
There are four other new faces in the starting team from the last match versus Scarlets a month ago, with Rob Herring, Clive Ross, Craig Gilroy and Charles Piutau also included.
Herring will start at hooker in place of John Andrew, while props Andrew Warwick and Wiehahn Herbst will continue on either side of the front row.
The second row pairing of Kieran Treadwell and Alan O’Connor is unchanged, with the latter set to lead the side for a fourth consecutive match.
Henderson and Ross will be joined in the back row by number 8 Nick Timoney.
The half-back partnership of John Cooney and Johnny McPhillips remains in situ, as does the midfield combination of Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall.
Gilroy, Stockdale and Piutau will make up a potent back three.
Matthew Dalton, who has featured prominently for Ireland U20s in recent weeks, is named on the bench alongside fellow forwards John Andrew, Callum Black, Ross Kane and Matthew Rea.
Dave Shanahan, Peter Nelson and Louis Ludik provide backline options.
Ulster Rugby team to play Cardiff Blues, Saturday 24th March at BT Cardiff Arms Park, kick-off 3.15pm (live on Sky Sports Arena):
(15-9): C Piutau; C Gilroy, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; J McPhillips, J Cooney;
(1-8): A Warwick, R Herring, W Herbst, A O'Connor (Captain), K Treadwell, I Henderson, C Ross, N Timoney;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, C Black, R Kane, M Dalton, M Rea, D Shanahan, P Nelson, L Ludik.
Belfast Telegraph Digital